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USPS responds to complaints about island postal service

January 12, 2024
By Garland Pollard

In the last month, the Boca Beacon has received a number of complaints about missing packages and returned mail at the Boca Grande Post Office. The issues were so bad that someone took the time to post a notice on the bulletin board at the bike path just over 10 days ago.

It read, in red, “Are you missing mail? 1-888-USPS-OIG.” That number is for the U.S.P.S. Office of Inspector General.

After being contacted by the Boca Beacon, Lecia A. Hall, who is public relations representative for the U.S.P.S. for Florida, said that the agency is aware of the issues, and issued a formal statement.

“The U.S. Postal Service always strives to provide the best possible service to our valued customers. When mail service issues occur, we take steps to quickly resolve customer concerns. Local postal management in Boca Grande is aware of recent customer concerns and is addressing these issues. We apologize for any inconvenience that may have been experienced by the Post Office Box residents receiving mail and packages at the Boca Grande Post Office.”

Lecia Hall, U.S.P.S.

One issue raised to the national U.S.P.S. is the non-delivery of packages and letters when they have a hashtag in them, instead of a P.O. Box. These hashtags come from the USPS website, when you put your address in. In one case, a Boca Grande resident had a package that did not appear in his box, and tracking said that “it has been disposed of by the U.S.P.S.”

The proper name was on the package, as was the box number, but there was a hashtag.

Another issue was a regular prescription package that was returned to the shipper because of the hashtag. The package had been delivered in previous months. The hashtag was not in the shipper’s system, however. It had been added by computer, presumably by the U.S.P.S. addressing system.

In all cases, the issue is that shippers use FedEx, UPS and USPS in their shipping, and Boca Grande does not have home delivery, and so requires both a box number, and a street address. Thus, the number and street address are on packages, and computer systems just do not like or allow the formatting.

Hall recommends the following preferred addressing:

Jane Anybody (Name/Company)
PO Box 12345 (Box number)
Anytown, USA 12345-6789 (City/State/Province/ZIP Code)

She also said that Boca Grande residents “can assist the Postal Service by making sure all mail, parcels and packages are properly addressed. The PO Box number must be preceded with ‘PO Box’. Hashtag usage should generally be avoided.”

One solution can be informed delivery. Hall said that it is a “USPS service that provides a notification of soon-to-arrive mail and packages, allowing customers to track and manage mail and packages daily and could be useful for residents to know what mail is being delivered to their Post Office Boxes.”

The Boca Beacon asked if General Delivery (i.e. addressing letters to the post office without a box, something that is done by travelers, for pickup) might be an option for residents on the island. Hall said that it would not. 

One suggestion offered by users on island is also to make complaints known via the website of Rep. Byron Donalds, at There is a tab with CONTACT on it, and on that there is a link to a formal casework form specifically regarding postal issues.

Tips & Contact:

  • Hall told the Beacon that all Group E Customers/Boca Grande residents are required to update their information via Notice 32- N, No-Fee Post Office Box Renewal Notice/Annual Verification, which is provided by the Post Office upon renewal of service.
  • Customers in need of assistance with mailing or shipping concerns, may call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777), or visit their website at