Labelling on the letter/parcel was incorrect
Was the address readable?
If the address label came off, or if the address was impossible to read, we may not have been able to deliver the mail.
Was the address wrong or partly wrong?
Sometimes a mistake is made and the wrong address is put on the mail. To try and prevent this you can check addresses using our Address Finder tool.
If you are expecting to receive mail:
- Check with the sender what address they put on the mail
If the mail is not given back to us (for example if it's delivered to and received by a large company), people there may either try to 'return to sender' themselves or they may hand the mail back to us.
If the mail is refused because the recipient isn't there and given back to us, we'll treat it as undeliverable.
If you are sending mail:
- Contact the recipient to double check the address. If the mail had a mistake in the address, we may not have been able to deliver it.
Is there a return address on the outside?
If there's not a return address written on the outside of an item, we'll send the mail to our National Returns Centre. When it gets there, we will open it to see if there is a return address for the sender. If there is, we will return the mail to the sender by the same service it was sent.
If you haven't received an item you've been expecting and have waited at least a month. Contact the sender to see if they have received the returned mail.
Was it sent to a business address?
Mail sent to a business often goes to a post room.
- Ask the recipient to check for the mail in the post room at their business.
Has the recipient moved?
If the recipient has moved, mail may be at the address but no one there.
Alternatively, recipient may have used our Redirection service where mail gets forwarded from an old address to a new one. In this case, the mail takes a bit longer to deliver than normal.
- Please contact the intended recipient to check their current address
What happens when mail is "Undeliverable"?
Sometimes your mail is undeliverable (see above questions and answers to understand why). If you want to know what happens next please go to our undelivered page.
If you have not found the information you required, please return to our Lost Items, Parcels and Letters page.
Still haven't found what you're looking for?