Post office return to sender reasons

Written by louise balle
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When a package comes back to the sender, it can cause him to lose money and precious time. When the United States Postal Service (USPS) sends a mail piece back to the sender, there is usually a very good explanation for this action. If you want to avoid the trouble of getting a returned package, it is best to be aware of the various reasons why this may happen.

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Package Refused by Recipient

A common reason why the post office returns a mailing to the sender is because the recipient refused the package. The recipient can simply write "return to sender" on the package or mailing and give it back to her postman or drop it off at the post office. So, before you send a package to the person, make sure that you have the correct address and that the recipient is willing to accept the mail.

Item Missing

There are times when the contents of a mail package may go missing in the transit process. This could be due to mishandling or poor packaging. In this case, a post office representative sends the mail piece (without the contents) back to the sender with a note regarding the missing items and information on how to get the postage back. You may be able to initiate an investigation into why the contents are gone. To avoid this issue, always pack your mail in secure packaging, use bubble wrap for heavier items and use plenty of strong mailing tape. You can also get the value of the item back if you insure the package at the time of mailing.

Insufficient Address

If the recipient's mailing address is missing an apartment number, zip code or other important identifying information, the post office sends the mail back marked "insufficient address." It is impossible for the post office to deliver the mail without complete information about the address. To avoid this issue, be sure to check the address using the USPS address validation tool (click on the link in the Resource section), and always ask the recipient if this is a house or apartment.

Insufficient Postage

Another reason why the post office might return your mail is because you have insufficient or no postage on the item. In some cases, the postman may request the additional postage from the recipient, but, in other cases, a postal representative may route the mail back to the sender as soon as he discovers that there is not enough postage on the item. Be sure to weigh the item and get a postage calculation (click on the link in the Resource section), or go to a local post office during business hours to mail the item with a representative.

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