Can FedEx Deliver to a Mailbox?

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March 17, 2024

Understanding the nuances of how and where packages are delivered is crucial, especially now that eCommerce has grown significantly.

Still, many people take the specifics of the process for granted — until one day, they stumble upon a FedEx (Federal Express) Express package stuffed inside their USPS (United States Postal Service) mailbox.

Legal considerations and the demand for ease of access coincide with the question: “Can FedEx deliver to a USPS mailbox?” 

This article explores FedEx package delivery protocols, including the legal frameworks and the industry practices that can affect your mailing experience. 

This article also discusses the significance of mailbox restrictions, their reasons, and what they mean for consumers.

Whether you’re a consumer or a business owner navigating the ever-evolving package delivery ecosystem, FindPostOffice.org can offer clarity, answers, and insights regarding your mailing concerns.

Our free online search tool can also help you locate and check relevant information regarding post offices in the U.S. (United States).

“FedEx Put a Package in My Mailbox”

Generally, FedEx Express or FedEx does not deliver to P.O. boxes in the U.S. But if you see a FedEx package in your mailbox, there may be a few reasons for it.

For instance, the FedEx agent delivering your item might have had difficulties dropping off the package at your door, so they left it at your mailbox. 

On the other hand, USPS may have delivered the parcel on behalf of FedEx due to a partnership. FedEx used to offer this option through FedEx SmartPost.

Note: FedEx revamped FedEx SmartPost and rebranded it as “FedEx Ground Economy shipping.”

How Are People Reacting to This?

As mentioned, FedEx does not usually deliver to USPS mailboxes. So, people might be curious, if not surprised, if they see a FedEx package in their post office boxes.

While others might appreciate the convenience of this shipping service, some may raise concerns about security and legality.

Can FedEx Use Your Mailbox?

No. Private delivery services like FedEx and UPS (United Parcel Services) cannot legally ship items to USPS mailboxes. Only USPS has the right to do so according to federal law. 

“Why Is FedEx Putting Mail or Packages in My Mailbox?”

Only you and the U.S. Postal Service can place mail or packages in your mailbox by law. 

Moreover, FedEx usually requires a signature on all deliveries upon receipt.

So, this incident is likely due to an oversight or a mistake by the FedEx driver or delivery person. 

What Happens to a FedEx Package or Mail Dropped in a USPS Mailbox?

What happens to the FedEx Package dropped in a USPS mailbox depends on the situation. Some say USPS usually calls FedEx to pick up the item. 

But there’s also a possibility that the item will go unnoticed and end up on a shelf. It may take an employee days or weeks to address the mishap.

“What Should I Do if FedEx Puts My Package or Mail in the Mailbox?”

Contacting FedEx customer service to report this incident might help. FedEx representatives can guide you regarding the appropriate steps to take. 

You can verify whether USPS delivered the package to your mailbox by checking if it has a USPS sticker or stamp.

If the parcel has no USPS shipping label or sticker, contact FedEx’s customer service at 1.800.463.3339 (1.800.Go.FedEx) and file a complaint.

Say you can’t wait a long time on the phone. In that case, consider calling or visiting a local FedEx office. An employee at the counter can help you track who delivered the parcel. 

“How Does My FedEx Package End Up in My Mailbox?”

As mentioned, there are several reasons for a FedEx package to end up in your USPS mailbox.

Sometimes, a FedEx delivery person might place a small package or envelope inside a mailbox to protect a package from rain or potential theft. 

It could also be a decision made for convenience, especially if the package recipient isn’t home and the delivery person wants to complete their route promptly. 

However, it’s essential to note that placing FedEx packages inside USPS mailboxes is against FedEx’s official protocol due to legal restrictions.

Does FedEx Deliver to Your Mailbox or Door?

FedEx drivers cannot leave shipments in a mailbox. So, they usually leave them at the recipient’s back door or garage.

Is FedEx Supposed to Deliver to Your Door?

FedEx agents typically deliver to your door. They might also place mail or packages in safe locations like a porch or building lobby.

Does FedEx Have Personal Mailboxes?

As of 2023, FedEx does not offer private mailboxes. However, you can rent a UPS mailbox and have all your FedEx goods delivered to it.

Does FedEx Put Packages in the Mailbox?

As shown above, under federal law, FedEx cannot put mail or packages in your personal mailbox. If such a scenario happens, it’s likely by accident.

When Is FedEx Allowed To Deliver Its Package to Mailboxes?

As long as the mailbox restriction law applies, private carriers like FedEx and UPS cannot deliver to USPS mailboxes anytime.

By law, a mailbox should only be used to receive postage-paid U.S. mail.

Does FedEx Deliver to Apartment Mailboxes?

No. As mentioned, FedEx workers are not authorized to deliver to mailboxes.

However, FedEx can deliver to apartments. Where the delivery personnel places your package depends on your apartment building’s access. 

For example, FedEx can leave your package directly at your apartment door if they can access the building. 

If you live in a gated community, you may have to let the delivery driver in or respond to a gate call-in request.

Will FedEx Leave Parcels With Building Managers?

Yes, if the building management policy allows for this setup.

Multi-unit residential buildings require convenient and secure package delivery. So, whether FedEx can leave parcels with building managers depends on the building’s policy.

Some residential properties have agreements with delivery services, including FedEx, to leave all undeliverable items with the building manager. 

Still, other building managers may adopt strict policies restricting this practice to avoid liability or management concerns.

Does FedEx Ship to Private Mailboxes?

Private mailboxes can usually receive packages from private carriers, including FedEx.

For example, UPS offers mailboxes designed for small businesses. This business mailbox can accept parcels from all carriers.

Can I Stop FedEx From Putting My Mail and Packages in the Mailbox?

You can stop FedEx from placing your mail and packages in the mailbox by contacting FedEx’s customer service center and reporting the problem. 

What if Other Delivery Companies Do the Same?

Likewise, you should alert other delivery companies to ensure proper delivery. Private carriers cannot legally place their mail or packages in a USPS mailbox, regardless of their internal policies.

Can I Tell FedEx Where to Leave My Packages?

You can use FedEx Delivery Manager to do the following:

  • Specify requests for incoming deliveries. 
  • Leave comments to help FedEx find and access your residential address
  • Choose where to deliver your package.

Install a Parcel Locker

You can install a parcel locker if you want to use something other than a USPS mailbox.

A parcel locker is a larger mailbox that will only open through an app on your smartphone using your login credentials or with a key your leasing manager gave you.

Building Management Policy

  You must know about the delivery restrictions if you live in an apartment complex with a building manager and receptionist.

If no delivery policy exists, the current scenario could be an excellent opportunity to propose the building managers implement one.

“I Have Accidentally Put my FedEx Package in a USPS Mailbox”

Say you accidentally left your FedEx package in a USPS mailbox. In that case, expect a delivery disruption, with the worst outcome being the possibility of your parcel missing.

Mailbox Restriction Law: What Is Mailbox Restriction Law?

Title 18 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), Section 1725, or the Mailbox Restriction Law, grants USPS the exclusive right to deliver mail to personal mailboxes.

USPS Has a Monopoly on Delivering Mail to Mailboxes

To help uphold USPS’ commitment to universal service, Congress gave USPS a monopoly on delivering items to mailboxes.

This monopoly permits only your mailman — not other providers like FedEx or UPS — to deliver specific types of mail and place items in your mailbox. 

Origins

Congress passed the Mailbox Restriction Law in 1934. The law aimed to provide each household with a secure mail delivery method and ensure they receive their mail. 

Can Other Carriers, Such As FedEx or UPS, Deliver to My Mailbox?

Private carriers, like FedEx or UPS, cannot lawfully deliver items to your mailbox. Doing so is a federal crime.

Fines for Violating the Law

The law above also states that knowingly and willfully placing items like statements of circulars, accounts, or sale bills without proper postage into a USPS mailbox is an offense punishable by fines but not imprisonment. 

The maximum penalty is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for organizations.

How Does FedEx SmartPost Work?

FedEx no longer lists FedEx SmartPost in its service catalog. Consequently, the courier’s website does not display official information regarding this shipping option. 

As mentioned, the company revamped FedEx SmartPost into FedEx Ground Economy, a cost-effective U.S. residential shipping solution for nonurgent, lightweight, high-volume shipments.

These features were the same ones FedEx SmartPost used to offer.

Does FedEx SmartPost Deliver to Mailboxes?

No. As shown above, FedEx does not put its packages in USPS mailboxes. 

FedEx SmartPost used to hand its mail to USPS for the last leg or final delivery but may have stopped doing so after rebranding FedEx SmartPost into FedEx Ground Economy.

How Are FedEx SmartPost Packages Delivered?

With FedEx SmartPost, FedEx delivers shipments to the post office nearest the final destination. Then, USPS sends these mail or packages to customers, usually the next day.

Is FedEx Smartpost Delivered by USPS or FedEx?

Both these services manage FedEx SmartPost packages. FedEx handles long-haul transport, while USPS performs the final delivery. This partnership was likely initiated to speed up delivery time. 

More About FedEx SmartPost and P.O. Box Deliveries

FedEx Ground Economy (formerly FedEx SmartPost) shipping works with USPS to decrease the delivery time. This way, USPS can place mail or packages in your mailbox on behalf of FedEx.

Will FedEx Call Me to Gain Access?

FedEx does not request personal information or payment via unsolicited mail, call, text, or email in return for goods en route or under FedEx’s custody. 

Do not respond or cooperate with the sender if you get any of these or similar messages.

The Future

USPS and private delivery services like FedEx continue to evolve as the growing e-commerce market demands innovation and policy reforms.

Still, there have been talks about breaking the USPS’ mailbox monopoly beginning in 2019. A White House task force reported that the USPS should consider franchising the mailbox to generate revenue. 

This step would enable third-party carriers to deliver packages in mailboxes instead of leaving them on residents’ front doors.

Meanwhile, there have been suggestions for USPS to handle final delivery via their postal truck network rather than through a third-party mail service provider such as UPS or FedEx.

Also, a franchise agreement between USPS and other carriers could allow all small packages to be delivered straight to your mailbox.

The agreement can help USPS, which has been steadily losing money and relying on government bailouts yearly. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What if I am not at home?

Say you are not home to sign for your mail or package. In that case, a FedEx representative may leave a door tag at your door. The delivery driver may also reattempt delivery. 

You can register for FedEx Delivery Manager to avoid missed deliveries. This feature lets you sign electronically or give specific instructions for delivery.

  1. Will FedEx deliver to a UPS mailbox?

The UPS Store website says its private mailboxes can receive mail and packages from all shipping carriers. So, FedEx representatives can likely deliver to a UPS mailbox

  1. Is it illegal for FedEx to put packages in USPS mailboxes?

Yes. As mentioned, only USPS agents can legally access USPS mailboxes. 

USPS warns customers that only authorized delivery personnel can place items in their mailbox. By law, mailboxes can only receive postage-paid U.S. mail.

  1. Why is USPS the only carrier that can legally touch mailboxes?

This policy reflects the Mailbox Restriction Law, ensuring the efficiency and security of mail delivery.

In 1934, Congress passed a law called the Mailbox Restriction that prohibited people from placing mailable items without postage into any mailbox. 

The 18 U.S.C. (United States Code) 1725 grants USPS a virtual monopoly over mailboxes.

  1. Do companies like UPS and Amazon deliver the package inside the USPS mailbox?

  No. As shown above, private carriers cannot legally place packages or mail inside the USPS mailbox. 

This restriction means Amazon and UPS should not put any mail or parcels in the USPS mailbox.

  1. Why don’t people think it makes sense for FedEx and UPS to deliver to your USPS mailbox?

Reasons may vary as to why people don’t think private mail carriers, like FedEx and UPS, should put items in USPS mailboxes.

One reason might be FedEx and UPS ship packages that usually don’t fit inside a standard mailbox.

Another reason is the fine they incur due to the illegal placement of items in a mailbox.

  1. Will it affect you when FedEx delivers the package to your mailbox?

FedEx delivery of a package to your mailbox might affect you in various ways.

USPS understands that some customers place nonmail items into mailboxes as an efficient way to “drop something off.” However, these items may cause mail overflow in mailboxes. 

When a mailbox is full, USPS regulations mandate that the letter carrier can’t deliver mail in the box. 

  1. Can I request FedEx to deliver the package at a location I decide?

Yes. You can request to redirect a parcel to a secure FedEx location for pickup. You can do so through the free FedEx Delivery Manager app.

  1. Why does FedEx leave packages at the door?

FedEx usually attempts to drop off packages at the recipient’s doorstep.

The front door can be an ideal place for residential deliveries. The location is noticeable enough for the addressees to see their package but not noticeable enough to attract thieves.

  1. Will FedEx deliver to a back door?

Yes. Customers can instruct FedEx on where they want their package delivered. This instruction may include “Leave it at the back door.” 

Suppose your package is time-sensitive. In that case, you can provide your signature online or before the delivery to authorize FedEx to leave parcels, even if you are not home to accept them.

  1. Is FedEx supposed to knock?

Not always. FedEx workers may only ring a doorbell or knock on your door if they require your signature.

  1. Are there any situations where I can place a FedEx mail or package in a USPS mailbox?

No. The law allows only Postal Service employees to use USPS mailboxes for delivering postage-paid USPS mail and packages. 

  1. Some say, “FedEx can, in fact, deliver to a P.O. box, but there’s a trick.”Are there cases where FedEx can deliver packages to a P.O. box?

Again, FedEx is generally prohibited from delivering packages to a P.O. box. The scenario above is highly unlikely to happen. 

That said, FedEx says it can deliver to local P.O. boxes through its FedEx Ground Economy shipping service.

If you see a FedEx package in your mailbox, consider contacting FedEx to clarify why their personnel put the parcel there.

  1. Can you use FedEx Ground or FedEx Home to ship to a P.O. box?

According to FedEx’s official website, FedEx Ground Economy is the only way to send items to domestic P.O. boxes. Still, you can ship to P.O. boxes in Puerto Rico and other international locations via FedEx Express.

References

  1. FedEx Ground® Economy
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/ground/economy.html
  2. Your Mailbox Could Be Opened Up To Private Carriers
    https://www.npr.org/2019/02/02/676132856/your-mailbox-could-be-opened-up-to-private-carriers
  3. Can you leave my package for me when I am not at my address?
    https://www.fedex.com/en-jp/customer-support/faq/receiving/delivery-options-fedex/leave-package-not-at-home.htm
  4. Customer support center
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/customer-support/contact-us.htm
  5. How can I add delivery instructions for my package?
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/customer-support/faqs/receiving/delivery/how-to-add-delivery-instructions.html
  6. Information About Restrictions on Mailbox Access
    https://www.gao.gov/assets/ggd-97-85.pdf
  7. How to Recognize Fraud
    https://www.fedex.com/en-zm/trust-center/report-fraud.html
  8. FedEx signature requirements and delivery options
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/delivery-options/signature-services.html
  9. Mailboxes
    https://www.theupsstore.com/mailboxes
  10. Mailbox access restricted to postage paid U.S. Mail
    https://about.usps.com/news/state-releases/tx/2010/tx_2010_0909.htm
  11. Hold your package at a secure location
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/hold-at-location.html
  12. Package Recipients Can Now Customize Deliveries to their Home with FedEx Delivery Manager
    https://newsroom.fedex.com/newsroom/united-states-english/package-recipients-can-now-customize-deliveries-to-their-home-with-fedex-delivery-manager
  13. Frequently Asked Shipping Questions
    https://www.fedex.com/en-us/shipping/faqs.html