Putting flyers on mailboxes....every day a lesson learned

By
Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams First Coast Realty

Now why didn't anyone tell me that putting a flyer on a mailbox was illegal solicitation? All this time, I've seen many many people put things on mailboxes. In fact, a girl in my office says that she did that usually on Saturday nights because the mailman didn't have mail to put in there. I knew that people don't always like it and that it annoyed some people, but I didn't know that it was illegal! I feel like so criminal. I'm almost tempted to go back and take them off of the 500 mailboxes that I put them on. My name is all over it. UGH. It wasn't exactly solicitation though, because it was a newsletter. At the end of the newsletter there was a " thanks for the referrals and be sure to share this newsletter with family and friends." There was also a If you want to know how much your home is worth then call me, but there wasn't a direct solicitation on there. Am I in big trouble?

 I've never broken the law...aside from an occasional speeding ticket.

The way that I found out was that I was about to hand a flyer to a guy who was at the end of his driveway, and said "do you know that is illegal for you to put those ads on mailboxes?"

Has anyone ever done this?

I normally mail my farm, but I figured that I could save money and reach more people this way. I live in a neighborhood of about 700+ houses. I usually only mail 200 of them and at .50 or more for each postcard, I'm strapped.

 I'd love to hear from y'all! 

 PS: I didn't put the flyers in the mailbox, but rolled them up and put them between the mailbox flag and the mailbox, some were put into the little newpaper slot, some were put between the decorative mailbox posts, some were put into the wild plants that people have around their mailboxes(some of the flowers are nice around the mailbox, but overgrowth around the box causes a hazard to the poor mailmen...there were BEES in them).

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Anonymous #14
Anonymous
Anonymous

Would someone please give  a link or copy of the actual law, that supposed to make this a Federal offence?

The mailbox is private property, and if you think about it it is part of the real estate, since it is built into the ground of a private property. Does the Postal Service pay you for the use of it?

October 07, 2008 07:42 PM
Anonymous #15
Anonymous
Michael Kane

I bought my mailbox at home depot with my own hard earned money. How and when did I turn over ownership to the postal service? As far as I am concerned the post office is like any other business. They claim such ownership because of the money they are making from it. My understanding was that; My box was to receive mails, not just through the post office, but fedex, dhl,etc...

It sounds like an antitrust case to me. dictatorial at its worse. I just hate this kind of intrusion. I hate it more that the postal service seizes control of my property than a poor guy putting junks in it. Let me ask ths question: If my box (I say my box) belongs to the post office, I can't move with it to my new home? I don't want to buy a new one.

March 19, 2009 09:40 AM
Anonymous #16
Anonymous
sherri

I want a link to that law to because I have searched every state, local and federal law and the only thing I found was you can not put somethng inside the mailbox.

The usps directed me to their manual.  That is not law and they are no longer a federal agency they are privately owned so SOME PLEASE DIRECT ME to the this law that you can not put something on the outside of the mailbox.

June 26, 2009 08:23 AM
Anonymous #17
Anonymous
Sharon

What a pack of idiots you are. "No one ever told me" I couldn't do it? And that makes it okay? It's illegal to hang anything on ANY PART of the mailbox. Google the postal regulation - it's spelled out quite plainly. Why should it be okay for you and not the 1000 other businesses that mail things every day? Break the law a little or break the law a lot - you are still a criminal.

August 03, 2009 05:34 AM
Anonymous #18
Anonymous
M

Sharon I'm sure you have never done anything against the law before.  Never speed, never have done anything wrong.  Just look at that last thing you said about breaking the law a little or a lot.  Maybe you fit that discription too.  If you or anyone else has an issue with it then just throw it away.  You make a big deal out of a piece of paper.  Some businesses have to do what they can to survive by putting that kind of time in to save money trying to make ends meet.  Not every business can afford to buy stamps in bulk.  Because that's what it takes is bulk to get the word out when you are starting up.

October 29, 2009 02:30 PM
Rainer
123,406
David Cahill
Century 21 Cahill Associates

When I was a kid, working for my mother who was a real estate broker, she would hire me to put fliers on people's doors in her farm area.  She told me not to put then in the mailboxes because it was illegal (not allowed, as she put it).  I got really good at folding them in thirds and sticking them in people's screen doors so that they would stick out and be noticed right away when people went to open the door.  When there was not a screen door, I'd stick them between the front door and the molding, near the doorknob.

Years later, when I became an agent myself, I went back to my old ways when pounding the pavement and saving money on postage.  No one ever said anything because it was no where near people's mailboxes.  Also, where I am in Boston, there are not mailboxes in the curb like other areas.  The mailboxes are right near the front doors, so walking up someone's walk and even opening their screen door was not considered "odd".

David

January 19, 2010 04:01 PM
Rainmaker
127,857
Karen Rittenhouse
Real Estate Investor
www.JKKPropertyInvestors.com

Hi Christy:

Check out my article: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1543611/hanging-advertising-on-mailboxes-

March 14, 2010 09:32 AM
Anonymous #21
Anonymous
Kent

Section 508 3.1.2 of the USPS Domestic Mail Manual states the post and support of a Mail Receptical is exluded as being considered part of the definition of a mail recepticial.  Taking into account local codes, I believe it is LEGAL to place fliers on the support post and arm of a curbside mail box.  Just don't mess with the actual box, door, and flag of the receptical and you should be OK.  Kv

May 20, 2010 10:46 PM
Anonymous #22
Anonymous
Corvette Diva

Federal Law - Part 1 title 18 chapter 83 #1725

 

Look it up; it states that it is illegal to place any unapproved or unpaid postage "matter" into the box itself, however, the only word used within the law is...IN! Nothing about it being illegal to place/tape on the outside of the box.

June 23, 2010 08:53 AM
Anonymous #23
Anonymous
Jan

I got a nasty call from a homeowner screaming the phone that it's a federal offense.  Women can be nastier than most of the men I've ever come across in my entire life.  It was a ritzy neighborhood with lots of housewives behind picket fences.  They don't have to worry about the economy as much as the rest of us, so they find things to complain about and harp on.  I told her I was sorry and she just kept on screaming into the telephone.  I finally had to hang up on the b*tch. 

November 05, 2010 04:30 PM
Anonymous #24
Anonymous
Hateflyers

How about this one:

3.2.5 Advertising

Any advertising on a mailbox or its support is prohibited.

 

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/508.htm#wp1051804

April 03, 2011 02:46 PM
Anonymous #25
Anonymous
Eric Sean

http://www.gao.gov/archive/1997/gg97085.pdf

Here’s how the restrictions are described:

 

In 1934, Congress enacted a law known as the “ mailable restriction” that prohibits anyone from placing mailable matter without postage into any mailbox.  This law, 18 U.S.C. 1725, gives the Postal Service a virtual monopoly over mailboxes and currently reads as follows:
“Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.”
Under current law, a violation of the mailbox restriction law is an infraction that can be punished by a fine but not by imprisonment. The maximum fine for each offense is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations. [See Footnote 6]
Footnote 6 states:
Exemptions allow (1) mailable matter to be left without postage in door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes; (2) mailable matter to be left without postage on a hook or ring attached to the post or other support for the mailbox ; and (3) unstamped delivery of newspapers that are regularly mailed second-class to curbside mailboxes on Sundays and national holidays, if they are removed before the next scheduled day of maildelivery. See DMM D041.1.2, D041.2.10, and Rockville Reminder, Inc. v. United States Postal Service, 480 F.2d. 4 (1973).
Here’s the above referred US Postal Service manual section DMM D041.1.2 which does exclude door slots from officially restricted mail receptacles.
Door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes are not letterboxes within the meaning of 18 USC 1725 and are not private mail receptacles for the standards for mailable matter not bearing postage found in or on private mail receptacles. The post or other support is not part of the receptacle.
July 26, 2011 05:35 PM
Anonymous #26
Anonymous
oh no

I actually just did this with my babysitting flyers. I got a call from a lady who asked about it and I got real excited until she told me this was a federal offense. I really had no idea! I felt like such an idiot. It turned from this innocent thing to now I'm a lawbreaker. Little embarressing. I understand why the law is there i guess...but really, America is just SO uptight!

August 31, 2011 06:15 PM
Anonymous #27
Anonymous
Don't want you flyers

You have no business putting flyers on mailboxes or front doors.  I've seen flyers left on mailboxes for a couple of weeks.  Got to figure the people are on vacation.  Suppose someone breaks in.  If that happened to me, I'd probably sue the person who did it.

January 25, 2012 06:38 PM
Anonymous #28
Anonymous
Rich W

Door hangars are the best. Stay away from the mail boxes...just asking for trouble with mailboxes.

There is a whole industry out there called the association of alternate postal systems.....here's a linkhttp://www.aapsinc.org/

 

I use door hangars all the time and they work if you have a good message. Gotprint.com is a great cheap place to get awesome work done.

 

If you have photoshop you can down load their templates complete the art work on their high resolution templates then send in for a test print, if it comes back ok...send in for a full print run of the quantity of choice.

 

I do this all the time and it works great! If anyone needs any help doing this contact me. I can help with design art work etc...coach you thru the whole set up including door hangar bags ...I get those from Uline.com...18-26 dollars for 1000 door hangar bags.....very reasonable.

 

People will call you ! I get all kinds of calls and leads everyday....cheaper than using the post office as well...plus you may get to actually talk with some folks face to face which is always a bonus.

 

Hope this helped.

 

Rich Ward

Supplemental Income Group

1-800-679-7042 Ext. 2562

February 06, 2012 04:26 PM
Anonymous #29
Anonymous
Steven
I got hired on Friday and saterday to hang flyers from mailboxes, on saterday I got stopped and yelled at by a post office guy telling me that I couldn't do that, and that it is illegal to hang flyers from the flags of mailboxes. He was getting In my face, yelling at me and saying it was illegal, and I knew for a fact that it WAS LEGAL to HANG flyers FROM a mailbox, and that it was ILLEGAL to PUT them IN a mail box. So at that point I told him to get the hell out if my face, and demanded he gave me his supervisors number so that I could #1 report him, and #2 check the law with the postmaster. So I called and talked to the postmaster and he confirmed that it IS legal to hand them FROM a mialbox, but you CANNOT put them in a mailbox. So I as right, and you did nothing wrong, I checked the law and talked to the postmaster about it.
March 19, 2012 09:08 PM
Anonymous #30
Anonymous
Dan

Well, no one has answered the question yet, what will happen if you do put flyers in mailboxes? I did it today without knowing it was an offence and my broker told me to never do it again and explained why. I had NO IDEA! That is was a federal offense and all...

So what am I looking at for trouble? Will I have to pay? I put the flyers inside of about 75 mail boxes. I have a client looking for a home in the neighborhood and so I thought I would leave everyone a flyer asking if they were open to selling to an all cash buyer.

Am I in big trouble here?!?  

October 21, 2012 07:08 PM
Anonymous #31
Anonymous
Scott

Someone has answered the question...

Under current law, a violation of the mailbox restriction law is an infraction that can be punished by a fine but not by imprisonment. The maximum fine for each offense is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations. [See Footnote 6]

November 20, 2012 09:48 AM
Anonymous #32
Anonymous
Teresa

I was called by our post master and was told only stamped items can be placed in the mailbox, but however, I could either put the flyer between the flag and the box, or just put them in door ways.  He figured I wasn't aware and that is why he called.

December 19, 2012 05:05 PM
Anonymous #33
Anonymous
mike

I do not like anyone going in my  mailbox.  Would you  like some going into some personal thing of your  like your bank account . When my mother was alive I remember this person always coming to put something in the mailbox when her check arrived.  sorry 

August 03, 2013 08:22 AM
Anonymous
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Rainer
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Christy Harvey

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