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View Full Version : What to do with mail delivered to right address but wrong recipient?


DCnDC
01-18-2011, 03:15 PM
Related question to "What should I do with misdelivered mail? (http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=593601)"

While that thread was about mail delivered to the wrong address my issue is with mail delivered to the right address but the wrong recipient.

I've lived in my (rented) house for almost two years yet I continue to get mail (and occasionally packages) that are addressed to this location, but what I can only assume are former occupants. I've got a pretty good pile of this stuff sitting on a table and I have no idea what to do with it. Some of it looks like junk mail, others appear to be greeting cards, some of it personal letters. My landlord doesn't recognize some of these people and the ones he does he has no current address for. Do I send it back to USPS or toss it or what?

Telemark
01-18-2011, 03:17 PM
Mark them "Recipient not at this address" and place them out for pickup. I think you can toss the junk mail. They can always be returned to sender by the USPS.

PoorYorick
01-18-2011, 03:18 PM
In the past, I've just written "Wrong Address" or "No longer at this address" on the envelope and put it back in the mail box. Seemed to work.

muldoonthief
01-18-2011, 03:18 PM
Keep reading that thread - if it's your address but an unknown name, you write "Not at this address" on the envelope, do not obscure the address in any way, and give it back to your carrier, or drop it in a mailbox.

Machine Elf
01-18-2011, 03:20 PM
When prior residents move, they should have filed a change-of-address form with the post office; mail sent to their old address (your current address) would have been forwarded to their new address, but only for (I think) a year.

If you know the correct address for the intended recipient, and you're feeling generous, you can write "Please forward to" and their address, then put it back in your mailbox.

I don't believe the PO will forward junk mail.

When you get tired of forwarding mail, you can write "RETURN TO SENDER" and put it back in your mailbox. You can also just trash it, but I suspect that's illegal.

Fubaya
01-18-2011, 07:41 PM
Is this supposed to be a permanent solution or temporary? I have the same problem and write "not at this address" on them, put them in the mailbox and they disappear. But, I keep getting crap for them from the same businesses, sometimes 5-6 pieces of mail per week. It's like they send more after they get my note.

Is my postal carrier just trashing the returned mail or is this how it works? Can I go to the post office and ask they block mail for those names?

... this reminds me, the lady who used to get a lot of mail from collection agencies got a letter from the courthouse Saturday that I still need to send back.

Cunctator
01-18-2011, 08:17 PM
This happened to me when I moved into my current place. I wrote "Return to sender/No longer at this address" and re-posted the items for the first six months. After that, I tossed them into the bin.

Geek Mecha
01-18-2011, 08:47 PM
Is this supposed to be a permanent solution or temporary? I have the same problem and write "not at this address" on them, put them in the mailbox and they disappear. But, I keep getting crap for them from the same businesses, sometimes 5-6 pieces of mail per week. It's like they send more after they get my note.
By businesses, do you mean advertisement or credit card offers? I used to have to write "No longer at this address" frequently when I moved to my current apartment, and it worked just fine for what looked like bank statements, insurance paperwork, and personal correspondence. It was less effective for community college ads, menus, churches, anything advertisey. I just chuck those now.

Polycarp
01-18-2011, 10:57 PM
Mark them "Recipient not at this address" and place them out for pickup. I think you can toss the junk mail. They can always be returned to sender by the USPS.

In the past, I've just written "Wrong Address" or "No longer at this address" on the envelope and put it back in the mail box. Seemed to work.

Keep reading that thread - if it's your address but an unknown name, you write "Not at this address" on the envelope, do not obscure the address in any way, and give it back to your carrier, or drop it in a mailbox.

When prior residents move, they should have filed a change-of-address form with the post office; mail sent to their old address (your current address) would have been forwarded to their new address, but only for (I think) a year.

If you know the correct address for the intended recipient, and you're feeling generous, you can write "Please forward to" and their address, then put it back in your mailbox.

I don't believe the PO will forward junk mail.

When you get tired of forwarding mail, you can write "RETURN TO SENDER" and put it back in your mailbox. You can also just trash it, but I suspect that's illegal.

Slight modification to what everyone's saying:

If you know the right forwarding address and care to bother, just write in the forwarding address, crossing out the old incorrect address. Otherwise....

The above quotes are nearly accurate for the USPS, but write 'NOT AT THIS ADDRESS' across a white-space area and draw one line through the address, avoiding obscuring the address text but disfiguring it. It can then be dropped in the mail -- the disfiguring of the address will cause the automatic scanning/sorting equipment to bounce the mail, and the sorting clerks can then search for a new address, or, failing that, send it off to the Dead Letter Office.

Fubaya
01-18-2011, 11:01 PM
By businesses, do you mean advertisement or credit card offers?

No, now that you mention it, I actually don't get junk for other people. I know marketers get their info straight from the USPS so I guess they successfully changed their address, but the letters must be using the old address they have in their system. They include things from doctors offices, letters from a company that administers traffic cameras (says something about a fine on the outside), letters from what looked like collection agencies, the recent letter from the courthouse, etc.

Aspidistra
01-18-2011, 11:06 PM
People just don't listen to theirElvis (http://www.lyricsfreak.com/e/elvis+presley/return+to+sender_20047831.html) any more...

StuffLikeThatThere
01-19-2011, 02:52 AM
We are still getting mail for my husband's parents (especially Christmas cards), who moved out of the old farmhouse more than 20 years ago. We moved out of the old farmhouse several years ago, but built a house next door. People continue to send mail to my in-laws at their ancient address. The neighbors, when they find mail for my in-laws, helpfully just put it in our mailbox.

I've tried drawing lines through the address and writing NOT AT THIS ADDRESS or RETURN TO SENDER prominently on the envelope. Most of the time, these letters are redelivered to the neighbors. (Who helpfully put them in our mailbox.) I know I should just do the forwarding address, but if I keep forwarding, the same people keep sending mail to a 20-year-old address, and I think they should probably update their records. The sad thing is, we have the phone number my in-laws had 20 years ago, so if these people could be arsed to try to update the address, they'd just end up calling me.

What was I saying? Oh yes ... sometimes drawing lines through the address doesn't work. But hey, try it. You probably live outside the vortex.

Geek Mecha
01-19-2011, 05:06 PM
No, now that you mention it, I actually don't get junk for other people. I know marketers get their info straight from the USPS so I guess they successfully changed their address, but the letters must be using the old address they have in their system. They include things from doctors offices, letters from a company that administers traffic cameras (says something about a fine on the outside), letters from what looked like collection agencies, the recent letter from the courthouse, etc.
Sad that the spam gets around more efficiently, eh? I had mail sent from immigration offices and what looked like colletion agencies. I wrote "Addressee no longer at this address" on mail at least three times a week for the first two months I lived at my apartment. Then it stopped abruptly, as though everyone updated their contact lists simultaneously.