If you receive someone else’s mail into your mailbox, there are several reasons it could have happened.
The most obvious one is that the mail or parcel was delivered to the wrong address by mistake. That’s on the postman or woman.
It could also be that the post was delivered to the right address but has the wrong name on it. That indicates the intended recipient has moved to another address or never lived there.
Luckily, there are several ways to get the mail to the right recipient.
What to Do With Wrongly Delivered Post
Wrong address and name
This is the most common scenario. You receive a letter or parcel but the address and name on it are not yours, meaning the courier made an error. To rectify the situation, write ‘Misdelivered’ on the front and drop it at the nearest post box.
Right address but wrong name
If the address on the post is yours but the name is not, there are two possibilities. The recipient has moved or the person never lived there.
In the first scenario, you have two options.
If you know the person and their new address, cross out the address and write “No longer living at this address, please forward to” along with the correct address. Then drop the post in the nearest post box.
Royal mail will re-deliver it to the right address.
If you don’t know their new address, cross out the address and write ‘No longer lives here’.
Drop it at a post box. Royal mail will send it back to the sender if there is a return address on the mail.
In the second scenario where you don’t know the person, it could be that the recipient lived there a very long time ago and you don’t know them or the sender has written the wrong address.
In that case, cross out the address and write ‘Not known at this address’. Drop it at a post box and Royal Mail will take care of it.
Card that’s not in your name
If you come home to a ‘something for you card’ – meaning the courier tried to deliver a parcel – but it’s not in your name, ignore it.
It means the parcel is not intended for you. You can safely dispose of the card.
Royal mail will hold onto the parcel and return it to sender after the retention period.
Is it Illegal to Throw Away Someone’s Mail?
Whatever you do, please do not dispose of wrongly delivered mail or even open it. For one, it’s just wrong.
It could contain important information or documents for the intended recipient. Let the courier try to find the right recipient. If they can’t, it will go back to the sender.
Secondly, you could be in violation of the law.
According to the Postal Services Act 2000, intentionally delaying transmission of a postal packet or opening it is liable to a fine of up to £5,000, up to 6 months in jail or both.
Even if you are tempted to keep the package because it contains a nice gadget, don’t. It could land you in serious trouble.