ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) - It's been one problem after another. An Albuquerque neighborhood has had trouble getting their hands on their daily mail, and it has just gotten worse.After KRQE News 13 inquired about the problems, the Postal Service did deliver an apology.
Everyone's address is unique, but when it comes down to it, it's up to one person to match up your mail with your address.
"We moved into the house in March of last year," Phil Thompson told KRQE News 13. Within that year, Thompson said his Albuquerque Four Hills neighborhood mail carrier has gotten things mixed up.
"This year it just really got to be every week or two," Thompson explained.
He said he and other neighbors often act as their own mail delivery service for each other, after the real mailman gets it wrong.
With the mix-up, expensive items he orders online, even important MVD documents, end up in his neighbor's mailbox and vice-versa.
"One of the neighbors has told me that a social security card was misdelivered to somebody's house," Thompson said. "That can be disastrous for somebody."
Some items never make it to his mailbox, like the cash his dad put in a birthday card to his grandson.
The misdeliveries are so frustrating, Thompson took his complaints to the Postal Service.
"I have done that six times this year so far and they've called me once and nothing's happened," Thompson said.
After months of trying to fix the first problem, to make matters worse, Thompson recently came home to another mess.
It's a sight people around Albuquerque are used to -- locked cluster boxes broken into, and everyone's mail gone.
However, Thompson isn't from Albuquerque, and said he recently learned from neighbors and the manager of his local post office that mail theft and mailbox break-ins are all too common in the metro.
"He said, 'Yeah, that's of course another unfortunate problem, but that happens a lot here in Albuquerque and it'll be a few weeks before it's back up and running,'" Thompson recalled a conversation with his post office manager.
Neighbors told KRQE News 13 their cluster boxes are often broken into around tax season.
The mailboxes sit away from people's homes with no cameras on them.
"They are basically sitting ducks," Thompson said.
People are so used to the break-ins, a lot of them pay for P.O. Boxes.
For now, everyone has to make a trip to the post office to pick up any mail, while they wait for their own boxes to be repaired.
"I mean it's part of what your taxes pay for right? Mail, dependable mail, and at least some accountability when things aren't done correctly," Thompson said.
Most of the time when he filed complaints through U.S.P.S., Thompson said he normally didn't hear back and didn't feel like he's being heard as a customer.
"That's why I called you guys," he said.
KRQE News 13 reached out to the U.S. Postal Service about the problems in Four Hills, and were directed to a regional spokesperson.
No one would talk on camera.
Instead, KRQE News 13 received an email from U.S.P.S. stating, "The Albuquerque Post Office has contacted the customer to apologize and has taken steps to resolve his concerns. In addition, the Postal Service has replaced the neighborhood delivery box unit that criminals had vandalized."
After phone calls from KRQE News 13, Thompson got a home visit from his post office manager, and the neighborhood mailboxes were fixed.
However, some neighbors in Four Hills told KRQE News 13 they would just prefer individual mailboxes.
"I'm sure they wouldn't deliver to the wrong house if they had to stop and look at the houses," Thompson said.
U.S.P.S. argues cluster boxes are more efficient for the carrier and more secure with lock systems. A spokesperson told KRQE News 13 that's the reason newer neighborhoods in Albuquerque have cluster boxes.
The Postal Service also claims the mail mix-ups in Four Hills have been addressed with the carrier.
U.S.P.S. said anyone with similar problems may file a complaint with the postal service online, saying they do respond to customer complaints.