The United States Postal Service is a wide network of sending and receiving letters and packages. Within the system, there are a variety of acronyms regarding the sending and receiving of mail.
One of the secret acronyms is ANK. If you’ve ever seen this before on your returned mail, you’re probably wondering what this means.
In this post, we will go over what ANK means, how it happens, and why it happens, along with other related USPS acronyms that you should be aware of.
In USPS lingo, ANK means “Address Not Known.” When a postal service worker tries to deliver a parcel or piece of mail, it may not be deliverable.
Or, if the package or mailpiece is delivered and then returned to the carrier, it will prompt the ANK acronym.
ANK: Why Does It Happen?
There is typically one primary reason why ANK is triggered. This is likely because the person is no longer living at that address.
In this case, the name on the mailpiece does not match the address. The person may have moved to another residence and did not set up mail forwarding.
ANK: How To Avoid It
If you are planning on or have recently moved, USPS has a special service to avoid your packages being flagged for “address not known”. Even if you are only relocating somewhere temporarily, it will be wise to complete these steps, too.
For a small fee of $1.10, you can complete the process and have most of your mail forwarded for free.
Mail that is included without extra fees includes:
- First-Class mail (letters, magazines)
- First Class Package
- Priority Mail
- Priority Mail Express
Mail that you must pay the cost for shipping from the nearest Post Office to your new address:
- Media Mail
- Retail Ground
- USPS Marketing Mail
If you can, carefully plan this step because it can take up to 2 weeks for the effective date of mail forwarding to begin.
The first step in this process is to submit a change-of-address request within the USPS system. USPS has two application programs. You can either complete the change of address form online or in person at the post office. Here you will let them know if the address change is permanent or temporary.
Following this process, you should get a confirmation email that your change-of-address order is complete. This can help you rest easy knowing your mail will be forwarded to the correct address.
Extended Mail Forwarding
For those of you needing permanent mail forwarding to your new place of address, you can expect the process to continue for 12 months. If you are expecting that you will need extended mail forwarding, you can request an extension when the time comes.
Extended mail forwarding does come with an extra fee.
- $19.95 for 6 months
- $29.95 for 12 months
- $39.95 for 18 months
You do not have to decide right away regarding extended mail forwarding to your new mailing address. When you have one month left in your standard free mail forwarding timeline, you can decide if the extended option is needed.
It may be wise if you still have a couple of letters trickling in even towards the end of the 12-month forwarding period.
This process is all tracked by the NCOALINK software, which is a system that houses months of limited change-of-address data.
Why Was My Mail Returned To Me?
There are multiple reasons why mail may be returned to you. Let’s go over some of the most common reasons and the postal terms that go with them.
In this scenario, all or part of the address may have been omitted.
Either a street number, street name, state, zip code, or postal code may have been accidentally left off of the mailpiece. If this is the case, USPS will be unable to deliver the item and it will be returned to the sender.
Due to this, always double-check that you have the full address when sending a piece of mail.
No such number.
Unlike the insufficient address warning, all information is filled out this time.
This acronym means that all details on the parcel are correct, however, the street address number does not exist. Maybe the sender is a number or two off.
Even with a seemingly small error, this package or mail piece will be routed back to the sender.
No such street.
Similarly, all information is filled out however the street on the mail piece does not exist. This could be the result of a misspelling, mixing two streets up, or omitting part of the street name.
Due to the street not being recognizable, the package will be unable to be delivered and will be sent back to the original person.
Unable to forward.
A package or letter that is unable to be forwarded is the result of the household not filling out a mail-forward request. All details are there and are correct, however, said person is not at the residence anymore.
If USPS is aware that the resident has moved out, they will make every effort to forward the mail. However, sometimes this is to no avail because USPS is unaware of where the person moved to.
This acronym, VAC, occurs when a house is no longer occupied. This may be due to a fire, flood, a house being condemned, or foreclosure.
In any case, the house is unoccupied thus the mail is unable to be sent to that address.
No mail receptacle.
This acronym, although surprising, is pretty self-explanatory. If there is no box, the mail person is not able to deliver the mail.
If your mailbox is at the end of your driveway it could have been damaged by a storm, or even a car. In any case, it is wise to get your receptacle in working order soon to continue receiving mail.
For a number of reasons, the mail piece could be refused by the recipient. This may be a package that requires a signature, or a mail piece that the person has returned to USPS.
In conclusion, there are many scenarios where a package may be returned to the sender. But now you know the meaning of USPS ANK along with other common terms.
Do you have a story of returned mail? How did it end up?
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