(Domestic Mail section continued)
Return Receipt (Electronic) Fact Sheet
Makes proof of delivery quick, easy, and
Equivalent of traditional return receipt (green card),
but arrives via e-mail.
Signed evidence of delivery and actual delivery
May be used with Certified MailTM items, Registered
MailTM items, Insured Mail items valued over $50,
and collect on delivery (COD) items.
An e-mail attachment that opens using Adobe Acrobat software.
Only $1.30 - 45 cents less than traditional return
Convenient - Purchaser may print as many copies
as needed, forward the return receipt to other interested parties, or archive the information digitally for
Bulk version available for large-volume mailers -
Records are provided on CD-ROM or in a signature
extract file for use with file transfer protocol (FTP).
See Publication 80, Bulk Proof of Delivery Program,
for more information.
Not available to APO/FPO addresses or U.S. territories, possessions, and freely associated states,
with the exception of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
How It Works
The customer purchases return receipt (electronic)
at a participating Post OfficeTM at time of mailing.
The customer visits www.usps.com to request the
return receipt (electronic). The customer then does
- Clicks on Track & Confirm.
- Enters the label number from the receipt.
- Clicks on Request Return Receipt (Electronic).
- Enters name and e-mail address.
The recipient's signature is obtained at delivery, digitally copied from the PS Form 3849, Delivery
Notice/Reminder/Receipt, and imbedded into the
return receipt proof of delivery letter.
The customer receives the e-mail with the return receipt (electronic) attachment, usually within 48
hours of delivery.
Answers to Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is return receipt (electronic)?
Return receipt (electronic) is an electronic alternative to the existing return receipt (green card). It is
purchased at the time of mailing with Certified MailTM,
Registered MailTM, COD, or Insured Mail items valued over $50. It provides evidence of delivery (to
whom the mail was delivered and date of delivery)
along with information about the recipient's actual
2. Where can I purchase a return receipt
Return receipt (electronic) is available at most Post
OfficesTM. After the purchase, you must visit our Web
site at www.usps.com; click on Track & Confirm; enter the label number from your receipt; click on
Request Return Receipt (Electronic); enter your
name and the e-mail address to which you want your
return receipt (electronic) letter sent.
3. What is the difference between return receipt
(electronic) and the traditional return receipt
The difference between the return receipt (electronic) and traditional return receipt service is that you do
not receive by mail a physical document (green card)
signed by the recipient. Instead, you receive a proof
of delivery letter via e-mail as a PDF attachment that
includes the date and time of delivery and an image
of the recipient's signature.
4. Can I purchase both a return receipt (electronic)
and a return receipt (green card)?
Yes. The return receipt (electronic) and return receipt
(green card) are two different options that can be purchased separately or together.
5. Is the return receipt (electronic) acceptable in
Return receipt (electronic) is an official Postal ServiceTM document designed to be equivalent to the
hardcopy return receipt that has been in use for
many years. However, its legal status is not determined by the Postal Service. That decision is made
by the individual courts.
6. I mail about 25 Certified Mail items a day and
want to use return receipt (electronic). If I were to
purchase this service, would I receive 25 e-mails
or is there a way to batch this information and
send it to me in one e-mail?
Customers who purchase return receipt (electronic)
from a Post Office will receive an e-mail for each return receipt (electronic) purchased. Customers who
mail larger volumes, such as 25 items per day, can
participate in our Bulk Proof of Delivery Program,
which must be set up in advance. Refer to Publication 80, available at www.usps.com; click About
USPS & News, then Forms and Publications, then
Postal Periodicals and Publications, then Publications for more details.
7. What is the refund policy for return receipt
(electronic) if the signature is missing?
You are eligible for a refund if the recipient's signature is not provided. Visit your local Post Office to
8. How will the e-mail be titled? How will I be able
to tell it is my return receipt (electronic) and not
Here is an example e-mail heading and address
Sent: Monday, August 30, 2004 2:11 PM
To: Doe, John - Washington, DC
Subject: USPS Proof of Delivery Info for [XXXX
XXXX XXXX XXXX] (denotes article number)
9. How long will it take to receive the return receipt
This depends on when the customer requests the return receipt on the Track & Confirm site at
www.usps.com. If the customer requests a record
on an article that already has been delivered and
is fully complete, we will process it immediately. Depending on the e-mail server, the customer should
get the e-mail within hours. If the customer requests
the record prior to delivery, then we must wait for delivery to happen and for the signature record to be
completed. The return receipt letter is usually available to be sent by e-mail within 48 hours of delivery.
10. Must I wait for any particular length of time
before requesting the return receipt (electronic)
No. You do not need to wait to request a return receipt (electronic). You can make your request immediately after purchase. However, it is unlikely that
delivery will have been accomplished. In these
instances, we must wait for delivery to take place and
for the signature record to be fully completed before
we can e-mail it to you.
11. Can I get restricted delivery with return receipt
Yes. Restricted delivery is available with return receipt (electronic). The same additional services
available with the traditional return receipt are also
available with return receipt (electronic).
12. Can I purchase return receipt (electronic) when
I am mailing online through www.usps.com?
No. Return receipt (electronic) is not available
through www.usps.com at this time. It is only available for purchase from the Post Office or by signing
up for our Bulk Proof of Delivery Program.
13. Is return receipt (electronic) available to APO/FPO locations?
No. This service is not available for items mailed to
APO/FPO locations or U.S. territories, possessions,
and freely associated states, with the exception of
Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
14. Wouldn't it be easier to get my e-mail address for
the return receipt (electronic) at purchase?
To ensure that we capture your e-mail address correctly, we ask customers to visit our Web site and enter the information. Some customers may choose not
to get an e-mail for each return receipt purchased.
Instead, they may want to get an e-mail only for ones
that they have questions about. Allowing customers
to enter their e-mail address as opposed to the Postal Service provides them that flexibility.
15. In the case of bulk purchases of return receipts
(electronic), must I provide my e-mail address for
each purchase individually?
Customers who purchase return receipt (electronic)
from a Post Office are required to enter each request
individually. Customers who purchase enough return
receipts (electronic) may want to use the Bulk Proof
of Delivery Program so that they do not need to provide an e-mail address each time.
16. What happens if I lose my mailing receipt?
You must have your article number in order to request your return receipt (electronic). This can be
found on your purchase receipt or on your accountable mail label receipt. If you do not have either type
of receipt showing the article number, you will not be
able to obtain a return receipt (electronic).
17. If you can't make delivery, and my mailpiece is
sent back to me, will I get an e-mail to that effect?
18. How long will the Postal Service keep the
electronic information on file? Why are
customers asked to request their return receipt
(electronic) within 90 days?
Return receipt (electronic) records are kept for 2
years from the date of mailing. After 90 days, your record will take longer to retrieve.
1. Are there additional forms to fill out or labels to
scan when a return receipt (electronic) service is
No. The customer no longer has to fill out PS Form
3811, Domestic Return Receipt (Green Card). But
retail associates need to explain certain aspects of
the service to new users, such as the following:
- The signature arrives as an e-mail attachment rather than on a postcard.
- After completing the mailing transaction, the
customer must go to the Postal ServiceTM
Web site, www.usps.com, and enter the label
number(s) printed on the customer receipt
(this is applicable to POS ONE sites) as well
as an e-mail address to which the return receipt containing the signature image will be
sent. IRT sites will hand the customer the instructions separately since they are not
printed on the receipt.
- The customer must retain his or her receipt
for use in entering the article number at
www.usps.com to receive the service.
2. What happens if customers lose their mailing
receipt prior to requesting the return receipt
(electronic) at www.usps.com? How do they
make their electronic request?
If customers lose their receipt(s) prior to visiting
www.usps.com, they will be unable to request a return receipt (electronic).
3. When a refund request is made, how do I verify
that the service was not delivered?
Request a Proof of Delivery letter from the Postal
Service Intranet (Blue) Web site at
http://blue.usps.gov; under "Essential Links," click
on Find it; enter article number to see if the signature
image is available. If the piece has been delivered
but the signature is not present, the customer is eligible for a refund. If the signature is available, the customer is not eligible for a refund.
4. Does the letter carrier do anything differently
when a return receipt (electronic) is involved?
Does the accountables clerk?
Existing procedures apply for both the letter carrier
and retail associate. However, the retail associate
must advise the customer to retain his or her receipt
and follow the instructions to request return receipt
(electronic) at www.usps.com.
5. If there is no green card attached to the accountable mailpiece, where does the signature that is
provided on the return receipt (electronic) come
As with all signature records, the signature is captured from PS Form 3849 at the time of delivery, optically scanned, and stored electronically in our
electronic system of records. When a return receipt
(electronic) is requested, the signature is retrieved
from our system of records and placed on the return
receipt proof of delivery letter.
6. Is return receipt (electronic) service available at
Return receipt (electronic) is not available for purchase at manual offices.
7. If asked to do so, can we print out the return
receipt (electronic) for customers in the office?
No. Postal Service employees should not print out
the proof of delivery letter for customers. Customers
should be directed to www.usps.com to make their
8. Will return receipt (electronic) be included on
new PS Forms 3849?
Return receipt (electronic) will not be listed on PS
Form 3849. Only the primary service purchased with
return receipt (electronic) (i.e., Certified Mail, Registered Mail, COD, or Insured Mail items) will continue
to be listed on PS Form 3849.
9. Is the 90-day retention period in effect for return
Return receipt (electronic) records are kept in the
system for 2 years from the date of mailing. The
90-day retention period is applicable to only how long
the records are available for viewing online. After 90
days, the records can be restored, if requested, within hours after making the restoration request. Customers are encouraged, however, to make their
return receipt (electronic) requests at
www.usps.com within 90 days from the date of mailing to avoid a delay in receiving their signature