Is It Illegal To Open Someone Else’s Mail In The UK  

London (Parliament Politics Magazine) – Nowadays the trend of online shopping is at its peak. Packages for people arrive at various times. It can be troublesome to get mail that doesn’t belong to you. Moreover, according to UK Laws, it is illegal to open someone’s mail. People who have ordered the package must sign for receiving the deliveries. When your mail is accidentally delivered to your neighbor or someone else, they cannot open it. According to many rumors, a neighbor is not allowed to sign the delivery on another’s behalf. So next time you get a delivery package make sure you send it to the right place.

Is it illegal To Open Someone Else’s Mail?

The Postal Services Act 2000 claims that it is illegal to open someone’s post without their permission. Moreover, you cannot delay it and make sure it reaches the owner instantly. According to the act: “A person commits an offense if, intending to act to a person’s detriment and without reasonable excuse, he opens a postal packet which he knows or reasonably suspects has been incorrectly delivered to him.”

Another thing is that you cannot throw away mail just because it doesn’t belong to you. You must keep away from such trouble. A lawyer can argue that putting a delay to someone’s post indefinitely is a big crime in itself.

The postal services act further continues: ‘’ A person who commits an offense under subsection (1) or (3) shall be liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 5 on the standard scale or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both.”

The rules regarding mail are very much clear and if a person commits an offense strict action will be taken against them. If you try to open someone’s post deliberately it will once again be considered a crime. This is why whenever you receive another person’s mail it is best to return it to them without any delay.

What Is The Penalty For Opening Someone Else’s Post?

If you are caught spying or opening up someone’s post it can land you in jail for about two years. Under the investigatory Powers Act, you cannot get away from the penalty for committing this crime. However, this law is tricky as it doesn’t let you get away from the offense even with a reasonable excuse. UK courts are strict when it comes to such matters. You need to save yourself from trouble efficiently. 

What Happens If You Sign For Someone’s Mail?

If you receive your neighbor’s mail it is best to deliver the parcel to them. If you have collected on their behalf it is a lot more convenient to send it back. However, this is a tricky situation and it can expose you to risk in court. In any case, if you get someone’s mail it is best to head to your local postal depot. The local postal depot will carry the mail to the required address. When you order a product from a retailer it is an agreement between two parties. No one else has the right to come in between.

If something goes wrong or you get a defective product it is the retailer who has to make things right. According to the retailers if your neighbor signs for your parcel it is considered an offense. The consumer has the only right to receive their parcel. Your retailer can even argue that the item is your responsibility once you have signed for the mail. Even if a defective product arrives they are not going to replace it either.

Read More: Why Was It illegal To Play Rugby League In Greece?

What Should You Do With Someone Else’s Mail?

If your neighbor’s mail arrives at your doorstep, it is best to put it back in the post. You can check the name at the delivery that confirms the parcel doesn’t belong to you. Whether the mail is for the previous tenant you don’t have the legal right to receive and open it. All you can do is write ‘return to sender’ and put it back inside the post.

In such a situation you shouldn’t waste any time as it can get you into legal trouble. If you think that your mail is stolen it is best to consider contacting the delivery service. Many times when things go wrong in the delivery, retailers don’t pay any attention. You can draft your complaint and send it to the authorities. It is necessary to take the right action at the right time.

Beth Malcolm

Beth Malcolm is Scottish based Journalist at Heriot-Watt University studying French and British Sign Language. She is originally from the north west of England but is living in Edinburgh to complete her studies.