Most of us have received certified mail of some type, but unless you've had to use the service yourself, you may not know much about it. It's often used by businesses and government agencies, but there are times when private citizens can benefit from its use as well. It may come in handy to know what certified mail is, when you main need to use it and how much it costs, so here is a full explanation of the service.
What is certified mail?
Certified mail is a special mail service that is offered by the United States Postal Service. It provides proof that the item was mailed by sending a certified receipt to the sender. The sender also has the option of adding on an extra service that notifies him or her of when the delivery is actually made or when an attempt at delivery has been made. This option is called return receipt.
When would you need to use certified mail?
Certified mail is most often used when the sender requires official proof that an item has been sent. It can be for legal reasons, such as sending an eviction notice or other official documents to a tenant, or when you want to make sure that a certain person receives an item that is mailed. You can specify that the addressee must sign for the package or letter in order for it to be officially delivered. This type of mail is very useful in legal matters or when a delicate situation must be handled via mail. If you're mailing an important document such as the title to a vehicle, certified mail helps to ensure that the document is received in the right hands. There are many situations where you may want to use this extra security and confirmation method for sending a letter or package through the United States Postal Service. Certified mail is also used for important notifications such as prize winnings or for impending legal actions. It's not just limited to business and anyone can send certified mail for any reason.
How much does certified mail cost?
- The 2019 rates for certified mail through the USPS vary depending on the type of package, the size, the weight and the specific types of services that you choose. The certified mail fee is between $3.45-$3.50. A charge of $.80 is assessed for Electronic Delivery Confirmation Receipt if you choose this option. The old fashioned return receipt green card charge is $2.75-$2.80. If you go with the Return Receipt Electronic Signature in PDF form over the green card, the cost is between $1.50 to $1.60.
- First Class postage for a 1 ounce letter is between $.47 and $.50. For each additional ounce in First Class postage under 3.5 ounces you will be charged between $.15-$.21.
- Flat envelope weighing 1 ounce and measuring 9″ X 12″ or 10' X 13' costs $1.00. Flat envelopes over 1 ounce along with letter rates that weigh more than 3.5 ounces are between $0.21 2 oz. to $1.15. For certified mail under this category, add $.15 for every additional ounce between 3 ounces and 13 ounces.
- If you choose the Restricted Delivery Service that requires a specific person to sign for the item that is sent certified mail the charge will be between $5.10 and $8.80.
Where can I find certified mail services?
There are a few different ways to use certified mail through USPS. You can either go directly to a USPS facility (local post office), or you can use an online service. It's not a difficult process and all that you need to do is have the full name and mailing address for the addressee as well as your mailing information. When you sent an item through the United States Postal Service through certified mail with return receipt service, a record of the special service, the cost of postage, acceptance of the mail, tracking as well as delivery or the delivery attempt is maintained by USPS in your account for a full 10 years. If a circumstance arises and you need proof of this transaction but cannot find it in your personal records, you can contact USPS and receive a full printout as proof of the mailing.
Written by Dana Hanson
Read more posts by Dana Hanson