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Can the USPS Free Delivery Confirmation Service be Used in Lieu of Certified Mail as a USPS Record of Proof of Delivery?

By: Peter Wade
Tel: (305) 420-5907
Email Mr. Wade

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Recently I have had several firms ask me if they could use USPS Form 152 instead of the more costly Certified Mail most commonly used to provide proof of receipt. The short answer is no.

USPS regulations state (USPS.Gov):
"Do you need to verify when your parcel was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made? Use Delivery Confirmation service.

Delivery Confirmation™ service lets you find out the date and time your First-Class Mail parcel, Priority Mail item, or Package Services parcel was delivered or, if delivery was attempted but not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt.

This is all you need to do:

  • Complete PS Form 152.
  • Affix the barcoded label to your First-Class Mail parcel, Priority Mail item, or Package Services (Parcel Post®, Media Mail®, Library Mail, or Bound Printed Matter) parcel.
  • Have your PS Form 152 receipt postmarked for proof the item was mailed."

This service does not apply to First Class letters

At this writing, (April 2015) the cost of Certified Mail service is $3.30 per item Certified. The basic cost of a First Class letter is .49. Therefore, the total cost (before considering any pre-sort discounts which might be available) to mail a one ounce Certified Mail letter is $3.79. The minimum cost to mail a First Class parcel is $5.05. So technically this service would be available but the cost would be about one-third more than using Certified Mail. Additionally, a signed receipt for a Certified mail item has long been recognized in legal venues as valid proof of notice. While a case that PS Form 152 also provides such proof can certainly be proposed, it is unclear what advantage any mailer would have by availing themselves of the more expensive similar service.

Peter Wade, was employed by the USPS for 32 years. He served in supervisory and administrative positions with the U S Postal Inspection Service in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco, and San Juan. He was also the Postmaster of San Juan PR and Field Division General Manager for the USPS Caribbean District responsible for providing postal services to 4 million customers and supervising 3000 USPS employees.

Mr. Wade has been a consultant and expert witness in postal related matters for 19 years. He has advised on numerous postal matters, including the merging of two independent postal services in Argentina. He has offered efficiency improvement and security advice to many business clients of the USPS. He has provided testimony in both civil and criminal proceedings in postal related litigation.

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