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New Postal Service mailbox rules anger homeowners

USPS: Buy bigger box or you may not get packages
Posted at 12:08 PM, Sep 22, 2021

Hundreds of Northern Kentucky homeowners are receiving a letter from the Post Office telling them they need to upgrade the mailbox at the end of their driveway.

Some want to know why and whether this request is even legal.

Chris Dowdy recently bought a heavy-duty curbside mailbox for his home in Grant County, Kentucky.

So he was stunned to get a letter from the Post Office telling him it wasn't big enough.

"It's threatening to not deliver your packages during the holiday season if you don't get a larger mailbox," he said.

The letter reads, "We strongly encourage you to upgrade your mailbox to a jumbo-sized mailbox to avoid missed packages this holiday season."

But he says that's going to cost him almost $100 for a new, larger one.

"They want us to spend money on a new mailbox, but the prices they put on their flier are not even close to the prices I am finding."

Dowdy says the issue he has is that he recently bought and installed an official roadside mailbox that even says the US Postmaster General approved it.

He says most packages he receives will fit inside or in the slot below.

But Dowdy says the bigger issue than the cost is the threat that he won't get packages.

"This postal district is acting as if they are the king over the land, and they are trying to hold mail as ransom," he said.

Reason for the request

We could not reach anyone at his local post office to comment.

So we checked with the US Postal Service, which apologized for any confusion, and explained thatit is suggesting -- not demanding -- that rural customers purchase new extra-large boxes, known as T-4 boxes.

A USPS spokeswoman said "the letter suggested customers may wish to install the larger mailboxes but did not state there was a requirement to change mail receptacles." (Full statement below)

The USPS says it does not want to leave boxes sitting at the end of a long driveway, especially in rural areas where its delivery people are told not to drive up long private driveways.

But Dowdy does things his own way, so he created his package box near the end of his drive.

He is hoping it is good enough.

"It is larger than the size they asked for," he said.

And what if you don't want to purchase a new extra-large mailbox?

The USPS says it will leave a note instructing you to pick up the packages at your local post office.

As always, don't waste your money.

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"We apologize for any confusion relating to the letter residents in Williamstown received about next generation mailboxes. The letter suggested customers may wish to install the larger mailboxes but did not state there was a requirement to change mail receptacles.

Next generation mailboxes are popular with customers and are designed hold multiple packages, letters, and magazines. As ecommerce and the corresponding package delivery continues to increase, the larger mailboxes provide additional convenience to customers, particularly during the holiday season."

Susan W. Wright
USPS Corp Communications


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