When sending something through the mail, especially long distances, it’s essential that you feel confident that the item you’re shipping will reach its destination – on time, in one piece.
Do you feel that way when you send something via the United States Postal Service? So you wouldn’t be amiss if you wondered: Is USPS reliable? What does the data say? I have all the answers you need!
Is USPS Reliable In 2022?
The United States Postal Service has weathered criticism for its performance in the past, but, despite systemic cutbacks and slow-downs to service, the agency maintains a success rate of 99 percent (and up) for delivering packages accurately and on time as of 2022. The Postal Service’s reliability is comparable to competitors UPS and FedEx.
Let’s examine how careful USPS is with packages, what percent of mail gets lost by USPS and when USPS is least reliable (it does happen), so keep reading!
Is USPS Careful With Packages?
One thing customers are curious about is how careful USPS is with their packages. After all, it’s not enough for Grandma’s vase to reach the destination; it must also get there intact.
Further, USPackagingAndWrapping.com performed a case study comparing the three major shippers, USPS, UPS, and FedEx.
That said, this study asked, “Who is most likely to damage your packages?” and tested for gravitational force done to the packages by each shipper.
Then, they achieved this by affixing shock labels activated at 37 gravitational force, 50g, and 75g.
It might surprise you to learn that of the three, USPS activated the most shock labels, indicating that its employees handled the packages the “roughest.”
Since 2014, USPS has held the largest market share of U.S. parcel volume.
On top of that, consider that USPS delivers overall about 700 million mailpieces each day.
Therefore, the greater volume could mean more stressed out, hurried mail carriers, who are much less likely to convey parcels with heightened delicacy.
What Percent Of Mail Gets Lost By USPS?
According to Wikipedia, only three percent of mail gets certifiably lost by the United States Postal Service.
That’s a tiny percentage! However, three percent of 700 million (the amount of mail USPS delivers each day) is still 21 million.
Also, according to NatPay.com, the actual number could be very different, as measuring such a statistic is fraught with difficulties.
In fact, they report that the Government Accountability Office has even called out the USPS for “unsuitable benchmarks” when it comes to measuring lost mail.
Just know that if your mail gets lost, the Postal Service does have mechanisms in place to find it and hopefully send it on its way.
When Is USPS Least Reliable?
In my estimation, the Postal Service is more often reliable than not. But, there are occasions when it’s going to be less likely that your mail arrives on time.
For example, some of these occasions include:
- In times of exceptionally high mail volume, like around the winter holidays or an election.
- Major weather events, like blizzards, hurricanes, or tornadoes.
- Sudden traffic incidents, like big highway pile-ups.
Often, the Postal Service may issue a warning on the USPS.com landing page to alert customers to service slow-downs.
That said, the agency is highly communicative and tries to keep customers in the loop and aware of reliability issues in advance.
Does USPS Guarantee Delivery?
The only domestic service USPS offers a guaranteed delivery by a certain date is its Priority Mail Express shipping.
While it’s among its most expensive shipping options, there’s a money-back guarantee that the sender gets a refund if the item doesn’t reach its destination by 6 p.m. on the intended date.
However, none of USPS’ other domestic shipping services offer the same. Instead, USPS gives packages an estimated due date at check-out.
The understanding is that a delay may occur, and if it does, the Postal Service is not liable.
If Priority Mail Express doesn’t fit your budget or needs, there are other ways to help increase the guarantee of delivery and reliability with other USPS services.
For example, the Postal Service offers various Signature Services, like Signature Confirmation or Adult Signature Required.
Or, you may consider purchasing insurance for eligible shipments.
Either way, it’s a good way to know that USPS will refund you the value amount (which you estimate before shipping) if something happens to your package.
To learn more, you can also see our posts on whether or not USPS is a federal job, USPS origin facility, and if USPS packages are insured.
The United States Postal Service is a reliable and trustworthy agency that moves hundreds of millions of mailpieces daily without incident.
On top of its excellent delivery track record, the USPS often beats out competitors in pricing, sometimes costing half as much for similar services.