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What is the acceptable undeliverable rate for first-class presort mailings?

What is the current acceptable undeliverable rate for a first-class presort mailing to "At Home" names? Years ago, 10% was acceptable, meaning that 90% of the list would be delivered and 10% would not. Has this changed over the years? The USPS seems to return a large amount of mail marked "Undeliverable." Yet my list broker assures me that the list was cleaned.

Questions related to undeliverable mail can be a bit tricky; however, there are some basic parameters to use as guidelines. To start, the class of mail does not affect the delivery of the mailing. What class and class endorsements can impact is the visibility of the returns you receive.

Mailing first-class presort ensures that all of the undeliverable pieces from the mailing will be returned to you. In contrast, pieces mailed via Standard Mail with no endorsement are not returned to the mailer. For a complete listing of the various endorsements and USPS handling actions, please review EU Services' Treatment of Undeliverable Mail educational resource:

The list deliverability will vary based on the individual list(s). It is not unusual to have a residential compiled list with a 90% deliverable rate. Usually, the list will have a higher actual deliverable rate, but that's the standard quoted by the list owner. Some lists may be higher, some lower. I would consult your list brokers directly to find out the expectations for individual lists.

Answered by Chris Konkel, VP Data Processing, EU Services. Chris may be reached at or 301-795-6307.

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