POM Revision: Dead Mail

Effective November 12, 2015, the Postal Service™ is revising the Postal Operations Manual (POM). These changes are intended to set out the processes and procedures for the determination of when mail matter coming into the possession and/or control of the Inspection Service may be deemed abandoned or unclaimed and therefore “dead.”

Postal Operations Manual (POM)

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6 Delivery Services

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69 Dead Mail

691 General

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691.2 Opening and Examination

[Add a new last sentence to 691.2 to read as follows:]

***For other circumstances in which mail may be opened and examined, see ASM 274.2.

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691.522 Noninjurious Items

[Revise the last sentence of 691.522(b) to read as follows:]

b. ***Turn over items suspected of containing illegal drugs to the Postal Inspection Service.

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[Add new 691.584 to read as follows:]

691.584 Abandoned or Unclaimed Nonmailable Matter — Inspection Service

For mail detained pursuant to Administrative Support Manual (ASM) 274.31d, the Inspection Service will notify the sender and addressee of mailpieces reasonably suspected of containing nonmailable matter, including narcotics, as proscribed in Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail, and provide the sender and addressee with a reasonable opportunity to claim the mailpiece or appeal the determination of nonmailability. If neither the sender nor the addressee claims or otherwise retrieves the mailpiece in a timely manner or appeals the determination of nonmailability, the mailpiece is deemed abandoned or unclaimed (i.e., “dead mail” under 691.1a). Dead mail under this section may be opened or examined to verify the nonmailability of the contents, in accordance with ASM 274.21f. Nonmailable contents will be handled and disposed of in accordance with Postal Inspection Service procedures. A list or record may be made of mail abandoned or unclaimed under this section and used in accordance with Inspection Service procedures. Any contents determined to be mailable will be returned to the sender or forwarded to the addressee, if possible.

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We will incorporate these revisions into the next online update of the Postal Operations Manual, which is available on the Postal Service PolicyNet website:

n Go to http://blue.usps.gov.

n In the left-hand column under “Essential Links”, click PolicyNet.

n Click Manuals.

The direct URL for the Postal Service PolicyNet website is http://blue.usps.gov/cpim.