USPS Certified Mail FAQ

June 11th, 2018 Comments off

Certified Mail is a USPS service that gives mailers an official receipt providing poof the item was mailed. After the Certified Mail document is delivered, the mail carrier requires a signature from the recipient. Mailers using Certified Mail can also request a physical or electronic Return Receipt with the recipient’s signature. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the USPS service:

How long will it take for USPS to deliver my Certified Mail letter?

Delivery time depends on the mail class chosen to add the Certified Mail service to. If you are sending a First-Class Mail letter, delivery usually takes 2 to 5 business days. For Priority Mail, delivery is usually within 2-3 business days. However, USPS does not guarantee an exact delivery time for either First-Class Mail or Priority Mail.

Why would I use Certified Mail?

Mailers typically use certified mail when they need to provide proof that a mailpiece was sent and received. The most common uses of Certified Mail are to send tax returns, bank documents, and time-sensitive communications with debtors or creditors.

Do I have to be present at a Post Office to send Certified Mail?

No, as long as you affix the proper Certified Mail Forms and the correct amount of postage, you can have a USPS mail carrier pick up your Certified Mail mailpiece or drop it in a mailbox.

Can Certified Mail go to a P.O. Box?

Yes, when Certified Mail arrives at the delivery Post Office, the letter carrier will place a delivery notification inside the P.O. Box that instructs the person to present the delivery slip to the window clerk. Keep in mind that a recipient is under no legal obligation to sign the delivery slip regardless of where the mailpiece is delivered.

Can anyone at the mailing address sign for Certified Mail?

Yes, with standard Certified Mail anyone present at the mailing address can sign for the mailpiece. If you send a mailing with restricted Certified Mail, however, only the person who it is addressed to may sign for it.

Which name goes on the receipt, mine or the person I am mailing it to?

On the green and white “Certified Mail Receipt”, write the name of the person you are mailing the mailpiece to. Their address should be entered at the bottom.

If the Certified Mail is returned to sender as not deliverable, should the sender sign the green card?

No, the sender should not sign it. The fact that it was returned as undeliverable with the unsigned green card intact is proof that you tried to send it.

How can I use Certified Mail with Stamps.com?

  1. Connect to Stamps.com to print Certified Mail – Our software connects you to your Stamps.com account where you can print Certified Mail.
  2. Click on “Envelopes” from the left navigation bar.
  3. Select “Letters” as your Mailpiece type.
  4. Enter the weight of your mailpiece.
  5. Select your mail class – Keep in mind that only First-Class Mail and Priority Mail are options when you use a Certified Mail Form or Envelope.
  6. Choose additional services – At this point, you may select options such as Return Receipt and Restricted Delivery. Remember, depending on your chosen services, unused portions of the form may contain the word VOID when printed.
  7. Specify the required address information for your mailpiece.
  8. Select your printable choice – From the “Printing On” list, select Stamps.com’s pre-formatted Certified Mail Envelope or Form.
  9. Print – Load the form into your printer, then click “Print Postage.” We recommend you print a sample on a blank sheet of paper so you know the correct loading direction for the form. And remember, the method of affixing the Certified Mail Form to your mailpiece will depend on any additional services you selected in Step 8. Pay close attention to the directions printed on the form to ensure you affix it properly to your mailpiece.
Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

How Stamps.com Can Help you Send a Birthday Card, or Even a Birthday Cake

March 23rd, 2018 Comments off

Birthdays are cause for celebration, but they can be also stressful if you’re the kind of person who never wants to forget a special event.  How can you make Stamps.com work for you when it comes to celebrating someone’s special day?

Mailing cakes

Mailing a birthday cake sounds risky, but if you really want to make someone’s day, you can follow some guidelines that will help you pull this off.  Most cake-sellers would recommend mailing a cake that contains fondant icing to ensure it keeps its shape during transit. Keeping the cake cool is also important, so some recommended tips include freezing the cake prior to mailing, lining the cake with gel packs, and placing the cake within a Styrofoam cooler with plenty of dry ice. Keep the cake snug and secure by using a box that prevents a lot of movement, and cushioning the cake with packing peanuts.  In your Stamps.com program, we recommend selecting Priority Mail Express as your mail class.

Mailing birthday cards

Don’t want to send a cake? No worries! Sometimes all you need is a birthday card to remind someone that you’re thinking about them. If you want to send a card or letter, you can print postage on various envelope sizes, including sizes #9, #11, and #12, and the NCR Greeting Card Envelope (8 3/4” x 5 3/4”).  Have a funny birthday card with a strange shape? You can also use our Custom Layout Designer to create custom envelopes and postcards of non-standard sizes.  In the Stamps.com software, click on “Envelopes” in the left navigation bar and look for the envelope icon next to the “Printing On” drop-down list. For an extra-special touch, send the card with a Custom NetStamp! This product allows you to put your own image on a sheet of NetStamps labels. Once you design and order your sheet, we’ll send you a sheet with your image. You can then run the sheet through your printer and decide what kind of letter or postcard postage you need with our Stamps.com program.

Mailing gifts

If you want to mail a gift like a shirt, mug or book, you can use Stamps.com’s powerful platform to select the mail class that will fit your needs. Under our “Packages” section, you can easily print a trackable label on plain paper or on one of our self-adhesive labels. You can create a barcoded shipping label for USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes and receive the discounted Commercial Base rate. If you want to use your own box, just select “Package/Thick Envelope” as your mailpiece and print out a barcoded shipping label. Make that birthday special!

Categories: Letter Mailing, Shipping Tags:

Unique Mailing Standards for Queens, NY

September 1st, 2017 Comments off

Queens, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is known for being the home of LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), the Unisphere, and its ethnically diverse community. Did you know that Queens Borough also used to have its own unique mailing standards?

Back in the 1920s, when Queens  was a collection of scattered rural settlements, each with its own little mailing grid, a master grid was applied to the entire area. This created a unique mailing system, in which mail sent to Queens street addresses needed a dash between the nearest cross street on a building’s block and the house number (for example, “139-30 Example Crescent”) and “18-05 XXXXth Street”).

However, while the traditional system of cross-street number, hyphen, and house number may still be well known to many mailers, the USPS has eliminated this requirement. This is part of an ongoing process of streamlining and standardizing the delivery of your mail.

When using the Stamps.com software, you no longer have to worry about including the dash after the cross-street number in a Queens postal address to ensure delivery. The Stamps.com software is fully compliant regarding Queens addresses and will automatically check and cleanse each address by accessing the powerful Address Matching System (AMS).

Therefore, rest assured that changes the Stamps.com software makes are correct and compliant.  You’ll see changes such as:

139-30 EXAMPLE CRESCENT

To:

13930 EXAMPLE CRES

AND:

18-05 XXXXTH STREET

To:

1805 XXXXTH ST

Using ZIP Codes

The dash (-) in the address line is no longer the crucial, required component of the address. While Queens has many distinctive neighborhoods, it is also not necessary to include the specific neighborhood names (e.g. “Rego Park”) in the mailing addresses. The critical and required pieces of information are the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4, which are scanned by the USPS.  Queens, the largest of the New York City boroughs, is actually served by four USPS postal zones.

The good news is that Stamps.com will check the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4 when you enter an address in the delivery address box. Whether you’re sending mail to Flushing, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Jackson Heights or Corona, Stamps.com’s powerful software ensures that your mail will get to its intended recipient in Queens.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Tips to Keep Your Customer Direct Mail Database Clean

July 7th, 2017 Comments off

Finding out your direct mail advertising items are coming back as undeliverable can be quite a frustrating discovery. You’ve lost money, time and potential customers on each piece that comes back to you. So, what can you do about it? By keeping your customer database current, you can make sure your direct mail is getting to its intended recipients in a timely manner and minimize the number of returned mail because of misspellings and bad data.

Tip #1 – Create One Central Database

It’s possible you’re getting your lists from different sources, so if you haven’t done so already, combine any information you might have for customers and prospects. This will make it much easier when you start planning future mail marketing campaigns.

Tip #2—Designate a Database Manager

You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. Pick one or two people on the team to maintain and update your database in order to minimize the potential for error that may arise when too many people have the ability to access and edit your list.

 

Tip #3—Make Sure Your Addresses Are Clean

You’ll want to run your address list through Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) approved software in order to compare the addresses you have with the USPS database in order to find errors and inconsistencies such as typos, incorrect ZIP codes or non-standard state abbreviations. This address cleansing and verification process helps you to make sure addresses in your database match the preferred USPS specifications, and offers suggested changes for each potential error.

Tip #4—Watch Your Mailbox

If and when you do receive undeliverable mail, you’ll want to look into why your mailpiece didn’t get to its intended recipient and update your database accordingly.

Updating addresses with Stamps.com

You can use Stamps.com to keep your address list current! Stamps.com is a CASS-certified solution and regularly syncs with the USPS Address Matching Service Database, which verifies valid U.S. mailing addresses. If you want to meticulously review questionable addresses, the Automatic Matching System pop-up alerts may come in handy. If you’d prefer to update without review, you can easily turn off the pop-ups.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Managing your Mail This Summer

June 2nd, 2017 Comments off

Summer’s coming, and you’re checking off a long list of tasks that need to be performed before you can relax on the beach. You’ve booked your tickets, compiled your summer reading list, and made sure you have all of the supplies and clothes you need. What’s left?

Don’t let your mail accumulate while you’re away! If you plan to be gone for a few days or more, you should request that the USPS temporarily hold your mail. Submitting a Hold Mail request is easy and can be done online here: https://holdmail.usps.com/holdmail/

If you’re a planner, you can submit a Hold Mail request up to 30 days in advance. If you’re a procrastinator, you’re still OK: you can submit a request a day in advance to have the USPS hold your mail. You can specify whether you want your carrier to deliver your accumulated mail on a specific day or you can pick up your mail at the Post Office by bringing in a photo ID. Just a heads-up: any accumulated mail that doesn’t fit in your mailbox would have to be picked up at your Post Office (the carrier will leave a notice in your box if this is the case).

In addition to holding your mail for you, the USPS will also help you transition back to your normal, non-vacation routine—regular mail delivery resumes on the next postal business day after you collect your accumulated mail.

Updating your address with Stamps.com

If you plan on shipping gifts or conducting business while on vacation, remember also to update your Postal Meter Address within the Stamps.com software so that your rates remain accurate for your new zip code.

To update your Postal Meter Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Postal Meter Address.”
  3. Edit your address and click “Save” to finalize the change.
  4. Just a heads-up: you will also need to update your information in both the Meter Contact Information section (under “PC Postage Account”) and under the My Profile section (under “My Information”).

To change your Shipping Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Shipping Addresses.”
  3. Edit an existing address or add a new one, and click “Save” to finalize the change.

Summer NetStamps

Stamps.com will help you get into that summertime spirit with its fun Summer NetStamps designs!  All of the symbols of the summer are here: Flip Flops NetStamps Labels, Barbecue NetStamps Labels, Citrus NetStamps Labels, and Summer Flower NetStamps Labels. Easily view and order Summer NetStamps here.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.