Posts Tagged Undeliverable As Addressed
What makes mail UAA?
Last week we suggested that reducing Undeliverable As Addressed mailpieces could provide savings to your mailing budget. What are your costs when you consider designing, printing, folding, inserting, and applying postage to mail that never gets where it is intended? It costs the USPS, on average, $0.513 per piece to handle this undeliverable mail.
What factors go into determining whether mail is Undeliverable As Addressed?
- No postage
- Incomplete, illegible, or incorrect address
- Addressee not at address (unknown, moved or deceased)
- Mail unclaimed
- Mail refused by addressee at time of delivery
- Mail refused by addressee after delivery when permitted
- Minimum criteria for mailability not met
Mail that is undeliverable as addressed is forwarded, returned to the sender, or treated as dead mail as authorized for the specific class of mail.
UAA mail returned to sender is marked by the USPS with the reason for nondelivery. You most often see this as the “yellow stickies” applied to your mailpiece when it is returned to you.
What do the notations on the “yellow stickies” mean?
The following are a few, but not all of the reasons you may see given on your returned mail:
- Attempted – Not Known: Delivery was attempted, addressee not known at place of address
- Box Closed – No Order: Post Office box closed for nonpayment of rent
- Deceased: Used only when known that addressee is deceased and mail is not properly deliverable to another person. Important: This endorsement must be made personally by USPS delivery employee and under no circumstance may it be rubber-stamped. Mail addressed in care of another is marked to show which person is deceased.
- Illegible: Address not readable
- Insufficient Address: Mail without number, street, box number, route number or city and state omitted and correct address not known
- Moved, Left No Address: Addressee moved and did not file a Change of Address order with USPS
- Not Deliverable as Addressed – Unable to Forward: (Any of the following) Mail undeliverable at address given; no Change of Address order on file; forwarding order expired
- Temporarily Away: Addressee temporarily away and period for holding mail expired
- Vacant: House, apartment, office or building not occupied
I urge you to take the opportunity to review these notices and take action.
Update your mailing list! Remove any addresses that can not be corrected or improved and certainly any notices of deceased addressees. Take the time to research addresses in order to update them, or provide a list of these addresses to your appropriate vendor and ask them to process them through National Change of Address (NCOA) database. When you receive updated addresses back from the NCOA process, update your mailing list accordingly.
It can be time consuming, but remember – you won’t make a sale, receive payment for a bill or get valuable feedback from your addressees if they never receive your mailpiece.
Looking for ways to control your mailing budget?
If so, take a hard look at your Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail.
The USPS recently shared data from a 2010 report studying UAA mail. Prior to release of this report, the most recent data was from a 2004 study.
According to the study, the total volume of Undeliverable As Addressed mail dropped from 9.3 billion pieces (4.71 percent of total mail volume) in FY 1998 to 6.9 billion pieces (4.11 percent of total mail volume) in FY 2010.
Still falling short of former Postmaster General Jack Potter’s goal of a 50% reduction by 2010, this is still a notable decrease.
How are you impacted? Think of all the time and money spent designing, printing, preparing and applying postage to your mail. The mail returned to you as UAA is money down the drain. You won’t see a return on investment, or a bill paid, on mail that never made it to the designated recipient.
Historically, UAA mail runs in the range of 4 percent to 5 percent of total mail volume, and the percentages vary by class of mail. The volumes of UAA mail that the USPS forwards or treats as waste both saw declines, but the amount of UAA mail that the USPS returned to sender increased.
The USPS handles UAA mail in three ways: it is forwarded to the new address, it is disposed of as waste, or it is returned to the sender.
Although the Move Update requirements implemented in 2008 have had a direct impact on the reduction of UAA mail, the increase in the volume of mailpieces returned to sender is of note. These are the most costly UAA mail for the USPS to process at an average cost of 51.3 cents per piece.
All of this undeliverable mail costs both the USPS the mailers. Charles Hunt, the USPS program manager for licensing and move update support, told the Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) that all postage rates could drop by one cent each if the UAA problem were taken out of the equation.
What can you do to decrease the amount of Undeliverable As Addressed mail you receive?
- Become vigilant about your list hygiene.
- Maintain suppression lists of those customers who have requested not to receive mailings from your organizations.
- Frequently update your list to remove any UAA addresses returned to you.
- Work with your mail service provider to design mailpieces for postal automation compatibility.
There are so many resources out there for address cleansing and updating. The benefit is to you in doing your part; it not only reduces waste, but helps to ensure that your message is indeed reaching the target.