How To Refuse A Package USPS? (+ Other Common FAQs)

There’s nothing quite as annoying as getting your mailbox flooded with mail and packages that you don’t want and that don’t belong to you.

So how do you refuse a package from USPS, and what happens once you refuse it? If you’d like to find out, keep reading to see what I learned!

How Do I Refuse A Package From USPS In 2024?

In order to refuse mail/packages, you must write “refused” on the mail and markup the barcode and address so that the automated shipping software redirects it to be handled by a person. Afterward, put the mail back in the mailbox or drop it off at the post office. It’s important to note that you can only refuse unopened mail.

There’s so much more to understand about what happens when mail is refused and how to refuse email so that it isn’t sent back to you, so if you’d like to learn more, keep reading for more useful facts!

Can You Refuse A Package From USPS Before It’s Delivered?

You can refuse a package from USPS before it’s delivered by using USPS’ program Package Intercept.

Package Intercept only works if your package is currently in transit but not already out for delivery.

In order to use Package Intercept, you must have a USPS account, which you can make by accessing the USPS website.

After logging into your account, verify that your package is eligible for USPS Package Intercept and then submit a request for your package.

All package interceptions come with a fee of $15.25 plus any Priority Mail postage since all Package Intercept items are returned to the sender using Priority Mail (if your package was originally Priority Mail, you only have to pay the original fee).

However, you cannot refuse a package from USPS before it’s delivered unless you use USPS Package Intercept.

It’s also important to note that you can refuse any type of USPS mail except for Registered Mail or Certified Mail, as these types of mail often contain important items (i.e jury duty summons) that must be delivered.

Can You Refuse A Package From USPS After It Has Been Opened?

Can You Refuse A Package From USPS After It Has Been Opened? USPS

Once you open a package from USPS, you have accepted the package, which means that there is no way for you to refuse it.

However, if the package does not belong to you and you opened it by accident, you can still try and get the package to its original owner.

Therefore, the best thing to do when you’ve mistakenly opened someone else’s mail is to call or visit your local post office to check if anyone has called in about a missing package.

Does USPS Charge For Refused Packages?

USPS will often charge customers for a refused package, though they don’t charge the person who refuses the package.

However, if the package was sent via Ground Retail (or any USPS shipping service that is not Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express), then they will charge the sender to ship the package back.

Generally, most big eCommerce companies don’t pay full price for shipping the same way others do, since they provide a large amount of business for USPS and factor refused packages into the price they charge for shipping.

However, if the package was originally shipped as Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, then nobody will be charged any extra for a refused package, including the original sender.

How Do I Refuse A USPS Package?

In order to refuse a USPS package, the first step is to write “refused” on the package.

You should also use a permanent marker to strike through your address and the barcode beneath your address, because while this step isn’t required, it helps to make sure that the refused mail makes it into the hands of an actual person.

Marking the refused package is important because USPS utilizes plenty of automated shipping software to help sort through all of the mail that’s handled in one day.

Therefore, if you don’t cross out the barcode and address, your package may end up in a basket and go through a machine rather than land in front of a person, which increases the likelihood that it will be sent back to you.

Additionally, if the reason you’re refusing the package or piece of mail is because it’s addressed to someone who no longer lives at your residence, feel free to indicate that on the package/letter as well.

It may also be helpful to place a small piece of paper inside your mailbox that says your name and the name of any other tenants at your address to prevent further mishaps.

What Happens When Someone Refuses A USPS Package?

Once you refuse a package or piece of mail from USPS, the process of the package being returned to the sender begins.

Return-to-sender generally entails a two-week wait (at minimum) at the post office for the refused mail, which is done in case someone comes to claim it and it was refused due to the address being incorrectly written or something similar.

However, if no one comes to claim the refused piece of mail after around two weeks, then the post office loads it back up onto a truck and ships it back to the return address listed on the package.

To find out more about USPS, you can also check our posts on where can you drop off USPS packages, if USPS loses packages, and USPS delivered to wrong address.


In order to refuse a package from USPS, it must be unopened. As well, you can refuse a package that’s still in transit by using USPS Package Interception, which requires that you have a USPS account.

To refuse a package, write “refused” on the packing materials and mark through your address and barcode underneath to ensure that your package falls into the hands of a person and doesn’t get accidentally sent back to you.

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Marques Thomas

Marques Thomas graduated with a MBA in 2011. Since then, Marques has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Marques is also the head writer and founder of

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