We’ve all gotten them — those handy return envelopes that say, “No Postage Necessary if Mailed in the United States.” Sometimes they’re included with a bill. Sometimes they’re included in a solicitation for donations. In the latter case, there’s often a note that says if you affix a stamp, you’ll be helping the organization. But did you ever wonder how exactly putting a stamp on the return envelope results in more money for the organization?

The answer is the organization, which pays the U.S. Postal Service for “No Postage Necessary” envelopes before the mailing, can submit the ones with stamps and ask for a refund. The Postal Service assesses the amount of the refund and then destroys the envelope.

The timely processing of refunds was the topic of a recent audit. We looked at the Washington, D.C., Main Office Window (MOW), the postal facility which processes the most refunds of this type in the nation. We found 26 percent of refunds over $1,000 took longer than the Postal Service’s policy of processing within 60 days from submission. 

Why did it take so long? It all comes down to timely — or in this case, untimely — destruction. This MOW doesn’t have its own industrial shredder and relies on the Government Mail Annex to destroy mail pieces and complete the pertinent form before issuing the refund.

The Postal Service said it isn’t feasible at this time to install an industrial shredder at the D.C. MOW, but it will take other steps, such as managing and logging dispatches better, to increase timeliness of refunds.

Have you ever had to request a refund from the Postal Service? If so, was it processed in a timely manner? 

Comments (4)

  • anon

    I would like to be able to forward phishing emails which use the USPS logo and information especially regarding fees for redelivery of mail. My local postmaster tells me these are reportable, but I have not been able to find an address on the USPS or USPIS site to forward suspicious emails.

    Mar 12, 2021
  • anon

    That is because the money was stolen it was a gimmick a scam they use my credentials to do it they use my business license that I had sent in PayPal they're going it's going to a whole another country it's a scam we stopped as much mail as we could stop and turn it over to the proper authorities this morning it's a scam scam scam alert scam stop sending anything to that organization it's a front to steal money stop and I haven't gotten one penny not one penny out of anything that was going through me not one penny

    Feb 26, 2021
  • anon

    Please something needs to be done

    Feb 18, 2021
  • anon

    I've never had to request a refund.

    Feb 17, 2021