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Can the mailman legally deliver mail to a person that does not live at the stated address?
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Can the mailman legally deliver mail to a person that does not live at the stated address?


Postal Professor
Most of the above answers are incorrect in one way or another.

When I get a piece of mail for an address and the name is unfamiliar to me...
The US Postal Service has stickers that read something to the effect of... delivery is being attempted for this address. If this person does not live here return this letter to your mailbox without writing on it.
If the person lives there then I know to deliver any additional mail to them at the address. If it is in the mailbox the next day, then I know that the person does not receive mail at the address. Any mail that I receive for that person at that address will be sent back as 'addressee unknown"

The regular carrier on a route always checks the name and address on the mail. We do not deliver mail 'blindly'. If the mail is delivered to the address by a substitute carrier there may be a different result. The best way for you to help in the proper delivery of mail is to list the last names of people receiving mail on your mailbox. In this way all carriers will know for certain who accepts mail at the address.


The post office is directed to deliver mail to the address listed on the envelope/parcel. The name of the addressee is inconsequential to the proper delivery of the article to the address as listed on the article.

Yes, he delivers to the address.

Now, it's not legal for someone else to open it, though, even if it's misaddressed.

Barry C
Of course.

How would you practically prevent that without the cost of postage going up 10,000 fold so everyone can verify an address every day to see who lives there?

HRH Princess Deb
My experience has been that they only look at the address, not the name. I've had my same PO Box for about 7 years and I still get stuff for the previous people.

p h
Yes. But if they are not there, the person who is there can write moved, left no forwarding address on it and send it back.

Yes they can. It is their duty to deliver the mail to wherever it was mailed. They can't be asked to know who lives where.

yes, he does not have to know who actually lives there, if there is no change of address submitted. His job is to DELIVER, not discern whether somebody lives there, or not.

Phil M
They deliver mail where its addressed, and they will only forward it to a different address if properly notified.

Its not illegal for them to unknowingly deliver mail to an address you no longer lived at and didn't tell them about.

Usually they deliver it to the addressed mailbox.


sean m

Yes. They do it all the time. People move and don't give forwarding addresses or the mail man makes a mistake once and a while. Just give it back to him/her and tell them the person doesn't live there or put it back in the mailbox with the flag up and write on it "Doesn't live here"

Yes, The mail man delivers to the address not the person.

Yes, just put the name of the householder and by the name put c/o [in care of] Then the name of the one you want to receive the mail.

Andrew Wiggin
Postal carriers are charged with getting the MAIL to the ADDRESS. Whether the mail is correctly identified with the right name is completely inconsequential to the postal carrier.

(I got my TV Guide delivered for years to "King Kong" at my home address. I did this for the purpose of seeing how many credit card offers were delivered for Mr. King Kong"

Nobody wants to live in a world where the postal carrier has to confirm your identity before handing you your mail.... That would be a bad-bad process to have to live with.

since the new homeland security issues have been in place,if the post office has received proof of identity they may deliver 1st class mail to anyone that is identified as being at said address.If someone sends something to someone staying at a certain address (in care of) that is acceptable.If the addressee is not known it should be returned to sender.If they used to live there the only things allowed through would be something that has their name/current resident (or in other words standard not 1st class mail)

they don't look at the name, only the address...we get mail for other people who lived at this address all the time...we just stick it back in the mailbox with the name circled and "no longer living at this address" written on it...there is no law against it, they have to deliver the mail no matter whose name is on it

Yes, if it is addressed to that address it doesn't matter what name is on the mail.

axelsteel m
no think of the consequences say like the mail he was delivering to the wrong person was bank statements then that person who has recieved the mail could hav access to major amounts of money so not good.

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