What happens if you can’t deliver my mail?

If you’re not at home, we’ll attempt to deliver your item* to your neighbour and leave a card. If we can’t deliver to them, we’ll leave a card and take the item back to the Customer Service Point. You can then either collect it or arrange a Redelivery (full details will be on the card).

 

There are some items we won't leave with a neighbour:

  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed® items
  • Items from overseas which require a signature
  • Items sent using our ID verification service which must be delivered to the named individual
  • Items sent using our Age verification service if you neighbour appears to be under 25 and can’t provide appropriate ID
  • Items sent using our Do Not Redirect service
  • Citations (which carry the appropriate instruction on the envelope) sent from the Scottish Courts via Royal Mail Signed For®

For these items we'll leave you a red 'Something for you' card and take the item back to the Customer Service Point. You can then either collect it or arrange a Redelivery (full details will be on the card).

 

If we can’t deliver your mail or you don’t collect it, we hold on to mail at the Customer Service Point for 18 days (if we weren’t able to deliver it to you/not enough postage was paid) or 21 days (if a customs charge needs to be paid).*

After this time, we’ll see if there’s a return address on the item. If there is, we’ll return it to the sender by the same service used to send it. After at least 19 days you can contact the sender to find out if they’ve received the item.

 

What happens to undelivered mail?

If there's no return address or franking mark on the item, we’ll send it to the National Returns Centre (NRC). We'll then open the item to try and find a sender's address. If we do, and the contents aren’t newspapers, magazines or advertising materials, we’ll then return it to the sender.

If we can’t find a return address, items may be held for one month (depending on item type and/or value) pending a customer enquiry.

Items not claimed within one month will be disposed of. This includes items containing vouchers/gift cards.

Any passports sent to the NRC or found loose in our network, will be sent on to the HM Passport Office. In the case of foreign passports, we'll send these on to the UK-based embassy via Special Delivery.

Find out what are the circumstances when we can’t deliver
More information about what happens with mail returned to sender.

 

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