What Causes Delivery Failure and How to Fix It

by | Jul 25, 2014 | Computer And Internet

There are a number of issues that can cause your mail to be returned with that dreaded label “Undeliverable as Addressed.” Though small the error may be, sometimes even due to one missing letter or one incorrect street number, this causes a significant inconvenience (not to mention more money!) for companies with bulk mailing lists. Returned letters pile up and the process of correcting the addresses can be tedious. Fortunately, there are software programs designed for US postal address validation that will save you long hours of correction, as well as postage and production costs from having to resend the mail. This article discusses the various causes of delivery failure as well as the software solutions to easily fix them.

Causes of USPS Delivery Failure

Change of Address

This is one of the most common reasons of delivery failure. When people move, they may not inform USPS, or companies may not regularly check NCOA, the USPS database of address changes from the previous 18 months.

Incomplete Address

In order for an address to be valid, it must have a street, city, state, and zip code. Failure to provide one or more of these components may result in problems.

Nonexistent Address

Believe it or not, some people intentionally (or unintentionally) send mail to an address that does not exist. There were cases of this among recipients of disaster aid who pretended to live in a disaster struck area and devised fake addresses in order to receive funding. Some people also write a nonexistent address on the return label to misguide the recipient.


People commonly misspell street names and city names. Even one missing letter or misspelled word can cause delivery failure. An incorrect street number can cause mail to fall in the wrong person’s hands. An incorrect zip code can particularly cause delays or failure, as this is an important piece of the address.

Unreadable Handwriting

This applies to individuals more so than companies, who typically type addresses.

Incorrect City

People write neighborhood names instead of city names on their mail more often than you would guess. A non-standard city name can cause delivery failure.


Abbreviations such as “AVN” for “Avenue” or “SQR” for “Square” can usually be interpreted by USPS, but unusual abbreviations can cause delivery failure.

Simple Solution to Prevent Delivery Failure

Modern technology has led to groundbreaking achievements in US postal address validation. Easy-to-use software programs will recognize many of the issues listed above and correct the addresses to a standard form. The programs can also interface with NCOALink to automatically update your mailing lists with new address information. These programs not only save you money, but also save time and prevent headaches.

For an easy, hassle-free way validate your mailing lists, Anchor Computer Software has the best solutions. Visit website for information.

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