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return service requested

Discussion in 'English Only' started by NickJunior, May 3, 2009.

  1. NickJunior Senior Member

    Amérique du Nord
    cambodgien
    Hi Everyone,
    I am wondering about the meaning of the phrase "Return Service Requested" stamped on a mail envelop. What is the recipient of the mail supposed to do? Thanks for your explanation in advance.
     
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm sorry, Nick, it means nothing to me. Perhaps it's an AmE term.
     
  3. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    This is a service of U.S. Postal Service.

    What you cite is a message to postal authorities, not the intended recipient of the envelope.

    If the addressed person has moved and the post office has the new address on file, the post office will send that new address back to the sender of the envelope.

    It might apply elsewhere as well.
     
  4. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    From the US Postal Service website:
     
  5. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    No, the letter would be forwarded to me as part of the normal service provided and it would be up to me to inform you of my new address. Forwarding addresses do expire (after a year, I believe) and are not continued in perpetuity.

    The "Return Service Requested" is normally used by commercial firms who want to keep people on their mailing lists. I forget, but there might be an extra charge involved to the person requesting the service.

    Unfortunately, the "Return Service Requested" makes it difficult to escape the mass-mail marketers who send what we call "junk mail" in the U.S., i.,e. adverts on everything imaginable.
     
  6. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    For more detail than you could possibly want on this topic, go to the U.S. Postal Service web site, and read the definition in the Domestic Mail Manual, or DMM.

    The term in question is a mailer endorsement, requesting the return of the mailpiece if it cannot be delivered as addressed.

    Source: http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/507.htm#wp1218184
     
  7. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    I'm clearly being even more thick than usual tonight:(

    If I write "Return Service Requested" what do I want (a) the US postal service to do (b) the recipient of the letter to do?

    Cuchu's and sdgraham's responses seem to be incompatible.

    Perhaps I've just had too much whisky....?
     
  8. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Based on my understanding of what the USPS says on its website:
    You asking the USPS to take a particular action if the mailpiece (first you must learn to call your letter a mailpiece) is UAA.

    The letter will not be delivered.
    The USPS will send it back to you together with the new address for the recipient OR saying that they couldn't find the recipient at that address.
    Presumably you will write the new address in your lavender-scented address book, re-address the letter, stick on a new stamp, and pop it back in the post-box.


    [FONT=helvetica,arial][SIZE=-1][FONT=arial, heveltica][SIZE=-1]Return Service Requested.
    If UAA, the mailpiece is returned with the new address or reason for nondelivery; no charge.[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]
     
  9. johndot Senior Member

    English - England
    You are not alone, Loob; I don’t understand either. Or rather, if I do understand, I’m frightened.

    Is this right: if I move and the Post Office has my forwarding address (which it most likely would have), not only would the PO send my mail on to me but also, if the mail had been marked Return Service Requested notify the sender of my new address?

    That’s scary.
     
  10. JulianStuart

    JulianStuart Senior Member

    Sonoma County CA
    English (UK then US)
    Ms. Loob, Let's take in in reverse order

    (b) if the intended recipient is at the delivery address, the recipient receives the item and the "return service" is not activated.
    (a) if the intended recipient is not at the address, the USPS either "returns" it to the sender saying so, or "returns" it to the sender and informs them of the intended recipient's new address (this way the sender can now start sending mail, important or junk, to the new address). (From post #4 "[FONT=helvetica,arial][SIZE=-1][FONT=arial, heveltica][SIZE=-1]If UAA, the mailpiece is returned with the new address or reason for nondelivery"[/SIZE][/FONT][/SIZE][/FONT]) Thus the USPS performs a service of returning the mail piece, but only when requested.

    This explains why we now get junk at our new address (eek, the catalogue companies found us).
     
  11. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Not incompatible. Cuchu was more detailed. Let's look at this in pseudo-code

    If I write "Return Service Requested" what do I want

    >>(a) the US postal service to do

    If the missive can be delivered as addressed then
    Deliver the missive and do nothing more.
    else
    If addressee has moved and provided a new address to which mail can be delivered, then
    deliver the missive to the new address AND notify the sender of the new address.
    End if
    If mail cannot be delivered at all then
    Return missive to sender and advise as to the reason for non-delivery.
    End if
    End it


    >>(b) the recipient of the letter to do?

    The recipient is not involved.
     
  12. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Thank you, all:)

    This thread has exhausted me. Time for cocoa and bed.
     
  13. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    That may be what happens, but it is not what the USPS website says.
    It says that the mailpiece will be returned to the sender, not delivered to the addressee at the new address.
     
  14. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    Whoops.
     
  15. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    Sdg has combined, in his previous answer (post #11), two distinct USPS services. One is Return Service, which is no more than return of an undeliverable mail piece to the sender, and Address Correction, which he defined well. The thread topic term is the first only.
     
  16. yohoyoho New Member

    eng


    Whenever I wish to royally F somebody over and they have moved, I send them an empty envelope with return service requested under my po box top left. That way I have their new address and they don't have mine. Fairly cheap too. The only way to avoid such stalking is to not forward your mail.
     

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