Certified Mail: Frequently Asked Questions
Certified Mail Labels is the industry leader in online Certified Mail, processing millions of transactions each year. Here's some of the most frequently asked questions about compliance mail.
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Can Certified Mail be left in a mailbox?
No. Certified Mail is a service of the United States Postal Service (USPS) that provides the sender with proof of mailing and delivery. The proof of delivery is provided by a signature from the recipient.
Therefore, since the Certified letter must be signed for, it cannot be left in a mailbox. If no one is available to sign for the letter during the delivery attempt, a notice will be left informing the addressee that a parcel is waiting at the Post Office to be signed for.
The recipient to sign for the letter does not necessarily have to be the person it is addressed to. Unless, the sender notes Restricted Delivery service which would only allow the addressee permission to sign for the delivery. Otherwise, without Restricted Delivery, a family member, roommate, receptionist, etc. can sign to confirm the letter was received.
Learn the difference between Certified Mail and Registered Mail.
Can you send Certified Mail to a PO Box?
Yes. It is not uncommon for Certified Mail to be addressed to a PO Box, considering that a large majority of Certified Mail is legal and compliance mail, regulatory, and notice to owners' mailings.
How does Certified Mail work with a PO Box?
Unlike delivering to a mailbox, if a Certified letter is addressed to a PO Box the postal employee will leave a notice in the PO Box stating a parcel is waiting for pickup with instructions to see the Postal Clerk at the window. This notice is very similar to the notice and instructions left at an address when a delivery attempt is made.
Learn more about sending Certified Mail to PO Boxes.
How long will Post Offices hold Certified Mail for a PO Box?
The Post Office will hold an undelivered Certified Mail piece for 15 days. At that time, if a second delivery attempt was not scheduled by the sender, it will be returned to the sender. The 15 day period begins when the first delivery was attempted. In the case of a PO Box, when the notice was left for the recipient.
It could take more than 25 days for a recipient to receive the undelivered Certified Mail piece back. Certified Mail is sent via first-class mail which means it can take 3 to 10 days to be delivered, or a delivery attempt to be made, to the recipient. Once you add the 15-day hold period and the time it takes to make its way back to the sender, an undelivered letter can take close to a month.
Learn how to expedite the delivery process with Certified Mail Labels Priority Mail.
Can Certified Mail be refused?
Yes, you can refuse Certified Mail. You can also ask the Postal Carrier the name and address of the sender before deciding if you wish to accept and sign for the mail.
That being said, it is only considered refusal if you specifically tell the postal employee that you do not wish to sign for or receive the Certified Mail. Otherwise, if you are not home when a delivery attempt is made and you don’t go to the Post Office to claim the mail, it is just noted as undeliverable.
To view a copy of the United States Postal Services (USPS) Conditions of Delivery, click here.
Some people think that if they reject the Certified Mail the “bad news” will not get to them. That is not always the case though. In fact, Proof of Mailings and delivery attempts can hold up in court. Here are a few instances when refusing Certified Mail was not a wise choice.
What happened if no one signs for Certified Mail?
If a Certified Mail delivery attempt is made and no one was available to sign, a notice is left for the recipient to go to the Post Office to sign for the letter. If no one goes to retrieve the letter, the unclaimed status is noted. Also, if a delivery attempt is made and the recipient refuses the letter by providing a copy of the recipients signature, their refusal is documented.
In both instances, the parcel is returned to sender. If this happens, your USPS tracking report will serve as Proof of Mailing and the return receipt will indicate that a delivery attempt was made.
If your tracking does not indicate delivery status after four to five weeks, it is possible that the letter is “missing.” Learn what to do and if you are eligible for a USPS Certified Mail refund.
What is the easiest way to send a certified letter?
Standing in line at the Post Office for an old-fashioned green card (form 3800) mailing receipt is time consuming and expensive. Instead, save $2.35 per Certified mailing with Certified Mail Labels. Click here for a full list of service offered and cost.
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