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  #1  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:42 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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What should I do with misdelivered mail?

The mail isn't very reliable anymore. I get letters and magazines addressed to someone else.

example Pete Jones 33 Fartmore Place and I live at 33 Belchmuch Drive.

I have been dropping Pete's mail in the mailbox at the Post Office. Hoping their sorter will do better next time.

Someone at work mentioned the stamp on that mail was canceled. Same with the magazines. Will it still get redelivered?

Is there a Post Office rule for this?

What if the letter has my address? 33 Belchmuch Drive? I know the neighbor lives at 39 Belchmuch Drive. Can I correct the address with a pen and drop it in the mail?

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-18-2011 at 02:42 PM..
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  #2  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:43 PM
Alice The Goon Alice The Goon is offline
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I just write "addressee does not live here" and put it back in my mailbox. They won't redeliver junk mail, though, so that I throw away.
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  #3  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:44 PM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
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Write "Not at this address" on it and leave it in your mailbox.
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  #4  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:46 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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I personally write something like "Incorrectly delivered to <my address or the part of the address that is different from the addressee>. <My name> <current date>.", and underline the part of the address that the postman goofed up on, e.g. if I am at 123 Main ST, and the letter says 124 Main ST, I would underline the 4. Then I drop it off in a post box.

Last edited by robert_columbia; 01-18-2011 at 02:46 PM..
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  #5  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:47 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
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I just stick it back out on the mailbox, unless I live at 1234 Anystreet and I get 1236's mail. Then I just wander over and stick the mail in the correct mailbox. Technically, this is illegal.

Since this keeps happening, though, you might want to drop a line to the local postmaster.
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  #6  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:48 PM
robert_columbia robert_columbia is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRojelio View Post
Write "Not at this address" on it and leave it in your mailbox.
To me, doing this implies that there is no person with that name at the address specified, which isn't necessarily the case. If you are at 123 Main ST, and the mail was to John Smith, 124 Main ST, you can't just say there is no one by that name at this address without specifying WHICH address they aren't at.
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  #7  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:48 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lynn Bodoni View Post
I just stick it back out on the mailbox, unless I live at 1234 Anystreet and I get 1236's mail. Then I just wander over and stick the mail in the correct mailbox. Technically, this is illegal.
what is technically illegal about your act?
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  #8  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:51 PM
Kolga Kolga is offline
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I was snarkily told by a mail carrier several years ago that writing anything on an envelope is illegal, so if I got someone else's mail and wrote "misdelivered," they'd just stick in BACK in my mailbox without doing anything.

Surely, this was the statement of a single unhappy person, right?
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  #9  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:57 PM
UncleRojelio UncleRojelio is offline
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Quote:
To me, doing this implies that there is no person with that name at the address specified, which isn't necessarily the case. If you are at 123 Main ST, and the mail was to John Smith, 124 Main ST, you can't just say there is no one by that name at this address without specifying WHICH address they aren't at.
This is for mail that it is misdelivered to my address which I leave in my own mailbox. The letter carrier can figure it out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
what is technically illegal about your act?
Putting anything into any mailbox that is not your own is technically illegal.

(Well, against postal regulations)

Last edited by UncleRojelio; 01-18-2011 at 03:00 PM..
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  #10  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:58 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by UncleRojelio View Post
Putting anything into any mailbox that is not your own is technically illegal.

(Well, against postal regulations)
cite?
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  #11  
Old 01-18-2011, 02:59 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
what is technically illegal about your act?
In the U.S., your mail box is the property of the USPS, and only authorised people can put mail into it or take mail out of it -- the relevant authorised people being the mail deliverer and the owner/occupants of the house. So you are not allowed to put anything in your neighbour's mail box.

That's why people delivering advertising (but not through USPS) don't put it inside mail boxes, but just dump it next to the mail box. And it's different in other countries: for example, in Australia, there's no legal problem with anyone putting circulars into other people's letter boxes. So, a lot of them in Australia have signs on them saying "No junk mail" or "Australia Post mail only".
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  #12  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:01 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post
In the U.S., your mail box is the property of the USPS, and only authorised people can put mail into it or take mail out of it -- the relevant authorised people being the mail deliverer and the owner/occupants of the house. So you are not allowed to put anything in your neighbour's mail box.

That's why people delivering advertising (but not through USPS) don't put it inside mail boxes, but just dump it next to the mail box. And it's different in other countries: for example, in Australia, there's no legal problem with anyone putting circulars into other people's letter boxes. So, a lot of them in Australia have signs on them saying "No junk mail" or "Australia Post mail only".
again, cite?

i can go and buy a mailbox from home depot. I'm not so sure sticking it on my property and having the postman put mail in it converts it over to government property.
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  #13  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:06 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolga View Post
I was snarkily told by a mail carrier several years ago that writing anything on an envelope is illegal, so if I got someone else's mail and wrote "misdelivered," they'd just stick in BACK in my mailbox without doing anything.

Surely, this was the statement of a single unhappy person, right?
According to the USPS FAQ: (not linking because the USPS.com link does crazy things to this post)

Quote:
If the mailpiece is delivered to the wrong location:

Don't erase or mark over the information, or write any type of endorsement on the mailpiece.
Place the item back in the mailbox or hand the item back to your mailperson.


If the mailpiece is delivered to the correct location but the recipient on the mailpiece does not reside at the address:

Write"Not at this address" on mailpiece.
Don't erase or mark over the address.
Provide the mailpiece to your mailperson or drop into a Collection Box receptacle.
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  #14  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:11 PM
Peremensoe Peremensoe is offline
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So the OP's action was correct--items addressed to somebody else, somewhere else, just go back in the mail.
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  #15  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:11 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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From this page:

Quote:
Our regulations cover what can and canít be placed in a curbside mailbox or mailbox outside of your house, which generally includes only mail that has been sent through the USPS. However, our regulations donít govern what can be placed in a mail slot on your door.
From regulation DMM 508:

Quote:
3.1.1 Authorized Depository

Except as excluded by 3.1.2, every letterbox or other receptacle intended or used for the receipt or delivery of mail on any city delivery route, rural delivery route, highway contract route, or other mail route is designated an authorized depository for mail within the meaning of 18 USC 1702, 1705, 1708, and 1725.
From 18 USC 1725:

Quote:
Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such
as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like
matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box
established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the
receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to
avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such
offense be fined under this title.
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  #16  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:13 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Giles View Post

with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon is the important bit.

and i'm free to put any non-mailable matter in there, whatever the hell that means, to boot

(of course, there are tresspassing issues, but we'll just imply away that consent)

Last edited by Rumor_Watkins; 01-18-2011 at 03:14 PM..
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  #17  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:14 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
again, cite?

i can go and buy a mailbox from home depot. I'm not so sure sticking it on my property and having the postman put mail in it converts it over to government property.
From the USPS FAQ: (which I'm again not linking because the link is huge and does strange things to the board)
Quote:
If you have a curbside mailbox or a mailbox on the outside of your house, Postal Service regulations govern what can and can not be placed in them. Generally speaking, only mail that has been sent through the USPS may be placed in these types of receptacles. Conversely, USPS regulations do not govern what can be placed in a mail slot on your door. This means that if a local business wants to put a flyer in the mail slot, they can do so.
So no, the mailbox doesn't magically become government properties, but there are laws regarding who can put what in your mailbox. Interestingly, it appears from that FAQ that putting your neighbors misdelivered mail back into his own mailbox is OK - it's mail that has been sent through the USPS.

If you want to see the site, go to faq.usps.com, enter "mailbox" in the search field, and click on the first link. Has all the rules about mailboxes.
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  #18  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:14 PM
aceplace57 aceplace57 is offline
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I always refer to Elvis for mail that has the wrong name and my address (unless it's neighbor with a name I know).

Return to Sender Address unknown


So, putting mail back in the mailbox with a canceled stamp isn't a problem?

Last edited by aceplace57; 01-18-2011 at 03:17 PM..
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  #19  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:14 PM
Machine Elf Machine Elf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
again, cite?

i can go and buy a mailbox from home depot. I'm not so sure sticking it on my property and having the postman put mail in it converts it over to government property.
cite.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ehow
Mailboxes are receptacles designed for the delivery of personal or business mail and are considered government property (as opposed to personal property). Other than the intended mail recipient, the only other individual or entity that is permitted to access federally approved mailboxes are employees of the United States Postal Service.
It's a weird thing, but yes, you put up the mailbox, and it becomes the property of the federal gubmint. Google it, and you will find many more cites.

Last edited by Machine Elf; 01-18-2011 at 03:15 PM..
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  #20  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:15 PM
Giles Giles is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rumor_Watkins View Post
with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon is the important bit.
Yes, you're right. I think that probably means that you could put the misdelivered letter into your neighbour's mail box, but you can't put anything in there that could go through the USPS, e.g., a Christmas card or party invitation.
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  #21  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:16 PM
Rumor_Watkins Rumor_Watkins is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
Other than the intended mail recipient, the only other individual or entity that is permitted to access federally approved mailboxes are employees of the United States Postal Service.

Your secondary source makes a nice claim, and then completely fails to back it up.
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  #22  
Old 01-18-2011, 03:20 PM
muldoonthief muldoonthief is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Machine Elf View Post
cite.



It's a weird thing, but yes, you put up the mailbox, and it becomes the property of the federal gubmint. Google it, and you will find many more cites.
There's a huge difference between "there are strict rules regulating how a piece of property you own may be used by yourself and others" and "it now belongs to the government".
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  #23  
Old 01-18-2011, 04:26 PM
Saltire Saltire is offline
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Be sure to look at the mailpiece for barcodes. In the course of sorting, USPS sometimes prints a barcode across the bottom of the item which can be read by sorting machines. If they mis-sorted the mail, the code is probably wrong, and the machines will read the code and send it back to you without humans even seeing the thing until it's in your mail carrier's hands.

Before I started putting correction tape over the codes, I'd sometimes get the wrong piece of mail 3 times.
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  #24  
Old 01-18-2011, 08:32 PM
Terry Kennedy Terry Kennedy is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aceplace57 View Post
The mail isn't very reliable anymore. I get letters and magazines addressed to someone else.
As do we all.

Some years back we had a very lazy substitute mail carrier who would drop ALL the mail for every house on our street into one mail slot at random. We were all pretty used to it and whoever got the prize that day would re-sort and re-deliver. That worked well until one of the houses became vacant and was the target of the booby prize.

After gathering our pitchforks and torches and storming our local Post Office, the problem was "addressed" (no pun intended) for a few months.

Then we all started getting random mail mixed in with our delivery for completely dissimilar addresses - not even on the same carrier route (so shouldn't be in the same cart to start with).

Complaining to the head post office in our city, we managed to get the person in charge of our zip code transferred out. He wasn't a "postmaster", but some other subordinate title.

The latest stunt was that for the last week of November and the first week of December, ALL magazines addressed to anyone on our carrier route was returned to the sender with Form 3579 "Notice of Undeliverable Periodical" and a bill for 50 cents. A few of my neighbors and I managed to get the publishers to send us the torn covers with the 3579's attached and again marched on the Post Office. Their response: "So, what do you expect us to do?". This, after waiting on line with 30+ other people for nearly an hour because only one or two windows out of 7 is ever open.

Don't even get me started on the removal of mailboxes (drop-off ones). There used to be one near almost every relay mail one (the green ones that the walking carriers get the delivery mail from). Yet every day mail trucks come and load the relay mail boxes. But they're too lazy to empty mail from the drop boxes, so they take them out?

No wonder the USPS is in dire straits - even with vastly reduced volume, they still can't provide a functional delivery service.

Side note: A couple years I was staying with a friend in Illinois and dropped some stuff off at her post office as a favor to her. Pleasant people, not hiding behind bulletproof plastic, and good service. I told them "Y'know, you could really clean up if you opened a couple branches back East!" They got a good laugh out of that.
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  #25  
Old 01-18-2011, 08:34 PM
Snnipe 70E Snnipe 70E is offline
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I get the wrong mail all the time I just put it back in the mail box.
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  #26  
Old 01-18-2011, 11:07 PM
Fear Itself Fear Itself is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kolga View Post
I was snarkily told by a mail carrier several years ago that writing anything on an envelope is illegal, so if I got someone else's mail and wrote "misdelivered," they'd just stick in BACK in my mailbox without doing anything.

Surely, this was the statement of a single unhappy person, right?
Right. The official policy of the USPS is as follows:
Quote:
Reporting/Returning misdelivered mail

Despite our best efforts, occasionally mail is mis-delivered, or is delivered to an old location for an individual. If you are receiving mail for the previous resident and do not know their address, simply return the mail piece back to the mailstream (by leaving in a Collection Boxģ or other mail receptacle) with the notation "Not at this address" marked on the envelope.
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  #27  
Old 01-19-2011, 08:30 AM
Sigmagirl Sigmagirl is offline
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I designed our mailbox and had it custom made by an artisan. Uncle Sam can not have it.
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  #28  
Old 01-19-2011, 10:00 AM
NinetyWt NinetyWt is offline
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Our post office has a slot marked "misboxed mail". It is specifically for mail that has been placed in the wrong box. The instructions say that if it is the wrong address (Box 300 mail put in Box 310) then write "Placed in wrong box #". If it is a person not at your box then write "addressee not at this address".
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  #29  
Old 01-19-2011, 10:50 AM
geneb geneb is offline
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About a year ago I was getting tons of mail for previous residents of my apartment, so I collected it all, rubber banded it together and stuck a post it note on it reading "These people no longer reside at this address" and placed it in the mailbox with the flag up. It was gone the next day, 3 days later I received the entire packet, rubber band and post it still attached, back in my mailbox.

To this day I continue to get mail for multiple different previous residents and I have been at the same address for 2.5 years.
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  #30  
Old 01-19-2011, 10:55 AM
shiftless shiftless is offline
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Happens all too often at my house. Got some yesterday from a different city with no part of the address the same as mine. I stick a post-it on it and write "wrong address." I'm often tempted to add a "dumbass" to the end of that but am afraid I'll never see my mail again.
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  #31  
Old 01-19-2011, 11:01 AM
pulykamell pulykamell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Snnipe 70E View Post
I get the wrong mail all the time I just put it back in the mail box.
That's what I do. Writing something like "Not at this address" or "Addressee does not live here" to me means it was correctly addressed, but the person doesn't live there. I would expect mail marked as such returned to sender.
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  #32  
Old 01-19-2011, 12:15 PM
Renee Renee is online now
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If it was just put in my box by mistake (not addressed to my house) I put it back, and put the flag up, and it goes away the next day. If the address is mine, but the name isn't, I'll write "wrong address" on it and put it back in the box.
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  #33  
Old 01-19-2011, 07:40 PM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sigmagirl View Post
I designed our mailbox and had it custom made by an artisan. Uncle Sam can not have it.
Uncle Sam doesn't want it. He just wants only his USPO people to use it. Not competitors like UPS, FedEx, local advertising flyer delivery services, political candidates, etc.
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