Updated February 2012
procedures when refusing a piece of mail, endorsed "Return Service
Requested" or when any unendorsed piece of mail is opened and the addressee
wishes to return the item to the sender without affixing new postage.
customers believe that they may accept, open and then refuse a
parcel marked "Return Service Requested". The placement of the return
service endorsement on mailpieces constitutes, in part, a pledge by the sender
that they will pay return postage if the pieces are refused by the addressee.
This pledge is only valid until delivery is made and becomes void when a
piece is accepted and opened by the addressee.
The Domestic Mail
provides that after delivery, an addressee may mark
a piece of mail "Refused" and return it, unopened, to the Postal
Service except when mailpiece bears a Bulk Parcel Return Service (BPRS) endorsement.
Otherwise, when a parcel has been delivered as addressed, once an addressee has
opened either the parcel or an attachment and then "refused" the mailpiece,
that item cannot be returned to the sender without the addressee paying the
applicable return postage.
In this case, the addressee raised
a question about the correct procedure when the front of the mailpiece contained
the words (a) "free gift" (was) enclosed. A review of other mailings such as
this example disclosed that similar statements are often preprinted on all
outgoing mailpieces used for specific sender promotions. Such phrases as
"Personal - Do Not Throw Away" or "Important - Open Immediately" appearing
on the mailpieces are not personal information for the purpose of classifying mail.
The sender may include Handling,
Content and Extra Service markings as permitted in the DMM. Other markings
made by the sender that encourage the addressee to open the article but that
do not interfere with any mailing standards, postal handling, processing and
delivery of the pieces, do not circumvent the standards in the DMM.
Consequently, it is expected that
postal employees will provide our customers the following explanation in this
type of situation: (1) that the return service endorsement pertains to mail that
cannot be delivered as addressed or that is refused by the addressee without being
opened; and, (2) that mail that is accepted and opened cannot then be refused and
given back to the Postal Service for return to sender unless new postage is affixed
by the addressee. Note that there are some types of mailpieces that cannot be
returned without new postage even if they are not opened by the addressee, such as
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436