It is illegal to put non-stamped items into a mailbox

January 23, 2018

If you’ve ever casually stuck an envelope or flier into a home mailbox, you might be surprised to learn it’s illegal to do so if you haven’t attached any postage to the item.

“Though many may be unaware, it is important to know that this type of activity is illegal by federal law,” the U.S. Postal Service stated in a press release. Putting advertising in mailboxes “may seem to be an easy way to advertise, but only U.S. Mail delivered by authorized personnel may be placed in mailboxes.”

“USPS takes misuse of mail receptacles very seriously. If customers find something other than mail – no postage attached – in their mailbox … they should report it to their local Post Office,” said Liz Davis, spokeswoman for the Phoenix division of the U.S. Postal Investigation Service.

“Typically, the Post Office will issue a letter to the offender, educating them on the use of mail receptacles and request them to stop such actions or face being fined. In most cases, this does stop the behavior, as many are not educated in the matter.”

The U.S. Postal Investigation Service is the law enforcement arm of the Postal Service.

Davis said that if education doesn’t work, and misuse of the mail receptacles continues, her agency can contact the U.S. Secret Service for prosecution.

“It is considered a petty offense (for) which, if convicted, the offender would face a fine. The maximum fine for a petty offense infraction by an individual is up to $5,000. The maximum fine for an organization is up to $10,000,” Davis said.

In the news release, the U.S. Postal Service said that it “recognizes customers may place non-mail items into mailboxes as a convenient way of ‘dropping something off,’ but those items may cause a smaller mailbox to become full. When a mailbox is full, Postal Service regulations say the letter carrier cannot place mail in the box.”



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Tracy Sheffield Carter


Robert Fulbright

City services, neighborhood parties, utility companies, restaurants, HOA newsletters, it’s endless.

Betty Nixon

Use to put money in the mail box to get stamps

Jacob Ibarra

People still do

Deb Davis Miller

And that is fine.

Katie Usalis

items placed in mailbox should only be meant for addressees and mail carriers. If you are putting money in the mailbox for your mail carrier to take that is fine. However, if you are putting money in for your friend, relative, etc. to take that is not acceptable without being in a sealed envelope bearing postage.

April Brown Graham

People do it all the time. Christmas cards from the neighbors. Companies advertising etc. we pull them out and our PM calls them to tell them of the rules.

Ryan Reed

I used to get pissed but I realize its not worth it. Kids birthday invitations, neighbor cards, checks…

Helga Dech Espadas

process server leaving a summons in the mailbox without a stamp or envelope.


If a process Server does that then “You haven’t been served”. He or she is not doing their job correctly.

Jacob Ibarra

No it’s not. But don’t be surprised if it comes back to you for postage due.

Stacey Taft

I think one of the first things to learn, is to pick your battles….I know carriers who would pull 600 papers out of boxes to prove a point, and others who let the same non-stamped letter go in a box month after month. Know when to put your foot down, and when to save your energy (and sanity) ?

Linda Jean

Save your job. Free mailings don’t fund your paycheck.

Joe Nalley

or do like amazon,,throw the mail on the ground and put their box in the mailbox

Sheila Waldrip

Or taped to the outside or stuck under the flag, or stuck in the door or handle. If it hasn’t got postage it’s going back to the office and they can deal with it from there

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