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Delayed mail causing people to have late fees on their bills

Published: Aug. 31, 2020 at 9:28 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Ilona Harris pays her bills on time, but when the bills don’t arrive on time she runs into more problems.

“The Kohl’s one we received on the first of the month and it was due the first,” Harris said. “I sent it and they charged us a $27.00 late fee. It’s not my fault that the mail’s not on time.”

The issue is not necessarily with Kohl’s or another company that charged her a late fee. The bills came on the day or very near the day they were due. That doesn’t give Harris enough time to make the proper, on-time payment.

The problem persists due to the pandemic. A United States Postal Service representative tells 13abc said it boils down to a need for employees.

“Please note we continue to hire based on local need while committed to our expanded employee leave policy to help employees affected by the pandemic,” the USPS representative said.

On top of that, according to one report, the USPS is anticipating a loss of $13 billion in revenue this fiscal year due to the crisis and another $54 billion in losses over 10 years. Financial struggles and COVID-19 create challenges.

“We shouldn’t criticize them because they’re short-staffed and some of their people may be out with COVID-19, so they’re working with a lot of handicaps of their own so it’s nobody’s fault. It’s just the nature of a very strange time that hopefully we’ll get over soon enough,” Dick Eppstein, president of the local Better Business Bureau, said.

He suggests consumers should “talk to the company, ask them if will waive those charges. Typically if you have a good history and have always been on time, a lot of the times they will waive the charges. They understand that the mail is erratic right now.”

Eppstein also says to be polite as opposed to angry when you’re talking to a company.

You can also call the postal service with concerns at 1-800-ask-USPS.

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