Mail Recovery Center USPS (What Is It, Meanings + More)

After at least a few unsuccessful attempts to deliver your packages, the United States Postal Service has a few options.

Usually, USPS can just return the item to the original sender. But what if it can’t? Did you know that USPS operates a mail recovery center?

What is the USPS Mail Recovery Center? I’ve been curious about the same thing, so I conducted some research on the matter! Here’s all the answers you need!

What Is The USPS Mail Recovery Center In 2022?

The United States Postal Service’s Mail Recovery Center (or MRC) is the agency’s “lost and found,” where USPS collects undeliverable mail that it couldn’t return to the sender as of 2022. Located in Atlanta, GA, the MRC catalogs each parcel received to assist with future “Missing/Lost Mail” searches but may eventually auction off unclaimed mailpieces.

To learn more about why a package gets sent to the USPS MRC, what happens to mail when it gets there, and more, keep reading!

Why Was Your Package Sent To USPS Mail Recovery Center?

The most common reason a package ends up in the USPS MRC is that USPS couldn’t deliver it to the recipient, and it couldn’t be returned to the sender, either.

That said, the Postal Service tries valiantly to get your packages to you, but after a few failed deliveries, its next option is to return the parcel to the shipper.

But, if the printed label is damaged or falls off during the journey, USPS runs into a problem.

Also, this is why it’s important to write that pertinent info directly onto the packaging instead of only relying on a printed label.

At some point, you’ll notice your package has not arrived, and your USPS tracking may read “Dead Mail/Sent to MRC.”

Where Is The USPS Mail Recovery Center Located?

The USPS Mail Recovery Center is located in Atlanta, GA. According to my research, the full address is 5345 Fulton Industrial Blvd, SW Atlanta, GA 30378.

It’s a pretty unassuming area, and from what I can see, not marked from the highway, likely to discourage people from nosing about the place.

In 2019, Local 12 out of Cincinnati ran a small story on the MRC and found the whole thing shrouded in mystery and secrecy.

In fact, the story writer for the piece compared the area where MRC and its partner, GovDeals, being guarded similar “to what you might see at a military base.”

So, if you’re in the Atlanta area and were hoping just to go in and collect your lost package, that won’t be happening.

Instead, you’ll have to go through the proper channels like everyone else!

What Happens At The USPS Mail Recovery Center?

What Happens At The USPS Mail Recovery Center?

When mailpieces arrive at the MRC, they go through a sorting process. During the sorting process, it immediately sorts out the deliverable packages sent to the MRC by mistake.

For those rightfully sent to the MRC, the staff in the facility opens the items to try and find further clues about the sender or recipient.

Then, if a USPS employee can gather enough information from the contents, MRC will go ahead and get the contents back out for delivery.

Otherwise, the staff does a complete inventory of the contents, the better to both match any Missing Mail claims or estimate their value.

Additionally, USPS holds parcels of sentimental value or worth $25 or more if someone puts a claim for them.

USPS MRC holds them for at least 30 days, so get that form in as soon as the suggested two-week waiting period is up (for filing a Missing Mail claim).

With that, items that MRC deems will not be claimed can go one of three ways; destroyed, recycled, or auctioned.

Yes, USPS works with to sell unclaimed parcels in an online auction-style marketplace.

How Do You Get Package From USPS Mail Recover Center?

To get your package from the USPS MRC, you must file a Missing Mail Search claim.

Ideally, this occurs after you have submitted a Help Request Form to your local Post Office and it has come up empty-handed.

Now, when you initiate a Missing Mail Search, you must include as much information about the package’s physical attributes and contents as possible.

That said, this is because the MRC staffer who took inventory of your package did the same thing.

So, if both of you were as descriptive as possible, it’s likely that USPS can make a match.

As the recipient, you’ll probably have less information than the sender, so you’ll probably have to enlist their help in coming up with the details.

Additionally, you might kick the Missing Mail Search claim to the sender so that the person who saw/touched/packaged up the parcel can field any questions that arise.

If you are looking to learn more, you can also see our posts on how long does USPS holds packages, USPS parcel select, and USPS carrier facility.


The USPS Mail Recovery Center, formerly known as the Dead Mail center, is where parcels go when they can’t be delivered or returned to sender.

While some items do end up going up for auction via GovDeals, a descriptive Missing Mail Search claim improves the likelihood that your parcel eventually makes its way to you.

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