The U.S. Postal Service offers Registered Mail for customers sending valuable or irreplaceable items through the mail. Registered Mail provides added protection for valuable and important customer and internal mail with evidence of mailing and delivery.

Tracking service begins from the time the sender presents the mail to the Postal Service to the point of delivery. An accountable individual must sign for the Registered Mail piece each time it changes hands and each intermediary office must prepare control logs. Registered Mail pieces also require specific packaging and sealing methods for security and protection. When not in transit, Registered Mail pieces must be stored in a locked safe, room, or cage separated from other mail.

During fiscal year 2016, the Postal Service processed [redacted] million pieces of Registered Mail and collected revenue of about [redacted] million.

We used geographical information system mapping, insurance claims, and Registered Mail volume to judgmentally select 15 post offices and two registry sections from four areas for review.

Our objectives were to review current operational controls over Registered Mail for effectiveness, follow-up on prior recommendations from a 2012 audit, and identify potential process improvements and efficiencies.

What the OIG Found

Postal Service operational controls over Registered Mail at 14 of 15 post offices visited were not always adequate, effective, or followed. Some of the post offices had multiple issues such as:

  • Six post offices had safes storing Registered Mail and other accountable items that were open and unattended during business hours.
  • Two doors to the registry room or cage were open and unlocked when not in use and the safe key was not secure at one of the post offices.
  • One post office’s Registered Mail for daily bank deposit was not secured routinely while awaiting dispatch and remittance.
  • Six post offices left Registered Mail pieces unattended in an open area.
  • Four post offices did not maintain logs recording personnel access to the registry room or cage.
  • Fourteen post offices had employees who did not complete required training courses for acceptance, transfer, and security of Registered Mail.

We also determined that the Postal Service did not complete corrective action on prior U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General report recommendations related to Registered Mail.


  • Two of three post offices in the Southern Area did not provide a step-by-step procedure toolkit to employees responsible for Registered Mail or complete the Registered Mail compliance checklist. Southern Area management agreed to provide a copy of the toolkit to employees in response to a prior audit recommendation.
  • Two of nine post offices in the Capital Metro and Western areas did not assess vulnerability and risk associated with facilities, including those related to Registered Mail. Area management agreed to complete the assessments in response to a prior audit recommendation.

As a result of the issues identified, the Postal Service is at an increased risk of delayed mail, theft, or loss which could also increase insurance claims and customer dissatisfaction with the Registered Mail service, potentially impacting its brand.

Further, opportunities exist for post offices and registry section offices to improve the Registered Mail process and efficiencies by implementing evolving technology. These improvements should strengthen information sharing, provide more efficient services, and minimize risks associated with unlocked cages, cabinets, or safes.

What the OIG Recommended

We recommended management verify that employees responsible for Registered Mail complete the required training; monitor Registered Mail operations to ensure employees comply with policies and procedures; update the manual portions of the process; and monitor technology to modernize the Registered Mail process.  

Read full report

Comments (21)

  • anon

    How do I track registered mail? I mailed something on July 9th to be delivered July12th. It did not arrive today.

    Jul 13, 2018
  • anon

    Hello, Lynda. Thank you for your message. We are an independent agency of the Postal Service and unfortunately can't help with delayed mail or packages. You can track registered mail on the USPS website using your tracking number.

    Jul 13, 2018
  • anon

    I will never use registered mail again. I will also never again use USPS for anything important or time sensitive. I sent a piece of registered mail from Toledo OH on June 22 to Quebec Canada. It didn't reach NYC until June 29, and now there's no telling what "in transit to destination" means. My deadline to have this item reach it's destination is July 4th, so I guess that isn't happening. I paid all that extra money for safe, insured delivery, and now I've got no idea where $500 of value even is. Thanks USPS. It's no wonder you're becoming obsolete.

    Jul 04, 2018
  • anon

    My mother in Ohio recently shipped me a $10,000 watch from the Cleveland area to San Francisco via Registered Mail. The Post Office it would take 2-3 days but it's already been 10 days but so far it's only travelled half the distance to Denver! Additionally, the tracking info online has been sporadic at best and totally useless. I spent an hour on the phone today w/ USPS Customer Service and they couldn't tell me where my package is. They literally had no idea. What the hell is the point of paying for this extra security if they don't have a clue where the valuable cargo is located? I'm appalled at how inefficient this service is. We will never trust the USPS to ship valuable or precious items again. Next time, we'll pay an extra few bucks and use UPS instead. It's clear the time has come for the US Postal Service to be dismantled and privatized as critics have been saying for years. Don't make the same mistake we did. Ship your precious cargo with one of the private shipping companies if you want good service and peace of mind.

    Jun 28, 2018
  • anon

    Well, I discovered this report while doing a Google search because a registered package I mailed last week appears to have gone off rails in Chicago. I'm now sorry I used USPS and I don't plan on ever sending packages through USPS again. Failure to enforce procedures has ensured the continual increase of organized theft in distribution facilities. Now I see that there's probably no employee tracking record to investigate what happened to my package if it has been stolen. Although I insured it, the so-calked insurance is Uncle Sam and handling claims is far worse than any private insurer. (Noting insurance value on forms is sure a great way to enable organized theft operations in USPS to prioritize what packages to pilfer.) I am beginning to understand why a growing contingent of Congressional members believe it's time to abolish the USPS and allow private companies to contract for and transport US mail. This painful experience has pretty much driven me to support that sentiment. There can be no more free ride for this poorly managed organization. USPS customers certainly don't get any breaks. My package contains an item I'm selling to cover a medical bill, no delivery of the package, no money for me. I certainly won't get a free ride or any extension to pay my bill due to the theft problems at USPS. I will encourage my Congressional delegation to support efforts to contract all USPS functions to private companies.

    May 16, 2018
  • anon

    Ann, It's all tied in together. They want to privatize the postal services and so they erode the services. They were pushing the automated shipping a few years back so they could lay off employees. I don't believe private systems will be better. The other services routinely leave items on people's front steps, or on the back steps in the rain. How safe is that? I use the post office daily and they have a very good track record with me, but I have experienced some serious lapses. I can understand how frustrated you are with the registered mail package. I have never had a bad experience with registered mail but i see, through you, that it happens. Hopefully you're update this post and say the package was delivered.

    Jun 26, 2018
  • anon

    My local post offices won't even let me send items using Registered Mail. Everytime I ask for it they ask me a ton of questions in return and say something like "you don't need registered mail for that, just use certified mail." Why would USPS turn away registered mail if I ask for it and am willing to pay for it? Lazy employees. This is why I mostly ship with UPS or FedEx now.

    Apr 21, 2018
  • anon

    I mailed a letter registered but can't find how to track it. I have the registered No. Please tell me how I can tell where my letter is. It was sent to Brazil.

    Mar 26, 2018
  • anon

    Good morning, What is the proper procedure for sealing registered mail? or where in the DMM can it sealing registered mail be found? Thank you.

    Feb 27, 2018
  • anon

    Sent a RA letter to TX from PA 02/10/2018 it arrived at Jamaica, NY 02/15/02018. It supposedly left there 02/24/2018 this is totally unreally, every day this is late it's cost me money.

    Feb 24, 2018
  • anon

    I received a registered package in the mail which was opened and the contents was missing I didn’t sign for this package either. I contacted my local post office and I was told that the local delivery carrier signed for it and I was given a copy of the local carrier’s signature that sign for it. So can you tell me is it legal for the local carrier to sign for a registered package addressed to me and if it’s not legal than what is the USPS going to do about this matter?

    Feb 10, 2018
  • anon

    I sent a letter registered mail from Anchorage, Alaska December 1. Today is December 11 and it has still not made it to Greensboro, North Carolina. It spent 5 days waiting to leave Alaska, and it has spent the last 2 days in transit from Atlanta, Georgia. I sent this letter registered mail for a reason, and I do not appreciate the sloppy way my mail has been treated. Maybe tomorrow, it will get there, but I doubt it.

    Dec 11, 2017
  • anon

    Registered mail ..l attempted to pick up package.. under my wife's name and was turned away..l had the slip of paper with the package number on it???

    Oct 25, 2017
  • anon

    I sent a registered mail from Cortez, Colorado to Orem, Utah. why did it go to NM first, back to Denver, CO and has now been on the road for 3 days and is still not in Utah.

    Sep 08, 2017
  • anon

    Wow. Deanna Rosenfled, I just experienced the same thing this week with my registered mail. Thank you for sharing.

    Sep 05, 2017
  • anon

    I sent six registered return receipt requested (hard copy) forms PS3806 and PS3811 from the Hicksville Post Office NY. I did not get back two of the physical green cards form PS3811. Proper payment was made and appropriate indication of service requested on PS Form 3806. (registered Mail and return receipt hard copy) I looked up both mailings on the service and there was no tracking history unlike the other four. the display stated "Return Receipt Associated" I went down to the PO to speak to a supervisor to find out where the green cards are?He said "I don't know things happen." He printed out a image of a scanned signature associated with the documentation numbers on card and registered receipt, however there was no tracking history or date of delivery on his print out. The signature did not have a date hand signed for and one of them had a different delivery address shown on it. I did not write a different delivery address in "box D." Someone else put in a different address? I photocopied the green cards before I brought them into the post Office. He offered a refund however I did not accept the offer, I am unsatisfied the integrity of the physical green card and recording system was compromised as there is no hard copy proof of when the recipient signed for the mail. Further the mailings were initiated July 21, 2017 but shown being delivered 8/7/17 and 8/9/17 respectively. I think they both were rerouted by someone filing in box D to possibly delay delivery. So in absence of a green cards there is no physical proof to validate the recording of delivered time with a wet ink signature. Two of the four cards that were returned to me were flawed, One had the right side torn off so the complete barcode could not be read and had no PO District Date stamp. Another card was intact, but no stamped PO District date was placed on it. In summary the mailing process was compromised. Will someone in the Postal Service make an oath under penalty or perjury as a public officer as to the dates of delivery and who signed?

    Aug 16, 2017
  • anon

    I sent money "Certified" mail to a place in New York, I contacted them, got no response, I contacted USPS, got NO response, I have no clue who to contact next. Maybe "Dateline"???? So they can do a "Investigative follow-up"?? You took my money for the Certified letter, but there's NO PLACE to back it up at!

    Aug 14, 2017
  • anon

    Yes you should contact someone. I work for the post office and if enough time goes by they will not give you a second thought. I would start at the retail office first just to get an insight, help may come from them. If not, ask for the postmaster or plant managers number, then district etc. This is unethical and we, the regular employees, do not tolerate this. We love to service our customers in any way possible.

    Nov 24, 2017
  • anon

    Reading hundreds of online complaints about the Jamaica NY facility and lost/stolen packages there, it is obviously a hot spot for insider theft by those postal workers. My Reg Mail-Priority mail package has shown as at the Jamaica facility for 48 hours now. No one can give me an update. It has likely been pilfered, and it is Registered Mail (which is supposed to be the highest security USPS can offer). And No one answers the phone number for the Registered Mail office at the Jamaica Facility (718-553-7393). USPS simply is a broken entity. Use FEDEX or UPS for anything you value. Do not use USPS for anything you value.

    Aug 02, 2017
  • anon

    On the web site it keeps saying date of delivery will be a date last week. Cmon, I wouldn't call that keeping track of my letter

    Jul 27, 2017
  • anon

    How about documenting the training

    Jul 26, 2017