What to Do with Incoming Mail That Isn’t Yours

One of the more important items on your list of moving tasks is to let all the appropriate people know your new address and when you will be in your new home. Unfortunately, not everyone does that or does it in a timely manner. When you’ve moved and you continue to get other people’s mail, it can become a nuisance. So what do you do with incoming mail that isn’t yours? You have some options.

The Legal Side

The first thing to understand is that tampering with someone else’s mail is considered a felony. Tampering could mean opening or destroying the piece of mail. Of course, you didn’t ask for someone else’s mail to be delivered to your home but once it arrives there, it becomes your responsibility to properly take care of it.

Federal law outlines the ramifications for intentionally opening or destroying another person’s mail. However, if you accidentally open it because it came in a stack of your own mail and then you make an effort to get it to the right recipient or return it to the sender, that is not considered a crime.

Options for Redelivery

When you’ve received incoming mail that is for a different address and that was supposed to have been  delivered to a neighbor, this may be a good opportunity for you to get to know them a little better. You can hand deliver their mail, explaining that it was in your mailbox by mistake. Or, if your neighbor has an unlocked mailbox, you can deliver the mail to that mailbox. It’s not illegal to open an unlocked mailbox to put someone’s mail in it.

If you are not comfortable doing either of these, the US Postal Service (USPS) states that you can simply put the misdelivered piece of mail back in the outgoing mailbox or hand it to your mail carrier. They advise that you should not erase or mark over any of the information on the envelope or write anything on it.

Not at This Address

Many people will discover that the previous tenant or owner of their home did not complete a change of address notice, as mail for other people continues to arrive. If this is the case with incoming mail that isn’t yours, you can simply return it.

You can note “Not at this address” on the envelope and put it back in the outgoing mailbox or hand it to your carrier. Don’t erase or mark over the address. You can also let the carrier know that the individual or family no longer lives there, which hopefully will prevent future deliveries for them.

Complete Your Own Change of Address

When you are making your own plans to move, be sure to include on your task list that you’ll need to complete a change of address form with the post office. You can do so either in person or online. You’ll include the start date for your new address, which the USPS will use as the date mail will no longer be delivered to your old address. The change will take about 7-10 business days for mail to reach you at your new home.

The Costs of Undeliverable Mail

In addition to the annoyance and even possibly aggravation of receiving incoming mail that isn’t yours, undeliverable mail is an expensive issue for the USPS. Mail that is considered undeliverable-as-addressed, including mail that is addressed to an individual, a family, or a business entity that has moved, accounts for about 4.56% of the outbound volume of all mail handled by the USPS. The cost in wasted processing fees is about $1.3 billion.

Make sure your mail gets to you when you move by completing your change of address form and notifying everyone who needs to know!

Contact Fox Moving and Storage Atlanta for Help with Your Next Move!

When it’s time for your next move, whether it’s within the Atlanta area or to Atlanta from another state, the professionals at Fox Moving and Storage Atlanta are here to help. We are locally owned and operated with the experience and expertise you need for a successful move. Fox Moving & Storage Atlanta can help you with any and all of your moving needs. We will also offer you a free quote. Simply give us a call today at 678-250-8208 and find out how we can help you.