What Happens to Certified Mail That Is Not Delivered? 5 Important Steps to Take If Your Mail Goes MIA
In 2015, the value of the mailing industry went over $1 trillion.
Though the volume of mail the USPS deals with has dropped by 30% over the last decade, a vast amount still travels through the system. The USPS handles millions of letters and packages every day. Even though most mail finds its destination, sometimes life happens, and for various reasons, a piece of mail becomes lost.
In this article, we’ll explore what happens to certified mail that is not delivered to its destination.
What Is Certified Mail?
Certified mail is a mailing option you can choose from the USPS. The service allows you to confirm the delivery of your letter or package. The Postal Service is required to keep on file proof of delivery records for certified mail for two years.
Paying for Certified Mail gives you a proof-of-mailing receipt. This type of receipt is stamped with the mailing date and is useful if you’re mailing an important legal or financial document.
There is also an additional option you can pay for that is a proof-of-delivery receipt, sometimes called a return receipt. If you pay for this service, you can even determine if the package requires a signature for delivery. Once the package is delivered, the USPS mails you a proof-of-delivery receipt if you paid for this service.
What Happens to Certified Mail That Is Not Delivered
There are several reasons why certified mail can go missing.
Sometimes it’s due to a sender error, where the recipient’s address was incorrect. Even writing a single-digit wrong within the zipcode can lead to a letter becoming lost.
Other address-related concerns happen when the ink of the address gets smeared and becomes illegible. You can use services to print certified mail labels featuring barcodes and a QR code that help ensure safe and expedient delivery.
Other times it can be due to mistakes made by USPS staff. Packages can and do get routed to the wrong office. This happens more so when a shipping address is handwritten. Some handwriting can be too tiny or illegible cursive to interpret reliably.
If your certified mail has gone missing, there are several steps you can take in an attempt to track it down.
1. Track and Confirm
If more than seven business mailing days have passed and you still don’t have a proof-of-delivery receipt, go to the ‘Track and Confirm’ page on the USPS website.
On this page, you can enter the label ID number. This should bring up details as to where your package is located.
2. Speak to a Representative
If the information you find online is lacking, call the Customer Care Center number listed on the official USPS website. This will connect you with a customer service representative who will be able to help you in tracking your package.
The representative will need your label ID number, so have it on hand. The representative will then forward your information to the appropriate post office. USPS policy dictates that the post office must contact you no later than the end of the next business day.
3. Mail Search Request
You can either go in person to your local post office or submit a request online through the Missing Mail Search portal on the USPS website. If your mail has been missing for over seven business days, this is the next advised step. Once the USPS receives your request and start their search, they will send you an email confirmation.
The USPS begin searching in the Mail Recovery Center. It’s a building headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. The building was once known as the lost and found center.
Any mail that has an incorrect address or’ return to sender’ on it goes here.
4. Speak With Neighbors
If you received a notification that your mail arrived, but you can’t find it, ask around.
Sometimes the delivery person makes an error and delivers a package to the next-door house. Ask your neighbors if they’ve received any letters or packages that weren’t theirs, or if they’ve seen anything unusual.
5. Inform Postal Office and Police
Porch pirates are an unfortunate occurrence. If your delivery falls near the holiday season, there’s a higher chance of your package being stolen.
If you’ve asked with neighbors and the USPS confirms your package as delivered to the correct address, you may have been a victim of theft. At this point, inform both the USPS and your local police that you believe someone stole your package.
Can You Get Reimbursement for Lost Certified Mail?
The short answer is “no.”
The USPS doesn’t allow you to insure certified mail. With no insurance, you can’t collect reimbursement for lost certified mail.
That’s why doing everything possible to ensure the safe and fast delivery of your mail should be a priority. You can use online services that specialize in printing labels and providing certified mail envelopes.
What Is Standard Delivery Time for Certified Mail?
The USPS says to expect between 3 to 5 business days if you’re using Certified Mail with First Class postage. If you choose to purchase Priority Mail Delivery for your Certified Mail, you can speed up the delivery time to between 2 to 3 days.
While Certified Mail isn’t the fastest form of mail, it does provide you with proof mailing and proof of delivery.
Protect Your Mail the Best Way Possible
In an age where most processing functions are automated and digital, human error can still slow things down.
If you’re looking for a service where you can print your own shipping labels and order certified mail envelopes, Certified Mail Labels can help. Our approved labels meet industry USPS standards and provide discounted digital PC postage to help ensure ease of scanning and tracking.
If you use our service, you can relax and stop worrying about what happens to certified mail that is not delivered. Contact us today!