What Is A Return Receipt USPS?

Sending parcels or letters via the United States Postal Service (USPS) is a daily routine as people from all across the US make use of it to send someone something. It is generally perceived that the USPS works in a very professional and disciplined manner, delivering its mail professionally and with speed. Many people have words of praise for the professionalism of USPS for the way that it ensures that shipments are delivered on time and that no shipment is missing while in transit. Let us know ‘What Is A Return Receipt USPS?’.

What Is A Return Receipt USPS?

A return receipt is a receipt provided by USPS to the shipper upon request which confirms whom his shipment was delivered to, the date it was delivered, and the address at which it was delivered. A return receipt may be both electronically generated as well as be in the form of a paper copy. A return receipt has many uses both for the sake of convenience as well as for purposes of law, as we shall see.

What is a Return Receipt?

When a courier shipment is booked and sent out for delivery to the given address, the delivery individual takes the name and the signature of the exact person he hands over the shipment to. The address is also duly noted which may be different from the given address by the person who booked the shipment at the origin. The return receipt is solid proof of the delivery of the shipment to the said person, his signature, the address, the date, even time, et cetera. There is no further proof needed of a shipment’s delivery than the return receipt. 

Accessing the Return Receipt from USPS

To access a paper copy of the return receipt from USPS, a PS Form 3811-A has to be signed by the sender. Plus, there is a certain amount of fee that he has to pay to be able to access the paper return receipt for his shipment from USPS. The paper copy is sent via USPS mail to the shipper who requests it as soon as the data is compiled. 

Most Important Element of a Return Receipt

The most important element of a return receipt is the signature of the person who was handed over the shipment. This is the prime element of a return receipt as it certifies the person’s signature over it which is proof of delivery. If a return receipt is provided by USPS without bearing the signature of the person the shipment was delivered to, then the person paying for the return receipt is eligible for a refund of the fees he paid for the return receipt because it does not carry the signature of the recipient. The refund can be requested within thirty (30) days from the date that the shipment was booked.

Legal Uses of a Return Receipt

There are important uses of a return receipt for legal purposes such as the dispatch of a legal notice to a person. For example, the fact that a return receipt carries the signature of the recipient of a shipment, clears the legal requirement of a person having sent a legal notice to another person and him having received it, before filing a case against him in court. This is because a return receipt, with the signature of the recipient, would act as undeniable proof of dispatch and receipt of the legal notice from the other person. The return receipt would act as living proof that the legal notice has been delivered to the person concerned and the court of law will accept that. 

Marines Stationed Abroad

For parents of Marines stationed abroad, a USPS return receipt would give them peace of mind that the things they wanted to be delivered to their son-on-duty have duly been delivered to him. When they request a return receipt at the time of dispatch and get a return receipt with the signature of the marine on top of it, there is probably nothing more they could ask for. They would be happy to go with the satisfaction that the items, all of them, have been delivered to him and that he can make use of them all he likes. This is another good use that can be made of the return receipt that it can give solid proof of all items being delivered to loved ones, no matter what their geographical location. 

Contacting USPS 

In case the return receipt is not received as promised, the shipper should immediately contact the USPS helpline number 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777). This is where he can ask all questions about his shipment by providing the shipment tracking number and asking why he has not received the return receipt he paid for until now. The shipper can also reach out to USPS via email by filling out an electronic form on their website usps.com. Not to mention that he can also pay a visit to the nearest USPS post office and have his problem explained in person and have it sorted out at the earliest, without further delay.


The conclusion which can be made is that a USPS return receipt has many uses which make it a smart choice for many shippers. The USPS return receipt has to be requested at the time of shipping by filling out a form and paying the fee for it. There are personal and legal benefits of a return receipt, which has the signature of the receiver as its most critical feature. 

What Is A Return Receipt USPS?

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