Pre-paid mailing envelopes

What’s to stop someone from making their own? Not only are the little rectangles that tell you they’re prepaid rather non-descript, they don’t even seem standardized.

I think the postage gets charged to the address on the envelope. If the person or company at that address is not set up with a pre-pay account with the post office I don’t think the letter will go anywhere.

So while you could probably photo-copy a bunch of prepaid envelopes to “Citi-Bank Credit Application” the only place there going to get sent to is them.

What a great idea for getting in trouble with theFeds! :rolleyes:
As soon as they see this sort of scam in any quantity someone will blow the whistle and off you go to Federal Court.
Don’t scam Uncle Sam!

Every one of those pre-paid rectangles has a permit number in it. And, IIRC, the envelope also has a bar code with the relevant information.

If you try to invent a permit number and a matching bar code, odds are you’ll do something that doesn’t match what the USPS is looking for.

If it’s a Business Reply permit, it will only go back to the original company.

If it’s a 1st or 3rd class mailing permit, there are regulations about how many pieces of mail have to be in a mailing, etc. You can’t just drop it in your neighborhood mailbox.

There are two types, postage paid, and reply paid.

Postage paid envelopes are the ones you get your utility bills etc in. You can print those yourself, but you’d need to lodge them in bulk, and can’t slip one into a box on the street. Once they are in the system, they’re in the sytem, and you would have gotten away with it, but the difficulty is the point of entry to the system. The bags from the street boxes are emptied into a big hopper at a sorting facility. The hopper is connected to a culler-facer-canceller machine, that as the name suggests, culls out all the lumpy articles, faces the letters up the right way, and postmarks the stamps. It can only know which way to face the letters because there are phosphors in the stamps which the machine can detect, and the machine assumes the stamp to be placed on the front of the envelope in the top, right-hand corner. Anything that passes by the sensors without triggering them will be routed into a “reject” output tray, and dealt with manually. A postage paid envelope shouldn’t have entered the system via that route, and the guy sorting the reject mail will know that, remove it from the mail stream, and deal with it accordingly.

Reply paid envelopes are the ones with the black vertical bars where the stamp would normally be. Yes, you can make your own. You can make your own in crayon if you like, but as has been mentioned, you can only post them to certain addresses that have a reply paid account at their local post office. If you try to write your friends that way, the receiving post office in their town won’t deliver it, because your friend doesn’t have an account, and the post office will treat it as unpaid.

What if you took one of those business reply cards that say “no postage due” and taped it to a cinderblock. Would they still deliver it and charge them for the weight of the cinderblock?