Mail mess: Captial One and Rep. Bishop respond

REPORTER FILE PHOTO | Mail delivery problems were relieved for one Shelter Island resident recently.

A Shelter Island Capital One customer may have been successful in tapping into one of the major list providers whose data base is causing mail delivery problems for residents here.

“We possibly are on the way to solving this for all of Shelter Island,” Patricia Shillingburg said, explaining that her May 20 letter to the president and CEO of Capital One has not only resulted in straightening out her own accounts, but led to the identity of Pershing LLC, headquartered in Jersey City, New Jersey, as the company providing list maintenance services for the bank.

Capital One bank officials told Ms. Shillingburg that Pershing provides little address space on its forms, resulting in Shelter Island Heights being abbreviated to Shelter Island, changing the ZIP code from 11965 to 11964. But bank officials were able to identify that Ms. Shillingburg used three of its services and to take corrective actions in each of the three — regular banking services, the credit card division and financial services — to ensure that she will be getting her mail correctly addressed in the future.

In her letter to bank president Richard Fairbanks, Ms. Shillingburg explained the problem, telling him gently, “I am a little fish in the big Capital One Bank sea, but I should think that your company would be able to address a statement to my correct address. I believe that this is not the bank being mean.”

“I think they should be applauded” for solving the problem,” she told the Reporter.

In a follow-up letter to Mr. Fairbanks on Tuesday, Ms. Shillingburg thanked him for the efforts to get her own statements properly addressed.

“I have been told that all of your customers with Shelter Island Heights addresses will have their address problems resolved,” she wrote. “Equally satisfying is knowing that Pershing LLC is one of the culprits and explains why the problem is not limited to just one bank,” she wrote.

The Reporter has tried to contact Pershing, a company that provides a wide range of financial services to companies and individuals, but has yet to get a response about the possibility of altering its database to accept longer addresses that could include Shelter Island Heights.Oliver Longwell, communications director for Congressman Tim Bishop, is continuing to follow through with Pershing LLC to determine how its database can be changed to recognize post office boxes in Shelter Island Heights and he’s tracking other companies that provide data base services to various corporations.

“This is just one example of the complex patchwork system we’re dealing with,” Mr. Longwell said.

He also said the United States Postal Service is working on strategies to improve delivery of mail to Shelter Islanders.

At the same time, he noted that residents here could petition for home delivery on the Island.

“It’s a decision the community would have to make for itself,” he said. Having one address for all mail, packages and official registrations “would be a major step forward in solving these issues,” Mr. Longwell said. “It’s worth discussing.”