Is it legal to put fliers in mailboxes?

Discussion in 'Accounting and Legal Advice' started by Marktech, Jan 26, 2008.

  1. Marktech

    Marktech Member

    I was wondering about this recently. I think it probably is illegal to do, but different states may have different rules, anybody familiar with rules on this? workaround anybody? With everybody advertising online these days, doing something retro like placing fliers or even door-to-door may be something to look into.
  2. BillChechel

    BillChechel New Member

    It is not legal to place anything into a mailbox without actually mailing it there. Remember the USPS is federal not local. That being said, landscapers and blacktop resealers do it all the time in my town. I just dont know what the penalty is for it.

    If you just use direct mail and do not have a specific list I think it would be a waste of time and money. We are starting to use targeted direct mail and it is worth it. The return in the first month is incredible. It is set up by the company I am with, if it wasnt I would give you the name of the service provider.

    I dont think flyers are a bad idea in general, as long as you can get them to the right people. Good luck.
    YAGOOFT likes this.
  3. Marktech

    Marktech Member

    I thought so...thanks.
  4. getagrip

    getagrip Gold Member

    Quoting: BillChechelIt is not legal to place anything into a mailbox without actually mailing it there.

    What you can do is just get some tape and tape the flyer to the mail box post or to the door handle, although some cities require a permit to distribute the flyers.
    YAGOOFT likes this.
  5. IAmAMoneyMaker

    IAmAMoneyMaker New Member

    Hey! In our area most folks have a newspaper tube for the daily paper. Lots of ppl like carpet cleaners and tree trimmers put brightly colored fliers into those tubes. No probs with that as far as I can tell.
  6. pcwork

    pcwork New Member

    You can put fliers on their door
  7. BillChechel

    BillChechel New Member

    Also you could try having some yard signs made up. I have been hearing this is a pretty low cost way of generating some leads. You just have to put them in strategic places where they can be read(at a stop light). I personally havent tried it but am thinking it might be something worthwhile. Just hope they stay for a while before being taken down.
  8. SilverDreams

    SilverDreams New Member

    I'm a little surprised at the responses here.

    There are hefty fines for "tampering" with mailboxes - and I would hate to find out the hard way if even putting advertising on a box could be considered tampering.

    There are huge fines for putting anything in a mailbox or damaging one.

    So let's rule out mailboxes as being a good potential advertising venue (unless you mail ads, of course).

    Then... as for posting stuff on door knobs, sticking signs in the ground, etc. ... You need to look up local ordinances for this sort of thing. And even beyond that, I've heard of people that have "papered cars" in parking lots (ads under windshields) have been called by the police to come and pick up their litter they've left or be charged with littering.

    Just some stuff to think about. [​IMG]

  9. getagrip

    getagrip Gold Member

    That's why you use the mailbox post or the door handle (of the house) - neither are considered Federal property, but when in dout, you can always check with the post office.
  10. paydaypatch

    paydaypatch New Member

    If you put anything in a mailbox it must have postage on it. If it doesn't have postage then the post office could charge you for the postage.

    In addition if someone notices you "tampering" with their mailbox they may file a complaint which could result in a knock on your door from the Postal Inspectors.

    Stay clear of the mailboxes.
  11. VaBeach

    VaBeach New Member

    Well, technically it is illegal, but 100% unenforceable. I pay over $1,000,000 to the post office every year to mail out coupons. The neighborhood has a Civic League. The Civic League puts crap in my box EVERY MONTH and I report it to the post office, the postal carrier, the general sales manager for the region, and both of my customer service reps. They have never done anything. It is obvious since they continue to do it EVERY MONTH. The post office tells me that they sent them a bill for the estimated postage but they continue to do it.

    If you are going to put something in the mailbox, rest assured, NOTHING will happen if the post office gets it. Your biggest worry will be the 42?? bill they hand you. They tell me there is no way for them to do anything else.

    Screw paying postage. They keep increasing the rate and do nothing about the people getting around the rate.

    If you want to verify this is correct and accurate, call the guy yourself. His name is Mark Worrall. He is the Sales Manager for the Washington DC Sales Center. His address is 10421 Motor City Dr., Bethesda, MD 20817-9998. His work phone is (757) 855-5939 and his email is

    [Post edited. Email address removed - Admin]
  12. VictoriaNTC

    VictoriaNTC Silver Member

    I personally would not attempt it.
    You could check with the city and see if it is legal to put a flyer on a windshield, or a fence but I am certain you may not open another's mailbox. Federal laws prohibit this.
    It never hurts to ask however.[​IMG]
  13. FactFind

    FactFind New Member

    It is true that it is Illegal to put anything into a mail box that was not mailed/postage paid. The same as it is illegal to remove anything from someone else's mail box. Mail tampering is a federal offense. I do not believe there is any law concerning hanging ads on the outside of the box (tack it to the post itself). I see this all the time in my area, from Avon books, to water sample test kits. However, there may be some sort of city ordinance that will not allow you to do this in certain cities or towns. Placing fliers on front doors is also something that is done often, but be careful of posted No Trespassing signs. Be careful with placing things in the newspaper boxes as well. The boxes are considered property of the newspaper company; some do not allow the boxes to be used for advertising with out permission. All in all it is best to be safe and call your local post office, newspaper office, or other official and ask what is and is not allowed.
  14. Pappy

    Pappy New Member

    And another way is to get magnetic business cards and stick them to the box. The post office here does not have a problem with that as I checked. I just order 1000 or so at .15 a piece and have at it. Seems to work out well because they can stick it on their fridge when they take it off of the box.

  15. dslavinski

    dslavinski New Member

    depending on what you are promoting it might be goot to do some outside sales promotion, B2B ya know, I used to work for quill office supplies and would walk from business to business trying to get clients and it worked about 22% opt in. I made some good money that way, but dont mess with the mail boxes.
  16. winlin

    winlin New Member

    "FEDERAL LAW" Don't touch the mail-box .... If you want to know the real deal, why not go to the post office web site or do a search for laws regarding the tampering with a mail...

    This is not a legal advice forum BTW and I would normally say go ask a lawyer not handful of IMr's about "Federal Laws", But my advice is leave the mailboxes alone and you won't have any issues...
  17. happywife

    happywife Gold Member

    Remember also that these regulations are country specific. I live in Australia and it is perfectly legal to put flyers, brochures, etc., in mail boxes.

    The only time that it isn't acceptable is if someone has a notice on their mailbox that says "no junk mail."

    I don't necessarily think it will be worth your effort - a lot depends on what you are advertising, of course. But, it's not illegal all over the world, just the USA and possibly some other countries. [​IMG]

  18. FreeCashMan

    FreeCashMan Well-Known Member

    Not legal in the USA, but not likely going to get any pressure if you do, as long as you are placing and not taking. The proper way, as noted, is to place it outside the mailbox.

    The bigger issue is your targeted market. If the flyers are not really something attractive to the resident then you would be better served putting your energies into other targeted marketing methods.
  19. maryann

    maryann New Member

    It is not legal, The postal carrier can pull them all out and your time and effort wasted. And if you put them on the outside of the mailboxes and they fly off, you can be sited for littering in some states. Anything that goes into a mailbox, must have US Postage on it.
    And you are not allowed in someone's personal mailbox in the first place. It would be more worth your time to do a test market on a direct mail piece post card and if you get a desired response, then you can invest more. Test everything on a small scale and if it produces results, then go big.
  20. country

    country New Member

    Try distributing your fliers by hand. On occasions I have used helpers from a local Salvation Army mens and womens shelter. Residents there will sometimes work on a flat rate basis for as little as 50 bucks a day......and are extremely grateful to get that!

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