USPS Postage Due: Meaning?

Here’s what it means when USPS says postage due:

There are times when the USPS will deliver a package even though the postage wasn’t paid correctly.

In this case, you might receive a package with a written notice saying that more postage is due.

In that case, it’s not a scam.

So if you want to learn all about the USPS postage due message, then you’re in the right place.

Keep reading!

USPS Postage Due: Meaning? (Scam?)

Is USPS’s Postage Due a Scam? (2 Cases)

USPS is the United States Postal service.

It’s a major shipping company (controlled by the US government).

Why would you receive a package or a message that says “Postage Due?” from USPS?

Is that a scam?

The truth is that it really depends.

There are many scams going around that use this exact messaging.

There are also legitimate cases where the USPS is going to inform you that postage is due.

Since both scenarios exist, we’ll have to spend a little time going over the different possibilities in order to remove ambiguity. 

When we’re done, you should have the means to separate scams from legitimate postage requests.

#1 You Receive a USPS Package With Postage Due

Here’s the first possibility.

You ordered something online.

It was shipped to you, and when you receive it, the package says that postage is due.

It’s not a normal circumstance, but it does happen.

If the package itself is telling you that postage is due, it means that the sender didn’t pay enough for shipping.

So, USPS is trying to collect the remaining postage cost.

Is this scenario a scam?


That’s not a fun answer, but it will make sense when you understand how it all works.

If you try to send a package through USPS, there are two ways to do it.

You can go to a post office, enter the building, and work with someone at the counter to send the package.

If you do this, then they won’t accept the package for shipping unless it has the full postage due paid right then and there.

They weigh it on the spot and everything.

The other option is that you can use a postal drop-off service.

There are locations where you can drop off packages all over the place, and when you use these locations, no one is there to double-check the postage before you add it to the USPS system.

In that second scenario, it’s possible to get the postage wrong.

Depending on the circumstances, USPS might send the package and mark it as postage due.

That will inform the recipient that more money is owed.

You can see how this can be a legitimate mistake.

Maybe the sender’s scale was wrong.

Maybe they printed the wrong label.

There are a lot of possibilities.

It’s also possible that the sender knows that the postage is wrong and is trying to game you and the system.

They’re trying to stick you with the extra postage so they can pocket the rest.

The truth is, you don’t know which is the case when you receive a package like this.

But, you can resolve the situation regardless.

If this is an item you ordered, you can refuse to accept the package because postage is due.

When you do this, it will be returned to the sender.

You can then discuss shipping with them, and if necessary, you can refund the purchase.

You also have the option to pay the extra postage yourself and accept the item.

That’s up to you and how you feel about the situation.

#2 You Sent a USPS Package With Postage Due

What if you’re on the other side of this equation?

You have an eBay account (or a store, or anything else).

You put up an item, someone purchased it, and now you need to ship the item to the buyer.

So, you pack up the item, put a shipping label, and take it to USPS.

Once again, if you go to the counter, they’ll weigh it right then and there.

There will be no mystery or ambiguity, and they won’t ship it unless postage is accounted for.

So, if you go this route, then you know for sure that you paid the correct shipping price.

If you use a drop-off location, then there is a chance that your shipping isn’t right.

It will be important for you to understand that.

So, you ship the item, and then you get a message from the buyer that postage was due.

They went ahead and paid for it so they could receive the item, but they want you to refund the extra shipping cost.

Is this a scam?

It still depends.

If you went in person, then you know there’s no mistake, and you can assume it’s a scam.

If you dropped it off, then you’re not sure. 

In either case, you can contact USPS.

You can use the shipping number or receipt from when you shipped the item, and you can see if more postage is due.

If postage is due, then either you or USPS made a mistake.

If postage isn’t due, then you’re being scammed, and you have proof.

The other possibility is that the buyer didn’t accept the package and sent it back to you.

If you get the package back with a postage due message on it, then you know it’s not a scam.

Simply go to your local post office, and they can help you resolve the situation.

Are There Scams From USPS?

Those are the more cut-and-dried issues, but what about scams that come from USPS?

What if you get an email or a text saying that you owe postage?

First, USPS does not operate any scams.

It’s within the realm of possibility that individual postal workers might do something nefarious, but the USPS system as a whole is not defrauding customers.

It’s not something you need to worry about.

But, these texts and emails do exist.

Here’s what you need to know.

They are NOT from the USPS.

USPS never sends emails or text messages regarding delivery attempts.

You don’t have to take my word for it. 

That’s the official policy, in writing.

In fact, one of the reasons for this policy is to help you identify scams.

You will never need to confirm your identity, payment information, or shipping information over email or text message when working with USPS.

Anyone who claims otherwise is probably part of the scam.

Instead, delivery attempts and communications are run through the USPS tracking system.

When you ship an item, a tracking number is created.

You can use that number to reference your shipment and ensure that everything is correct.

If you get a message regarding a package, and you’re afraid that something is wrong, here are the steps to follow.

Do not respond directly to the message.

Do not follow any links in the message.

Instead, contact USPS independently (in fact, use the contact information here or go to a local post office).

Talk to them directly and see if your shipment has a problem.

That’s a reliable way to do things, and it will help you avoid scams.


  • Theresa McDonough

    Tech entrepreneur and founder of Tech Medic, who has become a prominent advocate for the Right to Repair movement. She has testified before the US Federal Trade Commission and been featured on CBS Sunday Morning, helping influence change within the tech industry.

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