PO Box closed. What now?
December 11, 2012 6:38 PM   Subscribe

What happens to your mail when the PO closes your box for nonpayment? Forgot to pay my PO Box bill. The box has been closed. This is just in the past week or so. But what will happen to my mail? Are they holding it? Sending it all back to the original senders? Yes, I will call the PO tomorrow, but I will sleep better tonight if I know what's happening to my clients' checks, even if I can't fix the problem right now.
posted by liketitanic to Law & Government (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
This happened to me. They held the mail for several days until I remedied the situation. This was at a small suburban PO in Massachusetts, so I'm not sure if it holds true everywhere.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:42 PM on December 11, 2012

They held mine, at the downtown Post Office in Seattle, for a couple of weeks.
posted by jacalata at 6:54 PM on December 11, 2012

They claimed they held mine, but when I went to retrieve it, it wasn't there. The SINGLE PERSON in the post office who handles the boxes was unavailable (somehow gets off of work at 11am and has a lot of vacation time...), and by the time he finally returned my call, he had sent the mail back.

So remedy the situation quickly. I'm sure you'll be fine for a matter of days, but a matter of a week or more may not work.
posted by gjc at 7:00 PM on December 11, 2012

If you go to the window and pay the rent bill plus a late charge ($20?), the teller will go retrieve the mail and hand it to you right then. At some point later that day they adjust the lock so it will once again take your key and then it is business as usual the next time you go back. I wouldn't delay but there is a modest grace period.
posted by 99percentfake at 7:03 PM on December 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Go to the PO that sorts your mail. Find the commercial window, early like 8 Am. Know your mail carrier if possible. She will likely be sorting your route in the morning, and you could ask for her at the commercial window. (NYC, Church Street PO) It's a small town down here in 10007, and I get to know my mail carriers. They have done some amazing deliveries for me, like finding an incoming check in the unsorted mail pile early AM, and giving me a cell phone number to check on incoming time-critical deliveries block by block.

Postal carriers do deserve props, and they like getting them.
posted by StickyCarpet at 7:22 PM on December 11, 2012

When you first got the box, they had you give them a street address --- that's where they'll send your mail.
posted by easily confused at 7:22 PM on December 11, 2012

I had to pay for the rental and a new lock key. Then they gave me the collection of junkmail I just as soon would have abandoned. Not a worry at all.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:21 PM on December 11, 2012

When you first got the box, they had you give them a street address --- that's where they'll send your mail.

This did not happen in my case. YMMV
posted by gjc at 5:11 AM on December 12, 2012

I just recently got (and tossed because I paid up) my box renewal letter.

I'm paraphrasing here, but it basically said that if it's still unpaid after the due date they'll lock you out of the box but still receive mail for you up until a period of time after the lockout. I think the lockout time is more than a week but less than 30 days.

Once that time's up the mail in the box and any other incoming mail is returned as undeliverable or chucked, depending on what class of mail it is.
posted by Gev at 5:19 AM on December 12, 2012

glc: that's interesting, because the local branch made me prove my street address, via the requirement of showing them three months' worth of utility bills in my name at that street address, before they'd okay me to rent a box. I guess you're right: YMMV, and I just got the office full of dicks.
posted by easily confused at 3:43 PM on December 12, 2012

I DID have to give them a real mailing address, but they did not forward the mail to it. To the best of my memory, they did not verify the address at all. I might have had to show a driver's license?

But this might be because the box is in a different area than where I live, as the post office near work is much more convenient than the one near my house. Maybe they care less if you are farther away?
posted by gjc at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2012

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