Mon. Apr 15th, 2024

Missouri Representatives introduce Pony Up Act to hold USPS accountable for late bills

March 13, 2024 ,

READ FULL ARTICLE AT » Congressman Sam Graves

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representatives Sam Graves (R-MO), Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), and Mark Alford (R-MO) introduced the Pony Up Act this week which would protect consumers by putting the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) on the hook for late delivery of bills. Multiple constituent complaints have been registered regarding late fees needing to be paid regularly due to bills being delivered late. Multiple municipal utilities have also complained that their bills aren’t arriving to their customers in a timely manner. The legislation would require USPS to pay any late fees incurred on bills due to delayed delivery service.

“All across my district, I continue to receive calls from incredibly frustrated constituents whose mail isn’t showing up on time,” said Congressman Graves. “Late deliveries aren’t just a frustration; they cost people money. If a bill shows up late, you ultimately pay it late and that comes with an additional fee. For many small municipalities, they depend on bills getting paid to operate. That can’t happen if it never shows up on time. If the Postal Service can’t get their act together and get bills delivered on time, then they should pony up and pay the late fee.”

“Hardworking families, Missouri small businesses, and local municipalities shouldn’t have to pay the price for the failures of Postmaster General DeJoy and his disastrous Delivering for America Plan—which has led to a substantial rise in complaints about the postal service,” said Congressman Cleaver. “However, because of consistent delays in delivery across my congressional district, far too many folks have been forced to foot the bill for insufficient, untimely mail service. That’s simply not right, and I’m proud to join Reps. Graves and Alford to introduce bipartisan legislation that will ensure our constituents are made right if they are forced to pay a late fee due to the failed policies of the Postmaster General.” 

“The Postal Service is vital, especially for the many rural communities that I represent. It is unacceptable that the USPS has been failing to fulfill their Congressionally mandated six-day delivery window. These delays carry tangible consequences; constituents have shared accounts of delayed checks resulting in late fees on bill payments. It is only fair that the Postal Service should reimburse taxpayers for late fees accrued due to USPS delays,” said Congressman Alford.

The bill would enable anyone who incurred a late fee due to the late delivery of a bill to file a claim for a late fee repayment. Filing for the repayment would occur online through a portal or in person at any post office.

The legislation would also require a report on delayed mail, giving Congress relevant and accurate information to identify how effective the Postal Service is and what average delays look like.

You can view the bill here.

Over the last several years, Congressman Graves and Cleaver have voiced numerous concerns with the USPS about performance issues. In October 2022, Reps. Graves and Cleaver sent a letter to Postmaster General Dejoy expressing concerns about the agency’s failure to fulfill their congressionally mandated duty to provide six-day mail delivery. In December 2022, the Postal Service responded with complaints about low unemployment rates in the Kansas City region and encouraged residents to apply to work on the USPS, without offering a plan for the agency to meet their mandate.

In March 2023, Reps. Graves and Cleaver called on Postmaster General DeJoy to deliver a plan to address mail delivery delays, fulfill the USPS’s legal obligation to deliver mail 6 days per week, and listen to the concerns of Kansas City residents that had been frustrated with the performance of their local USPS branches. Following that letter, the USPS OIG announced they would conduct an audit of delayed mail and delivery operations in the Northland and the Kansas City area. The audit was completed in August of last year.

In January 2024, Graves and Cleaver led a cohort of fellow lawmakers calling on USPS to halt price increases on stamps, following the agency’s record-breaking fourth rate increase in the last eighteen months. The legislators demanded USPS address the failings of the Delivering for America Plan and turn around performance issues of the USPS in order to legitimize a price hike for consumers.

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