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Chronic Postal Delays Interfere With Business’s Cash Flow

Published Friday Aug 25, 2023

Author Matthew J. Mowry

Tom Kunysz, who owns three businesses in Brentwood—Winder Kunysz Real Estate, Gasket Guy of NH and Summit Supply. (Matthew J. Mowry)

For more than eight months, Tom Kunysz, who owns three businesses in Brentwood—Winder Kunysz Real Estate, Gasket Guy of NH and Summit Supply, a restaurant and hospitality supplies company—has been frustrated over postal delays and disruptions that delay when he receives customer payments.

Since November, it has not been unusual to receive mail once a week or go even longer stretches of time between deliveries, he says. And that’s a problem for a business that sends 30 to 60 invoices per business day and is used to receiving 20 to 50 checks per day. “You can only imagine the complications with running a small business. The same is happening to our business neighbors,” Kunysz says.

And as many of his customers work in the hospitality industry, the vast majority—85%—pay by check and only 15% elect to pay by electronic transfer or with credit cards. Kunysz recognizes he must change his payment requirements but notes that “does not happen overnight.”

For years, Kunysz says the post office in Exeter delivered on its promise—reliable delivery through rain, snow and sleet. And for years, not a day went by when he did not receive mail. But that changed in the fall. He notes he did not receive mail on 30% of the business days in October and that jumped to 67% by mid-March. 

The only thing consistent about the mail since, he says, is that it has been a consistent problem. On June 7, he noted, “We have not received mail since last week. The postal carrier did state that no one is scheduled for our route this week to deliver, so the businesses on this route have to deal with this type of
disruption again.”

“It does affect businesses’ cash flow,” he says, noting that he is not only receiving checks later, but he is also receiving invoices from his vendors later as well.  “Now we’re not consistently receiving our vendors’ invoices, so it puts a strain on managing our accounts payables.”

At one point Kunysz and his staff decided to put a hold on mail delivery and instead pick it up at the post office, but often experienced long waits, sometimes up to 45 minutes. “Sometimes I would wait and get to the counter and be told, ‘we don’t have mail for you,’” he says.

He decided to reinstate mail delivery in December, but the problems with inconsistent mail delivery have continued. 

As an example of the problem, Kunysz says a customer informed him they sent a check on June 10 that Kunysz only received on June 24 with a June 16 postmark.

Kunysz has communicated his concerns and need for assistance to the White House, his congressman and the governor but to no avail. He has filed several complaints with the U.S. Postal Service, including, among the latest, on June 23 when he received no mail that week. 

On June 27, he received a response from Postmaster Brett Hanlon, stating “Your regular carrier is still out on extended leave and our office currently doesn’t have enough substitute carriers to cover regular days off and unexpected absences. Overall staffing is 51% for the office for all subgroups: 54% for rural delivery, 82% for city delivery and 17% for clerks. We have a borrowed carrier on the route today and all of the available mail is out for delivery.” 

Hanlon goes on to explain the postal service brings in resources and volunteers when available and had acquired “outside assistance” for a few weeks to avoid delivery interruptions. “We are making every attempt to bring all of the routes current. We did acquire temporary help this week from another office, but this is not sustainable. We are struggling with hiring as are the majority of industries. Positions are posted at most notably for the Exeter Post Office,” Hanlon stated in the email response. “An apology is no substitute for good service, but I want to offer one on behalf of the Postal Service.” 

The U.S. Postal Service did not respond to a request for an interview. 

Kunysz says he has not seen an improvement in his service. As a business owner, he understands the difficulty in finding employees. However, he says customer service still matters. “On one hand, I can have some sympathy toward the United States Postal Service, but I am frustrated with a standardized, run-of-the-mill response [about] the difficulties of hiring and retaining staff. You’re telling me nothing is going to change,” he says. “Today, if a customer says the check is in the mail, there is more credibility in that statement,” he says.

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