Why Do I Get ‘Undeliverable as Addressed’ or ‘Unable to Forward Mail’?

If your business sends a lot of mail, it’s likely that you’ve had some of that mail returned back to you with those bright yellow USPS stickers affixed to it.

Often, the main reason for this is ‘Undeliverable as Addressed’ (UAA), meaning that the Postal Service was unable to identify or locate the address on your mail’s label or envelope.

The address could be incorrect, illegible, or incomplete. Most of the time, problems with your mail addressee details result from bad data in your customer database.

UAA mail costs a lot of money for both your business and the Postal Service. As a business, you are paying for additional processing, materials, printing, and postage costs to send your mail and then resend some of it. The USPS loses around $1.5 billion due to UAA and related issues.

These related issues include forwarding undeliverable mail. The USPS will attempt to forward mail if the recipient no longer lives at the labeled address and has a change-of-address order on file. Usually, people will leave a forwarding address with the USPS when they move to a new home so they can safely receive all of their mail.

However, if the addressee has not left a forwarding address with the Post Office, it’s almost impossible for them to forward your mail. They have no idea where to send it, so you will end up receiving it back with that yellow sticker of bad news.


If the address on the mailpiece is wrong or incomplete, or if the addressee no longer lives at the address, the USPS will aim to find the correct recipient address. However, they are under no legal obligation to deliver the mail if the recipient has not given a forwarding address. In this case, your mail will be returned to you or it will be discarded.

Another common problem is ‘Insufficient Address’ - when crucial parts of the address information are missing, such as the house number, street name, city, or ZIP code. In this case, the Postal Service will often be unable to deliver the mail and it may be returned to you.

For help solving your UAA woes, contact Anchor Software today.


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