View all text of Chapter 30 [§ 3001 - § 3018]

§ 3001.
Nonmailable matter
(a) Matter the deposit of which in the mails is punishable under section 1302, 1341, 1342, 1461, 1463, 1715, 1716, 1717, or 1738 1
1 See References in Text note below.
of title 18, or section 26 of the Animal Welfare Act is nonmailable.
(b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this section, nonmailable matter which reaches the office of delivery, or which may be seized or detained for violation of law, shall be disposed of as the Postal Service shall direct.
(c)
(1)
Matter which—
(A) exceeds the size and weight limits prescribed for the particular class of mail; or
(B) is of a character perishable within the period required for transportation and delivery;
is nonmailable.
(2) Matter made nonmailable by this subsection which reaches the office of destination may be delivered in accordance with its address, if the party addressed furnishes the name and address of the sender.
(d)
Matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which—
(1) is in the form of, and reasonably could be interpreted or construed as, a bill, invoice, or statement of account due; but
(2) constitutes, in fact, a solicitation for the order by the addressee of goods or services, or both;
is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs, unless such matter bears on its face, in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printing on its face, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe—
(A) the following notice: “This is a solicitation for the order of goods or services, or both, and not a bill, invoice, or statement of account due. You are under no obligation to make any payments on account of this offer unless you accept this offer.”; or
(B) in lieu thereof, a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe.
(e)
(1) Any matter which is unsolicited by the addressee and which is designed, adapted, or intended for preventing conception (except un­solicited samples thereof mailed to a manufacturer thereof, a dealer therein, a licensed physician or surgeon, or a nurse, pharmacist, druggist, hospital, or clinic) is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs.
(2)
Any unsolicited advertisement of matter which is designed, adapted, or intended for preventing conception is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs unless the advertisement—
(A) is mailed to a manufacturer of such matter, a dealer therein, a licensed physician or surgeon, or a nurse, pharmacist, druggist, hospital, or clinic; or
(B) accompanies in the same parcel any unsolicited sample excepted by paragraph (1) of this subsection.
An advertisement shall not be deemed to be unsolicited for the purposes of this paragraph if it is contained in a publication for which the addressee has paid or promised to pay a consideration or which he has otherwise indicated he desires to receive.
(f) Any matter which is unsolicited by the addressee, which contains a “household substance” (as defined by section 2 of the Poison Prevention Packaging Act of 1970), and which does not comply with the requirements for special child-resistant packaging established for that substance by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs.
(g)
(1) Matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which contains or includes a fragrance advertising sample is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs, unless the sample is sealed, wrapped, treated, or otherwise prepared in a manner reasonably designed to prevent individuals from being unknowingly or involuntarily exposed to the sample.
(2) The Postal Service shall by regulation establish the standards or requirements which a fragrance advertising sample must satisfy in order for the mail matter involved not to be considered nonmailable under this subsection.
(h)
(1)
Matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which constitutes a solicitation by a nongovernmental entity for the purchase of or payment for a product or service; and which reasonably could be interpreted or construed as implying any Federal Government connection, approval, or endorsement through the use of a seal, insignia, reference to the Postmaster General, citation to a Federal statute, name of a Federal agency, department, commission, or program, trade or brand name, or any other term or symbol; or contains any reference to the Postmaster General or a citation to a Federal statute that misrepresents either the identity of the mailer or the protection or status afforded such matter by the Federal Government; or which bears the term “census” on the envelope or outside cover or wrapper; or on which the term “census” is visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper is nonmailable matter and shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs, unless—
(A) such nongovernmental entity has such expressed connection, approval or endorsement;
(B)
(i) such matter bears on its face, in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printing on its face, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: “THIS PRODUCT OR SERVICE HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND THIS OFFER IS NOT BEING MADE BY AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.”, or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe;
(ii) the envelope or outside cover or wrapper in which such matter is mailed bears on its face in capital letters and in conspicuous and legible type, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: “THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT.”, or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe; and
(iii) such matter does not contain a false representation stating or implying that Federal Government benefits or services will be affected by any purchase or nonpurchase; or
(C) such matter is contained in a publication for which the addressee has paid or promised to pay a consideration or which he has otherwise indicated he desires to receive, except that this paragraph shall not apply if the solicitation is on behalf of the publisher of the publication.
(2) In the case of matter bearing the term “census” on the envelope or outside cover or wrapper or matter on which the term “census” is visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper, in addition to satisfying one of the exceptions contained in paragraphs 2
2 So in original. Probably should be “paragraph”.
(1)(A), (1)(B), or (1)(C), such envelope or outside cover or wrapper bears on its face an accurate return address including the name of the entity that sent such matter.
(i)
(1)
Matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which constitutes a solicitation by a nongovernmental entity for information or the contribution of funds or membership fees and which reasonably could be interpreted or construed as implying any Federal Government connection, approval, or endorsement through the use of a seal, insignia, reference to the Postmaster General, citation to a Federal statute, name of a Federal agency, department, commission, or program, trade or brand name, or any other term or symbol; or contains any reference to the Postmaster General or a citation to a Federal statute that misrepresents either the identity of the mailer or the protection or status afforded such matter by the Federal Government; or which bears the term “census” on the envelope or outside cover or wrapper; or on which the term “census” is visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper is nonmailable matter and shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs, unless—
(A) such nongovernmental entity has such expressed connection, approval or endorsement;
(B)
(i) such matter bears on its face, in conspicuous and legible type in contrast by typography, layout, or color with other printing on its face, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: “THIS ORGANIZATION HAS NOT BEEN APPROVED OR ENDORSED BY THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, AND THIS OFFER IS NOT BEING MADE BY AN AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT.”, or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe;
(ii) the envelope or outside cover or wrapper in which such matter is mailed bears on its face in capital letters and in conspicuous and legible type, in accordance with regulations which the Postal Service shall prescribe, the following notice: “THIS IS NOT A GOVERNMENT DOCUMENT.”, or a notice to the same effect in words which the Postal Service may prescribe; and
(iii) such matter does not contain a false representation stating or implying that Federal Government benefits or services will be affected by any contribution or noncontribution; or
(C) such matter is contained in a publication for which the addressee has paid or promised to pay a consideration or which he has otherwise indicated he desires to receive, except that this paragraph shall not apply if the solicitation is on behalf of the publisher of the publication.
(2) In the case of matter bearing the term “census” on the envelope or outside cover or wrapper or matter on which the term “census” is visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper, in addition to satisfying one of the exceptions contained in paragraphs 2 (1)(A), (1)(B), or (1)(C), such envelope or outside cover or wrapper bears on its face an accurate return address including the name of the entity that sent such matter.
(j)
(1) Any matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which is described in paragraph (2) is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs.
(2)
Matter described in this paragraph is any matter that—
(A)
constitutes a solicitation for the purchase of or payment for any product or service that—
(i) is provided by the Federal Government; and
(ii) may be obtained without cost from the Federal Government; and
(B) does not contain a clear and conspicuous statement giving notice of the information set forth in clauses (i) and (ii) of subparagraph (A).
(k)
(1)
In this subsection—
(A) the term “clearly and conspicuously displayed” means presented in a manner that is readily noticeable, readable, and understandable to the group to whom the applicable matter is disseminated;
(B)
the term “facsimile check” means any matter that—
(i) is designed to resemble a check or other negotiable instrument; but
(ii) is not negotiable;
(C)
the term “skill contest” means a puzzle, game, competition, or other contest in which—
(i) a prize is awarded or offered;
(ii) the outcome depends predominately on the skill of the contestant; and
(iii) a purchase, payment, or donation is required or implied to be required to enter the contest; and
(D) the term “sweepstakes” means a game of chance for which no consideration is required to enter.
(2) Except as provided in paragraph (4), any matter otherwise legally acceptable in the mails which is described in paragraph (3) is nonmailable matter, shall not be carried or delivered by mail, and shall be disposed of as the Postal Service directs.
(3)
Matter described in this paragraph is any matter that—
(A)
(i) includes entry materials for a sweepstakes or a promotion that purports to be a sweepstakes; and
(ii)(I) does not contain a statement that discloses in the mailing, in the rules, and on the order or entry form, that no purchase is necessary to enter such sweepstakes;(II) does not contain a statement that discloses in the mailing, in the rules, and on the order or entry form, that a purchase will not improve an individual’s chances of winning with such entry;(III) does not state all terms and conditions of the sweepstakes promotion, including the rules and entry procedures for the sweepstakes;(IV) does not disclose the sponsor or mailer of such matter and the principal place of business or an address at which the sponsor or mailer may be contacted;(V)
does not contain sweepstakes rules that state—
(aa) the estimated odds of winning each prize;(bb) the quantity, estimated retail value, and nature of each prize; and(cc) the schedule of any payments made over time;(VI) represents that individuals not purchasing products or services may be disqualified from receiving future sweepstakes mailings;(VII) requires that a sweepstakes entry be accompanied by an order or payment for a product or service previously ordered;(VIII) represents that an individual is a winner of a prize unless that individual has won such prize; or(IX) contains a representation that contradicts, or is inconsistent with sweepstakes rules or any other disclosure required to be made under this subsection, including any statement qualifying, limiting, or explaining the rules or disclosures in a manner inconsistent with such rules or disclosures;
(B)
(i) includes entry materials for a skill contest or a promotion that purports to be a skill contest; and
(ii)(I) does not state all terms and conditions of the skill contest, including the rules and entry procedures for the skill contest;(II) does not disclose the sponsor or mailer of the skill contest and the principal place of business or an address at which the sponsor or mailer may be contacted; or(III)
does not contain skill contest rules that state, as applicable—
(aa) the number of rounds or levels of the contest and the cost to enter each round or level;(bb) that subsequent rounds or levels will be more difficult to solve;(cc) the maximum cost to enter all rounds or levels;(dd) the estimated number or percentage of entrants who may correctly solve the skill contest or the approximate number or percentage of entrants correctly solving the past 3 skill contests conducted by the sponsor;(ee) the identity or description of the qualifications of the judges if the contest is judged by other than the sponsor;(ff) the method used in judging;(gg) the date by which the winner or winners will be determined and the date or process by which prizes will be awarded;(hh) the quantity, estimated retail value, and nature of each prize; and(ii) the schedule of any payments made over time; or
(C) includes any facsimile check that does not contain a statement on the check itself that such check is not a negotiable instrument and has no cash value.
(4)
Matter that appears in a magazine, newspaper, or other periodical shall be exempt from paragraph (2) if such matter—
(A) is not directed to a named individual; or
(B) does not include an opportunity to make a payment or order a product or service.
(5) Any statement, notice, or disclaimer required under paragraph (3) shall be clearly and conspicuously displayed. Any statement, notice, or disclaimer required under subclause (I) or (II) of paragraph (3)(A)(ii) shall be displayed more conspicuously than would otherwise be required under the preceding sentence.
(6) In the enforcement of paragraph (3), the Postal Service shall consider all of the materials included in the mailing and the material and language on and visible through the envelope or outside cover or wrapper in which those materials are mailed.
(l)
(1)
Any person who uses the mails for any matter to which subsection (h), (i), (j), or (k) applies shall adopt reasonable practices and procedures to prevent the mailing of such matter to any person who, personally or through a conservator, guardian, or individual with power of attorney—
(A) submits to the mailer of such matter a written request that such matter should not be mailed to such person; or
(B)
(i) submits such a written request to the attorney general of the appropriate State (or any State government officer who transmits the request to that attorney general); and
(ii) that attorney general transmits such request to the mailer.
(2) Any person who mails matter to which subsection (h), (i), (j), or (k) applies shall maintain or cause to be maintained a record of all requests made under paragraph (1). The records shall be maintained in a form to permit the suppression of an applicable name at the applicable address for a 5-year period beginning on the date the written request under paragraph (1) is submitted to the mailer.
(m) Except as otherwise provided by law, proceedings concerning the mailability of matter under this chapter and chapters 71 and 83 of title 18 shall be conducted in accordance with chapters 5 and 7 of title 5.
(n)
(1) Except as otherwise authorized by law or regulations of the Postal Service, hazardous material is nonmailable.
(2) In this subsection, the term “hazardous material” means a substance or material designated by the Secretary of Transportation under section 5103(a) of title 49.
(o) The district courts, together with the District Court of the Virgin Islands and the District Court of Guam, shall have jurisdiction, upon cause shown, to enjoin violations of section 1716 of title 18.
(Pub. L. 91–375, Aug. 12, 1970, 84 Stat. 745; Pub. L. 91–662, § 6(1), Jan. 8, 1971, 84 Stat. 1974; Pub. L. 92–191, § 2, Dec. 15, 1971, 85 Stat. 647; Pub. L. 89–544, § 26(h)(2), as added Pub. L. 94–279, § 17, Apr. 22, 1976, 90 Stat. 423, renumbered § 26(i)(2), Pub. L. 110–234, title XIV, § 14207(a)(8), May 22, 2008, 122 Stat. 1462, and Pub. L. 110–246, § 4(a), title XIV, § 14207(a)(8), June 18, 2008, 122 Stat. 1664, 2224, and renumbered § 26(h)(2), Pub. L. 115–334, title XII, § 12616(a)(3), Dec. 20, 2018, 132 Stat. 5016; Pub. L. 97–398, § 5, Dec. 31, 1982, 96 Stat. 2011; Pub. L. 101–493, § 2, Oct. 31, 1990, 104 Stat. 1184; Pub. L. 101–524, § 2(a), Nov. 6, 1990, 104 Stat. 2301; Pub. L. 102–71, § 2(1), July 10, 1991, 105 Stat. 330; Pub. L. 106–168, title I, §§ 102, 103, 110(a), Dec. 12, 1999, 113 Stat. 1806, 1808, 1817; Pub. L. 109–435, title X, § 1008(a), Dec. 20, 2006, 120 Stat. 3259; Pub. L. 111–155, § 2, Apr. 7, 2010, 124 Stat. 1112; Pub. L. 111–170, § 1, May 24, 2010, 124 Stat. 1193.)