Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to reduce undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail by 50 percent. Okay, those weren’t the exact words, but that was the challenge put forward 10 years ago by then-Postmaster General Jack Potter.

At that time UAA mail –  undeliverable because of an incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address – totaled more than 10 billion pieces, costing the Postal Service $2 billion annually because it must be forwarded, returned, or treated as waste.

Where are we today? Well, progress has been made, but not quite enough to hit the goal. In fiscal year 2014, UAA mail was 6.6 billion pieces and cost the Postal Service $1.5 billion.

UAA mail is costly to mailers, too, because of additional costs – both direct, such as printing and postage, and indirect, such as lost opportunities. A direct mailer has no chance for a sale if the piece never reaches the customer.

We also shouldn’t overlook the potential impact on mail recipients. They tend to value mail more if it includes accurate name and address information.

While the decline in UAA mail over the past decade is at least partially due to an overall reduction in mail volume, a portion of the drop is probably attributable to the investment mailers have made in address quality. And address quality certainly continues to be important to the postal industry. The Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, a venue for the Postal Service and mailers to share technical information and make recommendations on matters concerning mail-related products, has an ongoing forum for address quality issues. The Postal Service’s Office of Address Management provides value-added products and services that enable business customers to better manage the quality of their mailing lists.

Also, through a licensing program, private sector companies can obtain licenses from Address Management to offer address hygiene tools to mailers, such as Delivery Point Validation and SuiteLink services, a data-only product containing business addressing information. In fact, we recently took a look at how the Postal Service is monitoring those address management licenses and recommended management make some improvements, such as requiring site security reviews of licensees.

Do you notice when a piece delivered to your home is not addressed properly? Do you instantly value it less as a result? What more could the Postal Service and industry do to improve address quality?

Comments (10)

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  • anon

    CHALLENGE ACCEPTED. We have the solution to UAA. Everyone is looking in the wrong place to fix this problem. I guarantee you, if you contact us for a demonstration, you will be amazed.

    Jul 01, 2017
  • anon

    Why have a postal tracking number if you can't do anything when package goes astray? I see it traveling thru the system, obviously the forwarding label screwed up, and nothing I can do. Post office no help, web site no help. Ya ought to take a good look at system to somehow allow the tracking information to be used to correct where it should be going!

    Aug 27, 2016
  • anon

    I've never worked for USPS, nor have any of my relatives. I've never had a problem or difficulty with USPS service and am almost 70. Stuff happens and I don't expect perfection -- after the tidal surge of Katrina ruined everything here in 2005 including many post offices the USPS hand dried and cleaned the mail (the water had Katrina Krud in it and it got on everything) and delivered it. Now that took some time and Herculean effort, as everybody had a difficult time getting going again (6 weeks without electricity and phone at my location, huge gas lines), but really, dedication to service cannot be any greater than that of the USPS. Guess I've been fortunate not to ever encounter a bad USPS employee. Thanks USPS for all you do.

    May 01, 2016
  • anon

    I also have a, not cheap, security mail box which they do leave the mail just hanging out for the sake of junk mail that was too big for the idiot to figure out how to get it in there or better yet, dont deliver it at all since the jerk left my mail box open and it filled with water. Not just a little water, but filled up the box and left my mail sitting in a soup of rainwater. Mail delivery is not possible in my neighborhood. I get my neighbors mail and then I deliver it to them. And when I have, in the past, paid for USPS pkg delivery, they left me a note to pick it up at the station. A box containing a pair of glasses weighing under 1 lb. I paid $6.98 to have it delivered but instead had to pick it up at the post office. I have received my neighbors out going mail. Not just once either. The 2nd time I gave it back to the people trying to pay their utilities and insurances and such. Wow, how would it be to have your insurance canceled because of simple incompetence for USPS. I had a POB for over 15 years because the previous mailman teased my dog. 3 years into having this POB, he got caught on camera and the local TV news, admitting he was snapping the mail on the screendoor and deserved to get bit when the dog came thru that screen door to bite him. I am now retired and have a hard time getting to the POB regularly and also tired of the cost so I gave it up and purchased an expensive security mail box. Feel like it is a conspiracy on the part of USPS. Deliver junk mail but not the real mail to the correct house, leave the $150 security mail box open so it fills with rainwater and then they will pay for a POB so subsidize the incompetence of the mail carrier. Several complaints to the post master over the past 3 years have only made the situation worse. I have magazines I can't read that I paid for and mail from the Social Security Office I cant read. Droids are the future and then the right mail would be delivered to the right site and the door would get closed also. I can see that many of the postal workers were born in a barn. Send them back till they learn how to close the door and take pride in everything you do no matter how simple.

    Mar 23, 2016
  • anon

    I have worked for the Post Office for 21 years, why don't you ask these questions to the people who deliver this stuff? you know the real workers the true back bone of the post office. The workers who are constantly dealing with this stuff to give you better insight of what is truly going on? We are told if anything is wrong with the mailing address we are made to send it back. Even if we know their true address Ex. a check comes in and the number address is 727 and its actually 772. I know their name and can deliver that piece of mail rather than sending it back, its much cheaper that way don't you think? WHY you might ask? because the DPS machines won't pick it up.

    Mar 23, 2016
  • anon

    A USPS decision to charge for mail forwarded from home address to po box when they refuse to deliver to the home in the first place is just crooked to say the least. People are not going to pay twice for shipping items. Im just going to refused more mail.

    Mar 17, 2016
  • anon

    The supposedly USPS approved locked residential mail boxes are a joke. Some times the mail carriers put the mail in with the ends of mail sticking out of the slot instead of length wise which is the only way the mail can go in without the ends sticking out and exposing your mail to passersby fingers. I also had my mail soaked by rain because the ends were sticking out and my bills enclosed payment envelopes were moistened shut by the rain despite the door that hides the slot being closed shut. I have since moved and gone back to an unlocked residential mailbox and rent a PO Box. Inspector General you must do some idiot proof redesigns for your current not at all secure approved residential mail boxes or put more p o boxes in all your post offices. And BTW I would pay for brand new (not used before) PO box keys to be made for my box if I had the option to do so.

    Feb 12, 2016
  • anon

    It would just be so lovely if the Twitter @USPSHelp wasn't AWOL since February 4. Especially of in line of such postal cuteness of how a package we paid for one-day shipping on (Priority) is going on day three of no delivery, and nobody answers the phone at the post office, and nobody can tell you why it's "in transit to the destination" as of 3:14 am Wednesday...which...they don't really know what that means except that they have no idea where that is.

    Feb 11, 2016
  • anon

    I completely removed my mailbox from my house because of two reasons: to cut down on the amount of junk mail I receive, and to be ensured that any sensitive mail I receive at my Post Office box is secured in a locked container until I pick it up. There are too many thieves trying to steal identities. And that is why I consider a Post Office box essential. One used to be able to complete a form at the Post Office to prevent delivery of mail that was not First Class. The USPS took that benefit away from consumers.

    Feb 11, 2016
  • anon

    Provide mailers with updated address files free of charge. Whatever profit you're making on selling these lists is wiped out by handling, rehandling, transporting and destroying UAA Mail. There is also a cost to the environment when dumping into landfill.

    Feb 08, 2016

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