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What Is A Certificate Of Mailing?

A certificate of mailing is a document that proves that an item was mailed. This is considered an official record, and it can help you prove that an item was sent if someone has yet to receive it or is disputing the shipment or send date. These are available from the United States Postal Service (USPS) as a part of their extra services for postal customers. 

Read on to learn all about these certificates and how they work, as well as how you can obtain them. 

How Does A USPS Certificate Of Mailing Work?

A USPS certificate of mailing confirms the date that the mail was accepted for sending. This does not confirm delivery or guarantee that an item will be delivered at a certain date. It only verifies the send date. The USPS doesn’t keep copies of these certificates, but they can be used for domestic or international mail. When you fill out this form, you will keep a copy for your records, along with your receipt for the postage, and that is the proof that you will need if something should go wrong. 

How Do You Get A USPS Certificate Of Mailing?

To obtain a certificate of mailing, you can simply take your items to the Post Office and tell them that you need these certificates. They will add it to the mailing and tell you the additional cost. You can also find these certificates in the Individual Article with Firm Mailing Book. Today, the USPS also has many of the forms available online for download. If you work with a shipping partner, they’ll be able to acquire any forms and extra services you need from the USPS or other carriers. 

How Much Does A USPS Certificate Of Mailing Cost?

The cost of a certificate of mailing varies depending on several factors. Whether the certificate is for an individual article or a grouped shipment is the biggest factor. The basic form costs $1.50 at the time of this writing, but that is subject to change. You may pay slightly more for a certificate that accompanies a larger shipment, as well. Typically, you won’t spend more than $3 per certificate, unless you add other services or protection, such as signature confirmation or a return receipt. 

Types Of USPS Certificates Of Mailing

There are multiple types of certificates available from the USPS. The standard form covers small shipments, while there are forms available for larger shipments, as well as for bulk mailing internationally and domestically. They are typically only available at your local USPS branch at the time of mailing, although some official USPS forms are now available online for download in PDF format, as mentioned above. 

PS Form 3817

PS Form 3817 is the basic Certificate of Mailing form. This document will provide a record listing when the item was sent, who and where it was sent from, and where it is being sent to. The date of acceptance for mailing will be included on the certificate, which you will retain a copy of as your proof in case it is needed. 

PS Form 3665

PS Form 3665 is known as the Certificate of Mailing – Firm and is used for multiple pieces in a single order or mailing. The form allows mailers to list multiple items by line and ensure that all items are accounted for with a proper acceptance for the mailing date. The form then becomes the receipt, as with all forms. It can be used for international or domestic orders. 

PS Form 3877

PS Form 3877 is a certificate of bulk mailing for domestic orders. This document can be printed online in a nearly identical form to what is available at the Post Office, and it is used to verify the number of items mailed in a shipment with more than three items. This form used to be approved for all bulk orders, but in 2017, the USPS created a separate form for international orders, discussed below. 

PS Form 3606

This is a certificate of bulk mailing for international shipments. This certificate verifies the mailing of international bulk orders and is the newest of the forms available. It is the required form for any mailing that weighs over 50 pounds or contains more than 50 items, and that is being sent internationally. 

Certified Mail vs. Certificate Of Mailing

A certificate of mailing only verifies that an item was accepted for mailing or shipping by the USPS. It also includes the exact items accepted and the date that they were mailed. Certified mail includes proof of sending, as well as notification of delivery or delivery attempts, and can also include signature confirmation of receipt if desired. 

Certified mail costs about three times as much, but also provides more confirmation for the sender. It proves that items were delivered accordingly and in a timely fashion and tracks each delivery attempt. The USPS has several different forms of confirmation and proof of mailing or delivery. 

Situations Where You May Need Proof Of Mailing

There are many instances where you may find yourself in need of proof of mailing. Essentially, any time you are sending important paperwork, payments, or documents, it’s a good idea to purchase this proof to protect yourself. Here are a few good reasons to invest in this service. 

Anything To The Government

If you are mailing tax forms, Social Security paperwork or any other government documents or forms, a Certificate of Mailing is the least that you will want to obtain. Even if you don’t choose to get delivery confirmation, you will want to protect yourself by having proof that you sent the document and when it was mailed in case there are discrepancies or they try to penalize you for being late. 

Forms Of Payment

Sending payments in the mail is a precarious task. Any time you send a payment, whether it is in the form of a check, written credit card information, or even just a signed payment voucher, you should get proof that it was sent. Remember to include the date. Again, in the event of discrepancies, late fees, or unreceived payments, you will have proof of your attempt. 

Something In Need Of Timely Delivery

Do you have an item that’s in a hurry? Maybe you’re replacing something for a customer or promised that you would be sending their order on a certain date. The promise date is important to stick to because it can make or break your reputation. Use a certificate of mailing to show the recipient that you sent the item. Also, add delivery confirmation if you want to ensure that it arrives promptly. 

Let Print Bind Ship Handle Your Mailing and Shipping Needs

The best way to make sure that things get to their destination is to work with a professional shipping partner. Third party logistic (3PL) services can handle all of your needs. 

The team at Print Bind Ship handles it all, including simple forms like the Certificate of Mailing. We even manage the logistics of bulk international shipments. Keeping tabs on all of the forms and services available can be confusing. Let us take the hassle out of it for you. Contact us now to learn more about our shipping solutions and what we can do for you. 

Feature Image: “Certified Mail” by Tony Webster is licensed under CC BY 2.0