Ever wonder where parcels go if the labels fall off? Or what happens if a package is undeliverable?

The U.S. Postal Service’s Mail Recovery Center (MRC) serves as the “lost and found” center for the Postal Service, receiving items determined to be undeliverable for a number of reasons. In Fiscal Year (FY) 2019, the MRC received 67 million items from post offices and other facilities around the country. While that’s a large number, it’s a small fraction of a percent of the 142 billion mailpieces the Postal Service delivered that same year.

Once items are received, the MRC determines what to do with them. If possible, they are returned to the sender, and if not, they are inventoried, held until claimed, and eventually sold, or otherwise disposed of.

OIG auditors evaluated the effectiveness of MRC operations and identified opportunities for improvement. The report, U.S. Postal Service Mail Recovery Center, found that operations weren’t always efficient, and items weren’t always processed in a timely manner. The report also noted that postal facilities were sending marketing mail and other items that should not be handled by the MRC.

Additionally, the report found that there were problems involving effective disposal of certain items, such as batteries and gift cards. The MRC also must strengthen inventory controls over cash or items being stored.

Have you been waiting for a piece of mail, but believe it might be lost? If so, start off by filing a missing mail search request on the USPS.com Find Missing Mail page.

Have you had items returned from the Mail Recovery Center? Tell us what happened below.

Comments (15)

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  • anon

    (In the recovery center) "they are inventoried, held until claimed, and eventually sold, or otherwise disposed of". How to I claim an item in the recovery center? If you have the tracking number, why couldn't you find my address to deliver the item? You had enough info to mark the item as "dead mail" and put in on the tracking info page.

    Oct 19, 2020
  • anon

    I received Premium Forwarding Mail each week when we are at our second home out of state. When our package did not come as usual, after much tracing with the tracking number, we found the package was scanned incorrectly (?) and sent directly to the Dead Mail center in Atlanta, GA. I have filled out a missing mail form and went to my local post office who said they no longer file these complaints it has to come from the customer. Since I have all the Scanner ID #'s on this package is there someway to find out who screwed up? Thank you

    Oct 19, 2020
  • anon

    The tracking number for my package says "Delivered," but my package came open and empty. The PO phone operator said I had file a missing mail report. Despite my doubts, she assured me that the claim will go to Atlanta's Lost & Found. Sure enough, after a few days my claim came back with "your item was delivered and your case is close" message! *** HOW DO I CONTACT / FILE A CLAIM with LOST & FOUND? *** I want to try and recover my item before it is destroyed, sold, or discarded. Thank you.

    Sep 19, 2020
  • anon

    One of my lost items was sold on the govdeals auction page. I submitted a lost mail claim and weeks before it was auctioned off. I would like to be contacted by somebody as I still missing 3 of the 4 wheels i purchased.

    Sep 02, 2020
  • anon

    Govdeals auction ?! Well, Well, Well... Isn't that an easy way to make money for USPS?! I am currently so angry, this is not what I needed to see. With the outrageous fees we have to pay to send packages, employees should be expected to deliver the utmost care and attention to all packages they process. That includes timely and diligent investigation of problems they may see for delivery. Keeping track of each employee transactions may help. There should be no excuse for so many problems in a government position. Evaluate!!! We are in desperate need of changes at the Greensboro NC Postal Facility!!! I NEVER want to receive dead trees and have to constantly have to apologize to family and friends for very late gifts again! It is wrong in so many ways!!! Move further up the line with complaints? My next step.

    Oct 07, 2020
  • anon

    Good luck! In the last 5 yrs., I have had packages delivered to the wrong address, left out by the main road on the shoulder, "lost" and damaged and have yet to receive any acceptable answer or payment for items the USPS damaged beyond repair or delivered to someone else who said they didn't have it. Too many dishonest, uncaring people in the USA today.

    Oct 19, 2020
  • anon

    My email was sent to the mail recovery center due to address problems show, I hope they can help me contact the USPS customer service personnel to deal with, but in the end they told me email was sent to the mail recovery center email they can't deal with, so I don't know what to do now, how to just can contact to the mail recovery center, let them send me my package again, this package is very important to me! I hope you can help me find it!

    Sep 02, 2020
  • anon

    I have received all my packages to the best of my knowledge. I have had my mail go to the wrong address. I found other people mail in my box. My parents and mother in law look forward to seeing the mail lady everyday.

    Sep 02, 2020
  • anon

    So much more to this response (retired). And, I lived at an apartment who started using numerous computerized lockers located in one area. One locker held oversized parcels. This locker contained more than one parcel in it! Giving several people access to your mail. A great option for stealing! Couldn’t believe the USPS Inspection Service approved this. Mail is supposed to be secure. Obviously this is NOT securing mail!

    Sep 01, 2020
  • anon

    Hello, can you please inform me how would I find the items that are for sale that inventoried but are never claimed. Can you provide a link? Thank you!

    Aug 31, 2020
  • anon

    What makes you think these items are for sale????

    Sep 01, 2020
  • anon

    Go to http://govdeals.com. I am working with our federal government to expose the illegal practices by the USPS of reselling merchandise they deem undeliverable. I was able to find my items for sale on Amazon and I contacted the reseller asking how he obtained the items. I was told that 40% of items shipped via Media Mail never go to their destination, even though address are checked and there are tracking numbers. Instead they are immediately sent to the USPS Mail Recovery Center for resale. This has been going on for years.

    Sep 25, 2020
  • anon

    I recently just had a package that was supposed to be delivered to north carolina, and it was sent immeadiately to the dead mail/recovery center. How is this possible when i opened a case, the image of the package was fine, no address was wrong on it, it was readable, basically the north carolina post office had no idea why it was sent to dead mail immediately.

    Oct 05, 2020
  • anon

    Hi I would like to share my thoughts on this I've had mail come up missing important mail such as social security and attorney information, I'm 39 yrs old and been a resident in my city for 39 yrs also and have never had a issue with missing mail until 2yrs ago. I've learned that usps isn't responsible for the mail being processed or scanned into the system the mail comes to mail trucks from a process center and i also learned to talk with your mail man when stuff like this happens because sometimes your mail can easily be mistakenly placed in your neighbors mailbox. I'm one to expect everything to arrive when said but not everything is perfect things do happen accidents and mistakes are natural, when I reported it they contacted me immediately to help me with my finding my mail, use the missing mail tool it helps

    Aug 31, 2020
  • anon

    I just remember how much fun it was to be a part of the “lost and found” process during the years that the USPS had a seller account on eBay. I was able to buy some of the most interesting merchandise.

    Aug 31, 2020

Recent Comments

  • 8 hours 12 min ago
    How can the Post Office get away with this nonsense "Animal Interference" when not delivering a package on promised day of delivery?Do they really think we will buy this dishonesty?
  • 9 hours 15 min ago
    The real problem with carriers constantly lying about delivery is that the customers have no recourse when they do not receive their package. You can't get your money back because tracking says...

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