How to Return a Package via USPS

Today, we’ll look at how to return a USPS package, what a parcel return is, and how it works. Let us dive right in.

To return a USPS package to the sender, all you have to do is write the appropriate descriptions for return on the parcel (“Refused,” “Not At This Address,” “Return to Sender”). Without opening it, of course. A case of opened packages may cause payment for fresh postage. 

How to Return Mails and Packages with USPS 

There are several reasons why a recipient would want to send a return mail to the sender. 

This section will discuss circumstances that may prompt a recipient to send a return mail to its sender. 

Also, we’ll go through the steps you need to take to ensure that the return mail is successfully sent back to its initial sender. 

Wrong Address Mails and Packages

Wrong addresses are a normal thing to happen. It could be the mistake of your delivery person. But not to worry, here’s how to return such packages;

  • Put The Mail Back in The Mailbox

Once you notice that the mail you got has the wrong postal address on it, be sure to put the mail back inside the mailbox. 

Also, ensure that the red flag indicates to the mail carrier that outgoing mail is waiting to be picked up.

  • Give The Mail to The Delivery Person

For persons who do not wish to leave the mailpiece inside their mailboxes, you can also pass it directly to the delivery person the next day. Or any day at all you meet the mail carrier.

NOTE! Ensure you do not write anything on the envelope or package that was misdelivered to your address. Writing on the mail piece could disrupt the delivery process. 

Right Address to Wrong Recipient

In this case, the supposed recipient, who has moved to a new place not quite long, has their mails addressed to old residents. 

The address on the envelope is accurate, but the addressee no longer resides at the address. 

You can follow these few steps to stop such mails and return already sent mails;

  • Write “Not At This Address” On The Mailpiece

When you receive such mail or packages, be sure that the first thing you do is to write “Not At This Address” on the envelope.

At this point, do not write “Return to Sender” on the envelope; that is not the right wording to use in the situation. The same step applies to parcels and packages.

Also, be sure that any barcodes on the mail are defaced. Failure to do so may land that mail at your address again.  

  • Return Mail to Carrier

This is arguably the best option to choose. If you receive mail addressed to someone else (an old resident in this case) at home, you can hand back the envelope or package immediately to avoid any confusion about sending a return mail. 

Make sure that you clearly explain that the addressee no longer lives there. 

However, you will still have to complete the first step, which is to write “Not At This Address” on the envelope before giving it back to the delivery person. 

  • Use a USPS Mail Collection Box

If you cannot give back the mail to the delivery person or use a mailbox, it is good to use a USPS Mail Collection Box. Ensure to write “Not At This Address” and put the mail inside the collection box. 

A staff of the local Post Office will come and collect the mail.

If you have a problem finding a Mail Collection Box, you can use the “Find Locations” page on the USPS website. 

Mail You do Not Wish to Receive

Now, you may receive mail that you do not want or wish to keep. You want it returned to the sender. That’s alright! Below are some steps to take in this situation;

  • Write “Refused” On The Mailpiece

You have every right, as the recipient, to refuse any mail sent to you. To return such mail, write “Refused” and give it back to the mail carrier as soon as possible.

You must not open any mail that you intend to return. 

Do not open it in an attempt to “carefully reseal it back.” That won’t work. Understand that the mail is to be intact at all times. When you open the mail, it is no longer returnable.

What is Parcel Return Service and How Does it Work?

Parcel Return Service (PRS) is a USPS Return Service option that allows consumers to return merchandise to merchants without postage payment. It is dedicated to shippers with a high volume of returns. 

This service benefits merchants by providing an affordable return method so that they can, in turn, offer a free return to their customers.

The Features of Parcel Return Service Include;

  • Affixation of the label and drop off parcels at any Postal Service facility by:
  • Giving it to a mail person
  • Placing it in a Collection Box
  • Dropping off in any location designated by the Postal Service for the receipt of mail
  • Scheduling a Package Pickup
  • Usage of barcode numbers by consumers to confirm when a merchant has gotten a package.
  • Certificate of Mailing: this is the only other service that consumers can buy when they drop their packages at a Post Office.
  • Merchants can monitor and know the status and progress of returned parcels electronically. 

The service is a low-cost return service for merchants, and it offers a quicker return to them.

How This Service is Used

To use the Parcel Return Service (PRS), whether as a merchant (agent) or consumer(customer), you have to do the following;

  • Become a Participant

A merchant or agent who wishes to participate can contact a USPS Returns specialist or visit the USPS website for more information.

  • Affix the Parcel Return Service label with the postage

When a Parcel Return Services (PRS) label is used on a package, the Postal Service charges the merchant the appropriate PRS price, regardless of any additional postage that may have been applied to the package.

This is so because the merchant is already paying for the postage. So, there is no need to affix postage to the parcel.

Participating merchants will be able to schedule collections at their convenience.


So far, we have learned how to return USPS packages and USPS Parcel Return Service (PRS). 

Remember, you can return USPS packages by writing the appropriate descriptions for return on the parcel. I hope this helps! 

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