USPS Delivered to Wrong Address: Why and What to Do?

Ronald M. Bieber
Have you received the wrong USPS package, or is your USPS package delivered to the wrong address by mistake? Dive into this article to uncover the reasons and solutions. Mistakes happen, and here's why.

USPS ranks among the best and most reliable package and mail carriers in the US. However, like any other professional firm, it still makes mistakes.

There comes a time when USPS might misread your address, or they might load your package in a hurry and then, by no means, deliver it to the wrong address. That often happens, especially considering their busy schedule and the number of packages they have to beat the deadline.

However, when you receive the wrong package and throw it away, it is illegal since there are some special practices you need to follow. If you want to know more about USPS delivered to the wrong address, read and let us go through what we have just discovered online.

Table Of Contents

USPS Delivered to the Wrong Address: What Should You Do?

If USPS delivers a package to the wrong address, several steps can be taken to attempt to recover the package:

1. Track the Package: Use the tracking number to check the status of the package. If it shows as delivered but hasn't been received, it may have been delivered to the wrong address.

2. Contact USPS: Reach out to USPS as soon as possible to report the issue. You can submit a help request form online, call 1-800-ASK-USPS, or visit your local post office to speak with a station manager.

3. GPS Information: USPS keeps GPS information for every package they deliver. You can request the GPS coordinates of where the package was delivered to help locate it.

4. Postal Inspectors: If the package is valuable and you suspect it was stolen or if you have evidence of misdelivery, you can contact the USPS Postal Inspectors, who are responsible for handling mail theft and other serious issues related to mail delivery.

5. Package Intercept: If the package is still in transit or not yet delivered, you may be able to use USPS Package Intercept to stop the delivery or redirect the package to the correct address, though this service comes with a fee and certain conditions.

6. File a Claim: If the package was insured, you can file a claim with USPS for the lost or misdelivered package. The claim should be filed within the specified time and include proof of insurance, value, and damage if applicable.

7. Check with Neighbors: Sometimes packages are delivered to a nearby address by mistake. It may be helpful to check with neighbors to see if they received the package by accident.

USPS Delivered to the Wrong Address: What Will USPS Do?

If USPS has delivered the package to the wrong address, then it is their responsibility to direct the incorrect recipient on what to do. Typically, USPS instructs the incorrect recipients to put the package or misdelivered mail pieces back in place, or sometimes, they need them to hand them over to the mail carrier. If any is within the next day, they will deliver it again. Therefore, the USPS considers it illegal when you receive the wrong mail and decide to open, trash, or destroy it.

As our dedicated reader, you may wonder what else you can do or the possible causes of the USPS delivering to the wrong address. If you want to learn how to recover a package delivered to the wrong address, keep reading the article until the end and find more details.

Delivered Package to the Right Address, but Recipient No Longer Lives There

There comes a time when USPS also delivers the package to the correct address, but the target recipient no longer lives in the same place. The company has detailed recommendations and tips on the website that guide customers on what to do when they receive mail in the residence that is not addressed to them.

In such a case, when the mailpiece is not delivered to the wrong address and not addressed to you, we recommend placing it back in the mailbox. Alternatively, you can hand it over to the carrier when they deliver next in your area.

This means you should not deface or write anything on the package. Avoid making any marks on it, as carriers will come to pick them up. When they find the piece delivered to the wrong address or not addressed to either of the people in the residence, some people also put a sticker with the incorrect address. USPS will be left with the option to resolve what is next. Equally, when your address is correct, but the package is not addressed to you, you are still advised to write Not at this address and leave it for the mail carrier to pick up. But remember that when you must, write on the envelope.

When writing in the mail, never cover the name and address section. Also, put the package back inside the mailbox or hand it over to the mail carrier if you are not in the street collection box.

Why USPS Delivers Mail to the Wrong Address?

There are countless reasons why the USPS delivers packages to the wrong address. Tracking a rogue package or package can be very annoying. Therefore, when you realize that the USPS has mistakenly sent your package or mail to the wrong address, there are many possible causes.

Remember that USPS employs professionals who operate, regulate, and carefully control the company. Here are some explanations of why USPS might deliver the package to the wrong address.

1. Using a poor handwriting

This is one of the frequent reasons why USPS might deliver a package to the wrong address. If you have messy handwriting, it becomes challenging for the mail carrier to read. The end result is sorting the package with the wrong address. With the best guess, the package will likely land with the wrong person or address. Therefore, we advise you to use clear handwriting and make all details readable. Use capital letters and make the readings clearer. Using the labels on the mailpiece or package is better to avoid such issues.

2. Smuggled address

This is another common reason why the USPS package and mail might fall into the wrong hands. Some addresses are not clear. Therefore, the smuggled mark distorts the address, making it hard to identify the numbers.

We all understand that mail delivery is a fast-paced task. Therefore, the carrier might, with a quick look, put the mail or package in the wrong mailbox. At this point, the carrier doesn't have time to think twice when you smuggle the numbers.

Therefore, you all evade this case by ensuring you write the numbers and address well. If smuggling occurs, we recommend writing the address afresh on the envelope. Many people go for printed labels; thus, smuggling is hard even when you explore the package or mail in the rain.

3. Human Error

USPS utilizes human labor to sort the packages on its premises before being transported. Thus,  we are all prone to making a human error.. because of the quick oversight, an employee might place a package or mail in the wrong place. Some packages are dropped at the wrong mailbox because of human errors. Hence, as USPS is concerned, human error occurs, resulting in delivery to the wrong address.

4. Busy schedule

USPS premises or sorting center is an ever-busy place. These guys handle thousands of emails and packages daily. Therefore, because of the busy schedule, there is a chance of making an error when the Carriere rushes to clear the delivery on the route, and they are likely to make mistakes. There is also pressure on the sorting center to achieve a target. During the holidays, it becomes even busier. They will likely deliver to the wrong address or recipient when they make a slight mistake.

5. Outdated address

This is also a common reason USPS delivers packages to the wrong address. This is especially true when the recipient has not updated their address after moving to a different place. Updating your address is the last thing you do when you relocate. The package or mail may be delivered to the old address when you have frequent mail.

Once you relocate, consider updating the address to stop missing out on your frequent dleUSPS deliveries. The fault remains with the recipient, not USPS. Make sure that upon relocating, you update the shipping and mailing addresses ASAP.

How Do You Recover Mail Sent to An Outdated Address?

If you have relocated to a different place lately, frequent emails will still be sent to the old or outdated address. There is a workaround to retrieve these emails.

When you visit the My Move website, the author insists on the benefits of updating your address when you relocate.. updating the address will only cost you $1.05, and the cost is only meant to help secure the recipient from fraud. You can easily achieve the procedure online.

If you expect a package and the set time elapses, we recommend heading to the USPS website and filing the Help request form. You will be in touch with the USPS and post office as you have alerted them to start the search for your mailpiece.

Though the outdated addresses are unrelated to the USPS's fault, we want you to remain in the same city when relocating. If you have a good reputation with your leasing manager, you can inform them and let the new tenant confirm if they have the in-quite wrongly delivered mail in their mailbox. Ensure you swing by the mailbox and checkout, where you may have failed to mention the new address for the delivery.

Note that when you receive mail or packages not addressed to you, it is illegal to open them even with an innocent intention. However, these cases are hardly prosecuted. Leave the mail alone even when delivered to the wrong address. Avoid doing anything to it, including throwing it away. Mail sent through the USPS is federally protected, so anything on it is considered a felony.

You cannot destroy someone's mail. Some people have even destroyed the flyers or marketing mail delivered to the wrong address but addressed to different people. That is so wrong. We encourage you to use the best practices discussed in the above article to help get to the hands of the right recipient. It means a lot to someone else.

How Do I Stop Someone's Mail from Being Delivered to My Address?

If you're receiving mail addressed to someone who no longer lives at your address, there are effective steps you can take to stop this from continuing. Here’s how to manage unwanted mail delivery:

1. Mark the Mail: One of the simplest actions you can take is to write "Not at this address" directly on the envelope of the mistakenly delivered mail. Once you’ve marked the mail, leave it in your mailbox. Your mail carrier will take note and return it to the post office. This informs the postal service that the recipient no longer resides at your address, prompting them to update their records.

2. Communicate with Your Mail Carrier: If the problem persists despite marking the mail, consider leaving a note for your mail carrier. Write a message such as "Recipient does not live at this address" and place it inside your mailbox or tape it visibly on the front where the mail is usually delivered. This acts as a daily reminder for the carrier and can help correct the delivery issue more persistently.

3. Contact the Sender: If you know the sender of the mail (e.g., a company or organization), contacting them directly to update their mailing list can be another effective solution. Explain that the person they are trying to reach no longer lives at your address and request that they update their records.

4. Fill Out a Form at the Post Office: You can also visit your local post office and fill out a form to officially report that the recipient does not reside at your address. This may involve filling out a form such as USPS Form 3575, which is used for changes of address but can also be used to notify the post office about a non-resident recipient.

5. Use a Mail-Blocking Service: If all else fails, some postal services offer options to block mail not addressed to actual residents of your home. This service can be particularly useful if you are receiving a large volume of mail from previous tenants.


There are many reasons USPS delivers to the wrong address at a time. In the above article, we have covered the explanations and outlined what to do with the package featuring the wrong recipient. Use the above best practices to help recipients get their mail or packages back. Ensure you update your outdated address to be safe and secure from fraud.

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