The Mail is Yours, But the Package Isn’t

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

I just got a package that was shipped using Priority Mail from the USPS. On the side of the box, it says, “This packaging is the property of the U.S. Postal Service and is provided solely for use in sending Priority Mail. Misuse may be a violation of federal law.

Federal law, huh? That got me wondering what constituted misuse and how you could be punished. As it turns out, there isn’t a lot of information out there.

There are, however, a couple of laws of which you could (maybe) be found guilty. They are: obstruction of mails generally and frauds and swindles.

That’s it. It’s highly likely that there are other laws that prohibit you from doing things like this, but I couldn’t find them.

while I was looking around, I found this very bizarre law, and this law, which isn’t quite as strange, but is still kind of weird.

Unfortunately, I still don’t know what, for sure, constitutes misuse. What about throwing them away? After all, it’s not my box, it belongs to the United States Postal Service. And since I don’t want to accidentally commit a federal offense, perhaps we should all just play it safe and return our used Priority Mail boxes to the post office when we’re done with them.

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  1. So if I use a Priority Mail package as a moving box…I may be in violation of federal law. 🙂

  2. Moving, storing, burning, pranking, et cetera. Basically, if you take a priority mail box and don’t use it to send something to someone else via the USPS, you are potentially breaking a federal law.

    I doubt it applies to the recipient, though, as the box has already been paid for and served its purpose.

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