Situations when Royal Mail can’t deliver mail

We’re obliged to deliver to every UK address on every working day, but there may be some instances when we can’t deliver your mail. If you’re not home, we’ll try to deliver to your neighbour and leave a ‘Something for you’ card. See what happens to undelivered mail.

There can be a few different reasons we were unable to deliver. These are some of them:


Is the delivery address unsafe or inaccessible?

Sometimes it's not safe enough for us to deliver. For example, there might be bad weather conditions or a dangerous dog.

Check if the address is safe (or was safe when you expected delivery). If the address wasn't safe or accessible when we tried to deliver then we may treat the item as undeliverable.

Circumstances may delay or prevent delivery. For example, a major sports event or an accident or emergency may cause a temporary road closure.

In some cases we can't deliver because a property is closed and the letterbox isn’t accessible.


Is there security or controlled entry at the delivery address?

Some properties (e.g. blocks of flats) have a door entry/security system. This can mean our postperson may have had a problem getting in. Our people will take the mail back to the delivery office and try to deliver it again the next day.


Was the item sent to an address outside the UK using a service that isn’t accepted by the country it’s addressed to?

There might also be international restrictions which will result in your item not being sent. Instead it will be returned to the sender.


Was the item packaged securely?

If a letter or parcel isn’t packaged correctly, the address label can come off. We always recommend wrapping an item securely (see our guidelines) and clear addressing.


Does the recipient have their mail forwarded or held safely?

Sometimes mail is forwarded to a PO Box®, or it can be held temporarily using our Keepsafe® service. These services may mean that the recipient might not have picked up the mail yet, or it can take longer to arrive.

You can check with the recipient if they have a PO Box®, Keepsafe® or other special service set up.


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