Sending certified mail with a return receipt is not compulsory because it is possible to track certified mail without a receipt. However, sending it with a return receipt proves that the package was received because it is usually signed by the receiver of the package.
If you’d like the extra assurance that sending certified mail with a return receipt brings, here’s everything you need to know below.
What is Certified Mail and Return Receipts Feature?
This service provides senders of mails or packages a proof of their mails. Senders receive a mailing receipt or an electronic verification; that is, when a mail has gotten to its destination, you’ll be notified. It is a brilliant way of tracking your mails. It adds to your peace of mind knowing that your mail is safe and validated.
The Return Receipts feature on Certified Mail provides the sender evidence of mail delivery through a postcard or an electronic mail with the recipient’s signature on it after receiving the mail.
A number of service that it offers include, a refund, proof of signatures (Return Receipt Service), record of delivery, the status of delivery, and so on.
Certified Mail service is commonly used by businesses to help assure safe and quick delivery of documents, especially time-sensitive legal documents. It is also a prominent way of mailing legal notices, as there will be proof of the recipient receiving the warning. Certified mail is all of the proof you need.
How does Certified Mail work?
Using certified mail, your mail is scanned and kept track of by the United States Postal Service tracking system, through its journey to the recipient.
When the mail is delivered, a postal worker obtains the signature of the recipient and updates the status of the mail to “delivered.”
If no one is available to receive the mail, it is dropped off at the local post office, where it can be picked up by the recipient. And, if no one comes for the mail within three to five days, it is returned to its sender.
Types of Certified Mail Service
Now, there are different types of certified mail services offered by the United States Postal Service. Knowing what each service entails helps you choose what is suitable for your mailing needs.
This service allows access to track your mail’s status online with a unique tracking number.
Certified mail with return receipts
Using this service, you get a green card (return receipt) for an additional fee. When the mail is delivered, the recipient signs on the green card before it is mailed back to sender as proof of successful delivery. This service is also available via electronic receipt.
Certified mail with return receipt and restricted delivery
Of all services, this is the strictest. In that, only the recipient can receive the mail.
How to Send Certified Mail with Return Receipts
You can either send certified mail through your local post office or send certified mail online. Here is the process to send certified mail with Return Receipts using either way.
Sending Certified Mail Through Your Post Office
Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to send certified mail through your post office:
Step 1: Go to the Post Office
Go to the post office to purchase a Certified Mail Form 3800. With the form is a white and green sticker that comes with a barcode. This is what allows the United States Postal Service to track throughout its delivery process.
Looking through the form, you’ll find a perforated receipt. It is to be kept as proof of your postage. Now, fill in the required information on the form, which includes the recipient’s name and address.
Step 2: Apply the sticker
Take the backing paper off the sticker and place the sticker at the top edge of the envelope you want to mail, directly to the right of the address. Ensure that you leave enough space for the correct number of stamps.
Step 3: Pay the right postage fee
Pay the appropriate postage for the mail delivery option you selected.
First class mail should weigh 13ounces or less.
Both first-class and priority mail can be mailed through certified mail. Priority mail service offers quick delivery, within 1-3 days.
Step 4: Determine your use of restricted delivery
The restricted delivery feature guarantees that the specified person you want receives and signs the mail. And, if you choose to go with this service, you need to sign the column on the certified mail form dedicated to this restriction.
Step 5: Use the Return Receipt service
Paying for the return receipt service provides you with a receipt having the recipient’s signature. This validates the delivery of your mail.
The receipt can be obtained:
Physically – you can get one at a local post office;
Through e-mail – it will be an electronic receipt and;
PDF – An electronic image that can be easily printed.
Just like the restricted delivery service, you have to sign the column marked for this service on the certified mail form.
Step 6: Keeping records
You are to collect all mailing documents including your stamped receipt and keep them safe. A unique number given by USPS allows you to track and confirm your mail delivery online through their website.
Sending Certified Mail Online
Here’s a simple guide on how to send certified mail online.
Step 1: Sign up
You can sign up for an account using any of the web businesses offering the USPS Certified Mail Service. You do not have to pay for an account, it is completely free. Sites charging monthly fees are a scam.
Look out for the United States Postal Service tracking and proof of delivery features.
Step 2: Prepare the letter for mailing
Write your letter out on a word processing program. Print it out and sign it.
Step 3: Scan the letter
Scan the letter with a scanner and save it on your hard drive or somewhere safe and ensure that the letter is easy to read.
Step 4: Upload the letter
Upload the letter to the site of the mailing service you choose. Your letter will then be addressed, printed, and mailed by the service you’ve chosen.
Step 5: Keep records
The Proof of mailing and delivery will be sent to you shortly afterward. You are to keep a copy of each document.