What Happens to Lost Mail in New York?
It could end up at a place that was once called "the Dead Letter Office"!
Have you ever mailed something to someone and they never received your letter or package? Have you ever waited and waited for something to arrive in the mail only to be left wondering "Where the heck is it?" If that's ever happened to you and the letter or package NEVER showed up have you ever wondered where it is?
Why Didn't I Get My Mail?
According to the U.S. Postal Service, there are several reasons why they might fail to deliver a package or piece of mail to the person it's addressed to. The address might have been wrong or it was illegible, or maybe the item was shipped with insufficient postage. Postal workers also say that sometimes when things are mailed the contents of the package can sometimes become loose and if that happens it can be tough for them to determine where they came from. When that happens the USPS does what it can to return those packages or items to the sender. If there is no return address which happens often those items are most likely headed to this location.
Dead Letter Office
That's what the office where undeliverable mail was once sent to according to News 10, they have since changed the name to "The Mail Recovery Center". The MRC is located in Atlanta and to be clear this is NOT where mail goes to die or be thrown away its the place where the USPS tries to determine the identity and location of the senders or recipients. The USPS has investigators examine, scan, and in some cases open the lost mail and packages to try and find who it belongs to. If they find a name or a clue associated with an address, they do what they can to get the package to that person.
If they can't find any information and the contents of the package are determined to be valued at $25 or more (or $20 or more in cash) they stay at the MRC in Atlanta. The MRC holds these types of packages for at least 30 days. If a package is barcoded or intelligent mail they hold it for 60 days. During this time, the sender or recipient is offered the chance to get help online. They can also file a Missing Mail Search Request with as much descriptive information (photos) regarding the missing package as possible.
What Happens to Packages That Never Find Their Owners?
The USPS says that unclaimed items could be thrown away, recycled, or donated to charitable or welfare organizations depending on teh item. In some cases, lost or unclaimed items could be put up for auction by the government-contracted agency GovDeals.com. The website currently has a variety of merchandise up for bids including books, apparel, and general merchandise.
How to Make Sure Your Mail Always Arrives
If you don't want your mail to end up at auction the USPS encourages folks to make sure they provide accurate, legible addresses on the package including sender and recipient. They also recommend including those addresses on a slip of paper and place it inside the package. Lastly, always remember to cover up any older markings on boxes used to send packages, and always use sturdy tape to make sure everything stays where it is supposed to.