I ma nd the date stamp on the rejection sticker is March 2, only three days ago. The full text of the sticker reads as follows:
NIXIE 913 4C 1 0103/02/16
RETURN TO SENDER
NOT DELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED
UNABLE TO FORWARD
BC <Our 9-digit ZIP code><Our unit number> 2304-07151-26-39
The 03/02/16 date stamp is clearly in the American format MM/DD/YY, making it most unlikely that this letter ever left the country. A first class letter wouldn’t even reach Singapore in that time, let alone arrive there and be bounced back to us.
How is this possible? We have double checked the address and verified that it’s correct, except that it’s missing the last line reading REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE; in other words we wrote out only three lines as follows:
Firstname Middlename Lastname
<House number> <Street Name>
SINGAPORE <Postal code>
I have read somewhere that that fourth line reading REPUBLIC OF SINGAPORE is important, but is it so important that the letter won’t go out at all? I thought, if anything, it would just mean a slight delay in delivery. Additionally, since I had to pay the postage and didn’t know how much it was, I handed the letter in person to a post office clerk and stated that it was going to Singapore. Usually they let will you know if there’s something wrong with an address, but that didn’t happen on this occasion.
My working theory is that, without the fourth line indicating a foreign country, the OCR based sorting equipment “assumed” this was a domestic letter and failed to recognize the city, state, or ZIP, and so was rejected. Even so, however, I thought someone would go through the rejected letters and add the necessary information, after which the letter would go on its way. Would this be the reason?
We would have used a more up to date form of communication, but this involved a legal document and we wanted to maintain its confidentiality.