From the United States Postal Service website: http://faq.usps.com
Reporting/Returning misdelivered mail
Despite our best efforts, occasionally mail is mis-delivered, or is delivered to an old location for an individual. If you are receiving mail for the previous resident and do not know their address, simply return the mail piece back to the mailstream (by leaving in a Collection Box® or other mail receptacle) with the notation "Not at this address" marked on the envelope.
Important: If the misdelivered item meets any of the following criteria
- The Express Mail service item,
- An unknown applicant submits proper ID.
- The applicant provides a verifiable point of contact (e.g., place of employment, shelter, charitable institution, or social services office).
- Please contact the Delivery Supervisor at your local Post Office facilityand from another web site:For other misdelivered mail items (such as letters):
If the mailpiece is delivered to the wrong location:
Don't erase or mark over the information, or write any type of endorsement on the mailpiece.
Place the item back in the mailbox or hand the item back to your mailperson.
If the mailpiece is delivered to the correct location but the recipient on the mailpiece does not reside at the address:
-Write"Not at this address" on mailpiece.
-Don't erase or mark over the address.
-Provide the mailpiece to your mailperson or drop into a Collection Box receptacle.
Destroying mail that was not intended for you may be prohibited by US laws.
Willfully destroying mail is an act that may be punishable by the Federal Government.
If you have any questions about the legality of doing this, please contact your local law enforcement.
There is a common misconception that it is illegal to open mail addressed to someone else that has been delivered to you. There is no federal statute that prevents you from opening mail not addressed to you once it has been delivered by the Postal Service. If you take something that was in the mail you might violate a state law against stealing. If you use information contained in the mail for a wrongful purpose like identity theft, you are breaking state and federal law, but opening the mail is not illegal in itself.
I would imagine if it was a serious piece of mail, such as estate documents, the sender would pay extra for tracking or insurance. Or just not mess with the USPS and FedEx it .
From Australia Post Website
Pretty sure they don't have the resources to record who lives where, they just sort and deliver.If you receive mail that is addressed to your address but it is not for you or anyone who uses the address, please mark it as "return to sender - unknown at this address". Place the item in a red street posting box or hand it to staff at any Australia Post retail outlet for return.
The ancient Egyptians worshipped cats as gods, and the cats have never forgotten.
Hubby and I are frequently annoyed by this, as the people who lived in our house before owed half of the western world money. We even get bill collectors and repo men knocking on our doors at strange hours.
Talks with the mail delivery person did not work, as he said, "it's not my problem. You should talk to the people who used to live here." For a while we called the companies and told them that they were wasting their time and money sending the mail to this address. However, that did not work in most cases. We were questioned to death about where they were. Finally we started a weekly trip to the post office and hand delivered the stacks of bills, letters, and cards to the manager on duty. After three years of living in this house, it has finally calmed down some.
However, we still get the wrong mail frequently. We often get the mail for the house on the street next to us with the same house number. At least we have a new friend now though, as the man and woman who live there are very nice on our weekly visits to exchange mail.
Around the time that we had lived in this house for 15 years, we got a letter addressed to the previous owner. We could tell by the return address that it was for their 50th high school reunion. Of course the forwarding address information expired 14 or so years before. I did just send it back - RTS.
On the other hand, apparently at my 35th class reunion I was determined to be unknown address and did someone know where I was. This was so funny because 1) we live at the same house that I had since our 5th year reunion and they found me every other time, 2) we have had the same land line phone number for 30+ years and easily found, 3) my parents still live in the same house as they did all my growing up years, 4) they have the same land line number for all those years and 5) who in the world doesn't use the internet to find people these days?
It is daunting. When you lose someone you love and have to take on executing the estate and putting your loved ones affairs in order. It is a full time job, which is filled with government roadblocks. Like we're not suffering enough .
Just went through this when my mother passed away last year - actually still going through some of it. Definitely the job you never want. I had the added hassle of instantaneously also taking over Mom's power of attorney and day to day care for my father. I was lucky in that we all shared a financial advisor, who not only guided me through the change of investment ownership, but also gave me a list of other things I would need to be taking care of along with a suggested time line. That was so helpful as really you live on autopilot when these things happen and it doesn't take much to make you feel overwhelmed.