opening someone elses mail

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beverleymot | 20:37 Fri 03rd Jun 2011 | Law
38 Answers
hello... my friend had a jiffy bag delivered to work today, only a stencil set insidefor her grand daughter and we are allowed personal post there, however our accounts lady opened it before she gave it to my friend.

I am aware that its a priveledge to be allowed to have post delivered to work, but I am under the impression that it is illegal to open someone elses post.

My friend approached our director about it who said it;s in our contract, and she was shown the actual part of the contract, but surely they still can't do this? it's a british law, and im assuming that no business is above the law?!


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I guess they can, as it was not addressed 'Private & Confidential' and as it is not your home address then it's not illegal as such.
Question Author
oh... cos ive been previously told that it doesnt matter where any letter is delivered to, if youre not the person named on the front then you cant open it
If you didnt want anyone to open it, you should have had it delivered to your private home this was not you home address, just your name it makes no difference.
It sounds like it was opened by accident perhaps ?
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i wasn't asking for me, im asking so i can let my friend know as she isnt very happy about this.
The main thing to remember is the mail is protected by law until it is delivered to the address, not the person is it addressed to. If it was, the postman would ring your door bell and hand each member of you family their mail individually.
Mail sent to a works address could be opened by anyone.

Personal post could be marked Private and Confidential??
google in opening someone else's mail - I'm sure you'll find something there - but remember this package wasn't delivered to the recipient's home address.
To stop this happening to your friend, suggest you advise that she gets her own post delivered at her home address in future then lol
The workplace has every right to open the mail. They have to make sure the item is safe and legal. I work in a bank and all the mail regardless of who is it addressed to is opened by the mail room.
Question Author
thanks guys but i just checked online, as long as permission is given for post to go to that address ( which it has) then the only person allowed to open it is the person who's name is on the front- Many Thanks for all your help everyone!
Quite right Snowdrop :)
Trust me, the post office/Royal Mail only take the mail as far as the law requires them to, and that is to the door not the recipient.
What tosh! I've worked in a few offices and had my turn at mail opening... if any mail was addressed to a particular person then it was handed to them, we never opened it.
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yes i appreciate that poppy, but the Law says that as long as permission is given, then yes it can be delivered there and only opened by the recipient
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royal mail will take responsibility until it goes through the letterbox i understand that purple
I dunno what sites you are going to, but it isn't illegal. What IS illegal is if you do so for some nasty reason, like say open a bank statement and used the info from it to commit a crime based on fraud etc.

As said before on this, legislation only really applies when it is actually in the post, and if delivered to the correct address, then it ends.
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i got it from several websites, including royal mail
I'd say all the places I've worked have mail opened generally for a number of reasons, security, risk management (so complaints, problems etc... cannot be hidden or important issues missed and similar), logistics... with a few exceptions such as mail which looks like it's private for the boss, bank statements etc... Who knows what people could get sent to work as well, I'd say it's a prudent precaution.

When opening a load of post I'd say it's very easy to open something you maybe wouldn't normally so it may well not have been on purpose.

I'd say it's a perk being able to have mail delivered and fair enough having terms covering it (and ultimately the company), they could just as easily just say no personal post to a work address. I imagine it would be only too easy for them to revoke such a privilege should it cause issues they really have no need to have to deal with.

As others have said, if people don't want to risk things being opened by colleagues then they should rethink getting it delivered to a work address.
I expect all work places are different and will have their own regulations. At Christmas we are allowed to have large parcels sent to work where they will kindly store them for us ( so the kids won't kind them). However they are all scanned and opened, they have to be be because of security for the bank.

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