Putting flyers on mailboxes....every day a lesson learned

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams First Coast Realty

Now why didn't anyone tell me that putting a flyer on a mailbox was illegal solicitation? All this time, I've seen many many people put things on mailboxes. In fact, a girl in my office says that she did that usually on Saturday nights because the mailman didn't have mail to put in there. I knew that people don't always like it and that it annoyed some people, but I didn't know that it was illegal! I feel like so criminal. I'm almost tempted to go back and take them off of the 500 mailboxes that I put them on. My name is all over it. UGH. It wasn't exactly solicitation though, because it was a newsletter. At the end of the newsletter there was a " thanks for the referrals and be sure to share this newsletter with family and friends." There was also a If you want to know how much your home is worth then call me, but there wasn't a direct solicitation on there. Am I in big trouble?

 I've never broken the law...aside from an occasional speeding ticket.

The way that I found out was that I was about to hand a flyer to a guy who was at the end of his driveway, and said "do you know that is illegal for you to put those ads on mailboxes?"

Has anyone ever done this?

I normally mail my farm, but I figured that I could save money and reach more people this way. I live in a neighborhood of about 700+ houses. I usually only mail 200 of them and at .50 or more for each postcard, I'm strapped.

 I'd love to hear from y'all! 

 PS: I didn't put the flyers in the mailbox, but rolled them up and put them between the mailbox flag and the mailbox, some were put into the little newpaper slot, some were put between the decorative mailbox posts, some were put into the wild plants that people have around their mailboxes(some of the flowers are nice around the mailbox, but overgrowth around the box causes a hazard to the poor mailmen...there were BEES in them).


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Karen Rittenhouse
www.JKKPropertyInvestors.com - Greensboro, NC
Real Estate Investor

Hi Christy:

Check out my article: http://activerain.com/blogsview/1543611/hanging-advertising-on-mailboxes-

Mar 14, 2010 09:32 AM #20

Section 508 3.1.2 of the USPS Domestic Mail Manual states the post and support of a Mail Receptical is exluded as being considered part of the definition of a mail recepticial.  Taking into account local codes, I believe it is LEGAL to place fliers on the support post and arm of a curbside mail box.  Just don't mess with the actual box, door, and flag of the receptical and you should be OK.  Kv

May 20, 2010 10:46 PM #21
Corvette Diva

Federal Law - Part 1 title 18 chapter 83 #1725


Look it up; it states that it is illegal to place any unapproved or unpaid postage "matter" into the box itself, however, the only word used within the law is...IN! Nothing about it being illegal to place/tape on the outside of the box.

Jun 23, 2010 08:53 AM #22

I got a nasty call from a homeowner screaming the phone that it's a federal offense.  Women can be nastier than most of the men I've ever come across in my entire life.  It was a ritzy neighborhood with lots of housewives behind picket fences.  They don't have to worry about the economy as much as the rest of us, so they find things to complain about and harp on.  I told her I was sorry and she just kept on screaming into the telephone.  I finally had to hang up on the b*tch. 

Nov 05, 2010 04:30 PM #23

How about this one:

3.2.5 Advertising

Any advertising on a mailbox or its support is prohibited.



Apr 03, 2011 02:46 PM #24
Eric Sean


Here’s how the restrictions are described:


In 1934, Congress enacted a law known as the “ mailable 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 organizations. [See Footnote 6]
Footnote 6 states:
Exemptions allow (1) mailable matter to be left without postage in door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes; (2) mailable matter to be left without postage on a hook or ring attached to the post or other support for the mailbox ; and (3) unstamped delivery of newspapers that are regularly mailed second-class to curbside mailboxes on Sundays and national holidays, if they are removed before the next scheduled day of maildelivery. See DMM D041.1.2, D041.2.10, and Rockville Reminder, Inc. v. United States Postal Service, 480 F.2d. 4 (1973).
Here’s the above referred US Postal Service manual section DMM D041.1.2 which does exclude door slots from officially restricted mail receptacles.
Door slots and nonlockable bins or troughs used with apartment house mailboxes are not letterboxes within the meaning of 18 USC 1725 and are not private mail receptacles for the standards for mailable matter not bearing postage found in or on private mail receptacles. The post or other support is not part of the receptacle.
Jul 26, 2011 05:35 PM #25
oh no

I actually just did this with my babysitting flyers. I got a call from a lady who asked about it and I got real excited until she told me this was a federal offense. I really had no idea! I felt like such an idiot. It turned from this innocent thing to now I'm a lawbreaker. Little embarressing. I understand why the law is there i guess...but really, America is just SO uptight!

Aug 31, 2011 06:15 PM #26
Don't want you flyers

You have no business putting flyers on mailboxes or front doors.  I've seen flyers left on mailboxes for a couple of weeks.  Got to figure the people are on vacation.  Suppose someone breaks in.  If that happened to me, I'd probably sue the person who did it.

Jan 25, 2012 06:38 PM #27
Rich W

Door hangars are the best. Stay away from the mail boxes...just asking for trouble with mailboxes.

There is a whole industry out there called the association of alternate postal systems.....here's a linkhttp://www.aapsinc.org/


I use door hangars all the time and they work if you have a good message. Gotprint.com is a great cheap place to get awesome work done.


If you have photoshop you can down load their templates complete the art work on their high resolution templates then send in for a test print, if it comes back ok...send in for a full print run of the quantity of choice.


I do this all the time and it works great! If anyone needs any help doing this contact me. I can help with design art work etc...coach you thru the whole set up including door hangar bags ...I get those from Uline.com...18-26 dollars for 1000 door hangar bags.....very reasonable.


People will call you ! I get all kinds of calls and leads everyday....cheaper than using the post office as well...plus you may get to actually talk with some folks face to face which is always a bonus.


Hope this helped.


Rich Ward

Supplemental Income Group

1-800-679-7042 Ext. 2562

Feb 06, 2012 04:26 PM #28
I got hired on Friday and saterday to hang flyers from mailboxes, on saterday I got stopped and yelled at by a post office guy telling me that I couldn't do that, and that it is illegal to hang flyers from the flags of mailboxes. He was getting In my face, yelling at me and saying it was illegal, and I knew for a fact that it WAS LEGAL to HANG flyers FROM a mailbox, and that it was ILLEGAL to PUT them IN a mail box. So at that point I told him to get the hell out if my face, and demanded he gave me his supervisors number so that I could #1 report him, and #2 check the law with the postmaster. So I called and talked to the postmaster and he confirmed that it IS legal to hand them FROM a mialbox, but you CANNOT put them in a mailbox. So I as right, and you did nothing wrong, I checked the law and talked to the postmaster about it.
Mar 19, 2012 09:08 PM #29

Well, no one has answered the question yet, what will happen if you do put flyers in mailboxes? I did it today without knowing it was an offence and my broker told me to never do it again and explained why. I had NO IDEA! That is was a federal offense and all...

So what am I looking at for trouble? Will I have to pay? I put the flyers inside of about 75 mail boxes. I have a client looking for a home in the neighborhood and so I thought I would leave everyone a flyer asking if they were open to selling to an all cash buyer.

Am I in big trouble here?!?  

Oct 21, 2012 07:08 PM #30

Someone has answered the question...

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 organizations. [See Footnote 6]

Nov 20, 2012 09:48 AM #31

I was called by our post master and was told only stamped items can be placed in the mailbox, but however, I could either put the flyer between the flag and the box, or just put them in door ways.  He figured I wasn't aware and that is why he called.

Dec 19, 2012 05:05 PM #32

I do not like anyone going in my  mailbox.  Would you  like some going into some personal thing of your  like your bank account . When my mother was alive I remember this person always coming to put something in the mailbox when her check arrived.  sorry 

Aug 03, 2013 08:22 AM #33


"no part of a mail receptacle may be used to deliver any matter not bearing postage, including items or matter placed upon, supported by, attached to, hung from, or inserted into a mail receptacle. "

Oct 10, 2014 08:07 AM #34

I am with Sharon above. Don't put flyers with sticky adhesive on my mailbox or unwanted flyers placed in my mailbox with no postage. I get enough junk mail I don't want anymore. And with the day of the Internet, if I need to find a business I can find it myself. I don't need unwanted advertising and more junk mail to deal with and clean off my mailbox. It's a federal offense and I am NOT welcoming or allowing solicitation. If you are a reputable business owner than pay for the G Dang postage or cease from soliciting illegal. I am cracking down on this and tired of it. I have surveillance on my mailbox now and the first time I catch some idiot breaking the law and littering my mailbox with tacky flyers it will be ugly. I will go far as pressing charges and filing a complaint since it's a federal offense. Its the law.

Jan 26, 2015 09:52 AM #35


You seriously need to get a life! Do you not think that other people, especially law enforcement, have better things to do? Really? I hope the next time you speed, that's illegal, throw your banana peel, not wear your seat belt, that they give you a ticket. Get a life!

Feb 02, 2015 01:55 PM #36

Breaking the law is breaking the law.

There are no exceptions for good intentions, "not knowing" there was a law, or even tough economic times.

If you do not work for the USPS, it is a violation of federal law to place anything in, on or attached to a mailbox, if you have not paid postage.

As a corporation soliciting new business, your company could be fined up to $10,000 for EACH violation of Section 1725 of Title 18 of the US Code:


If you don't want the USPS or local residents in your face, and you can't afford tens of thousands of dollars in fines, simply DON'T put your promotional materials in or on a mailbox. OR, put proper postage on EACH and EVERY single thing you "deliver."

Why should you or any other business get to skip the step of paying the USPS to deliver your promotional junk? That's an unfair business advantage, and is completely unAmerican.

Mar 26, 2015 04:05 PM #37
curious Sam

I see flyers all the time on the sides of the large community mail boxes. All kinds from missing pets, HOA meetings at the park, garage sales, and little girl wanting business for her dog walking gig after school. People use those things like community bill boards all the time. Are those still considered illegal solicitation? Or is it different cause it's aimed at the community? Would it not be illegal if you put a stamp on the upper corner of the flyer before you tape it up? That's a legit question.

Aug 15, 2015 04:34 PM #38

What a crock! USPS makes it sound like a noble thing they are protecting when in reality all they are doing is trying to protect their own interest. Claiming the mailbox, inside and out? Really? I sit here shaking my head, I inserted a folded piece of paper. It takes up no room but USPS doesn't get their .45 cents, which means even though I'm going from house to house, they aren't getting the money. What a joke! Pretty soon they'll do away with the junk mail and these guys won't have anything to deliver. Get it while you can...

Nov 17, 2015 07:25 PM #39
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