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Is it illegal to advertise now?!?!

Discussion in 'Bidding & Estimating' started by plowman_25, Nov 13, 2009.

  1. plowman_25

    plowman_25 Member
    Messages: 71

    ok, so i just got a phone call from the post office about the flyers that i put out last week. i went around different neiborhoods in my area and put flyer on the flags on mailboxes and in newspaper boxes, and before someone says it, yes i know its illegal to put them in the boxes...so i never opened a box or put a flyer in it.

    any ways i got the phone call from the post office giving me crap about putting them in boxes. after telling the guy i never put one in a box, he says, well the carrier said she saw them on the flags, but someone gave it to her. well whats the proble then? well it turns out that they strongly urge me not to do that anymore, becuase i could get fined for all the deliveries on the route which is like 500.

    sorry to rant, but i feel i did nothing wrong and am pissed that post office is trying to "protect" me. seems like they just want money.

    anyone else have any prolems like this?
  2. bh115577

    bh115577 Senior Member
    Messages: 106

    I think I heard something like this. Since the postal service started having money troubles they have been cracking down on
    everything that could cost them money. They are likely just trying to get you to do a bulk mailing with them so they can make some money. I forget how the article read but I don't recall if what you are doing has been changed to illegal or not. If I can find it I will post it for you. I know it was in the Syracuse Post Standard a few months back.
  3. terrapro

    terrapro PlowSite Veteran
    from MI
    Messages: 3,912

    You can not even touch a mail box unless it is yours or you are the courier by federal law. No you are not allowed to tape, stick in the flag, rubberband, or staple your fliers to a mailbox.
  4. Comet

    Comet Senior Member
    Messages: 160

    I agree with Terrapro, no one is allowed and it has always been that way,
    I dont think it has anything to do with the bulk issue,
    I was confronted back in 99 from the Postal Office and also some of the home owners calling me first, that was the day I stopped leaving flyers and also estimates in mailboxes, wow!!! been long time now
  5. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    Unfortunately I have first hand knowledge of this....

    I went and flyer'd a whole bunch of houses in my town back in 1985.. I was trying to build a snowplowing route and a landscape business .. I put over 1000 flyer's in mail boxes... and little did I know that I put one in the postmaster generals mail box..
    I got about 400 or so back.. and a bill from the USPS... I went down with my mom and he explained that the mail box is Federal property... Inside and out.. he suggested that if I wanted to I could mail the flyer's.. or put them on peoples doors... but not the mailbox..

    I can't remember the exact # but I paid somewhere around $500 for postage that I had "stolen".. If I did not pay the bill it had a fedral criminal penalty.

    Oh ya.. Mail box baseball...=.. Fedral Offense ...Destruction of Fedral Property..
  6. Lil STX Ford

    Lil STX Ford Senior Member
    Messages: 176

    Hmmmm Unless the Postal Service in your area, supplies or paid for the box.. that the customer is leasing renting or borrowing the mailbox... the argument would fall between Customer and yourself.. then if customer has a NO flier marker sticker or label of any sort.. you don't touch...

    So if this situation was actually some dumb founded law in my Country and Province.. I think Politicians panhandling there BS via fliers will get a letter from my lawyer, for trespassing an aggravating BS, and also littering on private property in my mailbox :)
  7. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    Canada may be different.

    In the US. You cannot put anything in or on the mailbox or post.

    Doesnt matter if its on the flag, on the post, a sticker, anything, it cant go there.
  8. Mark Oomkes

    Mark Oomkes PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 13,249

    There ya go, it IS about the money.
  9. plowinginma

    plowinginma Senior Member
    from MA
    Messages: 326

    LOL it always is about the money!!!! Although in this case ... It could be power.. I don't think the post master got a bonus for busting me... Then again we have all heard about "GOING POSTAL"!!!
  10. grandview

    grandview PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 14,609

    Actually the post office owns the inside of the mailbox not the outside of it. So you can put flier on the flag area as long as it does not interfere with the deliver or the number on the box.
  11. BMWSTUD25

    BMWSTUD25 Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    Don't be cheap, just mail them to their houses! It would have cost you what, less than $250 and you could have sent them on a postcard and made them look way more professional than just hanging some random flyer's on peoples mailbox's
  12. Mick

    Mick PlowSite.com Veteran
    from Maine
    Messages: 5,546

    Taken in part from:


    In 1934, Congress enacted a law known as the “mailbox restriction” that
    prohibits anyone from placing mailable matter without postage into any
    mailbox. This law, 18 U.S.C. 1725, gives the Postal Service a virtual
    monopoly over mailboxes and currently reads as follows:
    “Whoever knowingly and willfully deposits any mailable matter such as statements of
    accounts, circulars, sale bills, or other like matter, on which no postage has been paid, in
    any letter box established, approved, or accepted by the Postal Service for the receipt or
    delivery of mail matter on any mail route with intent to avoid payment of lawful postage
    thereon, shall for each such offense be fined under this title.”
    Under current law, a violation of the mailbox restriction law is an
    infraction that can be punished by a fine but not by imprisonment. The
    maximum fine for each offense is $5,000 for individuals and $10,000 for
    In addition to the mailbox restriction law, Postal Service regulations
    provide that “every letterbox or other receptacle intended or used for the
    receipt or delivery of mail” may be used only for matter bearing postage
    and that any mailable matter found in mailboxes without postage is
    subject to payment of the same postage as if it had been carried by mail.7
    Postal Service regulations are broader than the mailbox restriction law.
    The regulations restrict items placed upon, supported by, attached to,
    hung from, or inserted into a mailbox.8 However, the regulations do not
    apply to door slots, among other things.9
  13. Michigansnowkin

    Michigansnowkin Member
    Messages: 75

    Every city is different, you are technicly not allowed to touch another box. Some will let you get away with the newspaper box or flag. Me personaly If we hand flyers out we only us the newspaper boxes, its all about money, they want you to use bulk mail. And there will always be the nosey old lady calling the post office. If we get a call just dont hit thta area again. Go to another sub.
  14. fireboy6413

    fireboy6413 Senior Member
    Messages: 396

    You can not put them in the mail box, but you can put them in the news paper box, if they have one anymore, I got lucky a few people in my fire house work for the post office and took care of me, but they did their part by stopping me before I did handed them out.
  15. fireside

    fireside Senior Member
    Messages: 726

    We ran into the same problem at are fire dept. We had some guys put the fundraiser letters for a benifit dinner into mail boxs. We recived a letter and a visit from a postal inspector(FEDERAL mail police). We (vol fire dept running a fund raiser to benifit a member with cancer) recived a fine of $8000 plus had to pay postage for EVERY letter we had printed 1500 fliers. We had to get are local congressman involved to help fix the problem. After much help from ALL are congressman they dropped all the fines and postage fee's. It took 7 months to make it happen so long and short don't touch a mail box for any reason.
    As for mail box baseball over 6 mailboxs damaged will be handled in fed court if you are over 18. Thats the true a family member of mine decied to play baseball one tonight with his fiends They paided big $$$$ to fix that 15 minutes of fun(fines and mailbox replacement)
  16. plowman_25

    plowman_25 Member
    Messages: 71

    thanks for the input guys...i guess im not going to bother with anymore fliers....not worth the trouble
  17. 2COR517

    2COR517 PlowSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,115

    To answer the OPs question - No, it is not illegal to advertise. It is, however, very illegal to use mailboxes for for flyers.
  18. procut1

    procut1 Senior Member
    Messages: 380

    What you posted is 100% wrong.
  19. Exact Services

    Exact Services Senior Member
    Messages: 198

    All my flyers are put on the doorsteps, under the corner of the door mat etc. As of yet I have never had any responses from any put in a newspaper box. Take the extra effort and put them where they will be read.
  20. scottL

    scottL PlowSite.com Addict
    Messages: 1,613

    Folk Lore. Inside box requires postage. Outside requires nothing and is not restricted by federal law which trumps state and local. Your state or local may have laws but, they would get tossed - that's just how it all works. I've run in to it, stood my ground and they came clean saying they were pressured to insist these taggings stoped. In the ned a busy body complained but, had nothing more they could do - even with the police. Here's another ditty - if the box is blocked ( flowers, vines, broken, taped, etc. ) the only thing that will happen is the house owner will be given a notice to fix before delivery begins again.

    As a matter of business I find better residential response from; local newpaper or door flyers than anything on a mail box.