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Signature Confirmation™ vs. USPS Tracking™/Delivery Confirmation™: What’s the difference?

by Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., MDC | May 22, 2013 | 4 Comments

OVERVIEW

In order to minimize postage fees associated with Extra Services, mailers must first determine what they need to accomplish.  In choosing between Signature Confirmation and USPS Tracking, it really boils down to whether or not a signature is required. Choosing the right extra service option can save on postal expenses as some options are offered at no additional cost beyond postage.  Others may require additional fees. Knowing what is to be accomplished and the options available can lead to significant cost savings.

Here is the “411” on two Extra Services options from the U/S. Postal Service.

SIGNATURE CONFIRMATION

Signature Confirmation services provides the mailer with information about the date and time an article was delivered and, if delivery was attempted but not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt. A delivery record, including the recipient’s signature, is maintained by the USPS and is available Signature Confirmationelectronically or by email, upon request. No acceptance record is kept at the office of mailing. Signature Confirmation service is available only at the time of mailing. Signature Confirmation service does not include insurance, but insurance may be purchased as an additional service (see 12.2.6). Some statutes and regulations governing the mailing of documents with legal significance may require the use of Certified Mail or Registered Mail rather than Signature Confirmation.

Eligibility

Signature Confirmation is available for First-Class Mail parcels and First-Class Package Service parcels (electronic option only); all Priority Mail pieces; Standard Post, Package Services, and Parcel Select parcels under 401.1.0. For the purposes of using Signature Confirmation with Standard Post, Package Services or Parcel Select parcels, additional requirements must be met.

Service Options

The two Signature Confirmation service options are:

a. Retail option – Available at Post Offices at the time of mailing. A mailing receipt is provided. Mailers can access delivery information over the Internet at www.usps.com or by calling 1-800-222-1811 toll-free and providing the article number.

b. Electronic option: Available to mailers who establish an electronic link with the USPS to exchange acceptance and delivery data. No mailing receipt is provided.

USPS TRACKING (formerly DELIVERY CONFIRMATION)

USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service provides the mailer with information about the date and time an article was delivered and, if delivery was attempted but not successful, the date and time of the delivery attempt. USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service is available only at the time of mailing. No record is kept at the office of mailing. USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service does not include insurance, but insurance may be purchased as an additional service (see 11.2.6). Some statutes and regulations governing the mailing of documents with legal significance may require the use of Certified Mail or Registered Mail rather than USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation. For mailings to APO/FPO/DPO destination addresses, USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service may not always provide the mailer with online information regarding the date and time of an event scan.503_deliveryconfirmlabel_elec

Eligibility

USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service is available for First-Class Mail parcels and First-Class Package Service parcels (electronic option only); all Priority Mail pieces (at no additional charge); Standard Mail parcels (electronic option only); Package Services parcels, Standard Post parcels (at no additional charge) and Parcel Select parcels. For the purposes of using USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation with a Package Services or Parcel Select parcel, the parcel must meet additional requirements.

Service Options

The two USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service options are:

a. Retail option: Available at the time of mailing and a mailing receipt is provided. Mailers may present mailpieces with an affixed retail option USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation label at a Post Office, branch, or station, or to their USPS carrier, as listed in 11.3.1. A mailer may also present mailpieces to a retail employee at a Post Office, station, or branch and the retail associate will affix the applicable USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation label to the item. Mailers can access delivery information over the Internet at www.usps.com or by calling 1-800-222-1811 toll-free and providing the article number.

b. Electronic option: Privately printed forms or labels or Label 400 options are available to mailers who establish an electronic link with the USPS to exchange acceptance and delivery data. Since no mailing receipt is provided with the electronic option, mailers wishing to obtain a mailing receipt may use Form 3877 (11.2.7).

Complete details on these Extra Services and others can be found in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual, Section 503.

The following are among the trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service: Delivery Confirmation™, DMM®, First-Class™, First-Class Mail®, Intelligent Mail®, Parcel Post®, Parcel Select®, PC Postage®, Post Office™, PostalOne!®, Postal Service™, Priority Mail®, Registered Mail™, RIBBS®, Signature Confirmation™, Standard Mail®, United States Postal Service®, U.S. Mail®, U.S. Postal Service®, USPS®, USPS Electronic Postmark®, USPS.COM®, usps.com®. This is not a comprehensive list of all Postal Service trademarks.

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    Great information. Lucky me I found your site by chance (stumbleupon).
    I have bookmarked it for later!

    • Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., MDC

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.

    • Janet Lockhart-Jones, Ed.D., MDC

      Rebecca,

      Thank you for your comment.

      Best,

      Janet

  • EEG

    What if the addressee is not at the address at the time of the attempted deliver? Is a message left? Can the addressee pick up/sign for the item at their local PO? How may times will the carrier attempt delivery? Is the item returned to sender after the required number of attempts? Can some one else at the address sign for the item if the addressee is not available?