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Topic: Receiving Mail for Past Resident

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Subject: Receiving Mail for Past Resident
Date Posted: 5/10/2012 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2007
Posts: 123
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We bought this house 3 years ago.  I happen to know that the house also sat empty for at least a year before we purchased it.  Since we moved in, we've been getting mail for a guy that used to live here.  It's addressed to him, at our address.  It's not advertising, nor does it say "Or current resident", etc.  Some of it looks quite official.  We've been told by our postal carrier that we should simply write "Wrong address" and put it back in the mailbox.  Well, we've been doing that for 3 years!  Nothing changes - we get at least one piece of mail for this guy every week, sometimes more often.  We don't know him, nor do we know what ever happened to him.  Is there something else we should be doing?  It gets quite annoying to have to keep returning his mail, and I also worry that it's not making it to him, wherever he might be.  Any advice?  (I tried to ask this question on usps.com.  One of the questions they ask is when the problem started happening.  It won't let me submit the question because it says the problem can't have begun before 5/11/11....huh?)

Date Posted: 5/10/2012 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Look at the postage area of the letters first. Is it presort standard or anything besides "first class" if so, it will not go back if you write on it. You can just throw it away. If it IS first class, write no longer at this address on it. That way when they get it back they know it got to the correct address, instead of being delivered to the "wrong address" tape some kind of note to the inside of your box, where the carrier can see it when making a delivery. Write something like: Obama, Barack and Michelle 1600 penn ave Clinton, Bill and Hillary no longer live here It gives the carrier and subs a way to check instead of relying on memory. A Change of address is in effect for 18 months after a move, then it drops off, so there is no record for the carrier to check after the 18 months.
Date Posted: 5/11/2012 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2007
Posts: 123
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Hmm, I haven't been checking and have just been sending everything back.  I checked the one we received yesterday and it's presort standard.  So it's ok to toss this?  I have this fear of throwing out mail, always having been told that it's a federal offense.  But if it doesn't get returned when I put it in the box, I'll save myself the effort, I guess.  (Any idea where it does go when I put it back in the box?  Does the PO just toss it?)  Thanks for this info.  I wish our mail carrier had told us about that when we first asked.

Date Posted: 5/11/2012 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Brandy said yes

First Class mail marked as 'no longer at this address, return to sender' will be returned.  The cheap/bulk rates are probably tossed at your branch, those are not forwarded or returned.

Date Posted: 5/11/2012 9:53 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,470
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I have been in my house for 9 tears and I still get mail for two previous owners. I just toss it since it's usually junk. At work we get mail for a previous business that occupied our building even after 10 years. The companies doing mass mailing don't update their lists. I think you can call them and explain what's happening and they might do something ; I know it works for catalogs but not so much for other junk.
Date Posted: 5/11/2012 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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unless it is first class, or endorsed with "return service requested" it wil be thrown away at the post office. The carrier puts it in a bin called UBBM-undeliverable bulk business mail. then the postmaster or a clerk goes through the bin to double check that it isn't first class or endorsed. After the check, it is thrown away. 

You can safely throw away presort standard mail. or you can write no longer at this address on it and let the carrier throw it away. 

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2009
Posts: 621
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Grandpa died in 1971 and Mom and Dad bought the house in 1977 from Grandma.  Grandpa still gets mail here.  So does Grandma who died in 1980.

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 10:54 AM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2007
Posts: 123
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Wow, thanks everyone!  I guess this means we'll be getting this man's mail for a long time to come!  I definitely learned something, though, and will be tossing any of the presort standard and non-first class stuff.  Thanks again - I knew I could get some good information from this forum.

Date Posted: 5/17/2012 6:03 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2007
Posts: 123
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Ugh, got two things in the mail from "repeat offenders" - meaning I get these two at least once per month.  Both are first class showing postage of 00.37.  Both say "Forwarding Service Requested."  I've been returning these for three years now.  I suppose I will continue to do so!  They look like bills from collections agencies.  Maybe it's their policy to just keep sending to the last address on file if they don't have an updated address for the person?



Last Edited on: 5/17/12 6:03 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Mail from previous owners
Date Posted: 5/27/2012 2:55 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,428
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I have lived here since 1985.it is a duplex and occasionally I get mail in he other mailbox for the person that was there 7-10 years ago. I have pitched it-bit i do know where the person works and it was really important, I would drop it off for her.

The hubby died 5 years ago and I still get mail for him. We get a chuckle out of it. Got an ad for hearing aids, addressed to him..'dad doesn't need these any more"..

Date Posted: 6/27/2012 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,724
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Yeah, that collection agency stuff could be because the guy is still giving out his old address to avoid anything reaching him.  2 years ago we moved here and I was given a recycled phone number by Verizon--the lady must have been getting a divorce and abandoned her house. I sometimes got 6 calls a day for her, including from close relatives!  I heard from her kids' school, dentist, bank, mortgage lender, and a variety of collection agencies.  I got to know some quite personal things from very frustrated people (who, by the way, were violating the privacy act).

Some of the relatives still call me on holidays!  One of them has kept up a "friendly" habit of texting me holiday greetings after chatting with me several times the first year! They were quite impressed when I started texting back greetings in Spanish (their first language).

And apparently she has recently given out the number again because the calls have started again!