What Is A Return Receipt USPS? (Your Full Guide)

When you mail important documents or valuable items, you want to make sure they arrive safely. Luckily USPS offers a way to do this—Return Receipts. Return Receipts are either physical or electronic signatures proving that a recipient received their mail.

In addition to providing the sender with peace of mind, these receipts are admissible in court if need be. If you’ve got questions about Return Receipts, then make sure to read this article.

What Is A Return Receipt USPS In 2022?

Return Receipts are an add-on service offered by USPS. They provide evidence of delivery in the form of a postcard signed by the recipient or an email containing an electronic copy of the recipient’s signature. Return Receipts are available for Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First Class Mail, First Class Package Service, and Media Mail.

If you want to learn more about when to use Return Receipts and how much they cost, then check out the rest of our article!

Return Receipts are an extra service offered by USPS. Their purpose is to show proof of delivery by requiring a recipient to provide a signature before having the item released to them.

You may choose to receive a Return Receipt by mail (with the recipient’s original signature) or by email (with a copy of the recipient’s signature).

What’s more, a Return Receipt provides the date of the delivery and the delivery address (if it’s different from the address on the mailpiece).

Having a recorded signature gives senders peace of mind, especially if the items are important or valuable.

Return Receipts can be added on to items sent via…

  • Priority Mail Express
  • Priority Mail
  • First Class Mail
  • First Class Package Service
  • Media Mail

Moreover, they can be combined with other USPS services, including Tracking, Signature Confirmation, Special Handling, Restricted Delivery, and Parcel Airlift Service.

How Much Is The Return Receipt Fee USPS?

USPS offers Return Receipts in two forms, either as a mailed receipt or as an electronic receipt. Mailed receipts (also known as PS Form 3811) cost $3.05. Electronic receipts cost $1.85.

Please note that Return Receipts cannot be purchased on USPS.com. They are only available for purchase from the post office at the time of mailing.

What Is A Return Receipt For Merchandise USPS?

A Return Receipt for Merchandise (PS Form 3804) is similar to a regular Return Receipt in that both show proof of delivery in the form of the recipient’s signature.

What’s different is that standard Return Receipts are used for documents, whereas merchandise Return Receipts are used for items being sold.

A Return Receipt for Merchandise is available as an add-on service for items sent as Priority Mail, USPS Retail Ground, Media Mail, Library Mail, or Bound Printed Matter.

Can I Request A Return Receipt After Mailing an Item?

Can I Request A Return Receipt After Mailing an Item? USPS

You cannot get a Return Receipt after mailing an item. If you wish to request a Return Receipt, you must do so at the time of mailing.

Also, keep in mind that Return Receipts cannot be purchased online. You’ll need to go to the post office to purchase this service.

What Do I Do If I Never Got My Return Receipt Back?

If you purchased a Return Receipt but have not received proof of the item’s delivery, you can still request information from the delivery record within 90 days of the date of purchasing the Return Receipt. 

To do so, you must visit a post office, station or branch and complete PS Form 3811-A (Request for Delivery Information/Return Receipt). You’ll also need to produce a receipt showing proof of purchase for the Return Receipt.

What Is The Difference Between Certified Mail And Return Receipts?

At the end of the day, there aren’t too many differences between certified mail and Return Receipts. In fact, both services have a lot in common.

Both are add-on services offered by USPS that are used for delivery confirmation. What’s more, both allow the sender to track the delivery of the mailpiece, so they know exactly when and where the item was delivered.

These two services differ in terms of what happens to the recipient’s signature. When you send certified mail, the signature is stored with the post office and is kept on record for 2 years.

You can pay an additional fee to view the signature, but it is not mailed back to you as a standard practice.

Return Receipts are always available to the sender (either by mail or electronically) as part of the service fee.

It’s worth noting that these services aren’t mutually exclusive. In other words, you can send certified mail with a Return Receipt if you want even more assurance that your recipient got their mail.

Does USPS Offer Return Receipts For International Mail?

USPS offers Return Receipts for international mail. To get signature proof from an international delivery, you’ll need to fill out PS Form 2865 at the time of mailing.

This service is only available for Registered Mail items or insured Priority Mail international packages.

It’s also only available in certain countries. You can check this list of countries to see if your destination country is included. 

International Return Receipts cost $3.85 for both First-Class Mail International and Priority Mail International Parcels with insurance.

International Return Receipts are sent back to the sender via airmail.

If you want to know more, you can also read our posts on what does return to sender mean in USPS, if USPS takes UPS packages, and USPS delivery instructions.

Conclusion

Return Receipts are an easy and inexpensive way to know for sure that your mail got delivered to the right person. Not only will this give you peace of mind, but it will also serve as proof of delivery if you ever need it.

Not only can return receipts be used when mailing important documents, but they can also be used when sending merchandise. There’s really no end to the ways you can use this service!

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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 QuerySprout.com.

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