How to Use Certified Mail: Everything You Need to Know

posted by Chris Valentine

Sending certified mail is not as difficult as it sounds. Here’s everything you need to know about how to use certified mail.

For over 200 years, the U.S. mail delivery service has been in existence sending hundreds of thousands of letters, parcels, and packages in and out of different locations. But how many of these get lost along the way without any means to retrace them? Certified mail is a recent, modern system set up to solve this serious problem.

While this is welcome news to many who sends certified letters, very few people know how to properly use the system. Sending certified mail is not as difficult as it sounds.

Here’s everything you need to know about how to use certified mail.

What Is Certified Mail?

A certified mail is just like an ordinary mail but it features an add-on to help track it down from the point of origin to the point of delivery. In simple terms, it is an extra mail service designed to help track mail.

How do you track your certified mail?

The answer to this commonly asked question is perhaps what makes certified mail so appealing to people. Each certified mail has a tracking number, which is given to the sender. This unique number serves as proof of mailing.

Upon successful delivery of the mail, the delivery personnel notes the date and time of delivery. This information is sent to the sender via email informing them that the package has been delivered.

If efforts to deliver your mail was made but there was no one to receive it or an issue occurred, the delivery personnel notes the time and date on the item and tries to deliver it again. An email informing you of the delivery attempt is then sent over to you the sender.

Why Should You Use Certified Mail?

Certified mail comes in handy in cases where you want to stay informed on the whereabouts of your mail. Say, for example, you want to send confidential information or you had something of sentimental value to send to a loved one, wouldn’t you want to know the exact time they got the mail?

In case there is a mishap and your mail isn’t delivered, you can provide proof showing that you actually sent the mail. Likewise, the recipient of the letter or package won’t be able to deny that they received the mail. You can simply provide proof of notification showing the specific date and time of delivery or attempt of delivery.

Other reasons to make use of certified mail include the following:

  • The recipient should be physically present to sign the delivery form and receive the package or mail. This way you are sure that no one else other than the intended recipient received it.
  • It creates a sense of urgency. The recipient doesn’t just throw your mail on the mail drawer to read later but instead reads it immediately.
  • It is traceable. In the event that your mail gets lost or someone signed for delivery and received the mail on the recipients’ behalf but failed to hand it over, the mailing service is able to retrace all the steps in order to find out exactly what happened and where the mail is.

How to Use Certified Mail: How It Works

Many confess that the whole process of sending certified mail is ambiguous. In order to make things easier and to have you reap all the associated benefits, here is a simplified guide on how certified mail works.

Certified Mail

This is where you get a unique ID otherwise known as a tracking number. You can use this number to check online to see if your package has been successfully delivered.

In this case, the delivery personnel can hand over the mail to anyone else at the designated address. This means someone can pick up your mail for you when you’re not around.

Certified Mail with a Return Receipt

If you pay slightly more than the usual amount, a return receipt called a green card is attached to your mail. Once your mail reaches its destination, the recipient is required to sign and indicate the specific date of delivery.

Thereafter, the green card is sent back to you via mail.

Certified Mail with an Electronic Return Receipt

This service works the same way as the green card service explained above. The only difference is that instead of having the tangible green card sent back to you by mail, you have an electronic type of green card which is in PDF form sent to you.

This captured PDF document shows the recipients’ handstamp or a clear image of the recipients’ signature. To get this service, you will also be required to pay a small additional fee.

Certified Mail with a Return Receipt and Restricted Delivery

Don’t want to take any chances when it comes to the privacy of your mail? If so, consider using this service. Here, you have a mail package whose return receipt can only be received and signed for by the specific recipient, addressee or agent you specified at the point of sending mail.

Use Certified Mail to Have Your Mail Delivered Safer and Faster

It takes roughly 3 to 10 working days for the USPS to deliver your mail. When you opt for certified mail, however, you are sure that your package or mail will get to its intended destination as soon as possible with little to no delays. Advancement in technology has made it possible to enjoy services such as certified mail. This ‘how to use certified mail’ guide should help you take advantage of certified mail services.

Check out our blog on devices that are becoming outdated due to technological improvements.

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