No Mail Boxes

The mail boxes for an entire neighborhood are vandalized, the Postal Service can’t deliver the mail and residents can’t get the boxes replaced. So legally, who has to pay for the new boxes? It’s why one woman asked Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser to deliver.

You cover your wall with paint, then hang a piece of art or you can plaster it with pictures.

Stacy Easy: “Family is a part of us. We definitely have lots of pictures around. 200, instead of pulling out a cell phone, we have it to actually look at – at the walls.”

Stacy’s home is in Richmond Heights, a small neighborhood but her family has a big problem, no mail delivery.

Stacy Easy: “And this is what we are faced with, destruction, vandalism. It’s been like this for about two months.”

Vandals is a nice word. Punks knocked down two of the community mail boxes down and ripped the front off a few more. The Postal Service had no choice and stopped delivering the mail.

Stacy Easy: “Getting our mail is very hectic. You have to go to the post office which is located by Miami-Dade.”

It’s tough for some elderly people to get there.

Stacy Easy: “We have a gentleman down the street, he is elderly. He can not get to the post office, no one else can pick up his mail for him because he has to be that person at that residence.”

Getting to the post office while they are open is not easy if you work.

Stacy Easy: “You might get out of work late and not catch the post office.”

And if you can’t get to the post office before they close, problems pile up.

Stacy Easy: “There is people that are not getting their medication, there is people who are not getting their bills on time.”

After the crooks tore things down a couple of months ago, the post office said it wasn’t their responsibility to replace the mail boxes.

Stacy Easy: “They advised us that we had to contact the housing authority.”

But Stacy doesn’t have a homeowners association and this neighborhood is designated for community mailboxes. Meaning residents can’t buy their own mailboxes and put them in front of their homes.

Stacy Easy: “We are dealing with it the best that we could but it’s beginning to be nerve-racking.”

Stacy has learned no-one in the neighborhood has a solution and as Stacy waits in line each day at the post office, she has learned to appreciate that mail delivery they used to have.

Stacy Easy: “It’s so time consuming. We take for granted that we have our mailboxes outside, it’s just a walk outside to get it.”

Well Howard, they say mail moves the country but what happens when someone moves the mail boxes?

Howard Finkelstein: “First of all, the Postal Service is not responsible for your mailbox. In a case like this, it’s the homeowners associations job to replace them. If there is no association, the homeowners have to pitch in and buy new boxes. If everyone won’t pitch in, you have to rent a box at the post office.”

Records shows the neighborhood never has had an association. We then spoke to Debbie Fetterly, the spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service and she solved the neighborhoods problem. She told us, “USPS is not required to provide the slab or the cluster boxes, but is doing so in the spirit of being a good neighbor.”

Not only did they give them to the neighborhood, the Postal Service installed them for free.

Howard Finkelstein: “Give the Postal Service credit. They have so many things to deal with, legally they could have brushed this neighborhood off but they reached out and acted like a good neighbor.”

Stacy Easy: “Very happy with Help Me Howard.”

Stacy is happy, the neighbors have their mailboxes back and they are happy with the Postal Service.

Stacy Easy: “We are very grateful that they were able to get this taken care of for us in a timely manner and it was a good gesture on their part.”

Patrick Fraser: “Nice job by the Postal Service and this brings up the question, Do you legally have a right to have mail delivered to you? The answers is yes, but whether it’s to your mailbox or to cluster boxes is up to the Postal Service to determine.

Someone delivered a problem you can’t lick? Don’t give up and mail it in. Contact us. Hopefully we can construct a concrete resolution that will get your stamp of approval.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

CONTACT HELP ME HOWARD:

E-mail: helpmehoward@wsvn.com (please include your contact phone number when e-mailing)

Reporter: Patrick Fraser at pfraser@wsvn.com

Miami-Dade: 305-953-WSVN

Broward: 954-761-WSVN