It's Illegal To Stick Unstamped Flyers In Mailboxes, But The Post Office Doesn't Care

Section 1725 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code prohibits placing mailable materials like circulars and sales bills with unpaid postage in mailboxes with intent to avoid payment of postage. That means that the Chinese menus and offers for cheap lube jobs that end up in your mailbox might have been placed there illegally. One reader whose mailbox was clogged with this junk contacted the USPS to report the businesses. Her story, and the post office’s ambivalence, inside.

Our reader writes:

Three years ago I bought a house in NJ and moved into the new development. In the beginning, my mailbox was constantly getting stuffed with flyers and the like offering services such as cleaning, nanny, and contractor work. Knowing that it is illegal to place these materials inside a mailbox without a stamp (see Section 1725 of Title 18 of the United States Code), I asked via the USPS website whom I should be contacting in order to get these to stop coming to me. The response I got back the following day was to forward the matter to my local Post Office. I did exactly that, mailing the offending flyer with a letter to the local post office asking them to enforce Section 1725 of Title 18 of the United States Code. The amount of flyers received in my mailbox has since decreased, but everytime I got one in my mailbox, I would mail it with a letter again asking them to enforce Section 1725 of Title 18.
Several weeks ago, I got a knock on the door and it was a postal worker who had indicated that they have received the letters I had been sending them all along and to please stop. She admitted that they call the business in violation of Section 1725 and ask them not to do it again, but do nothing to really enforce it. It puzzles me why they even bother to establish this and layout penalties if no one is going to enforce them.

It puzzles us too. The USPS’s website (PDF) states: “Except under 2.11 [dealing with newspaper boxes attached to mailboxes], the receptacles described in 1.1 may be used only for matter bearing postage. Other than as permitted by 2.10 or 2.11, 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.” Note that “door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes” are excluded from this prohibition, and can be loaded up with as many flyers as they can hold. Although our reader was told to contact her local post office, there’s actually a specific form for these complaints on the U.S. Postal Inspection website. You can also try contacting the business directly and informing them that they are breaking the law.

Customer Mail Receptacles [USPS]
File a Complaint [United States Postal Inspection Service] (PDF)
Postage Unpaid On Deposited Mail Matter [United States Code]
(Photo: Jenna Belle)

Comments

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  1. APFPilot says:

    I would continue to mail it to them.

  2. snoop-blog says:

    I find it funny they don’t give a fuck, and want you to stop wasting their time and yours. Of course I’m paraphrasing.

  3. SkokieGuy says:

    Have you heard the term “unfunded mandate”? A law or regulation required by government, but with no funding to implement or enforce?

    Postal rates just went up. If the post office were to spend resources to fund the enforcement of this law, rates would be far higher.

    So yes, these business are breaking the law to market to you.

    Solution?

    Print the test of the law, laminate in weatherproof plastic and fasten to your mailbox.

    Don’t patronize business that solicit you in an illegal manner.

    Recycle the paper they are wasting.

    Acknowledge that many things in life are annoying. Accept this. Choose your battles.

    Think about the time you spent and money you spent on postage to send these flyers to the post office. Think about how else you could have spent your time and money in a way that would have brought you more happiness.

  4. JGB says:

    And yet they came to my door and threatened to have me arrested because my daughter tied balloons to the mailbox handle to show people where her graduation party was!

  5. SkokieGuy says:

    And yes, the first of my ‘solutions’ is to print the text of the law, not test……

  6. Buran says:

    It’s not hard to understand when you realize they’re trying to get out of doing any work.

    They never even emailed me to ACKNOWLEDGE the mail FRAUD complaint (as in actual MONETARY LOSSES) I sent them a few months ago, and I have never heard of the fraudsters being prosecuted.

    And to the people saying “just get over it” — that’s fine if that’s what you want to do, but stop telling other people how they should spend their time.

  7. coan_net says:

    I’ve always known about this law, and even made a joke about it a few months ago when a person down the road was having a cookout and was inviting all the neighbors… telling my wife how I don’t want to associate with those who break the law by sticking things in my mailbox.

    But at the same time, I never understood this law.

    It is MY MAIL BOX – I PAID FOR IT – I PUT IT UP. It should be up to me if I want others to also use the mailbox.

    Now if the post office came around putting up their own mailboxes for my use – then yes, I could understand that law.

  8. LorneReams says:

    @SkokieGuy:
    “Postal rates just went up. If the post office were to spend resources to fund the enforcement of this law, rates would be far higher.”

    Easy solution…get the money to enforce by enforcing it. I’m sure in the fine print there is something saying punishable by prison time and thousands of dollars. This is the US mail we are talking about here…it’s been my experience they do not mess around when it comes to regulations.

  9. I wonder the legality of just dropping those menus and the like into a mail drop-box. if they have a return address on them, wouldn’t the PO get bitter about it then?

  10. SkokieGuy says:

    @Buran: So we can’t tell people what to do (get over it), but you can (stop telling others)? The logic in this is?

    You apparently suffered monetary losses, a bigger issue. The OP did not and was merely annoyed. She wants the Post Office to enforce a postal regulation to eliminate her annoyance.

    Since the Post Office is part of our government and what they spend employee labor on has a direct impact on postal rates, the implementation of the OP’s wishes could easily impact me and every other person who uses the US mail system.

    Our opinions on this post are just as valid as yours.

  11. snoop-blog says:

    @Buran: Who was saying get over it? I read all the comments and missed that one.

    Seriously- I hate giving genuine advice on trivial problems but hey, it’s a slow day, and the wonkette is boring me at the moment. So here’s a genuine solution. Try putting a smaller box, under the “mail” box and clearly lable it for “flyers and advertisers”. Lable the top one, “Post Office Use Only.” Then at least that should keep the advertisers out of your mailbox (which I assume is what is really bothering you about this). I too get paranoid that the person handing out the flyers will notice say a x-mas card and gank it hoping to find cash.

  12. Phenostar says:

    On the topic of junk mail, whenever I go to get my mail at my complex, the other trashy residents always throw the junk mail on the ground, as if protesting its existence (and there’s a freaking giant trashcan right next to the mail boxes). What these trashy residents don’t realize is that their apartment number is on the address panel. Sometimes I like to gather up the junk from the ground, check the apartment numbers, and go pin it to their door with a note “You dropped this.”

  13. gruffydd says:

    So instead of your mailbox, would you rather the flyers are stuck in your front door handle? Or placed on the ground near your entryway?

  14. ByeBye says:

    Oh yeah, I’m going to stick it to the man with badly printed flyers to sell my crap!

  15. Darkwish says:

    So does this mean that you can leave a turd in someone’s mailbox and they can’t do anything about it as long as you put a stamp on it?

  16. snoop-blog says:

    @Phenostar: Here’s one better than that. Call the authorities about littering. Some of those flyers get blown to the ground and are not the result of your neighbors littering. The business that leaves them will have to send someone out to clean them, or pay a fine to the city. At least that’s how it is in my city.

  17. basket548 says:

    Really? Really really?

    Know what else is illegal? Littering. But every time I call 911 when I see someone spit gum on the sidewalk, the police refuse to arrest him! Now there’s a story.

    SkokieGuy is right, and a hell of a lot more thorough than I am. Choose your battles, and let law enforcement deal with real problems.

  18. Alex Chasick says:

    @SkokieGuy: @LorneReams: Indeed, section 1725 provides for a fine, which, one would hope, would at least cover the cost of enforcement. I would also dispute categorizing a federal criminal law as an unfunded mandate, especially because it is the federal government that has to enforce it.

  19. snoop-blog says:

    @Darkwish: No there’s a rule against mailing bodily fluids unfortunately.

  20. Asvetic says:

    Perhaps she should invest in a lockable mailbox, this would at least keep the flyers OUT of her mailbox.

  21. @coan_net: actually you may purchase your mail box but it is actually gov. property, it has to be for the mail fraud/mail tampering provisions written into federal law to be enforced.

  22. Bladefist says:

    @SkokieGuy: I agree. There is a reason its not enforced, because it would cost more to enforce then it costs us for it to happen. I come home and throw away a handful of crap everyday, and realize that’s just life.

    They probably made those laws for people like Al Capone, when they cant find anything else on you :)

  23. SchuylerH says:

    Each week, I get several mailings of grocery fliers and other local ads from companies such as PennySaver and ADVO. I have sent the “take me off your list” letter with the result that I no longer get the address card that comes with the fliers but the carrier puts the fliers in my mailbox just the same. My brother had the same problem and when he complained to the local postmaster, he was told that they had to put the fliers in everyone’s box whether or not there was a valid address card attached. I suppose they figure it’s not worth their time to have the carrier leave the fliers out of my box.

  24. Jachim says:

    When I was a wee lad delivering papers, at first I was able to put the papers in mailboxes. After couple of years, I was told that it was absolutely prohibited due to post office rules. It never did, and still doesn’t, make sense to me. If I buy the box and I put it on my house, I should be able to do whatever the hell I want with it.

  25. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    If anyone is possibly surprised by the fact that the USPS is one of the worst operated government agencies in the country, then I have a bridge to sell you.

    Seriously, I deal with the post office’s fine work ethic on a daily basis. I process return mail for my company (about 12,000 letters a day), and the condition we receive mail in can only be described as horrifying. I have gotten letters back that had begun to form colonies of mold on them, covered in mysterious chemicals and fluids, crumpled up, run over, wet, burned, and otherwise mutilated. This is not to mention the 200-300 pieces of mail we get that not only doesn’t belong to us, but has been misdirected from all over the country. Just today, I received someone’s stimulus check destined for someone in Indiana.

    Despite our complaints to the post office, nothing ever changes. And thanks to the government sponsored monopoly, there is nothing we can do about it.

  26. kimsama says:

    @snoop-blog: If you’re worried about mail theft, the solution to your problems might be a locking mailbox.

    Lockable mailboxes don’t solve the flyer problem, but I agree with the voices of reason on this post that the best thing to do would be to call the businesses up directly and let them know that you won’t do business with them if they keep cluttering your mailbox. Or put a sign on the mailbox saying “NOTICE: I will not do business with companies that leave flyers” or somesuch.

    Believe me when I say the post office is not going to enforce this. They barely enforce the laws against mail fraud and other more damaging activities. Figure out a way to deal with it that isn’t just relying on the gov’t (haha, the worse way to deal with anything, really, is to rely on the gov’t to fix it for you).

  27. SkokieGuy says:

    @Alex Chasick: Yes, there is a fine, but it is limited to not more than $300.00.

    To investigate a claim, issue a citation and fine and most important, collect on that fine is hard to justify for that amount of money.

    In my area, most solicitors are pretty diligent about avoiding the mailbox. So I get the same flyers, rubber banded to my door handle, between the slats of my storm door, wedged into the slats of a chair on my porch, tucked into plants. Frankly, I’d rather have them in the mailbox.

    Enforcement won’t “stop these coming” which is the OP’s wish. It will only change the location of where they are left.

  28. Gokuhouse says:

    Go on with your life. I’ve been known to drop off a letter or two at people’s mailboxes without postage just to avoid having to pay postage…Wedding invitations, graduation parties….Seriously man, do you want people like myself to be fined for breaking this law too? Some businesses need a little cheap advertising to stay in business. Or would you rather them spend thousands in television and radio ads only to raise their prices?

  29. kimsama says:

    @Asvetic: Unfortunately, the regulations require that home mailboxes have a slot receptacle for mail. That doesn’t keep anything out but the thieves.

  30. mgy says:

    Is it illegal if you leave it on top of the mailbox?

  31. APFPilot says:

    How about the fact that I don’t want people I don’t know going into my Mailbox?

  32. Buran says:

    @SkokieGuy: The logic is that sometimes you have to react to silliness to do something about it… but you are right in that I did suffer losses, and that such things are a more severe issue… but since they won’t react to actual losses either it sure seems to me like they want to just generally avoid doing any work.

  33. psuchad says:

    This is by far the smallest unenforced government law we should be worried about.

  34. Buran says:

    @Gokuhouse: Tip: don’t put it in the actual mailbox; just slip it between the doors or something.

  35. bohemian says:

    Getting flyers illegally stuffed into your mail box is far better than having those dodgy looking 20 somethings selling miracle cleaner, magazine subscriptions or grocery raffles. I was getting one a day that seemed to all be from the same pool of people for a while. That was until one caught me on a really bad afternoon and I stopped short of threatening bodily harm.

    No the post office doesn’t care. I tried turning someone in for using media mail to mail non media ebay items. Three trips to the main post office to be told they were too busy to bother by the postal inspector.

  36. I’ve always felt that, given the inevitable results of mass-distributing unwanted pieces of paper, these people and several others should be fined for the misdemeanor I just invented:
    “Accesory to Littering”

  37. Lucky225 says:

    @SkokieGuy:

    “Don’t patronize business that solicit you in an illegal manner.”

    Another BLAME the consumerist! My god, if we do not put our merchants in check they will get away with shooting people on their property because they didn’t show ID with their credit card and now are “in the right” because they were tresspassing. But hey, choose your battles, just bend over and let Businesses do whatever they want, even if they are LEGALLY obligated to NOT do such practices.

  38. mac-phisto says:

    what the post office needs is a good enforcer. go down to your local sporting goods store, buy a shiny new bat & do “what you can do for your government”.

    after all, it was teddy that said to “speak softly & carry a big stick”.

  39. Tmoney02 says:

    @kimsama:

    “but I agree with the voices of reason on this post that the best thing to do would be to call the businesses up directly and let them know that you won’t do business with them if they keep cluttering your mailbox.”

    That will never work. Did you know how flyer marketing works? You send a kid getting paid 8.00 Bucks an hour to a neighborhood and drop a flyer at every house. Sometimes they will pay by the neighborhood rather than per hour. Either way there is no way for the kid keep track of which houses to skip.

    That said you can call and tell them to make sure they properly train the people doing flyer drops. They should be told to drop the flyers off but never touch the mailbox becuase it is against the law, and can upset people.

    @SkokieGuy:
    “In my area, most solicitors are pretty diligent about avoiding the mailbox. So I get the same flyers, rubber banded to my door handle, between the slats of my storm door, wedged into the slats of a chair on my porch, tucked into plants. Frankly, I’d rather have them in the mailbox.”

    That is how people doing flyer drops usually are trained. And it would be easier to just use the mailbox but it seems, at least on the site, you are in the minority with your preference.

  40. Shutaro says:

    @Gokuhouse: What you’re advocating here is a complete and total breakdown of the foundations upon which out society is based! We live in a nation of laws! What if I just came along and stole your house, and the police were all, like, “Well, we don’t really enforce that law against house stealing”. What would you do then? Hmm? Hmm? Anarchy! First it’s little things, like mailboxes, then it’s onto bigger and more expensive items… Such as cars, boats, houses, and stadiums! My friends… I don’t know about you, that’s not the sort of world that I want to live in! All I can say is don’t come crying to me when some ruffian makes off with your swimming pool…

  41. bjarmson says:

    So much to-do about nothing. Toss the fliers in the garbage, or better yet recycle them. I live in a small town, and my mail is delivered by a rural carrier to a bank of mailboxes about 200 feet from my house. As a result fliers tend to get dropped on my front steps, where I’m forced to pick them up. There are laws against littering too. I guess I should notify my local law enforcement agencies so they can arrest these “litterers.” With all the real problems in the world, why is this the one you vetch about. Get a life.

  42. Bladefist says:

    @WarOtter: Sure you can. You can have the government take over more aspects of your life, like health care, so that relatively, when compared with everything else, the postal service is awesome!

  43. MeOhMy says:

    Here’s the problem:
    Have you ever actually SEEN the guy from the Chinese takeout joint put a menu in your mailbox? NO! He is THAT fast, no one knows who he is, not even the restaurant that employs him – they just leave a stack of menus and his payment in a neutral location and he does his work. I sometimes sat in my dormroom waiting for the menu to slip under my door and I would bolt out the door and there would be no sign of the guy.

    Now I’m not saying the post office is NOT too lazy too enforce this weird code that probably had a lot of good reasoning in 1879. But even if they do care to enforce it…you can’t punish the guy if you can’t even catch him.

  44. samurailynn says:

    The fliers I get are always on my doorknob or stuck to my door. What I really wish we could stop is phone books. Who uses those antiquated things?

  45. Lucky225 says:

    @bjarmson:

    Because that is exactly the point, illegal advertising is annoying and it doesn’t really help the business in the first place. So here’s an idea, how about the business just stops dropping flyers altogether and saves a couple of bucks? Paint your advertising on someones vehicle, the person drives around town, the word gets out. No need to waste paper and annoy people. Why should I have to waste my time and energy to recycle your illegally delivered flyer that could have been used for something else in the first place that wasn’t illegal or annoying me.

  46. smreid79 says:

    If this is really an issue for you, why not contact the USPS Customer Service? If this were any other corporation that would be the next step.

    [faq.usps.com])=c[c_usps6513]

    Customer Service representatives are also available to take your calls at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777):

    * Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Eastern Time (7:00 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. CST)
    * Saturdays from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time (7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CST)
    * Sunday and Postal Holidays – closed (Unless otherwise directed) 2008 Postal Holidays

  47. Lucky225 says:

    @samurailynn:

    Amen, I don’t even have a landline yet somehow a Embarq phone book landed on my porch!

  48. snoop-blog says:

    @samurailynn: I do when I run out of rolling papers!

  49. stinerman says:

    @Bladefist: @SkokieGuy:

    Then why even have the law to begin with?

    Where I live, it is a 4th degree misdemeanor to not clear one’s sidewalks of snow and/or ice. To my knowledge no one has ever been charged with this offense, even though it has been on the books for 28 years.

    Vigorous enforcement of all laws is the only way bad laws get off the books. Otherwise they sit and fester to the point when they are only used to harass otherwise law-abiding citizens.

    As an aside, it pays to notice that the penalty for failing to remove snow and/or ice from one’s sidewalk is greater than the penalty for possessing less than 100g of marijuana in my jurisdiction.

  50. Lucky225 says:

    What pisses me off even more is I have a NO SOLICITING sign on my front door, yet at least once a week some kid is ringing my door bell(usually more then once too) they see the car in my driveway and hear my TV in the living room right by the door, they know I’m here, yet for some reason when I don’t open the door they still dont get the hint.. next thing I know I hear some scratching on my door and I’m like WTF? and a little blue flier slips through my door. Did they not get the friggen hint when I didn’t come to the door?

  51. failurate says:

    So, are mailboxes tax deductable? Since you are basically donating it to the government when you buy one. Do you then get taxed (hopefully on the depreciated value) when you re-claim the mailbox for another use?

  52. mac-phisto says:

    perhaps another way around this would be to write a different letter to the post office:

    dear postmaster general,

    please refrain from placing materials in my mailbox that bear your “postage” stamp. your mailings are interfering with my ability to efficiently browse through promotional material delivered by freelance mailpersons. please comply as soon as possible, so we can quit wasting each others’ time.

    thank you,
    XXXXXXXXXX

    i bet that would get their attention.

  53. Death says:

    My recycle bin is right next to my mailbox. Makes dealing with this terrifying problem easier than preventing it.

  54. Lucky225 says:

    @stinerman:

    That’s true, some barber got a citation in Canada recently for opening his barber shop on a Holiday. Law was sitting on the books and it’s the only thing the cops could come up with when they had reports of kids hanging around the barber shop and the owner wouldn’t call it in because he didn’t care. That same law is still on the books from 1914!!!

    [www.municode.com]

    Quote:

    Columbus Georgia Code

    Sec. 14-8. Barber shops; Sunday closing.
    It shall be unlawful for any barber shop to be kept open or do any business on the Sabbath day.
    (Code 1914, § 798)

  55. Lucky225 says:

    @Lucky225:

    Also on the books in Georgia I meant

  56. whatdoyoucare says:

    I remember hearing when I was a kid that the Boy Scouts put a whole bunch of flyers in people’s mailboxes. Somehow the postmaster found out and fined them (or had them fined) quite a bit of money. So my recommendation is to just stick stuff in the door just to be safe.

  57. bravo369 says:

    Just think of all the potential fines and penalties they are missing out on by not enforcing this. Although, unless i’m reading wrong, it’s only illegal for it to be placed in the mailbox right? so if they slip it under the door or just leave it on the porch/steps, it’s not really a crime? then again, i guess you can call them on littering.

  58. donkeyjote says:

    @snoop-blog: But he asked about bodily solids

  59. Gokuhouse says:

    @Shutaro: LOL I like the way you think! But I’m not an anarchist. I just believe that there are different types of laws. Some are good and some aren’t. This is the latter of the two. Surely this law was made for a reason, but I would venture a guess that its day has passed and it is time to do away with it. There is a very orderly system for undoing laws out there somewhere…All does not have to be lost, I say just follow that process and we avoid a total breakdown!

  60. donkeyjote says:

    @Lucky225: @Lucky225: Those types of laws have been ruled mostly illegal in the US, by the Supreme Court. They can’t be enforced.

  61. BlackFlag55 says:

    Ain’t nobody in charge anymore. Used to be the US Postal “police” had the briadest police powers in the nation. Could kick any door anywhere anytime, open any bank account, lockbox or safe depsoit without warrant or probable cause. No, I’m not smoking my socks. Bu in the town nearest me, when punks began robbing mail out of house mailboxes, the nearest postal inspectors were 300 miles away in Denver, and pretty much said Ho Hum Have A Nice Day.

    Nobody’s in charge. And nobody cares nobody’s in charge.

    Like Katrina.

  62. mac-phisto says:

    @samurailynn: here! here! i actually embarked on that adventure (canceling the phone book delivery) after i received a yellow book last year. & to my surprise, they didn’t deliver a phone book this year.

    they delivered four.

    yeesh!

  63. bradanomics says:

    I saw the actual postal carrier putting the things in the mailbox

  64. Buran says:

    @full.tang.halo: I was aware of the fact, but how does that make the laws work? (seriously asking)

  65. Orv says:

    @Bladefist: Actually, compared to the terrible customer service I’ve gotten from UPS, the postal service actually *is* pretty awesome. They’re also one of the few carriers that will ship from the U.S. to Canada without charging absurdly high customs broker fees.

  66. snoop-blog says:

    @bradanomics: yeah a lot of places slip the carrier some bills to put their flyers in everyones mailbox. It’s actually legit.

  67. Buran says:

    @donkeyjote: Then why are car dealers always all closed on Sundays? If the laws are illegal, the one that opens on Sunday would get all the business from those that don’t bother.

  68. celticgina says:

    Has the Postal Cat met Tax Cat yet??

  69. ClankBoomSteam says:

    Jesus. If you get an unwanted flyer — same as a piece of junk mail — just toss it in the recycle bin and stop your crying. “But it’s illegal!”, I hear you sob. So’s jaywalking. Should we call the FBI? Christ, get a life…

  70. akede2001 says:

    What if you contact the business via certified mail and advise them to stop sending these, and advice of the law they are breaking? If they continue doing it, then take them to small claims. Rinse and repeat. If this can be done with success, then it won’t take long before many others start doing it too.

    I know I’m fucking sick and tired of junk mail. My box is full every day of it. My six month old daughter is already getting junk mail, and the only place her name and address has been used is for medical purposes.

  71. Posthaus says:

    @failurate: Are mail boxes tax deductable..no. Sheesh, where do people come up with this?

    Putting up a mailbox is basically an unwritten, unspoken agreement between a customer and the USPS to retain specific delivery services. But no one forces you have to put up one if you don’t want to utilize their services.

  72. humphrmi says:

    @akede2001: You can’t take people to civil court for criminal violations.

  73. MelL says:

    @ClankBoomSteam: Yeah, how silly is it to hold people accountable for breaking the law?

  74. ClankBoomSteam says:

    @MelL: When it’s a violation as trivial as a Chinese menu? Very.

  75. When I was 14ish, my mom had me go door to door throughout our neighborhood with the task of retrieving all of the illegal flyers. We sorted them, bundled up the flyers and then we delivered stacks of them to the offending businesses. It got the message across real quick.

  76. MelL says:

    @ClankBoomSteam: So what other illegal activities do you feel should be ignored as “trivial?”

  77. huadpe says:

    @coan_net: The point of the law is to grant the USPS a statutory monopoly. It is ILLEGAL to run a private mail service. The USPS laws are designed to prevent people from delivering their own mail because it is trying to prevent anyone from competing with them.

  78. NDub says:

    Just find out where your postmaster lives and put them all in his/her box.

  79. WarOtter - I went to Japan and all I got was this tumor. says:

    @celticgina: Thanks to efile, Postal Cat and Tax Cat will never meet, though Refund Cat may occasionally stroll in.

  80. Bladefist says:

    @stinerman: I agree. I don’t like so many stupid laws. As a conservative, less government, stud, don’t look at me.

    @Orv: The USA PO actually the only example of a government service that actually functions better then private ones. USPS priority 2-3 day mail is absolutely amazing and UPS/FedEx can kiss my ass

  81. windycitygirl68 says:

    Like SkokieGuy said, I already died on that hill. It is not worth it. As president of our homeowners association, I was implored to get our postmaster to take action against the illegal flyer fairies. The postmaster did take the requested action. Now the flyer fairies leave their wares via any other method available, and that currently includes thumbtacking, power stapling, duct-taping, and twining the flyers to our mailbox posts. So much more attractive than just stuffing the damned things in the box. Holes, tape marks, removed paint, half-sheets still stapled to the posts. Wish I had kept my mouth shut and just told the homeowners that I tried without success!

  82. mac-phisto says:

    you know, there’s a lot of people saying “blah, blah, this is stupid.”

    think about it like this: a stranger is opening your mailbox that is full of your personal information like bills, credit card offers, checks & cards from loved ones. yes, they’re depositing a silly flyer…but what are they helping themselves to?

  83. sodden says:

    “Have you heard the term “unfunded mandate”? A law or regulation required by government, but with no funding to implement or enforce?”

    Actually, it would be a simple matter to fine them. It’s not like they don’t know who did it. They already spent the time to call them. One postal inspector fining them is about all it would take. I’m not positive a postal inspector can fine someone but I know they have some authority. They deal with mail fraud, after all.

  84. sodden says:

    “When I was 14ish, my mom had me go door to door throughout our neighborhood with the task of retrieving all of the illegal flyers. We sorted them, bundled up the flyers and then we delivered stacks of them to the offending businesses. It got the message across real quick.”

    Lol. I do that sometimes when someone puts a flyer on my car. I collect them all and deliver them back to the business. Usually the parking lot has a sign up saying putting flyers in isn’t allowed too.

    Anyone that knocks on my door and leaves a flyer automatically loses my business. One scummy company put up flyers on peoples doors that looked like condemned signs. Freaked the heck out of the neighbors. I called and bitched them out. They didn’t care. Businesses like that need to have their sales managers put down.

  85. Nytmare says:

    My mailbox isn’t your stashhole.

  86. joellevand says:

    @Lucky225: Whoa, over react much?

  87. Icantlikethat says:

    @Lucky225: @Lucky225:
    These kids today don’t know what “soliciting” means. Try “Door Broken”.

  88. MercuryPDX says:

    @Icantlikethat: Everyone wants to do their part to save the Earth, don’t they?

    Oh look honey! The new phone book is here!

    This sign works for me 95% of the time. Most people get the message and leave nothing. This is sign number two though, someone thoughtfully took the time to scrawl “Fock you dick!” [sic] on the last one.

  89. MercuryPDX says:

    P.S.> My mailbox is across the street (with everyone else’s on the block) and is only accessible by the postman. People just drop their flyers on my lawn and porch.

  90. Pylon83 says:

    @sodden:
    I’m not sure it’s that simple. Just because the businesses flyer was in the mailbox doesn’t mean they put it there, or asked for it to be put there. What if I collected a few Chinese menu’s and put them in various mailboxes? Perhaps proof of who actually placed it there is part of the reason they don’t enforce it.

  91. visualbowler says:

    kinda reminds me of the movie the shawshank redemption where eventually if you ask frequently enough they eventually will give in and do as they say, figure that if the writer keeps writing in eventually they will tell the person to do it

  92. You can report it to the US Postal Inspection service. And they will not waste time investigating it because it is fantastically trivial.

    The regulation exists so it can be enforced, it doesn’t mean it will be. Hint: If you are offering a competing service with USPS than you could get in big trouble.

    I get a lot of flyers too. No one puts it in our mailbox. But they will attach it to the outside of the mailbox with a rubber band, thumbtack, tape, or just wrap the damn crap around the handle. And it’s all legal.

    So even if you succeeded in getting your post office to do something, you’d still get flyers.

  93. Jesse in Japan says:

    This is actually perfectly normal. There are many, many laws on the books that police choose not to enforce and district attorneys choose not to prosecute. There are still many places where it’s illegal to swear in public, but that law simply isn’t worth the time and effort it would take to enforce.

  94. DH405 says:

    So, if I want to advertise my business, I can drop stuff in peoples’ mailboxes with a 1 Cent stamp? Sweet. I’m going to print fliers this week.

  95. RedSonSuperDave says:

    My solution: Get a bunch of those flyers (make sure they don’t have your name or anything identifying on them) and drop them off in one of the big mailboxes. The post office may not do anything when flyers are YOUR problem, but when you make it THEIR problem, they’ll have a talk with the offending business.

    The fact that this is illegal should bother nobody. The USPS has already shown that they don’t care about it happening to you, so why would they care if it happens to them?

  96. hejustlaughs says:

    @Posthaus: I doubt you need a mailbox to receive mail. When my mailbox was blown away to god knows where during a storm the postal carrier dropped the mail off on the porch.

    I filed a request to hold mail for a few days until I had time to get a mailbox and mount it again as the mail on the porch was sometimes not rubber banded together and would blow all over sometimes. USPS unsurprising ignored the request to hold my mail.

  97. soylent2oz says:

    20 years ago I put babysitting flyers on the mailboxes (in between the box and the flag /arm) of my neighbors offering babysitting services. I was only 17 and had only wanted to make some pocket money…

    …Then I got a call from my local postmaster telling me it was a federal offense and that I would be charged if I did it again.

    Glad to see they follow the regulations so closely 20 years later!

  98. bonzombiekitty says:

    Some areas do care. Years ago I was putting flyers for something we were doing in our neighborhood to raise money for something or other. I put flyers into all the mailboxes, just to have the postman come along and take them all out.

  99. Balisong says:

    When I was about 15 or 16 or so, I put flyers in everyone’s mailboxes about a pet-sitting service I wanted to start up. I got a call from one of the people in the neighborhood, who lectured me on how I can’t do that.

    I didn’t know any better. People are mean :(

  100. opsomath says:

    What I want to know is, how does the federal government have a right to make a law about who can put paper in a container on my property? It’s my damn box, I decide who puts stuff in it.

  101. stinerman says:

    @donkeyjote:

    Even worse.

    If they aren’t even enforcible at all, then why is the law on the books at all? The legislature ought to remove that law from the books.

    How can an average citizen know what is legal and what isn’t when unenforcible laws are still on the books? The main reason for codifying laws is so the average citizen can know the law, and keeping these laws on the books would seem to nullify that principle.

  102. stinerman says:

    @opsomath:

    I direct you to Art. I, Sec. 8:

    [...]
    To regulate Commerce … among the several States
    [...]
    To establish Post Offices and Post Roads
    [...]
    To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.

    That’s what the government would say. I leave it as an exercise to the reader to determine if the laws of which you speak are constitutional.

  103. Bye says:

    @SchuylerH: That’s what’s happened to us. ADVO and the other ad/flyer people have removed our address from their list but our postal carrier just throws somebody else’s ads with a totally different address on them in our mailbox.

    I’d complain about that more, but I’m more concerned about the fact that they continue to drop mail for other people – not even on the same street! – in our mailbox. We’ve called to complain and have talked with all involved numerous times, but they really just don’t care.

  104. roggenka says:

    I just wrapped my mailbox in duct tape. The post office delivers the mail to the P.O. Box and the flyer junkies waste a good minute of their time figuring out that they can’t remove the duct tape to insert their advertisements.

  105. Osi says:

    We have the same retarded mail carriers here in Juneau, AK. Most of them can’t read english, and do not understand what a name and a address is. On an almost daily basis, we get mail that belongs to another mailbox, or even to a person that does not live here any more.

    For our first year at our current place, we recieved a new post office “persons at address” form every week, where we was supposed to fill out the name of everybody at this address. When asked what was it for, the response was, “So we can deliver the correct mail to this box”. We filled it out the first time, turned it in, and dumped the rest. Well, of course, the couriers are too stupid to do their own job, so we still get crap in the mail box.

    The funny thing is, any person and business who need to contact us via mail, do so via our mailing address which is a PO Box. ANY mail we recieve on the resident box is thrown outside on the ground. Why?

    For months, I have been placing the “mail” flag up whenever we recieve mail in the box, after awhile the courier was high on drugs, or got drunk, and start refusing correcting his mistake (ignoring the flag). I have filed numerous complaints to the local office, but the special couriers are still lazy SOBs.

    Since the couriers refuse to do their job and deliver correct mail, and since it is illegal (due to criminal big wigs) to lock up said box, and it is illegal to take down my mail box I OWN due to the criminals, and the couriers refuse to pick up their screwed up fake mail. There’s only one option left.

    Throw the mail on to the ground around the mail box. I was able to get the whole neighborhood to do the same thing. Now, every month, the retarded mail couriers gets on his hands and knees and picks up all the mail that litters the ground.

    I have no respect nor pity for those kids (couriers). Since they refuse to do their job, they should have no expectations of rights from people on their routes. This, evidently, is one of the reasons the idiot refuses to move into the neighborhood, we would tear him to pieces.

    Just remember, if the post office refuse to do their job, sue them, to force them to do their job.

    As for people coming to the door, like the Jahova Witnesses, just keep a dog around. We have a nice fence with a latch, and a nice front yard. Every time I see one of those creeps around the corner, I let the dog loose. When they ask to come in, I always say, if you can keep the dog at bay, you are welcome to come in.

    The dog I have is a real dog, not a little pocket pooch or toy dog. This one will bark and bite if the family is threatened. Most of thoe kiddies realized that and leave. One pair did try to come in and got his arm torned in to. When we ended up in court, who do you think won? We did.

    The cost food, and maintaining a dog is extremely small compared to the benefits of protection and enforcing the law when the Police and Government refuses to do their job. Luckily, in Alaska, we have a few honest laws, called Castle Laws ;) If someone comes into my home to rob me, or even trespass, I can shot them dead, and it is 100% legal. It’s been tried and true in court. Most state law makers should have such laws …

  106. Andr0 says:

    I think some of you are missing a point there, and thus making a logically un-sound argument.

    If USPS were to start enforcing the law in question, and if it were implemented properly, it’d look something like this:

    1) Citizen files complaint with USPS (as OP did).

    2) USPS looks into the matter.

    3) USPS fines the offender for the cost of complaint processing + punitive fine.

    4) USPS profits.

    And yes, I really do believe it’d be that easy.

  107. Elvisisdead says:

    @WarOtter: It’s not a government agency. It’s a government owned corporation – there’s a difference. Gov corps have to be self-sufficient – just like private corps. Postage doesn’t kill the operation, leveraged negotiations with the postal worker’s union does.

    @windycitygirl68: Yup. The bastards in my neighborhood thumbtack them to the post. I cased the post in aluminum, and now the buggers tape them on. Keeping my mailbox greased it a bit too much work to thwart them. So, I just pull them off and recycle. And I don’t buy anything from them.

  108. nightsoul94 says:

    I have constantly had problems with incorrectly delivered mail, but I didn’t know about this particular law. We received multiple flyers and advertisments each week, usually on Wednesday. I gues the biggest shock is the mail box I am talking about is a Post Office Box. The only people with access are Postal Employees. I guess they really don’t care about enforcing their own regulations, considering they are the ones breaking them.
    I guess my next complaint letter will be to the Postmaster General and my Congressman and Senators. I doubt it will help but it might make a difference.

  109. ClankBoomSteam says:

    @MelL:

    It’s an issue of context, not legality. An occasional, technically-illegal flyer in one’s mailbox is hardly worth pursuing when there are infinitely more important issues to be addressed in nearly every community in the country.

    As I pointed out in my first post, jaywalking is illegal. Also, it’s rampant throughout the country, and it’s a crime.I probably see it every day, and I suspect you do as well, assuming you live in or near a major population center. Shall we mount a multi-million dollar campaign to stamp out jaywalking? Or is it more reasonable to let the fact that most jaywalking crimes are committed under circumstances that mitigate their egregiousness as an offense to the community govern our need to punish these offenders?

    Sometimes it just silly to ask our officials to enforce the laws, particularly when it’s an issue as pedantic as this one.

    If you have nothing better to do than to discover and demand enforcement of (exceptionally) petty crimes, particularly ones that most citizens wouldn’t even know were crimes (least of all the offenders, who are likely just doing what they can to make five bucks an hour), you really need to find a new hobby.

  110. TheNerd says:

    So THAT’S why people are always hanging things from my doorknob! Stupid law, I’d rather take my junkmail with my mail than be assaulted by it when I’m trying to get my key in the lock.

  111. JamesDevlin says:

    Here is my problem – I got a p.o. box for business; it is small, but just big enough for some few checks and correspondence . I can’t check it every two days, however, when you sign up for the p.o. the form states that you will not allow it to over fill (you agree to check it regularly). It fills up in a few days with store flyers—even if I get no personal mail. The p.o. lady says that they can do nothing because the company pays for the bulk mail. That is the problem, and no one addresses this. They are paying the government for the mailings, whether or not your name is attached to it. I told the postal woman that this was the equivalent to SPAM, which is illegal, and that the store flyers are spam, junk mail that I don’t want; and yet here the same government which would prosecute ME for spamming is accepting this physical spam because they’re getting paid for it. Reading this story gives me little hope that I could win a battle to stop it. When will someone (maybe a big shot lawyer) get sick enough of this to make a big lawsuit of it? I’m just a small man.

  112. maymay says:

    This law does not apply in every situation, I just dropped a christmas card to a friend’s mailbox i wanted to mail it with the rest of cards i mailed out last week for christmas but i dont know how to write her exact address i wasnt sure about the name of the little road to her house but i know how to get there so on my way to work this morning i just dropped it in her mailbox i dont think there is anything wrong with that, i didnt have any bad intentions, or intention avoiding to pay postage i can mail it no problem but i am afraid its going to be too late for christmas, i just want to make sure she’ll get it on time.