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 (245)

  • anon

    I sent a package to Chicago and I lost the tracking number, I wasn't aware that the receiver had to have the tracking number as well and they are supposed to return it. Can I retrieve it with my debit card that I used to send it?

    Feb 04, 2021
  • anon

    Can I buy unclaimed mail in ohio?

    Feb 04, 2021
  • anon

    If the lost pkgs are sent to one place and I put a claim in will they then put my name in and pull up all packages for my name and get all my lost mail to me

    Feb 02, 2021
  • anon

    I sent a package on the 1/6/21 t0 Dominican Republic, I paid $63.00 for it and they haven't received it yet and I lost the receipt, please help me is a present for a special kid. Please help me to find what happens. Thanks

    Feb 01, 2021
  • anon

    it might be awhile because of covid but if it doesn't get there by next month I maybe would email them and tell them what's happening.. sorry if this didn't help

    Feb 09, 2021
  • anon

    Can I personally go look for my package? I had a large online order get lost just a few hours from me, is there a process for people to go find their own mail? I would like to if so.

    Feb 01, 2021
  • anon

    I will what to buy 4 plz and thank u. When will it come?

    Jan 31, 2021
  • anon

    I relly whant whant 4 plz and thank u

    Jan 31, 2021
  • anon

    Where can I buy unclaimed mails or packages in Nashville, TN

    Jan 30, 2021
  • anon

    I’ve lost a package

    Jan 29, 2021
  • anon

    Can I buy unclaimed mail in Philadelphia pa

    Jan 26, 2021
  • anon

    i want mail

    Jan 25, 2021
  • anon

    Just sent a 13lb pkg of book media mail. No it wasn't insured but I paid 9.61 to have it delivered from point a to point b...obviously too hard a task for some of your people.It was damaged and repacked with one of the five books I sent..So it seems someone there is a crook as well can't do their job. If I ran my company the way you did,I'd be out of business lucky for you the usps tort act prevents anyone from suing you

    Jan 25, 2021
  • anon

    Steve, This just happened to me too, with media mail, on the exact same day. A USPS worker advised me that they use a metal processor for some leg of the process that can often destroy boxes. Obvious stupidity of this process aside, I'm wondering, were you shipping anywhere near Massachusetts?

    Jan 26, 2021
  • anon

    I have had a few letters and packages that I've not received. when trying to track them I was told that they were returned to sender. I have changed addresses. I would like to know how I can locate these packages and letters. Thank you.

    Jan 25, 2021
  • anon

    On October 7, 2020 I mailed a package containing a wheelchair cushion to North Caroline still to this day it has never arrived to the company to make me another cushion. In tracking my package it is still at a distribution center in Greenville, SC since November 3, 2020. I have emailed the local postmaster without help other then to say it is most possible lost. This wheelchair cushion is very important to me and is specially made just for me. In speaking to my local postmaster and the postmaster in the SC area everyone wants to say due Covid that things been screwed up. If who every reads this please contact me in locating this very important item.

    Jan 24, 2021
  • anon

    I’m interested in finding out when you have the sales and how I can participate

    Jan 23, 2021
  • anon

    How can I buy lost mail. ? Whats the process?

    Jan 23, 2021
  • anon

    I’m getting picture shot of my mail but not getting all of it. Jan 7 I had 2 pieces of Mail from post office that had shown to me in my email and was not in my mailbox. What is up what is going on.

    Jan 22, 2021
  • anon

    I received an insufficient search request for my missing mail search, and the email said I needed to update my search. I tried to update my search and kept getting an error message.who do I contact to update my search so I can get my search request going?

    Jan 21, 2021
  • anon

    Hello I recently had a package lost in the mail it was headed to Pennsylvania it a compound bow so has to be in a fairly big box if I had to guess 23x7x40 how could I go about seeing if it’s there? Thank you

    Jan 21, 2021
  • anon

    I am trying to locate a piece of mail that has been sent to the Denver Dead Mail/Recovery Center 80217 but I can't seem to find any way of reaching them. My computer says that it was sent there on the 01/14/21. Can you help me in any way. I have filed a missing mail action. Ed Dutton

    Jan 20, 2021
  • anon

    I am totally disgusted with our local mail delivery. As you can see below, this is a long going battle for Missing Mail & mis-delivered Mail . Every single day, I either receive someone else's mail, not receiving my "informed delivery mail", a neighbor bringing MY mail they received OR FINDING MAIL DROPPED IN YARD or Driveway. We even watch our mail person drop mail and not retrieve it. When told, still no action. I still receive most paper mail but this is forcing me to go to paperless. That will soon end the need for USPO Service. My bank statements & important mail with crucial info are missing & NO response from anyone. I personally spoke with my carrier. Told to contact OIG. -----Original Message----- From: Mary Sargent <mary.sargent2@verizon.net> To: postmaster@usps.gov <postmaster@usps.gov> Sent: Fri, Dec 11, 2020 7:46 pm Subject: Fwd: Really disgusted with my mail service. Let's try again. -----Original Message----- From: Mary Sargent <mary.sargent2@verizon.net> To: USPSInformeddelivery@informeddelivery.usps.com <USPSInformeddelivery@informeddelivery.usps.com>; support@postofficeshours.com <support@postofficeshours.com> Sent: Fri, Dec 11, 2020 2:59 pm Subject: Really disgusted with my mail service. I finally have had enough of all this. This has been going on for months. I understand with the pandemic, extra work and worry has been added. There have been numerous times I receive my neighbors mail and vice versa. Also, numerous times we find mail lying in our yards. I get a notice everyday about what mail I am receiving. I received NO mail yesterday even though I had 4 pieces scanned for delivery. Today, I had one piece scanned for delivery, which I just received. Nothing from yesterday which includes bank & bills. This has become very uncomfortable knowing mail is dropped, left at wrong address and not even delivered. I also had a REAL issue & came to Post Office to report. I had sent a card to my daughter & address was totally correct. It was returned after 2 weeks with envelope torn open & cash removed. I understand sending money is a NoNo but I physically walked in to post office & dropped card inside. My daughters mail box is totally secured, only mail person had access. The card (which I still have) was opened and taped back. It never left USPO possession. When finally returned, it was put in my box, in the described condition. When I reported it, the lady said probably taken from my mailbox. That again is not true. I was here with my front door open and saw when it was delivered back in the BAD condition. Again, this is very un-nerving and I don't feel comfortable with my bank & bill information, somewhere out there!!! My neighbors are all in agreement in how insecure we feel about our mail. I would appreciate a response as to some kind of explanation. The post office and mail carriers have always been dependable and trustworthy. Help, please. Thank you, Mary Sargent Carrollton Old Town

    Jan 20, 2021
  • anon

    sent to check for my bills and possible a third that have ever been delivered. I have been watching trracking that simply was dropped on January 9th, they were sent certified mail at a high cost on 1-4-21. I have filed a missing mail request and now you are telling me that you can't trace from the information given. You have the exact correct cert. number, the days mailed, where from and where to and also the information on the contents of the envelopes. I am now very late on the bills ( 2 months in a row on one of them). This is hurting my credit and now I will be forced to stop payment at $33 each and pay by phone. I want to talk to someone, I want my total money back for both of the certified mail pieces that you have lost!!!!!!!

    Jan 19, 2021
  • anon

    I had ordered a wooden dummy it never arrived the company said they delivered it but never got a tracking number the time don't add up right they said it was drop off in morning I don't received mail at that time can you help me find my package if so tell me what I need to do thank you

    Jan 18, 2021
  • anon

    How can I find out information on purchasing unclaimed / lost mail and packages?

    Jan 18, 2021
  • anon

    Looking for a package gets returned from fashion over they have not received it yet

    Jan 17, 2021
  • anon

    where can i buy unclaimed mail in los angeles, ca area??

    Jan 17, 2021
  • anon

    I would like to buy unclaimed parcels.

    Jan 17, 2021
  • anon

    How can an inmate in an US state prison determine if the items in aan envelope that arrived home empty were lost at the prison or the post office?

    Jan 17, 2021
  • anon

    i have an lost package of mail from amazon that was an nike AirPod case and under army basketball sleeve

    Jan 15, 2021
  • anon

    If the lost items are eventually sold, where does that take place? How can those lost items be purchased? Thank you.

    Jan 15, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed a phone bill payment off in late Dec or early January and they have yet to receive it. I was wondering what I needed to do in order to locate it. Thank you for your time.

    Jan 14, 2021
  • anon

    Hello Around 10 am on 1/6/2021 i entered the post office next to to the Del Almo Fashion Center in Torrance, Ca. 291 Del Amo Fashion Square, Torrance, CA 90503 I fear i may have dropped my keys somehwere around there, it has a keychain of the LA. Valiant, which is green and yellow attached to it. I wasn't sure if there was a way to reach out about lost and found items as i couldn't call the specific post office.

    Jan 13, 2021
  • anon

    Is it true that you can buy it

    Jan 13, 2021
  • anon

    Can you buy mail for $1?

    Jan 12, 2021
  • anon

    The contents of my package was lost three years ago. It was mailed to me from Sarasota FL. When I received this package, the box was empty! My mother’s ruby ring was in the box with other sentimental photos, documents. Can you help?

    Jan 12, 2021
  • anon

    I saw that you can buy unclaimed mail is this true?

    Jan 11, 2021
  • anon

    I filed a case for a missing piece of mail how long should it take for usps to reach out and get back to me about it. It has been a week since I filed the missing package request.

    Jan 11, 2021
  • anon

    I just watched a video on TicToc with the account name @caloriequeen14. The text across the video says "Lost mail packages sold for $1!!!!????" The female narrator claims she purchased $100 worth and showed someone opening a package with a $50 gift card in it. I didn't think it was legal but when I read the comments apparently this is something that happens more often than I thought. But from what I've read on your website, this is highly illegal. Just wanted to let you be aware.

    Jan 11, 2021
  • anon

    You must’ve read something completely different cause if you read the top of the page it doesn’t say ANYTHING about it being illegal! When items are undeliverable for many different reasons to either the recipient or the sender they are SOLD which is how caloriequeen received them or DISPOSED OF meaning thrown out!

    Jan 13, 2021
  • anon

    Omg i seen the same video on tiktok thats y i came on here to see if it was true

    Jan 13, 2021
  • anon

    If the items are eventually opened at the MRC, does the USPS still try to find the owners? Say for instance, a fire department turnout coat that had been sent for repairs that never made it to the destination 3 hours away, and has the department's name on it. My daughter's husband is deployed overseas and sent a Christmas gift to her. It hasn't been seen since it departed JFK. In both cases, the USPS said, "sorry, this type of thing happens, You can always file a claim." Which is what we did, but nothing ever came of it.

    Jan 11, 2021
  • anon

    I mailed my certified diamonds ring and got it intercepted by usps in ca return to sender to me in Colorado and when I received package my ring was stolen and claimed but no results since November I can only assume it’s the local office since the lady picked box out and she did not tape it up until my husband left no damage to box and now I get a email that post office is sending me $50 for a $4500 ring I am just trying to figure out how to make it right local police won’t help since federal crime

    Jan 10, 2021
  • anon

    If local police will not help and say it’s a Federal crime, I did an online search and found the following... Report suspected violations of federal law to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Submit a tip online. Contact your local FBI Office or call toll-free at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324). You can also do a search for The Department of Justice.

    Jan 21, 2021
  • anon

    lost a package worth 300$

    Jan 09, 2021
  • anon

    I had a package to have gotten lost at Athens post office that contained some important medicine and all they could tell me at first was that it was there at the post office somewhere. Days later I got a text telling me my case was solved that my package was lost. Now I’m missing 2 packages, one that arrived at the Atlanta facility December 4th that states on the tracking it’s out for destination. Yet it’s hasn’t left the facility. The other package is still at the Atlanta facility. I’ve filed missing claims but and even went to post office in

    Jan 07, 2021
  • anon

    I had a package to have gotten lost at Athens post office back in August, that contained some important medicine and all they could tell me at first was that it was there at the post office somewhere. Days later I got a text telling me my case was solved that my package was lost. Now I’m missing 2 packages, one that arrived at the Atlanta facility December 4th that states on the tracking it’s out for destination. Yet it hasn’t left the facility. The other package is still at the Atlanta facility. I’ve filed missing package claims and even went to post office in Athens. The postal worker told me that something was wrong with first package from December 4th and that the workers at post office would have to open the package. She said the other one was sitting there and I’d have to be patient. I can understand they are busy during the holidays but I don’t understand why the packages aren’t moving at all when items ordered after the holidays are arriving before them.

    Jan 07, 2021
  • anon

    My package was not delivered and I’m told it was sent to the MRC and to contact them. But I can’t find contact information for the MRC online. Can you please give that to me?

    Jan 07, 2021
  • anon

    Where can you purchase lost packages in sarasota fl

    Jan 06, 2021

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