WASHINGTON -- 

QUESTION:

Do companies cover the cost of junk mail you send back to them?

ANSWER

Yes, companies are responsible for all postage on Business Reply envelopes they get back.

SOURCES:

  • United States Postal Service (USPS)
  • Federal Trade Commission

PROCESS:

Ever see something and wonder if it's too good to be true? That's where our Verify team comes in.

This online post claims if you over-stuff a no-postage required reply envelope and mail it back to the company, they will have to pay extra postage. 

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So is it true if you mail an overweight no-postage envelope to the company, is the company responsible for the extra postage?

To find out, our researchers contacted the U.S. Postal Service

Officials said each distributor sending out mail with Business Reply envelopes is required to hold a permit from the Postal Service. 

Permit holders guarantee payment of proper First-Class mail postage, plus a per-piece fee on all returned Business Reply Mail distributed by the permit holder.

According to the Postal Service, the distributor assumes the risk, for example, if the envelope is returned and it's overweight. 

So we verified -- yes, companies are responsible for all postage on Business Reply envelopes they get back. 

USPS regulations state that these envelopes must be used for its intended purpose, so you should not over-stuff them and send them back. 

Furthermore, when they receive heavy items such as a brick with a reply enveloped taped to it—it's handled like other non-mailable loose pieces found in the mail. If the sender cannot be identified, the contents are thrown out.

Both the FTC and Postal Service explain there is some way you can try to reduce the amount of junk mail you get.

For a $2 processing fee, you can choose to opt out of unwanted marketing mail for up to 10 years at Direct Marketing Association's website, click here to get started.