PERRY, Ohio — For weeks now, long lines of trucks have been parked outside of the United States Postal Service distribution hub in Cleveland. Drivers have sometimes had to wait for days at a time to drop off or pick up packages, leaving many folks frustrated as time ticks down to Christmas.
But it's not just gifts that are being affected, the backup is also throwing a wrench into operations for local e-commerce companies, including BoltsAndNuts.com in Perry.
“I’m frustrated that we're at this point to where I have to reach out to see - because there's no answers,” Andy Graham, owner of BoltsAndNuts.com, said.
Bolts, screws, or studs. If you need a fastener, BoltsAndNuts.com likely has it in stock.
“We’re quality fasteners delivered and that's our slogan,” Graham said.
Graham started the e-commerce company with his sister back in 2013 and sales have only gotten better since the pandemic started.
“There were a lot more people at home working on projects, ordering their fasteners,” Brian Yeary, the vice-president of sales at BoltsAndNuts.com, said.
Things were running smoothly with USPS shipping up until three weeks ago.
“We've been having a lot of packages that are stuck in transit, or stuck in the facility,” Yeary said.
BoltsAndNuts.com ships the majority of their packages with USPS priority shipping and they typically make it to the customer within two to three days. But now, they say some orders are taking up to two to three weeks to be delivered and they have anywhere from 400 to 500 packages sitting in limbo in either the Cleveland or Akron USPS distribution hubs.
“We're getting 10 to 20 messages a day - cases, refunds, claims,” Graham said. “It's costing us money and time.”
The company has had to ship out replacement orders to some customers or offer refunds for packages that didn’t make it on time, losing about $3,000 to $5,000 just in the last few weeks.
And though they’ve reached out to the USPS, it hasn’t been very helpful.
“What they're saying is to be patient. They have a high volume of packages and your packages will get delivered as soon as they can,” Yeary said.
In the meantime, they’re still shipping products, trying new methods to make sure the customer gets it - like having mail truck drivers scan each package individually so customers know it left their warehouse - and they still have faith in the postal service.
“It's important to say we enjoy working with the post office, which is why we choose them to be our main carrier. The post office is very integral. When you're looking at it from the outside, you look at it as a whole and that's not the case,” Graham said. “The issue isn't with these local branches, we work with Perry, Madison, and Painesville and we love working with them. They're working with us. They're doing everything they possibly can.”
News 5 reached out to the USPS about the shipping delays and received this statement in response:
This has been an extraordinary year of unprecedented challenges. The Postal Service is experiencing significant volume increases, while at the same time employee availability has been reduced due to the impacts of COVID-19. We are flexing our resources to process and deliver the mail as quickly as possible. We are committed to making sure gifts and cards are delivered on time to celebrate the holidays. Customers needing assistance are encouraged to contact the USPS Customer Care Center at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).
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