Question about USPS

I received this postcard (Direct swap) another day and there’s a yellow sticker on it, says Unable to forward/For review, what does it mean? The address on this one is correct. I’ve never changed my address and I receive postcards almost everyday. Thank you!

Did you mean that you received that card from China to your address in USA? And it arrived safely to you? Is there written another address in that card - f.ex. the sender’s Chinese address? I have seen that kind of label on a postcard when there are more than one address, to prevent confusion.

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Nope, nothing different than other postcards I’ve received. It arrived safely, no damage. It took 79 days which I think it’s normal during pandemic. So I have no idea why they put the sticker on it😦

I occasionally receive postcards with a sticker from the German post on it saying the address was wrong and on the sticker is the corrected version - but in 99.9 % of the cases the address was already correct in the first place. These mistakes happen, I don’t know if there’s anything we can read into it. :wink: Or could it possibly have something to do with the numbers in the lower right corner, maybe they confused the sorting machines?


Our potal service does the same. The address is correct but yet they put an ugly stiker on the card which sometimes is hard to remove. I really get angry when they put it on the front of the card and damages the image.
I have no idea why they do it. The sortingmachine does read my address without problem, I can see it in my postnl app, but then when the card arrives they’ve put a sticker on it. I’ve allready complained about it and than it helps for a while. But then it starts all over again :thinking:


That is really annoying! German post at least always puts it over the “incorrect” address and so far I’ve never had a problem removing it. I guess we have to be grateful for the little things … :wink:

Good thing is this kind of stickers are very easy to remove and no glue left on the card

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The numbers at lower right corner is sender’s zip code. Maybe that’s why they put the sticker on. Make sense :laughing:

These stickers are so freakin’ stupid because many times there is no rhyme or reason to them. A few years ago, I face this problem with a member in Italy. The USPS kept rejecting good mail for no reason. It caused very bad feelings with the other member. You should contact your mail supervisor. Chances are this will be a dead end since this action was most likely done elsewhere…at the mail handling facility.

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I had a few of these stickers on returned envelopes/letters that I mailed out! I brought it to the post office and asked them about it and they just removed the yellow sticker and said “We’ll try it again” and put it in the outgoing mail for the day.


It might have gotten stuck to another piece of mail and ended up going though the foward system which read the address and said this is good address and marked it so it would go back to your address.

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For some reason, your mail was sent to the forwarding center, but since you have no forwarding on file, it went back to your post office for another try. Could be a sub on your route or just a mistake. If it keeps happening you might have to complain.

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Thanks for the expert!

Yup, that’s why.
There are 2 reasons.

  1. Barcode zone has to be blank (if there’s no space to print a barcode, they will attach the yellow sticker for a barcode)

As you probably know that we, in the US, need to leave the bottom right area blank for the mail sorting machine to print a barcode on. It is called “Barcode clear zone”

When something is written within or a sticker etc. covers the clear zone, the sorting machine would set it aside for the postal staff to process the mail manually.

  1. Address has to be written in the correct format for each county
    Each county has their own postal format for automatic speed mail processing.

For the US, the machine reads the address from the bottom line towards the top line.
If the bottom line is not written in the correct USA format (U.S.A. for international, or State + Zip code for domestic mail), the machine cannot find the address in the database, therefore it reject it as “unable to forward”

The scanner on sorting machine is programed to read handwritings, it reads numbers and letters pretty well. When the numbers are written in boxes like the image you posted, the machines have trouble reading them.

The yellow label is called NIXIE label.
In your case, it says “For review” which means the sorting machine did not understand the address, so postal staff needs to take a look at it and manually process it.

It looks like the postal staff manually entered your address in their machine to generated the barcode on the yellow sticker, so the following postal offices can automatically & smoothly handle this postcard for the rest of its journey to your house.


Thank you so much! Now I have to let people who swap with me in China know don’t put their zip code at the corner. I really appreciate!

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