How Long Does The Post Office Hold A Package

For more than two centuries, the United States Postal Service has reliably delivered packages to its customers. Occasionally, a postal worker must deliver a package that does not fit in the addressee’s mailbox. Guidelines prevent the worker from leaving the package on the front porch or near the mailbox. Instead, an established procedure governs redelivery attempts and the length of time that the post office will hold a particular package.

When a package cannot fit into a mailbox, requires a signature or otherwise needs to be placed directly into the recipient’s hands, the postal worker knocks on the addressee’s door. If there is no response, the worker has two options. First, he may take the package back to the post office and attempt delivery the following day. Alternatively, he will leave an official PS Form 3849 which is also known as a Delivery Notice. Whether the postal worker chooses one solution or the other is up to their discretion. If they know the addressee and are aware that they are typically available to receive packages, the worker may just attempt delivery again.

If the second attempt does not work, then the postal worker leaves PS Form 3849. On this form, the customer can request redelivery by filling out appropriate information and leaving the form in their mailbox the next day. Signing the form effectively authorizes the postal worker to leave the package. Usually, the customer must add that the package may be left if there is no response. The form also provides the customer with the ability to schedule redelivery online or by calling a help center.

Packages that require a signature for delivery may not be signed for on PS Form 3849. In these cases, the customer must request redelivery and be certain to be available when the package is likely to arrive. Alternatively, they can pick up the item at the post office location where it is being held. Most packages are held for 15 days. If the addressee does not claim the package at the end of this period, then the package is returned to the sender. Packages on which the return address is missing or illegible typically go to a lost mail department.

It is important to note that the 15 day holding period typically starts on the date of the first delivery attempt. Acting quickly is usually advisable to ensure smooth redelivery or package pickup.

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Problems With USPS Mail HOld

I am a frequent user of the US Postal System. During the summer months, I frequently put my mail on hold for 3-4 weeks, resume mail for a week and then repeat thru July and August.

The USPS has a rule that mail cannot be held for more than 30 days. If you have mail held longer than that, the USPS will then send your mail back to the place that sent it. Bummer! Not only do you not get the mail, you have to guess who might have sent you something so you can contact them to resend it.

So you want to be very careful to not exceed the 30 day hold period. Unfortunately, the USPS can also make a mistake and decide that you’ve exceeded the 30 day rule when you haven’t.

This happened to me. I was on hold for 25 days; resumed regular delivery for 4 days; and then went back on hold (separate yellow card) for another 21 days. But the USPS (my postal carrier) didn’t remember I was on regular delivery for 4 days and sent all my mail back sometime in the 2nd 21 day period.

I’m still trying to sort out missing items and reports. May never figure out what’s missing until I get a 2nd report/bill.

Fortunately, I do not use the USPS for my cashout for FC — use PAYPAL for that. One less problem to worry about. I’m also thankful that I am using the internet to pay bills and receive account information. Less paper to clutter the mail box and less mail to keep track of when something like this happens.

In my discussions with the postal carrier, I indicated that I never filled in “stop hold” date on the yellow “hold mail” card. I always want to pick up the mail at the post office rather than have the postal carrier bring the big load of mail on that “stop hold” date. That, however, may have been the problem. By not putting a “stop hold” date on the card, there is no guarantee that the date I pick up the mail and request that mail delivery be resumed will actually be RECORDED on the yellow card. Hence the postal carrier does not have a record of the length of the hold period — except his memory.

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