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Mail Fail: Deliveries Can't Be Made To Box With Legally Park Car

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A mail fail.

Neither snow nor rain nor a parked car?

A Willow Springs woman said the U.S. Postal Service isn't delivering important packages because cars are blocking her mailbox.

The postal service said the cars need to move.

The problem? It's a legal parking spot.

CBS 2's Megan Hickey reports on a possible postal and parking solution.

Even with a car parked there, it's possible to open the mailbox. But the USPS office told the customer it's against their policy. But CBS 2 has learned that it doesn't necessarily mean it's the best practice.

Patty Gioia depends on regular deliveries from the USPS because of medications for her husband.

"He is a Vietnam veteran, two time cancer survivor due to Agent Orange," Gioia said.

When his regular delivery of medications didn't show up in their mailbox, she called the Willow Springs postmaster.

"I said 'well my husband needs his medication.' And she said 'well your mailbox is blocked.'"

The manager told her letter carriers must have a safe line of travel.  And even though the mailbox was still accessible on foot, on that route, they shouldn't get out of their vehicles.

Gioia was at a loss.

"Who's going to be responsible if he doesn't get his dosage and he gets ill," she asked.

She said she's only had this delivery problem a handful of times over the years and the items are eventually delivered.

The advice she got:

"That I have to talk to my neighbors or call the police on the people that are blocking my mailbox," Gioia said.

While USPS's domestic mail manual said holding a package is acceptable, in this case, the National Association of Letter Carriers has said it's not necessarily the right thing to do.

The local NALC president told CBS 2 that they encourage letter carriers to use their discretion.

"I think most carriers would make the effort to make that delivery," said Mack Julion, Chicago-area president, National Association of Letter Carriers.

CBS 2 visited the Willow Springs office to speak with the postmaster but was told she was not available to speak and to not film on the premises.

Meanwhile, Gioia hopes special accommodations can be made.

A USPS spokesperson emphasized that if mail is withheld, they attempt the next day. They said they regret the inconvenience this has caused and they're working to prevent it in the future.

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