Postal Service Will Send Pictures of Mail to Your Inbox

May 12, 2017 12:08 PM

New technology from the United States Postal Service allows customers to see their mail before it's delivered to their door.

It's called Informed Delivery, and it was launched in Minnesota in March. It's gaining traction among people who say the free feature helps them keep an eye on their mailbox.


The feature sends customers an email message in the morning with photos of letters and pieces of mail expected to be delivered later that day.

The USPS said automated machines capture the images throughout the sorting process.

"As they go through for the last time, when they are being sorted for their final delivery destination, we take those images and then we can send those in an email to the customer," said Pete Nowacki, spokesperson for the USPS in Minneapolis.

Nowacki said the new service "adds a layer of transparency" to the mail delivery process.

"Obviously, if it doesn't show up by then something has gone wrong," Nowacki said. "That might mean it was mis-delivered, could be any number of explanations, but at least you know that you absolutely should have gotten that piece of mail by now."

Right now, the feature is only available to people with residential delivery. Informed Delivery does not work with PO boxes or with many multi-unit housing units.

Kelly King stopped at a Minneapolis post office Thursday afternoon and heard about the new service.

"I think that would be good," King said. "It's not often that I check my mail at this point, so it would be really nice to know immediately what's waiting for me in the mailbox."

But others think it's a waste of time and resources.

"I don't think it makes any sense," Fran Felix said. "I'm still going to have to get it in the mail and I won't know what's inside until it's open."


Kirsten Swanson

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