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Change of Address Protocol / Rules in Canberra

By Jethro 17 November 2011 34

So I moved house in Canberra about 2 years ago.

For a fair time after moving I received, on average, 10 letters a week addressed to the previous residents of the house. For the first 6 months or so I made the effort to write ‘Not at this address’ on the front of the envelope and pop the mail back in an Australia Post box once a week.

Doing this was annoying. Australia Post has a service, which doesn’t cost much at all, that redirects your mail. I have always paid for this service when moving house, as I don’t think it is reasonable to expect that the people who moved into my old abodes should be expected to redirect my mail.

After about 6 months I got fed up and just piled the letters up, doing a bulk post of these letters every now and then. I’m getting sick of doing this. Admittedly, quite a few senders realised that they should stop sending mail to the previous residents to my address. Nonetheless, I’m still receiving at least 3 letters a week for these people.

So, my questions are… am I forever obliged to redirect these letters? What are the laws regarding dumping this mail? What if I just ‘don’t see’ their letters in my letterbox and they happen to get eaten by snails? What strategies do other people use to deal with the influx of un-redirected mail?

My thinking is, if it’s against the law not to ‘return to sender’, it should also be against the law not to redirect your mail when you move.

As for those of you who don’t redirect their mail.

You suck.

What’s Your opinion?


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34 Responses to
Change of Address Protocol / Rules in Canberra
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Watson 4:26 pm 21 Nov 11

Monomyth said :

I’m going through the same thing with previous tenants here. But on the flip side, please don’t be so quick to assume they haven’t asked for a redirection.
I have asked my mail to be redirected several times. Never has it gone smoothly.
This time around, they forward not only my mail, but my mother’s as well. This is bizarre because we do not have the same surname.

The cost of redirection differs, but from PO Box to PO Box I was charged roughly $50, on top of the $40-odd to pay for my new post box… so it does add up. Don’t presume they didn’t ask for a redirection because they were petty enough to want to spite the next tenant.

I’m not really assuming anything but unfortunately my altruism does have its limits, mainly because my extreme laziness wins.

You don’t always need a redirect for important mail either. Most people would remember to change their address directly with the organisations who sent them regular mail.

BethiePrice 3:49 pm 21 Nov 11

m_ratt said :

This thread is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read without citations. A combination of dickheads being deliberately misleading, and those who think they know what they’re talking about but are plain wrong..

If you are referring to me….how is what I wrote deliberately misleading? Nothing in my posts suggested I was the person with all the know-all. I made suggestions that could have been followed up by the OP and others if they chose to. . I did use citations…maybe next time you should use your reading glasses.
As to all the other so called dickheads posting…looks like we’re going to jail..providing they know where I am to come get me…I forgot to lodge a postal redirection.

Monomyth 5:50 pm 19 Nov 11

I’m going through the same thing with previous tenants here. But on the flip side, please don’t be so quick to assume they haven’t asked for a redirection.
I have asked my mail to be redirected several times. Never has it gone smoothly.
This time around, they forward not only my mail, but my mother’s as well. This is bizarre because we do not have the same surname.

The cost of redirection differs, but from PO Box to PO Box I was charged roughly $50, on top of the $40-odd to pay for my new post box… so it does add up. Don’t presume they didn’t ask for a redirection because they were petty enough to want to spite the next tenant.

taninaus 5:25 pm 19 Nov 11

mmm, yeah, OK BethiePrice and M-rat – I didn’t realise I was living so dangerously and being such a criminal! 6 months has always been about my limit – If I know where you are I will send things on once or twice and if not will RTS them but if you haven’t been bothered to change your address after that the round file monster gets fed.

screaming banshee 3:14 pm 19 Nov 11

…in the course of post… and ….wrongly delivered….

I would have thought once delivered it would no longer be ‘in the course of post’, and the fact that it was delivered to the correct address would mean it wasn’t wrongly delivered, just that the person the mail was addressed to no longer resides at that address.

Having said that, 3 years after moving in to the current residence all the previous residents mail goes straight in the bin. I do like the idea of ‘recipient deceased’ though, that should wake them up.

poetix 11:08 am 19 Nov 11

m_ratt said :

This thread is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read without citations. A combination of dickheads being deliberately misleading, and those who think they know what they’re talking about but are plain wrong.

For an authoritative answer to the OP, read the Criminal Code Act 1995 Chapter 10, Part 10.5, Division 471 Postal Offences:

Subdivision A%u2014General postal offences
471.1 Theft of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly appropriates:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(b) the person does so with the intention of permanently depriving another person of the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

Dishonesty
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person%u2019s appropriation of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message may be dishonest even if the person or another person is willing to pay for the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.

Intention of permanently depriving a person of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message
(3) For the purposes of this section, if:
(a) a person appropriates a mail?receptacle, article or postal message without meaning another permanently to lose the thing itself; and
(b) the person%u2019s intention is to treat the thing as the person%u2019s own to dispose of regardless of the other%u2019s rights;
the person has the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

471.3 Taking or concealing of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
A person is guilty of an offence if the person dishonestly takes or conceals:
(a) a mail?receptacle; or
(b) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(c) a postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

471.6 Damaging or destroying mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person engages in conduct; and
(b) the person%u2019s conduct causes damage to, or the destruction of:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(c) the person:
(i) intends that his or her conduct cause that damage; or
(ii) is reckless as to whether his or her conduct causes that damage.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person%u2019s conduct is taken to cause the destruction of a thing if the person%u2019s conduct causes the physical loss of the thing by interfering with the thing (including by removing any restraint over the thing or abandoning the thing).

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person%u2019s conduct is taken to cause damage to a thing if:
(a) the person%u2019s conduct causes any loss of a use of the function of the thing by interfering with the thing; or
(b) the person%u2019s conduct causes the thing to be defaced.

Reasons not to be a lawyer, Section 1. This post is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read with citations and nothing but citations. Just posting a big Slab of Act doesn’t give any indication of how to interpret it, or how it relates to OP’s problem.

Watson 7:56 am 19 Nov 11

m_ratt said :

This thread is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read without citations. A combination of dickheads being deliberately misleading, and those who think they know what they’re talking about but are plain wrong.

For an authoritative answer to the OP, read the Criminal Code Act 1995 Chapter 10, Part 10.5, Division 471 Postal Offences:

Subdivision A—General postal offences
471.1 Theft of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly appropriates:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(b) the person does so with the intention of permanently depriving another person of the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

Dishonesty
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s appropriation of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message may be dishonest even if the person or another person is willing to pay for the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.

Intention of permanently depriving a person of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message
(3) For the purposes of this section, if:
(a) a person appropriates a mail?receptacle, article or postal message without meaning another permanently to lose the thing itself; and
(b) the person’s intention is to treat the thing as the person’s own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights;
the person has the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

471.3 Taking or concealing of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
A person is guilty of an offence if the person dishonestly takes or conceals:
(a) a mail?receptacle; or
(b) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(c) a postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

471.6 Damaging or destroying mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person engages in conduct; and
(b) the person’s conduct causes damage to, or the destruction of:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(c) the person:
(i) intends that his or her conduct cause that damage; or
(ii) is reckless as to whether his or her conduct causes that damage.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause the destruction of a thing if the person’s conduct causes the physical loss of the thing by interfering with the thing (including by removing any restraint over the thing or abandoning the thing).

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause damage to a thing if:
(a) the person’s conduct causes any loss of a use of the function of the thing by interfering with the thing; or
(b) the person’s conduct causes the thing to be defaced.

And isn’t 471.6 exactly what everyone here has been referring to? If you intentionally destroy wrongly delivered mail or your carelessness causes it to get damaged (doh, there goes my backyard storage scheme!), you are guilty of an offence. Not sure who you are calling dickheads here. Unless it is all those who were not clever or not interested enough to actually go through the act to find the exact phrasing.

Henry82 1:11 am 19 Nov 11

I just write RTS, put a cross through the address and circle the return address, otherwise everything goes in the bin. If i still got mail after a month, its going in the bin.

As for the legality – I’m a gangster, ‘thug lyfe’

p1 10:42 pm 18 Nov 11

I wonder what actions (other then return to sender) that one might do to discharge ones responsibility with respect to the mail? Could one place some sort of ad I the paper stating that four kilos of mail for John Smith are availible for collection?

Jethro 9:43 pm 18 Nov 11

m_ratt said :

This thread is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read without citations. A combination of dickheads being deliberately misleading, and those who think they know what they’re talking about but are plain wrong.

For an authoritative answer to the OP, read the Criminal Code Act 1995 Chapter 10, Part 10.5, Division 471 Postal Offences:

Subdivision A—General postal offences
471.1 Theft of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly appropriates:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(b) the person does so with the intention of permanently depriving another person of the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

Dishonesty
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s appropriation of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message may be dishonest even if the person or another person is willing to pay for the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.

Intention of permanently depriving a person of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message
(3) For the purposes of this section, if:
(a) a person appropriates a mail?receptacle, article or postal message without meaning another permanently to lose the thing itself; and
(b) the person’s intention is to treat the thing as the person’s own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights;
the person has the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

471.3 Taking or concealing of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
A person is guilty of an offence if the person dishonestly takes or conceals:
(a) a mail?receptacle; or
(b) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(c) a postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

471.6 Damaging or destroying mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person engages in conduct; and
(b) the person’s conduct causes damage to, or the destruction of:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(c) the person:
(i) intends that his or her conduct cause that damage; or
(ii) is reckless as to whether his or her conduct causes that damage.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause the destruction of a thing if the person’s conduct causes the physical loss of the thing by interfering with the thing (including by removing any restraint over the thing or abandoning the thing).

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause damage to a thing if:
(a) the person’s conduct causes any loss of a use of the function of the thing by interfering with the thing; or
(b) the person’s conduct causes the thing to be defaced.

So, this goes back to something in the OP. If it is against the law not to deal with the ongoing influx of mail that people are too lazy or cheap to get redirected, it should also be against the law not to notify everyone of a change of address or to redirect mail for a certain period. This is a case where it seems that if I wish to obey the law I am forever condemned to doing some prick’s chores for them for the rest of my life.

m_ratt 9:33 pm 18 Nov 11

This thread is a perfect example of why I don’t trust anything I read without citations. A combination of dickheads being deliberately misleading, and those who think they know what they’re talking about but are plain wrong.

For an authoritative answer to the OP, read the Criminal Code Act 1995 Chapter 10, Part 10.5, Division 471 Postal Offences:

Subdivision A—General postal offences
471.1 Theft of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person dishonestly appropriates:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(b) the person does so with the intention of permanently depriving another person of the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

Dishonesty
(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s appropriation of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message may be dishonest even if the person or another person is willing to pay for the mail?receptacle, article or postal message.

Intention of permanently depriving a person of a mail?receptacle, article or postal message
(3) For the purposes of this section, if:
(a) a person appropriates a mail?receptacle, article or postal message without meaning another permanently to lose the thing itself; and
(b) the person’s intention is to treat the thing as the person’s own to dispose of regardless of the other’s rights;
the person has the intention of permanently depriving the other of it.

471.3 Taking or concealing of mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
A person is guilty of an offence if the person dishonestly takes or conceals:
(a) a mail?receptacle; or
(b) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(c) a postal message.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 5 years.

471.6 Damaging or destroying mail?receptacles, articles or postal messages
(1) A person is guilty of an offence if:
(a) the person engages in conduct; and
(b) the person’s conduct causes damage to, or the destruction of:
(i) a mail?receptacle; or
(ii) an article in the course of post (including an article that appears to have been lost or wrongly delivered by or on behalf of Australia Post or lost in the course of delivery to Australia Post); or
(iii) a postal message; and
(c) the person:
(i) intends that his or her conduct cause that damage; or
(ii) is reckless as to whether his or her conduct causes that damage.
Penalty: Imprisonment for 10 years.

(2) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause the destruction of a thing if the person’s conduct causes the physical loss of the thing by interfering with the thing (including by removing any restraint over the thing or abandoning the thing).

(3) For the purposes of this section, a person’s conduct is taken to cause damage to a thing if:
(a) the person’s conduct causes any loss of a use of the function of the thing by interfering with the thing; or
(b) the person’s conduct causes the thing to be defaced.

LSWCHP 8:39 pm 18 Nov 11

Jethro said :

So it seems that most people agree that it is unreasonable to expect someone to return someone else’s mail for all eternity, but that the law forbids us from disposing of it.

I guess you could argue that there is a grey area surrounding the law that doesn’t forbid you from accidentally not seeing it and having it accidentally getting eaten by snails.

I admire your honesty and integrity Jethro, you spound like a good person.

In my view the social obligation only goes so far. I’ve been in the same situation in the past, and I reckon that if you’ve made your best efforts and still keep getting mail for random ex-occupants then just bin it.

There isn’t a giant force of armed men in black uniforms working for Aussie Post, out there tracking down and executing those who don’t return mail directed to dimwitted ex-occupants. Trust me on this, if nothing else.

p1 8:06 pm 18 Nov 11

Lazy I said :

“Return to sender, recipient deceased”

Problem solved. 😉

I have used this to good effect in the past (to get myself off mailing lists), my current house thought still gets mail for the two previous occupants, both of whom are dead.

I like the idea of, rather then returning to sender, forwarding the mail somewhere else. Say Ausposts complaints address, or the Mormons.

Jethro 8:01 pm 18 Nov 11

So it seems that most people agree that it is unreasonable to expect someone to return someone else’s mail for all eternity, but that the law forbids us from disposing of it.

I guess you could argue that there is a grey area surrounding the law that doesn’t forbid you from accidentally not seeing it and having it accidentally getting eaten by snails.

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