USPS Undeliverable as Addressed | Undelivered Mail Returned to Sender

The United States Postal Service is efficient in delivering the mail. It delivers all kind of mail classes, and on time. But the USPS can only deliver mail when the mail has a legible address written on it. It is also important that the person or business it is meant for still lives at the address mentioned, then only the person will receive the mail. So, sometimes the mail remains undelivered.

Here, we will talk what happens to the mail not deliverable as addressed and what does Undelivered as addresses mean.

What Does Undeliverable as Addressed Mean?

It means that the address of the receiver on the mail is not present or it is not readable to the postman or mail carrier. There are many reasons for USPS undeliverable as addressed like you did not mention your apartment number where you live, you spelled wrong, you provided a nick/fake name, and the mailman is dumb, and he cannot interpret your address, the shipping address got smudged, etc.

To deliver the mail effectively, the United States Postal Service needs the mail to be properly and correctly addressed. Also, the address must be readable and must have proper postage. In any other case, the mail is undelivered.

Why is My Mail Being Returned to Sender?

USPS undeliverable as addressedThe undelivered mail returned to sender thing happens in most of the cases. A mail can be undeliverable for the reasons mentioned below:

  • If the mail item carries an Incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address.
  • When the addressee mentioned in the mail is not at the address. This normally happens when the addressee is unknown, has moved, or is deceased.
  • If the basic criteria for mailability do not meet the standards.
  • In the case of unclaimed mail, the mail is undelivered.
  • If there is no postage attached to the mail.
  • If the letter carrier reaches the destination address and at the time of delivery, the mail is refused by the addressee.
  • Even after the delivery, if the mail is refused by the addressee as allowed.
  • In case your USPS mail does not have enough postage, it will be sent back to the sender. So, if your mail requires more postage, the USPS makes sure to send the mail back to the sender (if you have sent the same using the first-class service).
  • Also, if the address mentioned is illegible, and the USPS can decipher the return address, in this case, USPS will send the mail back to the sender.

Mails are also undeliverable due to the USPS adjustments in the following scenarios:

  • The streets getting the new name.
  • Re-numbering of the houses.
  • The rural-style addresses getting converted to city-style addresses. The rural style addresses are the rural route and box number or highway contract route and box number while the city style address is the house number and street name.
  • If the consolidation of the Post Offices is happening or an adjustment of delivery districts is going on If rural or highway contract routes are going through the realignment.
  • If there rural or highway contract service is getting converted to the city delivery service.
  • If the routes are getting consolidated.

If the recipient of the mail has moved to a newer location, then USPS will not send the mail back to the sender. It will then forward the mail. But, when it has a forwarding address on file, only then it can do that. In other cases, the USPS will send the mail back to the sender.

If the post offices find nothing to send the mail back to the sender, then the mail is considered as Dead Mail.

What Does the Post Office Do with Undeliverable Mail?

Now, coming to the question, what happens to undelivered mail? The USPS sends some of the dead mail to its USPS Mail Recovery Center. The Mail Recovery Center of the USPS is based in Atlanta, Georgia. But the standard mails or packages are treated differently. The standard mails are used to send bulk mails and normally has a lesser postage rate.

Also, the USPS does not send the first-class mail postcards to the Mail Recovery Center. If by a fluke a person leaves his item through the mail slot, then the post office forwards that to the Mail Recovery Center. The items need to be more than $25. In the center, they destroy the item, and if there is something valuable, then they sell out those things at auction (except for firearms and pornography).

How to Fix Undeliverable as Addressed?

If there is USPS package or mail marked as undelivered and you find it through the tracking number, then call the post office and if they answer, give them your name and correct shipping address. You can also visit the post office and pick up the package or mail from there. You can only do so if it’s been less than a day since your mail or package was marked “Undeliverable as Addressed.”

If you find no response from the post office, then you can visit the post office yourself. Bring a valid proof of ID and the tracking number with you. After visiting there, tell them your problem politely. Show them your ID and tracking number if they ask for it. If there is your package, then the chances are that they will hand over it to you.

If they are unable to find your package or don’t want to help you, then you can call on the customer service number – 1-800-ASK-USPS® (1-800-275-8777). Be prepared to stay on hold for 30-40 mins.

If it’s been over a day since your item was marked as undeliverable, then you have only one option, and that is customer service number. Call again and tell them everything. Give them your name, address, etc. If they find your package, then they will return it.

Additional Information:

Other things to know about the undelivered mail are:

  • If you do not get your mail within 7 days from its date of mailing, then you can:
    • Initiate an application to search the same called as the Missing Mail application
    • Alternatively, you can call on the Consumer Affairs representative. The number is 1-800-ASK-USPS or 1-800-275-8777. They will complete your request for the search on your behalf.
    • You can also go to the local USPS Post Office personally and submit the search request.
    • Before filing a search request, do know that the United States Postal Service has norms and rules on the mails and items that can be returned or recovered. If the item is found and it is as per the USPS guidelines for recovery, only then the same will be returned to you.

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