Getting mail from the Post Office is a great feeling. Some would go as far to say that it resembles childhood anticipation on Christmas, to open up the gifts under the tree.
But, as “on time” as Santa Claus is, the USPS has a bit more to deal with than just a family of reindeer. Indeed, when you input your tracking code, you might see a note saying: forwarded, or forwarded for delivery.
What Does Forwarded For Delivery Mean?
This means that the package you were waiting for, has been sent to a new address. It will come up as a notification when you input your tracking code in the USPS website.
If this confused you even more, it’s probably a good idea to answer first what forwarding USPS mail is all about.
Whenever someone decides to move to a new address, instead of having to notify all senders they ever got mail from, of the new address, they will simply want to complete a change of address request with the USPS. This will allow for an automatic mail forwarding system to be put into place, where all packages are sent to your new location instead of your former address.
There are three types of forwarding services offered by the USPS depending on the duration of this forwarding process. You have:
- Permanent change of address. This is a permanent change of address. You have decided to move and are not looking to move back nor is this some short term stay. In order to complete this address change request, you will want to visit the official change of address part of the USPS website. You will immediately get an e-mail confirming the change that you completed online.There will be a $1.05 charge to change your address online. To complete that transaction you will need a valid credit or debit card as well as an e-mail address. Note that this charge is not them receiving compensation for the processing of your application, but rather just an identity verification to ensure they prevent fraud and that you are really the individual completing the change.If you look up “change of address” online, you will probably come across several third party private companies that try and help you complete the change of address, for a fee. You can totally disregard those as the change of address needs to take place officially from USPS, and completing such a request is a really easy process.
- Temporary change of address. As the term suggests, this is a more temporary mail forwarding application, that will allow for mail to be forwarded to another location from 15 days to 6 months. If you enter in the USPS calendar the date on which you would like to have them start forwarding mail to your new address, make sure to list a date that is not 30 days older than today and up to 3 months into the future. From the minute you complete the change of address, mail should arrive at your new address within 7 business days of either your move effective date or your file date.
On the USPS website, you will be asked to submit information around your current address. If your address happens to be a PO Box, make sure that you enter it in the Street address field. Remember that you cannot submit change of address requests for non USPS private mailboxes.
After completing the information surrounding your current address, you will be asked to fill out information about your new address you are moving to. Make sure to enter a valid address and remember that you cannot request a change of address for PMB’s.
- Premium Forwarding Service. This one is a premium feature of the USPS where they hold your mail and ship it weekly to you using priority mail services. The advantage of a premium forwarding services (over your non premium options) is the flexibility and control you get with respect to when and where you receive mail. For example you may want to change the forwarding location while you relocate or you may want to get all business mail in a particular address. A premium forwarding service will grant you that flexibility for a one time fee and a weekly shipment fee.
To read through a full breakdown & further details of each service, click here.
Why Was Your USPS Item Forwarded To A Different Address?
If the USPS sent mail to the wrong address, usually this is either due to a wrong postal code, or a recent change of address with the USPS.
- You put the wrong address on your USPS package. This is by far the most common mistake people make. Think of all the common street names that exist throughout the United States and the possibility of changing just a few numbers, and having your package sent across the other side of the country. Always double check the address that has been added to the package prior to ordering it. Also make sure to make your handwriting clear for the mailman to make out the address listed on the envelope. This will help you avoid having the package delivered to the wrong address.
- You recently completed a change of address. To understand this, you first need to understand how USPS change of address works. If you do not recall having completed a change of address, you will want to double check with your family members in case there was a request made. If you do recall and that happened while you were in the process of moving, just be patient; it will soon be forwarded from your old address to your new one. And just in case, you can always give the Post Office a call to double check that everything is alright. Just make sure to have your tracking number with you, when referencing the case.
What Happens If A Package Is Delivered To The Wrong Address?
You will have to wait for the person that received the package to report the error on their end. If they decided to reach out to the USPS, then the post office will go and pick it up for you. You will find it in the Mail Recovery Center, in the lost and found department.
Most frequent issues come up with people listing the wrong zip code on their envelope, as a result having the package going to the wrong address. That in return just causes a series of communication hurdles between you, the USPS and the random stranger you decided to send this “Christmas present” to.
It all boils down to how honest the other recipient of your mail is, in claiming arrival of your package. In that case, the USPS will easily be able to schedule a pickup in order to be able to get your package back. But in the case where the recipient claims to have not received any package (yet you are convinced it got there & the tracking number suggests that,) then you will need to both (you & stranger) open up a lost package case.
An extensive process will follow through with a series of reviews that will take up more time you can imagine. So it will probably be best to make sure that you do not make this zip code mistake, in the first place.
A Better Alternative For Mail Forwarding
Considering the admittedly bureaucratic nature of mail forwarding completed with the USPS, several services have designed a mail forwarding solution that goes above & beyond what you would get from good o’l Uncle Sam’s Postal Service.
That is a digital view of all incoming mail, before it is even forwarded to your location. Think of it as Gmail containing all your snail mail and you being able to select what items you want specifically forwarded to you while keeping everything else digitally stored. Not only do you get to receive all mail digitally, but you also have unlimited storage space for up to 6 months. Which means you can kind of “leave it & forget it” without needing to check it every week (like you normally would with a physical mailbox or else it overflows.)
Virtual mailboxes also tend to be cheaper than a typical PO box. That is because since everything is stored online, you are not footed the leasing expenses a post office facility would have. So your monthly plan ends up being a lot less.
Several other advantages of having mail forwarding done digitally, is that considering you handle it online it takes away from all the paper mess, loss of envelopes & chaotic storage and keeping track of all your snail mail. Additionally, there are some features (such as check deposit or mail shredding) that will allow you to remotely deposit a bank check without needing to visit a bank and shred any mail that contains sensitive information.
More & more people have been flocking to such alternative mail forwarding solutions, considering that they can label the files online (just like Gmail,) and even store them to your Dropbox or Google Drive for future reference. As an example of where this would be applicable, say you need to reference your tax notices from last year’s third quarter, you can easily do so; just sort by date or label and you’re good to go.
There is no alternative to submitting your address properly the first time. Doing so will help you save a lot of time and money.
If you are looking for something digital & more streamlined, you may want to consider the use of mail forwarding with a virtual mailbox. Digitizing your mail can be the best decision you’ve made yet, in staying on top of a ton of paper.
For any questions, you can contact us here.
Or visit US Global Mail.