Postage Meters are printing machines or systems for home or office that print postage directly onto mailpieces, or onto an approved label, for mailing. Customers can request refunds on meter mail for a variety of reasons. For example, customers can request refunds when meter mail postage is printed for the wrong denomination, mail is damaged before it is delivered to the Postal Service, or postage is printed but not mailed.

For customers to receive a refund, they must take their unused meter mail postage along with the Postal Service Form 3533, (Application for Refund of Fees, Products and Withdrawal of Customer Accounts),to their local post office to request the refund. Once postal employees receive a refund request, they process the request manually by counting each piece of metered postage in question to verify the refund amount. The Postal Service charges a 10 percent fee (up to $350) for each refund processed. If the 10 percent fee is greater than $350, the Postal Service charges the customer a flat fee of $35 an hour to process the refund. Once the local postal employee verifies the refund amount, the post office either issues a no-fee money order (if the refund is less than $500) or forwards the supporting documentation to a disbursement center for refund payment.
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In Fiscal Year 2010, the Postal Service refunded customers more than $21 million for spoiled and unused meter mail postage. If all associated mailpieces were metered at the First-ClassTM 44-cent stamp rate that would mean postal employees manually counted 47.7 million mailpieces to verify meter mail refunds.

The topic is hosted by the Office of Audit Field Financial – West team.

Comments (15)

  • anon

    I need a copy of FORM 3533. Where can I get/print a copy?

    Jan 26, 2018
  • anon

    I got the form 3533. we have 10 printed label for refund. do I use only 1 form to fill 10 shipping label? or one per one label?

    Dec 19, 2017
  • anon

    Hi – I leave this comment to express my frustration. Short version: the USPS ruined my media mail package despite its content being packed very well. I raised this issue with my local post office and they were very apologetic and said I could fill out a 3533 form online and get a full refund. Problem is I can’t find a way to fill out the form online or find confirmation what is the current version of the form if I wanted to mail it in. You owe me $20, this should not be complicated. By making this a giant hassle you deter valid claims and incompetence is rewarded. Thanks for nothing.

    Oct 26, 2017
  • anon

    How the hell do you have a page that says "All you need is form 3533" and then not have a link to form 3533??

    Aug 02, 2017
  • anon

    I have never had a problem with refunds it's all in the paperwork if filled out correctly the postal worker will do the best they can

    May 24, 2016
  • anon

    I shipped my package on 10-24-15 it was never shipped and it came back to me on 11-12-15 I need my refund who can I speak to

    Nov 15, 2015
  • anon

    IM SORRY TO ADVISE YOU THAT EVEN THOUGH, THIS IS AN AURTHORIZE REFUND NOTICE STRAIGHT FROM WASHINGTON DC, HERE IN SAN FRANCISCO CALIFORNIA USPS MAIN BRANCH, 1300 EVAN ST 94124. HEAD OF RETAIL MARIA WOODARD, PURPOSELY DEVIATES FROM POST MASTER GENERALS AURTHORIZED NOTICES FOR POSTAGE METER REFUNDS. WE DEAL WITH NEOPOST , NEOPOST IS 1 OUT OF 4 AURTHORIZED USPS SERVICERS, I WENT TWICE TO REQUEST A REFUND FROM MY LOCAL USPS ON 211 LANE ST SF CA 94124, ANGELICA SUPERVISOR, SWORE UP AND DOWN FOR THE 20 PLUS YEARS SHE HAS WORKED USPS, NOT ONCE DID THEY ALLOW METER POS. REFUNDS, I HAD TO DO IT ONLINE, SHE WOULDNT EVEN CONSIDER TO READ THE CURRENT USPS REFUND POLICY ON METERED POS. REFUNDS. I THEN TOOK IT TO A HIGHER LEVEL, 1300 EVANS ST SAN FRANCISCO CA 94124 MRS M WOODARD, STATED, THAT YES THEY REFUND METERED POS, AND SHE DOESNT KNOW WHY ANGELICA DIDNT DO IT, AND SHE WAS GONNA CALL HER AND AND AUTHORIZE MY REFUND. MRS. WOODARD THEN CAME OUT AND DIRECTED ME BACK DOWN TO LANE ST USPS TO RECIEVE MY REFUND THAT SHE APPROVED. BUT, SHE THEN PULLS OUT AN UNPAID CHECK FROM US AND DEMANDS TO COLLECT PAYMENT, I TOLD HER WAIT A MIN. WE MAY HAVE OVERLOOKED IT AND ISNT THERE OTHER WAYS TO HANDLE THIS BESIDES HUMILIATING US IN FRONT OF PEOPLE ? WE ASSUMED ALL CHECKS CLEARED, WE NEVER RECEIVED NOTICE THAT IT DIDNT GO THRU. IT IS A POLICY ABOUT HOW TO HANDLE THESE THINGS INSTEAD OF THE UNPROFESSIONAL WAY MRS WOODARD DID. SHE SHOOK HER HEAD AND WALKED AWAY... WE THEN WENT BACK DOWN TO USPS ON LANE ST AND BEING JUSTIFIED BY MRS WOODARD APPROVAL FOR MY REFUND, WITH ASSURANCE, I ONCE AGAIN REQUESTED MY REFUND WITH ALL PROPER DOCUMENTS, AND ANGELICA SAYS, OH YOUR HERE FOR THE REFUND , IT WAS AURTHORIZED, BUT FOR SOME REASON SHE CALLED BACK AND RECINDED HER AURTHORIZATION. I ASKED WHY ? SHE SAID , I DONT KNOW?.. FROM THAT DAY ON I HAD TO GO TO DIFFERENT LOCATOINS, RESEARCH REFUNDS PROCEEDURES....SOME USPS PROCESSED THE REFUND NO PROBLEM, SOME REFUSED THE POLICY, ODD? THEN A NOTICE WAS POSTED NOT TO REFUND NEOPOST PVI POSTAGE... USPS RETAIL CLERKS CLAIMS NEOPOST IS NOT A SERVICER OF USPS... MIND YOU, THIS NOTICE WAS NOT AUTHORIZED BY THE POST MASTER GENERAL OFFICE IN, WASH. DC, AS THIS ONE ABOVE IS... EVEN WITH THE CURRENT AUDIT DONE ON RETAIL /CUSTOMER SERVICE,WAS NOT GOOD, YOU THINK USPS WORKERS WOULD BRUSH UP ON CUSTOMER SERVICE... AND DO BETTER. MY EXPERIENCE WITH THIS WHOLE SITUATION, CAN MAKE ME RICH.... I HAVE DEALT WITH 8 DIFFERENT LOCATION, 1600 BRYANT ST USPS SF CA, TOLD ME TO COME BACK MONDAY WHEN A SUPERVISOR THERE, WHEN I WENT BACK THEY SAID NO SUPERVISOR... I WENT TO USPS ON S VAN NESS ST SF CA, AND USPS MANAGER BEN, TOLD ME THAT THEY LIED TO ME THAT THE USPS SUPERVISOR DAVID, WAS THERE HE JUST SPOKE WITH HIM ON THE PHONE, HE CALLED S VAN NESS USPS AND TOLD BEN NOT TO SERVICE ME AND TO BEWARE OF MY COMING THERE, I ASKED BEN WHY WOULD THEY LIE, HE SAID, I DONT KNOW, BUT FOR ME TO GO BACK THERE AND LET THEM KNOW BEN SAID THEY LIED TO YOU...I WENT BACK AND ASKED SEVERAL TIMES TO SPEAK WITH DAVID, I ASKED THE CLERK WHY, SHE LIED ABOUT IT WHEN I FIRST CAME SHE YELLS AND SAID YOU ASKED IF MY SUPERVISOR HERE I SAID NO. I ASKED FOR A SUPERVISOR...THAN THE ASIAN CLERK YELLS, DAVID NO COME OUT TILL POLICE COME, WE CALLED POLICE, DAVID WAITING FOR POLICE.... I SAID, WOW, ALL I ASKED....BI WAITED FOR DAVID AND THE POLICE BUT 30 MIN. LATER DAVID COMES OUT AND A LADY TOLD HIM THAT THEY SHOULD HELP ME, HE TOLD HER THAT I WAS A FRAUD CASE, SHE SAID , I DONT KNOW ABOUT THAT BUT, YOU SHOULD STILL HELP HER, DAVID DIDNT KNOW UT BUT MY COWORKER STANDING BESIDE THAT LADY AND OVER HEARD THE WHOLE THING. I GAVE DAVID ALL VALID DOCUMENTS HE WENT TO VERIFY IT , I CALLED NEOPOST TO LET THE KNOW IM HAVING DIFFICULTIES WITH POLICY AND DAVID COMES OUT AND SAID USPS HAS NOT EVER DEALT WTIH NEOPOST, NOT KNOW MY NEOPOST ACCOUNT AGENT WAS ON THE PHONE AND HEARD A USPS SUPERVISOR CLAIM NEOPOST IS NOT A USPS SERVICER . MY ACCOUNT MANAGER FOR NEOPOST AGREED IF I NEEDED A STATEMENT FROM HIM, HE WILL BE MORE THAN HAPPY TO HELP. THE VERY NEXT DAY A MEMO WENT OUT...DO NOT REFUND NEOPOST P VI...AND STILL REFUND POLICY STATES THE SAME AS ABOVE... I GUESS USPS WORKERS I SF CA ARE EXEMPT TO USPS EMPLOYEE HANDBOOK AND POLICIES. FROM POST MASTER GENERAL WASH. DC..THEY MAKE THEIR OWN RULES OF EMPLOYEE CONDUCT AND REFUND POLICY HERE IN SF CA 94124. ALL I WANTED WAS STAMPS IN LIEU OF CASH REFUND... AND NOW I COULD PROBABLY OWN HALF OF USPS..LOL PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE AND PERSONAL OPINIONS DO NOT GO TOGETHER ,HOW YOU CONDUCT BUSINESS ON SOMEONE ELSES EXPENSE , NEEDS TO ALWAYS BE PROFESSIONAL. NO MATTER HOW CRITICAL OR FRUSTRATING THE CUSTOMER MAY BE, YOU IN UNIFORM NEED TO BE ABOVE AND BEYOND THE LEVEL OF PROFESSIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE.,.LEAVE YOUR PERSONAL OPINIONS AT HOME... I BROUGHT AND PRESENTED ALL THE PROPER DOC, THAT I NEEDED TO REQUEST A REFUND AND PRESENTED IT ORGANIZED AND NEAT... LACKED NOTHING .... AND FOR NO VALID REASON, I WAS REFUSED ONLY BECAUSE NEOPOST IS NOT A USPS SERVICER, ATLEAST NOT IN SAN FRANCISCO CA...

    Mar 31, 2015
  • anon

    Talk about hitting it on the head. Ms. lopez I know exactly how you felt. I don't know what is going on hear in San Francisco as far as the Post Office goes but I have been going through all the same rude and outright disrepectful treatment. I am wondering as to how it is that here in San Francisco that the postal service has about 80% if not 95% of it's employees to be asian american. And I am not racist I bring this up because it is part of the problem here in San franciscos USPS. They see myself as someone who is untrustworthy because of our race. And yes I have seen this happen where I am treated like total crap and yet the next customer who happens to be asian american in line is trated like family. How would it go if say 80% of all the posstal employess in San francisco were white or hispanic...would that be allowed? No way. One last point to make I have yet to see a white, black or hispanic mailman anywhere here in San Francisco and if there are any they are far and few between. Now the Post Master for San Francisco has this highly intelligent administrative assistant named Allen who stated to me that no it was not unsual or wrong that trying reach a supervisor at a local post office for over a month to no avail is normal. That they are extremely busy and that I was not the only customer they have. And then he hung up on me four separate times when I tried to ask him to please give me the location and name of where it was that I could find a supervisor to have handle my Form 3533. Well as a matter of principle and for that alone I am going to get this situation looked into. I contacted Nancy Pelosi's office and will contact Dianne Fiensteins and Barbara Boxer's too. Would love to hear some feed back.

    Sep 18, 2015
  • anon

    How old the meter have to be to do a refund or if there is a limits?.

    Jan 15, 2015
  • anon

    I would like to thank you for the efforts you have made in writing this article. I am hoping the same best work from you in the future as well. In fact your creative writing abilities have inspired me to start my own word press blog now. Really the blogging is spreading its wings rapidly. Your write up is a fine example of it.

    Feb 24, 2011
  • anon

    The 3533 form should come with a simpler version for things like PO Box key returns and Express mail failures. Have a seperate form for meter refunds and that stuff. When you hand a customer one of these forms, they look at you like the form was written in some other language. And I don't blame them for it either.

    Jan 11, 2011
  • anon

    Exactly.

    Jan 14, 2011
  • anon

    Just a thought, different versions of the 3533 similar to what IRS has for the 1040 form. As an example, key refunds 3533-K; meter refunds 3533-M; and service refunds 3533-R.

    Jan 14, 2011
  • anon

    Of course accounts should be credited with the refund and not given money orders or disbursement checks. That is just ripe for fraud from office workers in need of cash fast. Postage meters print money....let's not forget that money is money!! That is the problem I see with at home click and ship...people can print money at home!

    Jan 10, 2011
  • anon

    Good suggestion. Should there be a limit as to the amount of the refund? For example, credit all refunds, regardless or the amount, or just refunds over $100.

    Jan 14, 2011

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