Certified Mail™ is a service offered by the United States Postal Service. When an item is sent using this service, the person who sends it will receive a proof of delivery confirmation. Many people like to send things via Certified Mail™ to ensure that they know when the items arrive, and it can be bundled with other services, such as a return receipt with the recipient's signature and restricted delivery, which authorizes the release of the mail to a particular person only.
One important thing about Certified Mail™ that people should be aware of is that it does not include insurance, and it can only be used for First Class or Priority Mail. Therefore, it is not appropriate for valuable items, although it can be extremely useful in a situation where someone wants a delivery record. For example, legal documents may be sent this way so that all parties are aware of when the documents are sent and received, and in some cases, signing a delivery receipt is treated as proof that someone has viewed the material.
The mailing and delivery record for Certified Mail™ is stored at the post office. Users can log onto the United States Postal Service website and use a unique identifying number to look up their packages if they want to determine when and if they were delivered. In the event that delivery fails, the item will be returned to the sender.
The Certified Mail™ service is more costly than just sending something via regular First Class or Priority Mail. For this reason, most people only use it on occasions when they really need it, although the service is sometimes used in vote caging, a tactic that involves the use of mass mailing to challenge the addresses of registered voters. It is recommended for any situation in which someone wants to confirm that something arrived, from college applications to the results of medical testing.
For people who want insurance, Registered Mail™ is a better option. Registered Mail™ includes insurance and delivery confirmation, and it is treated differently than Certified Mail™ by postal employees. For example, much tighter security precautions are used to protect Registered Mail™, and there is a streamlined process in place for making claims against lost or stolen items.