An inspection of a U.S. Postal Service facility at DFW Airport in November found almost 3,000 pieces of undelivered mail including “personal greeting cards, a passport and loose prescription medication” in containers that were supposed to be empty.
The mail was discovered in sacks, pouches and pallets at the Dallas Mail Transport Equipment Service Center, which shuffles the containers among 27 processing facilities in other cities.
The U.S. Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General issued a report titled “Management Alert – Mail Left in Mail Transport Equipment” last month.
It was obtained by the NBC 5 I-team on Monday.
Most of the mail was more than one week old and some was much older, the investigation found.
One international package had a postmark of February 2014 – about nine months before it was discovered.
The undelivered mail “reflects poorly on the postal service’s brand and public image and leaves the agency open to customer complaints,” the report concluded.
“In addition, poor service and mail declines can also lead to future revenue declines, as mailers or recipients seek or demand alternative delivery services.”
Once the unprocessed mail was found, workers at the Dallas facility properly put it back into the system to be delivered, the report said.
Postal service investigators said in their five-day visit in November they also found first-class mail that was not cancelled and internal postal documents, which contained employees’ payroll reports and other personal information.
Managers said they were setting up procedures to correct the problems.
“We are in agreement with the findings,” Dallas manager Eric Chavez wrote to auditors. “Our communications with our employees emphasizes the need to ensure no live mail is in the containers.”
Any reports containing employees’ personal information will be secured “to avoid compromise or misuse of this information,” he added.
In a written statement, postal service spokesman McKinney Boyd said immediate steps were taken to correct the mistakes.
"We apologize to any customers who may have been inconvenienced," he said. "This incident does not reflect the level of service we strive to provide."
NBC's Scott MacFarlane in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.