4 Ways To Fix USPS ‘Insufficient Address’ – It Could Cost More Than You Think

If you’re seeing ‘Undeliverable as addressed’ or ‘insufficient address’ on USPS, it could cost more than you think. Yes, you heard us right.

To put it simply, the phrase “insufficient address” looks somewhat cryptic way of informing you that there is something fishy with an address written on your package, and you should’ve double-checked.

And if you’re thinking what are the consequences? Well, for starters; your USPS mail won’t be delivered. So, the parcel will be returned to the sender, and you’ve to ship it again with corrections.

It might be something as small as forgetting to add the house number, or perhaps the correct zip code. The delivery person will face issues, he’ll dump your mail back into the van, and leave it at the warehouse because it doesn’t have correct information about the receiver.

Shipping will take twice as long or more. Plus, the sender will ship it out again and has to pay for the shipping a second time. You will also be charged for the difference.

So, now it costs more to return the package than the sender originally paid postage for. Mostly, this happens if it has traveled a long distance.

Still confused? Why does this happen? When this message will occur? What will happen to the package? When will you get reported?

And lastly, how to prevent it from happening again and time, peace of mind, and hard-earned money next time. Keep reading. We have solutions to all of your questions.

What Does “Insufficient Address” Mean, Exactly?

The “Insufficient Address” message means that you’ve missed some crucial details that should have been on the parcel address label or the address is either wrong or does not exist… You might be right in this case, but what if this may be because your package label has got damaged in its way? 

Although, USPS is good at overcoming label issues. Unless the package contains information about which house or apartment door exactly should be knocked on.

Insufficient adress street name

What Does “Undeliverable as addressed (UAA)” Mean, Exactly?

Undeliverable as addressed (UAA) mail is a heavy name for a big problem – means mail has not reached its recipient because the address is incorrect, incomplete, or illegible. Keep in mind, that we didn’t say, “missing”. 

Well, mostly this happens because of illegibility because you have a doctor’s handwriting. LOL

Here are some facts to make it a little more understanding…

According to a 2015 survey, UAA mail cost both the Postal Service and its customers – about $1.5 billion a year alone, and a whopping $20 billion for the whole mailing industry.

And did you know that each year 17% of Americans change their address? 

Among these, only 40% of people bother to report their address change to the USPS. And if you don’t, UAA is the consequence.

From Recipient’s Perspective

You are a USPS customer who has moved to a new place. For some reason, USPS has not yet updated your current location, and hence it has not been validated.

The mail reaches the postal address and is refused from that end. This might be the result of the addressee moving to a new location. The change of address was not updated, and the person at the old address refuses the mail.

And if you’re wondering what happens to mails. Those are forwarded to the secondary address or returned to the sender, and if these 2 options aren’t possible, the mail must then be treated as waste.

Tips to make the label more lasting?

Till now, it is clear to you why or what this happens. In case of incorrect address or poor writing, the USPS worker won’t be able to get the package to the right property.

That’s why you’ve to ensure these below steps.

  • Double check the receiver’s address
  • Use printed labels 
  • Write carefully and legibly
  • Recipient name
  • House name/number
  • A street/road
  • An area
  • A two-letter abbreviation for the state
  • A zip code

By this, your chances of UAA discarding will be reduced to a straight 50%. Easy fix for time and expense waste.

And what about the damaged label in its way? Yeah, we have got a solution for that too…

How about covering the label with clear tape to prevent any smudging or damage if the package gets wet or treated harshly? Although, damp weather can make the ink of the address label. So, applying clear tape will keep these issues away too.

Simple but effective. Anyhow, have you ever tried this yourself before? Do comment below.

At which point exactly I might see this message?

Honestly, this could happen at any point during delivery, mostly it leans to be on the last step, because this is the point at which the package’s destination starts to get narrowed down to a single individual, and all the information starts to become crucial.

If you see the issue very quickly, it means there was a very important piece of information missing. This is slightly less likely to happen.

In either of these cases, you will notice this if you check the tracking information after the postal service has realized they can’t deliver. So, keep checking your package status.

For example, if you are shipping a package to New York, and you miss the state, odds are it still gets delivered based on the other information. If, however, you miss something like the house number, USPS has no choice but to return it to the sender.

Unless the postal worker recognizes the name on the package – unlikely – they have no way of getting it to the correct place. At this point, it’s just luck.

The moral of the story is, that the package often does fine for the first few steps of its journey, and issues start to arise when it is almost reached. Damn, frustrating.

Any workaround before the package return back to the sender?

Firstly, check where the package has gone to. If it is your local post office, you’re in luck. Immediately, get in touch. There is a short delay before the sending the parcel back. 

If you’re wondering how? The message will appear as soon as the postal worker realizes, but the package won’t be picked up that fast. They might take a few hours or even a few days, but you have time to act.

This will save the whole hassle and expense of it being returned, just to correct the address and ship it out to the receiver again. Looks a bit mission impossible but worth the risk!

How can I verify someone’s mailing address?

To check or verify an address in the US, visit the USPS website and type in the address to acquire the complete ZIP code. 

Here you can search on the USPS lookup page, just click here. Using this you can do a quick lookup by address, City and State Cities, and even by ZIP Code. Neat, isn’t it?

How long does USPS hold insufficient addresses?

After moving out, if you didn’t update your USPS address then you’re making mailing to you a hassle for others. Please, make sure to inform USPS of your new address.

When you do not pick it up, a notification of non-delivery is sent to the parcel sender, and soon afterward, a final notice is conveyed to your crib. 

Items are usually stored for 15 days before being reverted to the sender and labeled “unclaimed.” However, you make the return sooner.

How do I claim undelivered mail?

You can simply send a search request through the official missing mail app, or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) to have a consumer affairs representative file a search request on your behalf.

You can even make an appointment with your nearest USPS post office to submit a search request. They’ll help you for sure. 

Undelivered Mail


Sending and receiving mail is a headache, now imagine you sent a package taking time off from your work, and midway when it was about to be received, it starts to show mail has been returned due to “insufficient address,” just thinking about it makes our anger drive upto the wall. 

If you’re okay with the idea of someone else opening up the mail and storing it physically, we’ve got a solution to make your life easier.

You can try and see a service named “Virtual Mailbox” from USPS. This service will handle, scan, and even store packages physically. 

The best part is your deliveries would be sent to that virtual mailbox address first, and after getting the necessary scans to identify the package you’ll receive an email with all the information. After this, you can forward that mail to yourself. Easy.

By this, the below problems would be fixed:

  • No need to worry about the address changes
  • No need to handle, store, and scan packages yourself
  • No, address issues and even if it does, just direct the changes to virtual mail

If your mail being opened by someone else is an issue, you can follow the given solutions, and make your life easier.

Hopefully, this blog post had helped you because our first time facing this issue made us almost do the Ph.D. in how mail works and what cheap tricks, we can try to save time and effort. Make sure to share this with your loved ones and follow our newsletter to get interesting updates like this in the future…