Trapped By A Database

January 07, 2016

I managed to move to my new apartment in another state right after the US Post Office sent their address database updates to their customers. Just before that someone moved into the apartment across the hall which is one number less than mine. I have the highest number in the building.

Guess what, now I know exactly who uses the Post Office database to autocorrect all addresses. Many of my address changes were autocorrected to my neighbor's apartment number instead of mine.

The funniest was my new checks. I updated the address online for the bank which was correct of course. When I ordered new checks at a local branch they verified my address. Today I got the checks—with the autocorrected apartment number. The check printer clearly ran the address through the database and so now I will have to get them reprinted. Anyone want to bet it's still wrong?

I worked on US Post Office projects in 1998 and at the time they offered the address correction databases on an every 1 month or every 3 month cycle. I assume if it hasn't changed people just get the 4 times a year plan to save money. You'd think people like Capital One, Amazon and Harlan could afford more frequent updates!

I have gotten mail to my prior address which the Post Office correctly updated in their address change report to them which the company then autocorrected it to the wrong number. When I tried to pay off my car online Capital One offered about 10 different potential addresses, all of them wrong. I had to call to change it since there was no option to force the change to what I wanted.

Thankfully the mail person who delivers to this complex recognizes the error but of course they might miss a few items.

These days you wonder how such an error can remain for so long. Often you can't override or repair the problem since it just happens again. I suppose I will have to wait another month or two to fix the ones that are wrong.

You would think that large companies would have a faster update process but maybe the Post Office doesn't have such a product still; maybe it's actually the big companies that don't care to update faster, I don't know.

Ironically my local post office is next door. At least they know where I live!