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CHAPTER 10 CLAIMS AND INQUIRIES In  addition  to  regular  postal  duties,  a  military postal clerk will be confronted frequently with postal concerns, and problems of the public.   A concern or problem may take the form of a claim, an inquiry, or a complaint.  This chapter provides helpful information concerning  these  concerns  and  problems,  including postal instructions governing the procedures to follow in  handling  claims,  inquiries,  and  complaints  and preparation of the applicable forms. The USPS understands it is difficult to compensate a  patron  for  the  loss  of  sentimental  or  irreplaceable items, and is always trying to improve the way mail is handled  so  incidents  do  not  occur  again.     Each customer  of  the  post  office  is  encouraged  to  report instances  of  loss,  rifling,  and  other  mistreatment  of mail,  even  when  there  may  be  no  provision  for payment of indemnity. INQUIRIES OR COMPLAINTS Learning  Objective: Differentiate  between inquiries   and   complaints   and   the   forms required to respond to each. An INQUIRY is a request for information. Inquiries are received almost daily regarding mail service to Navy personnel.  Inquiries may be received over the phone, in person, or in writing; and they may concern any phase of postal operations. Most inquiries are usually simple questions concerning the speed of mail, the proper method of preparing mail matter, or some other phase of postal operations. A COMPLAINT is an expression of dissatis- faction, discontent,  disappointment,  or  resentment  concerning any postal product, service, or postal personnel. Mail  complaints  are  attributable,  in  many instances,  to  a  lack  of  information  or  incomplete  or incorrect information. The number of mail complaints could  be  greatly  reduced  if  commanding  officers, within security limitations, kept service members and their families informed on probable mail interruptions or delays.  This may be done through plan of the day notices,  the  issuance  of  family-grams,  and  holding predeployment  briefings  for  family  members. Family-grams and briefings should explain the reasons for  probable  mail  delays  such  as  ship  transit  periods between  ports,  remote  operational  areas,  shifting operational commitments, and adverse weather. A better understanding of what to expect on a deployment can greatly reduce the anxieties of family members and can help  reduce  the  number  of  complaints  from  family members and friends. The continued use of family-grams during deploy- ments and advising the crew of prevailing conditions that may affect mail service will help dispel rumors that cause misunderstandings that lead to complaints. Information should be provided to naval personnel and   their   correspondents   before   and   during deployment. Keeping everyone informed enhances the morale of the crew and their correspondents, and saves the   Navy   money   by   avoiding   unnecessary administrative work in preparing replies to complaints. When inquiries of a congressional level or other high-level   interest   are   referred   by   MPSA   to commanding officers for investigation, the command should  provide  the  following  information  as  a minimum in its response:   Summary  of  an  interview  with  the  person  or persons  involved,  outlining  any  difficulty experienced in receiving or sending mail.   Any  special  circumstances  that  may  have affected mail service.   Evidence  of  other  individuals  experiencing similar difficulties.   If  the  individual  presently  receives  mail  from correspondents and specifically from the person registering the complaint.   When complaints involve a specific item of mail, an  indication  if  that  item  was  eventually received.   Correct mailing address of the person involved.   Average transit time for all classes of mail to and from the address of mailing. 10-1

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