What Happens if I Send a Letter Without a Postage Stamp ?4 min read

Post offices require postage stamps on letters to confirm payment for their services, so you do need stamps to send a letter. But what will happen if you send the letter without a postage stamp?

Do I need a stamp to mail a letter?

Yes, you do need stamps to mail a letter both for domestic and international routes. The number of letter stamps will depend on the weight, size and destination (domestic or international). Post offices require this proof that postage was paid to help them scan and orient the letter further.

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Whenever you are posting letter, it is important that you address them right to ensure they arrive to the desired destination without problem. Click on the button below to find out how to correctly address a letter.

Do I need to stamp my letter when shipping with Eurosender?

If you want to send a letter without a stamp, at Eurosender, we have the right solution for you, and you never have to worry if you forgot to stamp a letter, or how many stamps you need! With our Express Envelope service, the courier will pick up the envelope from your house and deliver it to the address within 72h, worldwide and stamp-free!

What happens when you forget a postage stamp and send the letter without it?

After you place the letter in the mail collection box, it goes to a post office department where it gets sorted using automated equipment. If there is no stamp on your envelope, a special scanner will detect it, and the letter will be attributed to a separate category of mail. It will then be sent to a dedicated employee who checks for missing postage stamps on letters.

If you also need information about writing the return address on the envelope, and what happens if you forgot to write it down, read our blog here.

In case you forgot to put a postage stamp on the letter you already sent somewhere, it will be:

  • returned to you (the sender), or;
  • the receiver will have to pay for the missing stamp.

The price the receiver will have to pay depends on the post office. In most cases, the receiver will pay a fee that equals the price of the stamp for the letter, but it can also happen that they need to pay a surcharge for insufficient postage for the unstamped letter.

If the receiver refuses to pay, the letter will be returned to you as sender. You, as the initial sender, will then have to cover the required fees.

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How long does it take for unstamped mail to be returned to the sender?

The length of delivery back to the sender depends on the destination. Usually, it may take up to a couple of days for the unstamped envelope to be returned to the sender. Check out the estimated delivery time with courier companies here.

Here is what you can do if you forgot to put a postage stamp on the letter

  • Refer to the local postman;
  • Contact the post office;
  • Inform the addressee about the case.

There is no guarantee that the matter will be solved with success, but you can explain the situation to either of the suggested and ask them to return the letter to you so you can put a stamp on it.

Can you send an unstamped letter without a return address?

Generally, there is no law forbidding you from sending unstamped letters. If you send an unstamped letter without a return address, the envelope will be delivered to the destination address marked on the envelope. Then, the receiver will have to pay the postage fee.

If the addressee refuses to accept it or to pay, in the absence of the return address, the envelope will be delivered to a dead letter office – a department at the post office where unclaimed letters are collected.

How to track a letter without a return address?

Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct way to track a letter without a return address or a missing bar code. What you can do in such a case is to contact the post office or the courier and ask if it is possible that they further check the matter on your behalf. They may be able to trace down the processing centre that the letter was last found at.