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Is it illegal to place a letter or flier into somebody's mail box without going through the UPS?
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Is it illegal to place a letter or flier into somebody's mail box without going through the UPS?

The president of my neighborhood's homeowners association received a telephone call from the UPS asking her to stop distributing the newsletters in people mailbox because the UPS is losing money.

Aren't the mail boxes private property? Can't the home owners association distribute the fliers without paying for postage if we hand deliver within the neighborhood?


as previously stated
The short answer is not legally.......it is a violation of United States Postal ServiceĀ® Regulations to do so.

A quick check of www.usps.com/ yielded the following information for you:

Postal policies for curbside mailboxes

...The following are a few of the regulations that apply when installing a curbside mailbox: ...If you have a curbside mailbox, or a mailbox on the outside of your house, USPSĀ® regulations govern what can and can't be placed in them. Generally speaking, only mail that has been sent through the USPS may be placed in these types of receptacles. Conversely, USPS regulations do not govern what can be placed in a mail slot on your door. This means that if a local business wants to put a flyer in the mail slot, they can do so.


Can a a flyer/envelope be put it in someone else's mailbox without being mailed? What if a stamp was placed on it?

Postage must go through the United States Postal ServiceĀ® and be delivered for it to be valid postage and therefore acceptable in the mail receptacle. A flyer cannot be placed in a mailbox after putting a stamp on it unless the item was actually mailed.

"No part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. Any mailable matter not bearing postage and found as described above is subject to the same postage as would be paid if it were carried by mail." D041 Customer Mail Receptacles - 1.3Use for Mail


Hope this helps

You are not supposed to go into other people's mail boxes. The solution is to put it in their screen door or tape it to their door.

M v
A mail box is the property of the US Postal Service. Its against the law to put anything in it without postage on it.

Nope it's illegal

I too have been told it is illegal to place anything in the mailbox. If she doesn't want to mail the flyers maybe she could slide them inside the door a bit or under windshields.

Mailboxes are property of the US Postal Service. Only a mail carrier can leave things in it.

Philip McCrevice
No, it's illegal.

And not so much for the Post Office losing money, but I don't want you touching my mailbox and/or mail.


If it were private property, the HOA should have to get written permission from every house to use their personal property.

Yes, it is illegal. You can stick the flyers in the mailbox flag or anywhere outside of it, but you are not authorized to place anything inside. Tampering with mail is a federal offense.

http://www.usps.com/communications/news/security/mailtampering.htm :)

It is illegal. I have been involved in a few door to door campaigns on different issues; we always leave fliers in the screen door or wherever it is convenient WITHOUT touching the mailbox.

It's counterintuitive. I'd rather have someone put something in my mail box than open my screen door, but that's how most people flier to avoid problems with the USPS and irrate neighbors who can raise the legality issue.

Have the HOA distribute fliers the way I described above. Put them in the newspaper boxes or screen doors or other area, just not the actual mail box.

It is illegal, and it is USPS. You buy the mail box, set it up to the USPS specs. But they actually own it while on your property.

Yes. Once you put up a mail box it becomes, technically, the property of the USPS... subject to their rules and regulations. That's why UPS, FedEx, etc. can't leave things in it, either.

Lady K
Our HOA does the same thing. Someone in your's must have complained. Technically, it is illegal. Theoretically, many do it. We get cleaning flyers, new roof flyers, blacktop flyers, landscaping flyers in and rubberbanded to our mailbox.

Billy FZ1
It's illegal to put anything in a mailbox if you are not a certified carrier. Especially a smoke bomb like I did when I was a child.

Ryan F
just hang it off the door handle...

Life is Beautiful.
They need to put the newsletter on your door step or something.

That's kind of annoying that they even care if the president of the assosiation has everyones permission, but yeah... I think the USPS is right.

It's true though, they can't really allow you to open everyones mailbox. There's probably private stuff in there.

Nick Z
yes it is unless you are a USPS employee. or have rights similar to theirs for your job.

Your never allowed to enter a mailbox that isn't yours ! That is a FEDERAL offence.

It is technically illegal. You may insert them in the door or screen, but you are not supposed to put them in the mailbox.

With that said, that seems a rather stupid law to me and I know people where i live who put notes and flyers in the mailbox all of the time without the post office complaining, but legally they can.

Crazy ain't it!

I live in a strong states rights state and the federal gov't doesn't exert as much influence here in menial matters like that.

Yes, it is illegal. (And the correct abbreviation for the United States Postal Service is USPS, not UPS.)

18 USC Sec. 1725. Postage unpaid on deposited mail matter

Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.

1994 - Pub. L. 103-322 substituted "fined under this title" for "fined not more than $300".
1970 - Pub. L. 91-375 substituted "Postal Service" for "Postmaster General".

I think it is illegal, but everybody does it.

Why not just use door hangers though?

Yes it is. It is an offense to do anything with a mailbox unless you are a letter carrier.

put the fliers on the doors that way the post office keeps it nose out of it

I have always heard that it was illegal unless you actually had a stamp on it.

you cannot leave them on windshield either - if the association doesn't want spend the money on postage I guess they could post the flyer in the common postal areas and leave extra copies for residents to take

UPS isn't the people would be complaining, it's the USPS.
UPS is the brown trucks with boxes :P

I have heard that it's frowned upon for that reason, but I haven't actually heard that it's illegal. In the same sense, mailboxes are private property, so if what you're distributing is unsolicited (which it sounds like that isn't the case) people could claim that you're trespassing.

My suggestion would be to leave them on people's doorsteps, maybe between storm and regular doors if they have them, then the post office could stop complaining and they'll get their newsletters.

Jamie J
"Land of the free" indeed.

Rock Brigade
NO!!! It's still private property, which still makes it illegal!

Look Away, I'm Hideous
not if you put a stamp on it

you should be able too it seems cheaper and probably faster that way...

No, but they can stick it in between the flag and the box.

kathie graham
What do I do as a concerned citizen to stop them from getting by with this. Is there anything that I can do??

sick of politics
I am so sick and tired of politicians thinking that they can do what ever they want to, and, the law doesn't apply to them

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