Pondering over Coffee: Our daughter put in a moving 'change of address' with the post office and marked "whole family" and this is what happens............

Perhaps 'pondering over coffee' isn't the right label for this one because it's not so much pondering as... hmm.  Well, it's not venting, not ranting, just...  typing it out to get some frustration off my chest?

Our oldest daughter, Kat and her husband were recently relocated cross-country with his job.
While they house hunted and waited for the 'closing' on the new house, she and their two babies stayed with us for 2 months waiting for the paperwork on the house to be done and her husband was living in corporate housing in the new state.

During this time she had a change of address put in to receive their mail here.

When they were finally into their new home, she put in a new change of address so all their mail coming here now when to their new address.

They left on Christmas morning with their babies to their new home.
We celebrated a family birthday, our son flew in from across the country for a late Christmas with us, we traveled cross country to see our daughter and son-in-laws new house, came home to host out of town guests, celebrated another daughter's birthday, saw our son off to the airport, hunkered down for an ice storm and finally.... as of Sunday night, life was back to normal, everyone was gone home and things were quiet.

Except it was on the 2nd day of 'normal' I realized after checking the mail...  "We haven't really gotten much mail over the last couple weeks."

As a matter of fact, when I paid bills last Friday I remarked to my husband and later, a couple friends over coffee that we didn't get our mortgage bill in the mail. I wondered what other mail I was missing.  I paid it because I knew it was due, but why didn't we get it?

Today as I checked the mail and got 2 random 'junk' mailers addressed to current occupant I again realized; "We aren't getting any mail.... we didn't even get about 1/3 of the Christmas cards I know we should have gotten from friends and family."


My daughter put in a change of address for she and her husband to forward to their new home in another state.  I BET she marked the box for 'whole family'!

If you don't know this, I'll explain.  When you put in a change of address, you can do each individual or check 'whole family'.  Be aware that whole family doesn't only mean family but means anyone and everyone at this address.

I texted my daughter to ask and sure enough - she checked "whole family" thinking it would mean anyone with HER FAMILY  NAME AT THIS ADDRESS.

She assumed that when you write PATRICK SMITH on the change and check 'whole family' it meant anyone with the Smith name only.

It doesn't.  Whole family is anyone at that address.  Everyone at that address.

And so I called the USPS number to talk to someone about whether I should cancel it completely and redo it correctly?  Change to individual names?  Put in a new one for us using 'their' address as our old address?

I thought I was calling our local branch, but apparently it went to the large 'main' usps office.  I waited on hold for almost an hour (literally; not figuratively.  Literally waited on hold an hour).

When a man came on the line his accent was really thick and he was hard to understand.  But he said his name was "Larry".  Who am I to say it isn't, right?

So "Larry" listens to my concern.

Tells me if dd put in an address change under her and her husbands name, it would not effect us as we had a different name.

I said no, she checked the "whole family" box which means everyone at that address.

He said that was not correct.  She and her husband have a different name than we do and 'whole family' would only mean their last name.

I KNEW that was not correct.

He said he would look up my name and used the 'new' forwarded address.  He told me there was nothing coming up.  My mail was not being forwarded.  I asked him to try my husbands.  He spelled it but I did not hear any clicking of the computer keys and knew he did not type it out.  He counted to five and said, "No.  There is nothing under his name.  You are receiving your mail, it is not being forwarded."

I asked, "shouldn't you put in our 'old' address, because that is the address in your system that is having the mail forwarded."

He said no, you would look it up only with the new address.

He said he would submit a claim and case file to my local post office complaining I had not gotten mail delivery in two weeks.  I told him I DID have mail delivery almost daily but none of it for us;  all was just junk mail.

When he said that was all he could do as there was no 'forward' in the system for me, I told I wasn't comfortable lodging a complaint against my local post office as I loved my local post office and our mail carrier, and I WAS getting delivery; I wasn't getting any real mail though; including bills I knew I should have received.

I didn't want to file a complaint saying I wasn't receiving delivery because that did not describe the problem correctly.

He said I could call my local post office directly and talk with them.  I said "yes please!"

I called the number direct.  Explained my concern.  She asked to look up our current address and immediately said, "Yes, there is a forward in for everyone at your address."


I KNEW IT.  And "Larry" at the main USPS 800 number was not only WRONG but I know his job better than HE does.

Had I listened to him NOTHING would have been accomplished today and all our mail would be forwarding to another state (where we do not live!!!!).

The local post office said they could make the change to 'individual' instead so OUR mail should start back up and start arriving.

I asked about all the long term effects of our mail being forwarded over the last two to three weeks?  Many of those companies are now going to get 'change of address' notices to update their data bases with 'our' 'new' address... and there are national data bases that get their information from smaller data bases and things that will be eventually reported incorrectly as our address on our credit reports.

She said companies never get the new address of anyone unless you call them yourself to tell them.  I told her that is not true because part of MY job was that I would get a print out from the post office and it was my job to make sure I had all the updated addresses in our database within 90 days or we would be fined.  The print out I would receive from the post office included all the "MOVED" and "FORWARDED" address changes and whether it was 'individual' or 'whole family' and whether it was permanent.

She said she didn't know anything about that.

I asked if in order to be sure our correct address was officially correct per the post office - should I put in a new 'change of address' for our family listing our daughter's address as our "old" (since that is where all our mail is going to be coming for the next couple weeks as it makes it's way through the forwarding system) and our real address as our "new"?  That way all the companies that receive notice of our "new" (but false) address would eventually get things back in order?

She said no, that would just screw up the system even more.

All she could do today was to make the change of address into individual instead of family... and our mail should start being delivered again within a couple days.

In the meantime we have about 2-3 weeks worth of mail, Christmas cards, bills, insurance cards, etc. all going through the mail system and on their way to a state we've never lived in.  The only plus is that since my DD lives there she can gather the mail for us and mail it back to us....

I'll keep you updated to what havoc this ultimately causes....


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