A postcard sent 5 days ago returned for no reason

It was mailed to China on Jan 15 and had my return address label which was tiny in the lower left hand pane. I probably shouldn’t have put it horizontal because instead of sending to the Large neatly printed address in the right hand pane it sent it back to me. So they’ve wasted my international stamp. Some people like these conversation piece postcards that were misdelivered so I’ll send it the recipient to an envelope.


I’ve had this happen to me before when I saw sending international mail a long time ago. I used to write both the “From” and “To”, but now I just leave out my own address, for fear of that happening again. If I’m using an envelope, I shift the “From” to the back of the envelope.

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I’ve only had this happen once. My German penpal usually sends me letters with my address on the front and hers on the back. So when writing to her once, I did the same: Her address on the front, mines on the back. I got the letter back in the mail. When I went to the post office to figure out why, the post office worker said the machine just read one side of the envelope (the back side) with my address on it and sent it off to be delivered to me. On the bright side, the post office worker accepted the envelope back and sent it to be delivered to my penpal without my having to pay additional postage. @PleiadianDragon: You might want to head to the post office and see if they’ll do that for your card as well, so that you don’t have to spend on additional postage.


Thanks for the story and advice.

the sorting machine read your return address by mistake. so not put into envelope but go to the post office and show them the mistake. the clerk will cross out your return address and resent them. this is the reason and if you choose to put your return address, put it in the upper left corner upside down and a red “X” across your return address - which the sorting machine will not read it. oh, be sure the clerk black out the barcode in the lower part of the card or your will get it back again.


You don’t need a return address on a postcard

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post people put return address on the message section on a postcard however postcards don`t normally have return address on them.

I was shocked when it happened to me with an envelope… I always write my return address on the… back? The side of the envelope that you close. Someone commented that it was too big but I have a big handwriting and it’s a long address. And it did come back to me! The worst part was that the other person was right :rofl:
Since then, I always write FROM and I try to write my address as small as I can. I am still puzzled about how it can happen because it would be so obvious to me that the recipient’s address is the one on the other side, but I guess a machine doesn’t know.

Oh, the US sorting machines. Ugh. I quit putting my return address on the back of envelopes because periodically the machines would read that and I’d have them returned to me. I tried a circular return address label in an attempt to foil the machines, but nope, they could (and would) read that too.

I had a very small corner address stamp that I used on postcards and letters eventually that I never had anything accidentally returned with.

Wow the sorting machines can read the addresses?! :astonished: That’s so advanced… What if the address was written in chicken scratch?

It happened to me twice, every time with an envelope. The address was in the right place, written big and clear, and my address was on the back.
But it came back to me. So I went to the post office and the employee was surprised like me!
In the end she put the envelope again for delivery and finally the envelope arrived at its destination.

When I include my return address, I cross it out. That way a machine won’t read it but a human can.


To all folks having their post returned: check your national post has guidelines as to where put your return address. Both An Post (:ireland:) and Polish Post ask senders to put their return address in top left corner.

It serves as a clear indication which address is which and probably makes more sense for the machines too.

Yes, they can! That’s why they can sort ridiculous amount of mail in a short time. That’s why I always put the country name in capital letters - to make sure machine sees it and directs my postcards the right way.

Other tips I remember are: not using bright colours to write and avoid decorating the address part (stickers, underlining parts of address etc) or using very fancy calligraphy as well.

And if the address is unreadable - it’s checked manually by a postal worker. Sometimes it means missing cancellation (I missed A Hug For You this way :sob:) or stamps being cancelled with a pen (yikes).

This is the cutest cancellation ever! Is it still available?

I think it’s gone now, I didn’t see it for a while

:broken_heart: :broken_heart: :broken_heart: :broken_heart: Oh no…

If the address cannot be read by the machine, the image of the postal item is sent to a postal worker who enters the details of the address (destination country or postal code). The item – which was held in waiting by the machine – can then be sorted by the machine.


Actually, it’s both (at least at my Austrian distribution centre): there are humans helping the machine to read, but in case they can’t help - golden ink on red envelope, for example - the item goes to the hand sorting

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The UK convention is to write the sender’s address in the top left-hand corner, in writing considerably smaller than the main address. (I usually put my surname, number and road, and post code to make it less of a distraction, but that is only on official documents and never on a greeting card or postcard.)

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I never put my address label on a naked card. Others do. If they do, they should put it Vertically NOT horizontally. The automated systems cannot distinguish which one is the correct addressee. Sorry that happened to you.

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