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Old 08-28-2010, 07:48 PM
 
1,054 posts, read 3,384,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gungnir View Post
Yeah I was thinking that myself...

Any tampering with mail is a felony, so no you can't throw it away, it's theft and/or destruction.

You can't open it either.

You actually can't take a letter that is in your mailbox that is addressed to your neighbor and put it into their mailbox... (same deal)

You should do as recommended here, write return to sender: No longer at this address... or addressee unknown.

Failure to do the above can result in 5 years in a federal penitentiary, lots of new friends in the showers, and/or a $250,000 fine. Plus the requisite loss of rights after conviction of a felony (problems getting a job, possible loss of voting rights, loss of firearm rights).
That law may be on the books, but I seriously doubt the post office is out looking for violators nor prosecuting anyone that throws away junk mail incorrectly delivered to their address.
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Old 08-28-2010, 11:12 PM
 
Location: Itinerant
6,810 posts, read 4,382,092 times
Reputation: 5121
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtneer View Post
That law may be on the books, but I seriously doubt the post office is out looking for violators nor prosecuting anyone that throws away junk mail incorrectly delivered to their address.
Yup, however the OP stated

Quote:
Officially if he didn't come to collect any of his mail within the week/month [i forget] he left OR change the mailing address then you have a right legally! It comes to YOUR house, even if its not addressed to you, he should have sorted all of this out before he left or during the first week/month
Since there is no clarification then it's only assumption that the mail is junk mail. Suppose it's a credit card, and it's fraudulently used, after being thrown out by the OP... even if it's "junk mail" and the mailer learns that it is not being opened by the addressee, then they can press charges through USPIS. Or suppose that the prior owner is himself under investigation for receiving something prohibited through the mail, and the OP is found to be receiving that persons mail and not returning it... Of course the agencies investigating are sure to believe that the mail was unopened and just disposed of.

Whether there are charges pressed or not does not excuse the fact that's it is still a federal offense. It can be prosecuted and the penalties are severe. All for want of spending 15 minutes in the Post Office, or a couple of minutes a week with a pen. Of course if you want to save a couple of minutes at the risk of 5 years in a federal pen, then that's your own affair.
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Old 08-29-2010, 12:52 PM
 
1,054 posts, read 3,384,053 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gungnir View Post

All for want of spending 15 minutes in the Post Office, or a couple of minutes a week with a pen. Of course if you want to save a couple of minutes at the risk of 5 years in a federal pen, then that's your own affair.
Good grief if you honestly believe people would be sent to the federal pen for throwing away a misdelivered Lands End catalog then you have a lot more to worry about than the definition of junk mail. They don't even put murderers and rapists in the fed pen that much anymore. Are you honestly terrified that the Postmaster General is going to lock you up and throw away the key?

If you take junk mail ie: catalogs with someone else's name on it to the post office they tell you those are not forwarded when people have a change of address order on file. The post office throws those away if you give it to them and they tell you not to bring them anymore. That's been my experience. I have a po box that I get mail for 4 other people at. The post office won't take back their mail.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:07 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,171 posts, read 17,548,042 times
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Most catalogs & junk mail is addressed to: ... or current resident either on the envolope or printed on the catalog in the address area. The catalog companies already spent the money to print/get it there, might as well leave it and maybe get a new client.
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Old 08-29-2010, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Itinerant
6,810 posts, read 4,382,092 times
Reputation: 5121
Quote:
Originally Posted by mtneer View Post
Good grief if you honestly believe people would be sent to the federal pen for throwing away a misdelivered Lands End catalog then you have a lot more to worry about than the definition of junk mail. They don't even put murderers and rapists in the fed pen that much anymore. Are you honestly terrified that the Postmaster General is going to lock you up and throw away the key?

If you take junk mail ie: catalogs with someone else's name on it to the post office they tell you those are not forwarded when people have a change of address order on file. The post office throws those away if you give it to them and they tell you not to bring them anymore. That's been my experience. I have a po box that I get mail for 4 other people at. The post office won't take back their mail.
Again you assume this is the case, the OP did not clarify he specifically said all mail to the former occupant.

I'm just saying what the Law says, nothing more, and as flyonpa mentioned if it is addressed to "or current resident" then you've done nothing wrong.

Yes I am concerned with being convicted of a felony (as should we all), since it's a seriously life altering event that would change some of my interests significantly, not overly concerned. However when I can do a simple task, that completely clears me of breaking a well established and known federal offense (and eliminates any implication in any offense that the previous occupant may have been performing), then I'll do that simple task.

The law regarding this is USC Title 18 Chapter 83 1702...

However you should also read USC Title 18 Chapter 63 1341, and figure out based on that language how you could NOT be convicted of a scheme or artifice to defraud by taking the previous occupants mail (rhetorical question really , most defense attorneys consider this law indefensible).
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:00 AM
 
Location: Southern California
3,115 posts, read 7,355,695 times
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You actually don't have to write anything at all - just take a pen and draw one diagonal line through the address, and stick it back in your mailbox - the post office will take care of it.

I know people who write "return to sender" or "no longer at this address" on every piece of mail that accidently ends up in their mailboxes. Waste of time! One little diagonal line through the address lets the postal carrier know it doesn't belong, and they'll take it back and send it on it's way.
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Old 08-30-2010, 06:53 AM
 
1,378 posts, read 3,774,209 times
Reputation: 1741
Quote:
Originally Posted by bouncethelight View Post
I know people who write "return to sender" or "no longer at this address" on every piece of mail that accidently ends up in their mailboxes. Waste of time!

Thanks for that time saving tip of not writing "No longer lives here" instead of just crossing out the address. That will save people up to five seconds.
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Old 08-30-2010, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,115 posts, read 7,355,695 times
Reputation: 3672
Quote:
Originally Posted by LongtimeBravesFan View Post
Thanks for that time saving tip of not writing "No longer lives here" instead of just crossing out the address. That will save people up to five seconds.
It may only save five seconds, but if you get a lot of mail in your box that isn't addressed to you, it's a LOT easier to just make one quick diagonal line on each, rather than sit down and write the same sentence over and over, on each piece of mail.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:34 PM
 
Location: Interior AK
4,729 posts, read 8,736,591 times
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I used to get a lot of mail addressed to former occupants, even after owning my home for 6 years. What I ended up doing was getting address labels printed (a roll of 1000 for less than $10) that stated "RETURN TO SENDER - No longer at this address". Then I would put the sticker across the address and drop it back in the mail. This worked a lot better than the diagonal strike; since the address was no longer visible at all, it couldn't "accidnetally" be sent right back to my box (yes, that happened more than once!)

If you're tech-savvy, you can buy the printable labels and make your own, but I think the cost is about the same as the discount label printers.
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Old 08-30-2010, 02:39 PM
 
Location: MMU->ABE->ATL->ASH
9,171 posts, read 17,548,042 times
Reputation: 10040
You need to blackout or cover the bar code (around the address area and/or the bottom right side of the env.) the PO scan that by automated and re-sorts it back to you. If the bar code can't be read it kicks out and processed by a human.
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