Should I register a postcard I can see in informed delivery but was lost just prior to delivery?

I don’t know if this service is used in other countries, but many of you in the U.S. may be aware of the “Informed Delivery” service from the USPS - where we can sign up to see a digital dashboard of mail and packages coming to our mailbox. Except for odd sizes and shapes, mail is scanned and we can see an image of it. I didn’t sign up to watch for postcards, but if I happen to check my informed delivery email for the day before I check the mailbox, I do see if a postcard is arriving that day.

About a week ago, my informed delivery showed a postcard I was to receive that day. I checked my mail - the other mail pieces shown did arrive, but the postcard was not there. I checked the street, gutter, and sidewalk nearby in case it had fallen, but to no avail. It probably was accidentally stuck to a neighbor’s mail and got delivered. A bummer, but mis-delivery sometimes happens. I hoped one day I’d find it dropped off by a neighbor but so far nothing. I’ll wait a few more days, but if it doesn’t show up soon, I’ll assume that whoever got it, tossed it out with their junk mail.

What I am wondering is if I could or should register the card? Since the image scanned in is of the address side of mail, I was able to read the whole message on the card (and it sounds like a neat card - the message described an interesting place and church) and so I can clearly see the postcard ID as well. I know we are not supposed to register cards if someone messages us and says “Hey register this card I sent X number of days ago.” However this situation feels a bit atypical. I can see the card, I know it got as close to me as the sorting facility in my city and probably onto my local postal worker’s vehicle for delivery. I feel bad for the sender having to watch and wait for it to become an expired card, and if they happened to upload a picture of the front side, I would get to see the image side (informed delivery only shows the address side of mail). But I also don’t want to do the wrong thing.

What is the best thing to do in a situation like this? Thanks in advance.


What a weird situation!
This service exists in Germany too (I haven’t tried it, though). In the German community that question also was discussed (registering before arrival not knowing if the card will arrive after all) - but there was no conclusion.

In the Postcrossing Guidelines you can read this:
“Never register a postcard that hasn’t arrived yet; if you see requests otherwise, please report it to us!”

I see four options for you:

  • Don’t register the card as you haven’t received it in real.
  • Register the card and tell them your story in the registration message just as you typed it here.
  • If the username is shown on the card: contact the user without registering the card via Postcrossing message and tell them your story and tell them you don’t want to register because the card didn’t get to your place.
  • If the username isn’t written, contact the Postcrossing team (tell them the ID in your request) and ask them what to do. You can contact them via this form:

I don’t want to give you my opinion on what to do - I’m sure there will be many opinions on all the possibilities. It’s up to you to decide. There isn’t really anything wrong you can do.
Well - maybe it would be wrong to register the card and tell the sender to send another one. But that wasn’t what you were thinking about, anyway.


This happened to me a few days ago! The card turned up three days later. It was the only thing in my informed delivery from the day that didn’t arrive. Maybe it’s on the way.


I agree with @Reisegern’s options and that the decision is up to you. I know what I would do, but it’s your decision, not mine. :smiley:


I’ve had the same experience: showed up on Informed Delivery, never arrived in my mailbox. Decided to go with the most literal interpretation of “received,” which meant I didn’t register it. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


Like @susandjones mentioned, this has happened to me, too! A piece of mail is apparently due one day, and arrives a day or two later. Let’s hope that’s the case! :crossed_fingers: Otherwise, @Reisegern’s options are the way to go.


This exact issue happened to me and I’m not sure either! I have informed delivery. It’s been 5 days and the card has not arrived.

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It’s the first time I’ve not received mail that was shown in my informed delivery (which seems pretty lucky, really). It’s been almost a week (a week tomorrow) but i guess should wait a couple more days and see if something changes. Maybe I’ll give it until the end of the week and decide then.

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A similar thing happened to me, but with a package instead of a postcard. It ended up coming a couple days later. I would suggest waiting a bit–it may still be waiting at the sorting facility waiting its turn for delivery.

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I use Informed Delivery too. Sometimes it gives me scans of Postcrossing cards and sometimes it doesn’t, and I haven’t figured out why only some cards are scanned. I live in an apartment complex and the mail carrier can be careless about putting mail in the wrong box. If a card shows up in Informed Delivery, I almost always get it eventually, but I will register it regardless. I know the sender did what they were supposed to do.


Yes, that was my thought. The sender obviously did what they were supposed to. They aren’t “cheating” or being impatient about the postal service or anything.


Me, I’d register it because Informed Delivery shows you the written side, and if the sender has downloaded the picture you’ll see the picture side upon registry. So for me, that’s “received”.

Informed Delivery has a feature where you can report missing mail, but I don’t know if that will help recover the postcard.


Interesting! My instinct would be to say don’t register because it has not arrived, it is not in your hands. But I can see the points made by others, too… Tricky! Especially as you say you can read the message and all.

I have heard of informed delivery from US postcrossers but am not familiar with it myself, however the situation is described clearly.


This also happened to me a couple of weeks ago however the card came the next day. When I first joined I actually registered a few before they actually showed up if the ID was visible in the informed delivery image however it kind of ruined the surprise of first seeing the card in person. Personally I would register it because that user may be waiting to send another card, especially with how slow the mail has been over the last few months. Its definitely up to you!


I have not used the “Informed Delivery” service. Do you still have access to the scans that include that piece of mail? Can you print a screen capture and ask your postal carrier or the local postmaster to search for your missing piece of mail? I think that is the first action I would have taken. As for whether to register this card, I would reach out to Postcrossing admin via the “help, contact us tab” and see what guidance they provide before I made a decision.


I reported it not received, which I thought was the same as filing a missing mail report. Now that I look closer, I guess marking “didn’t receive” in informed delivery records the info and just says it “may” be used for investigative purposes. So they may choose to look for it or not?

I’m not sure I want to go through the hassle of filing a more formal request for mail search since I think the most likely explanation is that it was mis-delivered and if so, I don’t see how they could get it back (unless a neighbor returns it to the post office for re-delivery). So I guess I don’t want to create extra work for them.

I’ll cross my fingers and wait a few more days to see if the postcard shows up.

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I would register it, once I was certain it wouldn’t show up. I think the rule of not registering on request is purely there to deter people who don’t want to send some cards. In this case, you know a card has been sent and if USPS hadn’t made a mistake, you would have had it in your hands.


This is too cruel. I don’t know if I want to see for myself that I have cards that should have been delivered to me if not for the mishandling of the postal system or I would like to stay in the blissful ignorance. :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


I’d say the “don’t register a card you haven’t received”-rule doesn’t apply here. The idea of the rule is to avoid cheating, i.e. people not sending cards and then making the adressees register them anyway. But in this case you have proof the sender actually sent a card. In fact, I’d say you have received 1/2 card :slight_smile: because you did, after all, receive the message. But of course that depends on what is most important to you in postcrossing - if you’re primarily after the postcards or the stamps, then of course you didn’t receive anything…


The sender fulfilled the obligation of sending a card, and you have proof. I’d wait a few days and if it still doesn’t show I’d just register it. They have no control over what happens to it after it leaves their hands. Unless, Postcrossing also uses that ever popular legal disclaimer “not responsible for items lost, damaged, or misdirected”…or you put that in your profile, meaning non-receipt is just as good as “never mailed” .