It is illegal for FedEx, UPS, and carriers other than the USPS to deliver to a mailbox because the U.S. Postal Service has a monopoly on delivering mail to mailboxes. This monopoly is enshrined in federal law, and violators can be fined. The rationale behind this law is that the Postal Service needs to be able to reliably deliver mail to all Americans, regardless of where they live. This is especially important for people who live in rural areas, where private companies may be less likely to deliver mail. The law ensures that everyone has equal access to mail service. FedEx has argued against this law in the past, but so far it has been unsuccessful in changing it.
The USPS has a monopoly on delivering mail to mailboxes
The U.S. Postal Service has a monopoly on delivering mail to mailboxes. This monopoly is enshrined in federal law and is known as mailbox restriction law, and violators can be fined.
The rationale behind this law is that the Postal Service needs to be able to reliably deliver mail to all Americans, regardless of where they live. This is especially important for people who live in rural areas, where private companies may be less likely to deliver mail.
The law ensures that everyone has equal access to mail service.
Mailbox restriction law
Mailbox restriction law is a federal law that is designed to prevent any third party from accessing your mailbox. This law was put in place to ensure secure mail delivery for everyone with a mailbox and places strict fines on any violations.
What is Mailbox Restriction law?
Mailbox Restriction prohibits anyone other than the United States Postal Services (USPS) from placing mailable matter into any mailbox. This also precludes neighbors and or passersby from placing any item into your mailbox.
“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 letterbox 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.” (https://www.gao.gov/assets/ggd-97-85.pdf)
"Mailbox Restriction Law, 18 U.S.C. 1725" was enacted by congress in 1934 giving the postal service a virtual monopoly over mailboxes and standard mail delivery. The law was implemented in order to provide a secure method for delivery of mail to each individual home and ensure the recipient receives what they need.
This is important since mail is the main method of communication between government offices and their constituents. All important documents such as voting information, IRS tax documents, and in the modern age, credit card and banking information can all be sent via mail.
Can other carriers such as FedEx or UPS deliver to my Mailbox?
No, they are not allowed to deliver directly to your mailbox since no postage has been paid. Their deliveries must be made directly to the customer, usually by being left at the front door. Most of their deliveries to private residences however are larger packages that wouldn't fit into your mailbox anyways so this isn't much of an issue.
At present, a UPS or FedEx driver cannot leave packages in a mailbox, instead, they must be left at the person's home, for example, their back door or garage. This considerably slows down the shipping and delivery process.
Fines for violating the law
Strict fines are in place for those that violate this way law, amounting to $5,000 for any individual or $10,000 for any organization that tampers with a mailbox in any way.
A fine can be issued to anyone if they touch your mailbox and are not the resident of the address of a post office driver.
Starting in 2019 there have been discussions about breaking the monopoly that the USPS has on your mailbox. A White House task force mentioned in one of its reports that the USPS should "explore franchising the mailbox as a means of generating revenue." This would allow third-party carriers to place packages in mailboxes instead of having to leave packages on a resident's doorstep.
Some have also suggested that final delivery could also be handled by the post office via their network of postal trucks instead of third parties such as FedEx or UPS.
This could be a significant opportunity for the USPS to boost its revenues while helping other carriers reduce delivery costs by not requiring drivers to deliver directly to the front door for smaller items
The USPS has been steadily losing money and has been bailed out by the Federal Government year after year. This franchise between the USPS and other carriers could potentially all small packages to be delivered directly to your mailbox in the future. As of 2021 however, no action has been taken by the USPS.
It is likely that in the foreseeable future mailbox restriction law may be adapted to allow third-party carriers such as FedEx, UPS, or even Amazon to deliver mail and packages to a mailbox. There are a variety of hurdles that must be crossed for this to happen but it would be beneficial to the USPS by creating an additional revenue stream and also reducing delivery costs for third-party carriers.