January 19, 2001

Congressman Henry A. Waxman
8436 West Third Street, Suite 600
Los Angeles, CA 90048

Dear Congressman Waxman,

Since October, mail to my Santa Monica address has been repeatedly returned to sender. This has caused me grave difficulties, cancelled credit cards, etc. I have repeatedly complained to the Post Office. They refused to take my complaints seriously ("you're probably getting no mail because no one is sending you anything") until I could bring in copies of returned mail. Several times I presented copies of returned mail to supervisors in my postal station, and each time they promised that it would not happen again. After each in-person talk with a supervisor making photocopies of my returned mail, my mail delivery resumed for a brief period of time, then stopped again. Below is a chronology of events beginning October 2000:

I am attaching photocopies of a small number of envelopes that have been marked return to sender. I have many more of these if you would like to look through them.

I find the actions of the post office outrageous by any standard. Not only are they returning my mail to sender, but they repeatedly making promises that they do not keep (that it won't happen again, that they'll call me to follow up, etc.).

This has been extremely troubling for me. Not only have I experienced financial hardships (credit cards cancelled, checks bouncing, large fees for missed dates), but this has been devastating personally. There's no way to explain how horrible it is to have your mail sent back to sender, particularly when you don't even have a complete list of who has been writing. And though now I have been getting mail delivered for an entire week (except for yesterday), I have no confidence that this will continue because the post office has repeatedly promised that they had taken care of the problem, but then several weeks later my mail resumed being returned to sender. In fact, I think that since October, there have been many more days when my mail was marked 'return to sender' than days when my mail was actually delivered.

There are also larger problems here. If this is happening to me, it is probably happening to many other people (witness the station manager having so many complaint cases that it took him some time to recognize who I was, even though I had talked to him at length 9 days before). In addition, everyone I've talked to at the post office (the 800 number, other branches, carriers) has said that I should never submit a temporary forward form because temporary forwards so frequently cause mail to be returned to sender. (If the post office can't get temporary forwards right, why don't they just stop offering this service?)

So could you please look into this matter? For contacting me, it might be better to use my office address (where my mail delivery is much more reliable) rather than my home address, but I am including both. Thank you very much for your attention to this matter.


Howard Besser