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Why Was Mail Returned to Me?

Updated: Oct 24, 2019

When you send a piece of mail – such as a letter to a loved one – you expect it to arrive at its destination in a timely manner. Unfortunately, there are times when mail is returned to the sender.

There are many reasons why mail can’t be delivered, all of which you need to understand. With the appropriate knowledge, you’re in better position to send mail that ends up in the right place.

When a piece of mail is returned, it’ll include a handwritten note, stamp, or yellow sticker. Regardless of the mark, it’s used to indicate the reason for its return.

Here are some of the most common endorsements and their meaning:

  • No such office in state: addressed to a post office that doesn’t exist. No such street: addressed to a street that doesn’t exist.

  • No such number: addressed to a number that doesn’t exist on the street.Insufficient address: lack of information, such as number, street, box number, city, or state.

  • Illegible: address is unreadable.

  • Outside delivery limits: addressed to a location outside of delivery limits of the specified post office of address.

  • Returned for postage: mail did not include postage or without enough.

  • Temporarily away: mail on hold at the request of the recipient.

  • Attempted – not known: delivery attempted, but the addressee does not live at the address any longer.

  • Refused: addressee refused to pay postage on the mail or accept it.

  • Vacant: the house (or place of business) is no longer occupied

Most of the time, sending a piece of mail is an easy task. You stuff the envelope, write the address, add postage, and wait for the recipient to receive it.

However, there are situations in which mail can be returned to you. Make sure you take the steps necessary to avoid these situations and the associated hassles.

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