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USPS Ends What It Calls ‘Redundant’ Proof-of-Delivery Service

USPS Ends What It Calls Redundant Proof-of-Delivery Service

The US Postal Service is eliminating the “Return Receipt for Merchandise” service designed to help merchants prove that they mailed orders to customers and that those orders were delivered.

The USPS called the service redundant and said its termination would reduce customer confusion and would save the agency money by eliminating PS Form 3804 inventory and distribution costs.

The USPS had marketed Return Receipt for Merchandise as being useful for any sender who wanted to have both proof of mailing and proof of delivery. “Get proof that you sent an item and proof it was delivered,” it stated on its website.

The service cost $4.30, but it’s unclear what its appeal was for merchants since they have the option of using USPS Signature Confirmation for $3.15.

Here’s what merchants who currently use Return Receipt for Merchandise should know:

“Effective July 1, 2020, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will be eliminating Return Receipt for Merchandise service. The extra service will be eliminated from all USPS systems, software applications, publications, manuals and forms. The extra service options that are available for customers due to the elimination of Return Receipt for Merchandise are Signature Confirmation or Certified Mail with Electronic Return Receipt.”

In addition, the USPS provided the following information:

Customers in need of signatures will continue to have the following options:

  • Signature Confirmation, which is an extra service that is available for a fee of $3.15 at Retail Offices and provides the mailer with an electronic version of the signature obtained during delivery.
  • Certified Mail is the other option for customers that is available for a fee of $3.55 at Retail Offices (plus the fee for Return Receipt) and provides the sender with a mailing receipt and, upon request, electronic verification that an article was delivered or that a delivery attempt was made.

Many sellers rely simply on tracking for packages unless they are high-ticket items. The USPS recently launched a “Premium Tracking” service which, for a fee, extends the length of time that customers can access the tracking history of a domestic package – you can read more on this February 4th EcommerceBytes Newsflash article.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

5 thoughts on “USPS Ends What It Calls ‘Redundant’ Proof-of-Delivery Service”

  1. Weak. Support your UPS and FedEx workers instead. At least they SHOW UP for work.

  2. Yep, I had a package delivered by UPS today. The guy tossed it onto my front porch and scurried off like a llittle rat. What gets me is when someone uses UPS to ship an item that gets delivered by the post office. Isn’t that ironic?

    1. It’s called UPS Mail Innovations, FedEx has the same thing with FedEx Smart Post (I believe that’s what it’s called)

  3. The only thing I’ve ever used the Return Receipt service for was important documents and letters. I track all USPS packages on their site and then print the tracking history once it shows as delivered. It even specifies where the package was left (mailbox, porch, etc.). No need to pay extra for that.

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