Avoid Mail Returning or Looping Back to Sender

"Loop Mail" occurs when the barcode sprayed on your outgoing envelope is actually the barcode for your own company. A few days after a letter is mailed, it re-appears or “loops” back into your incoming mail.

Why does this happen?
When an envelope passes in front of a Multi-Line Optical Character Reader (MLOCR) system, it is scanned from left to right, bottom to top. The camera seeks a readable address anywhere in an 11.5" wide, 3.5" tall area and will read the most legible address within this area. If it can't read the outgoing address (handwritten, italic, proportional type, etc.) and if your return address is within this area and can be read by the MLOCR, it will barcode the mail to your return address since the camera cannot distinguish the difference between the intended addressee and your address. The letter will then continue through the Access Mail and USPS system, and ultimately be delivered to the barcoded location (your company). Re-mailing this letter will continue the loop, so long as that barcode is on it.

If you receive mail back in this manner, simply use a black marker and run a line horizontally through the barcode. This will prevent an MLOCR from reading the barcode and the mail will continue, being processed manually.

To avoid mail looping you must make a permanent change to either your envelope design or the addressing:

  • Move the return address so it is above the 3.5" read area.
  • Alter the type style/size of your address to make it non-machine readable.
  • Improve the outgoing addressing to result in readable addresses – the best solution to avoid the MLOCR seeking another address to barcode.