3-5 Private Hands Without Compensation (39 CFR 310.3(c))

The sending or carrying of letters without compensation is permitted. Compensation generally consists of a monetary payment for services rendered. However, compensation may also consist of nonmonetary valuable consideration and of goodwill. Thus, for example, when a business relationship exists or is sought between the carrier and its user, carriage by the carrier of the user’s letter will ordinarily not fall under this exception; or when a person is engaged in the transportation of goods or persons for hire, his or her carrying of letters “free of charge” for customers whom he or she charges for the carriage of goods or persons does not fall under this exception.


  • Laura Bowley plans to travel to Cottonwood, Arizona. A friend asks Mrs. Bowley to carry a letter to another friend who resides there without payment of any compensation. Such private carriage is permissible under this exception.
  • Mickey’s Moving regularly transports equipment from the headquarters of a department store to its branch stores. The department store also requests Mickey’s Moving to transport its letters along with its equipment. Mickey’s Moving agrees to do so without additional compensation because it incurs no additional expense for doing so and also builds customer satisfaction in the process. Because a business relationship exists between Mickey’s Moving and the department store, the criterion for this exception is not met.