Proof of Mailing
Understanding the confusion surrounding what is considered ‘Proof of Mailing’, according to the USPS
Understanding ‘Proof of Mailing’
USPS Retail Receipt
Certificate of Mailing
A true method for providing proof of mailing through the USPS is accomplished by using Certificate of Mailing. Certificate of Mailing is a process to provide mailing to the USPS and have a receipt showing the pieces were received by the USPS for mailing. To utilize this service, you must complete the USPS form 3817, listing the recipient and address for your 1-3 mail pieces. Each mailpiece must have the required First-Class postage affixed to it. You will pay the fee for the service and affix the postage for the service to form 3817.
For mailings of more than three pieces you will need to complete USPS form 3665, listing all mail pieces in the mailing. You can use as many copies of the form, to include all the pieces in your mailing. Within the Form 3665 you can include a specific identifier for each mail piece for your purpose, such as an Account Number, registration number, etc.
You are also responsible for filling in the postage and fee for each item. Again, you must affix the applicable First-Class postage to each mailpiece and affix postage for the total price for the service for all pieces. As of January 9, 2022, the fee for Certificate of Mailing for each piece is $0.47. Therefore, if you are mailing twenty-five pieces, you must affix postage of $11.75 to cover the applicable fees for the service provided.
Again, the USPS will confirm that all items listed on your form are in your mail and will date stamp your form as proof that they received each of those individual pieces in your mail and return it to you. It is your responsibility to keep the forms for your proof of mailing. You are allowed to create a facsimile of the form 3665 to accommodate large mailings and eliminate pages, but it must be approved by the USPS before presenting and mailing.
Bulk Certificate of Mailing
As of January 9, 2022, the cost for Bulk Certificate of Mailing is $9.35 for the first 1,000 pieces (or fraction thereof), each additional 1,000 (or fraction thereof) costs $1.20.
- A 3,500-piece mailing would calculate as follows:
- 1,000 @ $9.35
- 2,500 (3, 1,000s or fraction thereof) 3 @ $1.20
- $9.35 + $3.60 = $12.95 total fee + applicable postage for each piece
- Comparing that same mailing as mailed Certificate of Mailing at $.47 per piece 3,500 x $.47 = $1,645
Certified Mail permits the mailer to affix the USPS form 3800 to a mailpiece with the required First-Class Mail postage and the fee for the Certified Mail service to have the ability to verify a mailpiece has been delivered or what the final disposition of the mailpiece if it was undeliverable. The form must be affixed to the top of the envelope with the dotted line folded over the envelope, being sure to not obscure the postage. The form 3800 provides a unique tracking number that can be tracked via USPS Tracking: https://tools.usps.com/go/TrackConfirmAction_input
Tracking information is available for two years, so mailers should print delivery information for their permanent record if they feel it will be needed.
The mailpiece must be submitted to the USPS to be date stamped that the piece was received by the USPS. At that time, they should scan the barcode for the tracking number for tracking. They will tear off the perforated copy with the date stamp and return that to the mailer for their records.
The cost for Certified Mail is $3.75 plus applicable First-Class mail postage.
Certified Mail Return Receipt
Return Receipt is an additional service that can be used in conjunction with Certified Mail to receive a signed document confirming receipt of a mailpiece. By affixing US form 3811 to a mailpiece with a Certified Mail form 3800 affixed as well with the form filled out on both the front and the back. The fee for the Return Receipt must be included with the total postage. As of January 9, 2022, the fee for Return Receipt is $3.05.
Total postage for Certified Mail Return Receipt:
- One ounce First Class postage – $0.58
- Certified Mail Fee – $3.75
- Return Receipt Fee – $3.05
- Total Fee – $7.38
It is important to fill out the form 3811 completely, ensuring you include all the information necessary to process the signed receipt upon return. If the mailpiece is undeliverable, the entire mailpiece will be returned to the mailer with a reason why the piece was undeliverable. Return Receipt is NOT required to mail Certified Mail, it is a separate service.
Once the mailpiece is delivered, mailers can choose to utilize Electronic Return Receipt to receive signature confirmation by email. Along with your email address, you must enter the Return Receipt tracking number on USPS tracking to request the signed Return Receipt. Large mailers who mail 25 or more Certified mailpieces per day can register for the Bulk Proof of Delivery Program and receive signature data by accessing a file provided by the USPS. Mailers interested in Bulk Proof of Delivery can access PostalPro for more details.
It can be frustrating and complicated trying to navigate the best options to meet your mailing needs. If you would like to learn more about postage requirements and options that could assist your mailing needs, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.