US Post office: what happens to mis-delivered mail?

I recently bought something off of Amazon Marketplace that I never received. I do have a USPO tracking number, and when I go track it, it says it was delivered on Monday to someplace that is not me. I can’t see an address; all I see is a zip code, which is one digit off my actual zip code.

I’ve contacted the sender, and haven’t heard back yet.

I’m curious as to what happens now, from a post office perspective. If the seller gets my email and it was their fault that it was mis-addressed (which I believe is the case), can they call the post office and say “Go get this?” Or are they out of luck?

What happens if it’s not the sender’s fault, and the post office is to blame?

I guess I’ve never heard of the mailman knocking at your door looking for a misaddressed piece of mail before… does it happen?

I sell thousands of dollars worth of inventory per year on Amazon. I use USPS shipping for everything.
You ask a number of questions.
I have no idea if the USPS will ask for that item back from the recipient, but I doubt it.

  • The USPS does not guarantee mail delivery unless you buy their insurance, so it’s not their problem.
    On another topic, the Amazon seller is responsible for getting the item into your hands. This is per their contract with Amazon. If it does not make it there, they still owe you the item. Amazon DOES NOT accept delivery confirmation as proof of delivery, even if it made it to you. They sometimes accept signature confirmation , but ONLY if you tell Amazon that the signature is, in fact, yours.

Hmm sounds like you know Amazon marketplace! I have more questions for you then :smiley:

What’s the best way to contact the seller? I followed Amazon’s links to something called “contact seller” and filled out a form to send him email describing the problem. This was 2 days ago, and I haven’t heard a thing from him. Two days seemed like quite enough time to answer an email, so I finally today left bad feedback.

Is there a better way to get in touch with the person? The place has a long history of good feedback, so I’m a little surprised that they haven’t even contacted me. I’d be happy to remove the bad feedback if they’d do something!

Overall, the item was only about $12, so it’s not like I’m out a lot if they don’t come through. Frustrating, though, as I want the item and am in limbo. I don’t want to buy from another seller if the thing is going to show up on my doorstep tomorrow…

“Contact seller” is the official way to do it.
Some sellers send you a shipping confirmation mail. You may be able to contact them by replying to that mail… or not. Sending the shipping confirmation email is completely optional.
The item WILL NOT show up on your doorstep once there’s been a delivery confirmation scan in another zip code. 20 to 1 odds go on that. Half the time it WILL be returned to sender, though. Once that happens they may mail it to you, but they may decide the transaction is cursed and just give up, refunding your full payment.
Personally I’d reply to their confirmation mail, if they sent one, and I’d also contact them through their “Contact this seller” link.
If they don’t respond in a reasonable time, file a claim with Amazon. You can fill it out online in a minute or two, and you’ll get your money back. Unfortunately you cannot claim non-delivery unless the specified shipping time has passed.
You get 5 Amazon A-Z guarantee claims in your lifetime. If you buy a whole lot, you may wish to consider not wasting one on a $12 purchase. That is your decision.
Amazon will permit more than 5 claims, but they’re rather grumpy about granting claim #6 & 7.
On edit:
They didn’t respond in 2 days. Can you still find items for sale in their storefront? Check for items similar to yours and see if they have any listings. Perhaps they’re on a vacation or something? Just a thought.
If you have trouble I’d be glad to help you outside of the board. If they frequent the Amazon seller boards, I might even have a rapport with them already established.

I would hope that the person who received the item incorrectly would return it to their postal carrier within a day or two. Then, I suppose the USPS should return it to sender.


I put all mis-delivered mail back in the box with a note, even if it doesn’t look “important.” Doesn’t everybody? It takes no effort and it’s the honest thing to do, right?

The USPS will gladly send mis-delivered books back to sender.
Of course, if it’s USPS Parcel Post or Media Mail, they’ll have to PAY to get their package out of hock when it gets returned to them…