Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is a clunky name for a big problem: Mail not reaching its intended recipient because the address is incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. UAA mail is costly to both the Postal Service and its customers – about $1.5 billion a year for the Postal Service and $20 billion for the mailing industry, according to a report we issued last month.

But the costs of UAA go beyond just returning, destroying, or forwarding undeliverable mail. For mailers, there are direct costs, such as printing and postage, and indirect costs, such as lost opportunities. A direct mailer has no chance for a sale if the piece never reaches the customer. And an undeliverable invoice either slows down cash flow or, if the piece never reaches its intended recipient, results in no payment at all, as Pitney Bowes notes in a white paper. Furthermore, a company’s customer service costs can jump if irate customers call after getting a late fee for a bill delayed by an incorrect or incomplete address.

Then there is what some mailers call a customer relationship management (CRM) cost. Address software provider Melissa Data explains, “CRM costs reflect the damage to customer relationships that result from failed communication.” The CRM cost of UAA mail can be calculated a few ways, but the simplest might be to determine the customer’s annual value (say he or she spends $600 a year on a cable bill) and divide it by the customer’s expected response rate (for this cable company let’s say 5 percent). In this case, the CRM cost of a UAA mailpiece is $30.

Despite concerted efforts by the Postal Service and mailers to reduce UAA mail, it actually increased by 2.1 percent to a total of 6.6 billion pieces from fiscal years 2011 to 2014, our report notes. We found the Postal Service’s strategies to reduce UAA have been ineffective because of how complex the address verification process is and because mailers have to abide by conflicting laws and regulations. For example, companies in the financial and insurance industries are legally required to send mail to the last known address even if Postal Service systems indicate a change of address has been submitted.

Still, we expect certain Postal Service programs to help. The Postal Service has made it easier for recipients to change addresses online. And on the business mailer side, the Seamless Acceptance program, which relies on electronic documentation, should help by providing greater visibility into data associated with each mailpiece. The data will let the Postal Service associate UAA mail with the sender and provide opportunities to craft entirely new solutions to ensure address standards are met.

How does UAA mail affect your operations? What other ways could the Postal Service and industry reduce UAA mail? How do you price the lost opportunity of undeliverable mail?

Comments (147)

The most direct way to report fraud, waste, misconduct within the Postal Service is via our Hotline form

Leave a comment

By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.
CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
  • anon

    My package has been undeliverable for over a week past its delivery date. Where can I find my package?

    Mar 02, 2016
  • anon

    Judging from the recent influx of comments regarding this issue, it's clear that the USPS is fouling up in some manner. I've lived at the same address for 6 years now, and suddenly all of my mail is somehow 'undeliverable as addressed.' Getting in touch with someone from the USPS is near impossible, and even that doesn't guarantee that you will get some kind of resolution to your problem.

    Feb 25, 2016
  • anon

    U are absolutely right!

    Mar 01, 2016
  • anon

    This problem of USPS sending things to their wrong post offices branches and putting things on wrong trucks and separating packages seems to be growing more and more rampant. I'm struggling to track down my laptop right now, which I was told was at once post office - the one it should be at. I went there, and they told me it was at another. It went to the wrong one so they marked it as undeliverable as addressed. The real issue is - who is holding the USPS accountable?? If anyone there reading these comments remotely cares, please reach out and rectify this, and more importantly, work on fixing your system of organization! It's godawful. We can try to boycott and use FedEx and UPS, but the USPS is going to remain a primary option, and yet they don't seem to answer to anyone when they screw people over. My laptop package was shipped via 2-Day priority mail. Now it's bouncing around from truck to truck, post office to post office, and may be getting cold, and losing the charge in its battery. What compensation do I get for having paid for my laptop over a week ago, and it still not having arrived yet? I'm sure several of these screw ups come from USPS themselves and not the sender/recipient. It's ridiculous.

    Feb 10, 2016
  • anon

    UPS and FEDex have no problem. Only USPS, imagine that. Seems more of a lazy issue than a customer issue.

    Jan 11, 2016
  • anon

    I so agree! How is it that this can happen in the greatest country in the world? Thanks, FedEx and UPS for getting it right!

    Mar 18, 2017
  • anon

    Can you say about 15 Million Illegals crossing the Border that cannot or will not read or speak English,but are given Jobs and Social Security Cards that belong to an Americans that worked and paid in their taxes only to allow some illegal to draw your money you paid in.

    Mar 08, 2016
  • anon

    Can you elaborate how that has anything to do with the lazy or incompetent USPS?

    Oct 10, 2016
  • anon

    Honestly, i am having trouble believing UAA mail is due to unreadable labels and whatever other reasons they are coming up with here. Using myself as an example, i tend to order a lot of things through Amazon, they already have my address and payment information, so i dont really have to input anything manually, just use the previous addresses, which i have verified multiple times using my electricity or gas bill. Even though the address on the packages is correct, every time the package is scheduled to be delivered on a weekend, i receive a Undeliverable incorrect address announcement through the USPS tracking. It has happened to me with 5 different packages. Now, i live in an apartment complex, and during the weekend, there is no person on the front desk to receive packages and our mailboxes are too small for boxes. During the week this is not an issue, the front desk person receives the package and takes it to my door, during the weekend, the USPS has nowhere to leave the package. I understand that, but it seems rather foolish to label a package as Incorrect address, which forces the package to be returned, instead of simply trying again on Monday.

    Jan 11, 2016
  • anon

    I live in a similar place and this just happened to me for the second time! I received an email saying my package was delivered "In/At Mailbox". I was so excited and went down to my mailbox right away to get it.....nothing there. I walk back inside and check my tracking number and, in three minutes, the status changed to UAA. I am so irritated by this! Is there no way to fix this issue???

    Feb 27, 2016
  • anon

    Placed an order that is coming from 91791. The vendor shipped from main hub/main plant 91791 on December 30, 2015. The last tracking info is from December 30. This main plant is taking TWO WEEKS to get mail out because of downsizing. Why is downsizing happening? Because of the greedy Postmaster General named Patrick Donahoe. Hopefully, the new Postmaster General Megan Brennan cares about the service of the USPS rather than bonuses she gets for causing people to lose their jobs and make the service of the USPS turn to garbage.

    Jan 08, 2016
  • anon

    I live in zip code 70121. Had three packages come from three different states. They made it to the status of "out for delivery" only to NOT be delivered (nor did I receive any letter mail this day) and then 12 hours later all three packages were marked as "undeliverable as addressed". This is the first time this has happened to me. Either all three packages were put on wrong delivery truck or the carrier didn't do their job and had to do something with the mail they returned to the post office with.

    Jan 08, 2016
  • anon

    Correct and verified adress on printed label via USPS website. Correct and printed return address. Sealed Priority Small Flatrate box with MY correct address. Ship label had pressure sensitive clear protective tape over addressee address and entire label. Arrived at Unit 12/18\15, THEN "undeliverable as addressed" 2 hours later indicated on tracking. Insured. Nothing, no tracking updates, Zero from 12/18/2015 to now, 01/02/2016. THEFT. Scam by adressee? Is anyone doing anything! USPS paid my claim today...BYT WHEREIS THE PACKAGE?? Only an exacto knife or a gun, or a thief could have destroyed the pkg and label. Post office: Elmwood Park, IL 60707 will NOT EVER ANSWER THEIR PHONES..EVER. Has the carrier who marked pkg as undeliverable been question???

    Jan 02, 2016
  • anon

    so what do I do when they say Undeliverable as Addressed? I need my package asap

    Jan 01, 2016
  • anon

    Lousy way for a recipent to get free stuff. they immediately open a paypal dispute, paypal takes your money and you have no item, no money but SOMEONE has it all. From now on I not only insure for the item sold price, but my costs and profit. Too bad because legit buyers are paying increased shipping for the lousy thieves. The post office is useless and lazy, I have found. nobody knows anything. Athe postal fraud folks seem the smartest.

    Dec 29, 2015
  • anon

    Interesting article since I just got off the phone with the USPS about this exact issue. An error on the shipping address has landed my package in the undeliverable zone. The package actually made it to my town, a few minutes from my house, I asked them to simply hold it and I'll come pick it up (with my ID and any other proof they need) yet they prefer to send it back across the country only to have it ship back out again. They refuse to release it to me and now it will cost the USPS money, the vendor, and myself money. UPS and fedex, wouldn't have been an issue at all. Unbelievable. USPS, your incompetence is matched only by your employee arrogance.

    Dec 18, 2015
  • anon

    this is bogus, one of two things needs to happen, re-assess the people who work at USPS, or just get rid of this mail service, leave this stuff to ups. they have never let me down, whereas usps has seemed to lost my mail at least 5 different times, its frustrating, especially when some of those parcels contain my college books.

    Dec 17, 2015
  • anon

    Nice try passing the buck, USPS, but no one buys it. As everyone out here in the real world knows, most of the time UAA parcels are misplaced which is entirely on you. Your organization is obsolete, and should be dismantled in it's entirety. Truth of the matter is, I actively avoid any company that uses USPS as it's delivery service, as should any savvy consumer.

    Dec 07, 2015
  • anon

    how come a packedge is "undeliverable as addressd" shipping slip is printted via ebay through paypal verified shipping adress. same shipping adress is used hundreds of time but only once or twice undeliverable? so typical of bureaucracy blame your screwup on the public easyway out instead of fixing it. no wonder peole have no trust i preffer ups and fedex over usps anyday. take responsibility before we get rid off you. it is a free market not a monoply any more.

    Dec 07, 2015
  • anon

    In the past few weeks, I have had two items delayed because they were "undeliverable as addressed". In reality, USPS messed up and put them on the wrong truck. In one case, I had two packages sent the same day, by the same merchant and adressesed exactly the same. One package showed up at my house on time. The other was sent to another county, marked "undeliverable as adressed" and delayed several days later. Never had this problem with FedEx or UPS!

    Nov 19, 2015
  • anon

    pls help me where is my package ck000873895ke and ck000871869ke and cp001104355ke still why not delivared pls help me?

    Oct 26, 2015
  • anon

    Hello , i am having trouble receiving the package i order trough ebay . 4 days ago it said it was undeliverable as addressed and a day ago it said it was delivered in my mail box but there is nothing there , what can i do ? I dont want to lose 100$

    Oct 23, 2015
  • anon

    I agree just last year around the holidays I ordered gifts for my family and myself. The packages all cost over $100. It was sent my usps and fedex smartpost (which is when fedex ships it but usps delivers it) They placed my packages at my home when I wasn't there and they all got stolen! Nobody is usually at home until after 5pm. It gave someone plenty of time to steal my packages. These weren't small packages that could be easily hidden either. The tracking said that they left a tracking slip which there wasn't one. I called Usps and they said I needed to file a claim with the recipient and fedex. Well, usps fedex didn't leave my large expensive packages on my doorstep when no one was home!!!! They never resolved it or gave me a refund because one of the packages were not insured. I got a refund from the retailers I bought it from. But, my gifts to my family was lost and I never got refunded for them. Usps needs better employees!!!!

    Oct 15, 2015
  • anon

    Yeah, I got one of these today. UPS and FedEx can deliver a package every single time but USPS gets one package from Amazon and they can't make it here. Feel free to go away and let real companies take over.

    Oct 13, 2015
  • anon

    Here's a suggestion, instead of immediately sending a UAA mail back to the sender, hold it at the post office for a few days, especially if it's a package. It is infuriating to pay for 2 day shipping just to know that the package is instead being delivered BACK to the sender.

    Sep 25, 2015
  • anon

    Usps should be dismantled forever. Where do I sign?

    Oct 12, 2015
  • anon

    Couldn't agree more. Always sub-par service. Amazon prime is hardly every PRIME since they gave it to USPS. I've complained to Amazon so many times, hoping to go back to good service. No luck so far.

    Nov 13, 2015
  • anon

    I´ve bought articules from amazon.com but the address I gave them was wrong. So USPS couldn´t arrive to the destiny. How can I solve the problem_ May you help me_ I change the address in an place of USPS but I don{nt know if ot{s enough Regards

    Sep 21, 2015
  • anon

    The pitiful truth about the UAA "article" above is that USPS implies the problem lies solely with the sender/recipient, but if you search online for "UNDELIVERABLE AS ADDRESSED," you'll see numerous instances where the USPS was clearly at fault, usually sorting errors, and placed on the wrong truck. This leads to angst on the part of the *customers* of USPS, that is, the sender and the recipient, and when the customers come to the USPS website for help, they read this nonsense about how there's no fault on the part of USPS, and it's going to "cost more than you think." Rubbish. USPS, you need to correct this article to reflect the WHOLE truth.

    Jul 25, 2015
  • anon

    Just had this happen to a package I know good and well had the right address written legibly. I've shipped to this customer on numerous occasions and had this happen with him one other time. Definitely not my fault or his. That only leaves one option: USPS incompetence. Costly indeed.

    Jul 16, 2015
  • anon

    this is the second time this year that I have made a complaint against the USPS. the first time one of there employees just left the package in the second floor hallway, it was stolen. i keep telling the USPS to put my packages in the gate on the ground floor, the first floor. the post office use to leave pink slips and take your package back to the post office. not any more. my husband was out in the front yard Saturday , july 18,2015 waiting for my package, and I was tracking it on the computer every hour one the same day. when I checked the tracking at 5:30 pm it said that the package was delivered. HOW WAS THAT POSSIBLE !!! the first time this happened my husband ran into the USPS delivery employee and asked him why he put my package in the hallway on the second floor , when it clearly states that I live on the 1st floor. the USPS employee told my husband that if he didn't like the way the mail was delivered , we should pick it up at the post office. I called our local post office the next morning and told the lady what happened she took all my information , but NEVER called me back. I think that when a package is delivered we should sign for it , or a pink slip should left in the mail box for us to pick it up at the post office , like it use to be done. WHERE IS MY PACKAGE ?? THIS WILL BE MY LAST TIME DEALING WITH THE USPS !!

    Jul 20, 2015
  • anon

    Yes, It costs a lot of money to everybody when a REGISTERED letter with a perfectly valid and readable address on it is wrongly AAUed by USPS and sent back overseas... This just happened to me. A registered letter was sent to me from Europe on April 9, 2015. I was able to track the letter both on the European and US sides. The letter arrived at the New York ISC facility on April 10. It sat there for 9 days, then arrived at a USPS facility in New York, sat there 2 more days and then on April 21 "Departed USPS Facility" in transit to destination. Then the letter disappeared for 5 weeks (a REGISTERED letter!!!!!). It reappeared on May 29 at the european sender's address with a label "Not deliverable as adresse unable to forward". I have a copy of the envelope. The address is right, perfectly readable and the tracking # of the letter is also intact. What a shame!!!!

    Jun 25, 2015
  • anon

    Did you file any complaint?

    Jul 17, 2015
  • anon

    No, I didn't. I tried to look on the web how you can file a complain about this kind of issue but couldn't find anything relevant. That USPS blog was pretty much all I could find to vent... I guess USPS doesn't want to make it too easy for customers to file complaints as they may be overwhelmed with these pretty quickly...

    Jul 19, 2015
  • anon

    The industry could help by understanding that in rural America, most small towns DO NOT deliver to the street address within a quarter mile of a Post Office and those addressees MUST be addressed to PO Boxes-ask for both street and PO Box so you can deliver packages via any shipper, but don't refuse PO Box addresses!

    Jun 24, 2015
  • anon

    Sometimes the mistake is with the post office & not the consumer. I shipped a package First Class on June 16 & on the 18th it ended up at the wrong zip code. It was supposed to go to 44111 & got misdirected to 44113. I notice this when I checked for tracking updates & it was posted that it was "Undeliverable As Addressed", so I got online for phone numbers & called SEVERAL post offices in Cleveland, OH (the correct city where the package is supposed to be) & got no where. I got the number for the PO Administration office who got me in touch with Consumer Affairs. They "brought up" the image of my package when it was scanned in Cleveland at 44101. LaVonda, the nice lady at Consumer Affairs, said she could read the address clearly & has no idea why it was marked as "Undeliverable" nor where it was but she was sending, all 3 post offices involved, emails to look for it & deliver it ASAP. That was 2 days ago & I haven't heard a thing nor is there any new tracking updates.

    Jun 24, 2015
  • anon

    I think the real problem here is the hiring of city carrier associates, and rural carriers associates to replace retiring regular carriers, or to handle the expansion of routes in any given area. These CCA's and RCA's are floated around continuously from route to route. They never get to stay in one place and learn who their customers are, and they are under great pressure to deliver the mail in the most inefficient way possible, because they're always the new guy! When you had a regular carrier day in day out, & a sub who always filled in that route on your regular days off, you had people who knew the route and knew their customers. A lot of mail is being handled as undeliverable as addressed because these carriers are unable to complete their route and have no idea what to do with the mail they have left at the end of the day, if they come back to their station with mail they couldn't get delivered they'll get fired. So when you're scared and overwhelmed, you get rid of that mail in the only way you can short of dumping it in the dumpster.

    Jun 23, 2015
  • anon

    Haha, what a joke. You have the nerve to say mail gets undelivered because of an incorrect address. What about the number of times mail doesn't get delivered to valid addresses, that are marked clearly and completely on mail? My company has had several items like that returned to us as "undeliverable, no forwarding address, unable to forward" only to contact the customer and have them say "yep, I still live there, haven't moved, address hasn't changed". Then we have to spend more money to mail the item again, when it should have been adequately delivered the first time around. Clean up your act, USPS. You've got way too many lazy, incompetent fools working for you.

    Jun 23, 2015
  • anon

    Totally agree. This is now 6/9/2017 and its just getting worse and costing us money. Usps needs to start PAYING US BACK!!!!

    Jun 09, 2017
  • anon

    can't agree more!!

    Sep 16, 2016
  • anon

    I agree 100% with Beau. Lazy lazy workers.

    Oct 12, 2015
  • anon

    I wholeheartedly agree. About a third of the packages I get shipped to my home (that are addressed correctly) are not delivered because they are allegedly 'undeliverable as addressed' and another large fraction of them result in me getting a notification that 'notice was left' because no one was home. I work from home, and if anyone attempted to deliver a package I would hear the door 99% of the time... I have also never actually been left a 'notice' which makes re-delivery scheduling that much more difficult since I don't have a case number. Deliveries that should take 3 days end up taking 3 weeks because of the incompetency of my mail carrier. Maybe I am just unlucky and my mailman is incompetent, but I seem to hear this from others as well. I never have this problem when I have packages delivered by local couriers, so it seems that the problem lies with the USPS and their lack of competency.. or just a general disregard for their customers as a whole.

    Oct 05, 2015
  • anon

    I'm disabled. I'm gone pretty much 24hrs a day. Yet i get undeliverable, attempted delivery notices all the time when I'm home. Now I got a missing package that never left the shipping state.

    May 31, 2017
  • anon

    Rebecca, This is going on a lot. Not sure what they plan on doing to fix the issues. Did you receive resolution to your issue? I am all the time calling to confirm an address that has not changed in Years. Mailing to the right place and costing us half a dollar a pop. This is just a concerned customer on the usps site trying to find out what is going on . I want resolution to this. Have a good weekend

    Jun 09, 2017
  • anon

    Several? Seriously? It happens, but I guarantee you the amount of misaddressed mail is vastly higher than "several".

    Jun 23, 2015
  • anon

    Mail is also undeliverable today because of 'fraud of hi-tech criminals and corruption of victims of Identity theft nationwide'.

    Jun 22, 2015
  • anon

    We can fix this problem.

    Jul 01, 2017

Pages

Recent Comments

  • 16 hours 37 min ago
    As a US postal employee I am embarrassed and frustrated that I cannot answer question for my daughter. She was tracking mailpiece to be delivered to her in Lehigh Acres, Fl. It got to Orlando then...
  • 16 hours 39 min ago
    As a US postal employee I am embarrassed and frustrated that I cannot answer question for my daughter. She was tracking mailpiece to be delivered to her in Lehigh Acres, Fl. It got to Orlando then...

Monthly Archive