See If You Can Reuse Stamps: Legal Implications & Consequences

Stamps are an essential item that allows individuals to send letters, postcards, and packages to each other without question. They are affixed on parcels or packages at an affordable price. To avoid paying this fee, shippers sometimes get tempted to reuse stamps.

Is this a safe practice? No, it is not. The truth is you cannot reuse stamps. It is illegal for items shipped via the USPS or any postal service.

In addition, it is also not worth it, especially when you compare the labor involved to the cost (about $0.63 per oz) for stamps at USPS or other post offices.

This guide explains whether you can reuse a stamp and explores the legality, consequences, and ethical concerns of such an act. 

Can You Reuse Stamps? 

Reusing stamps for envelopes or mail going through a post office or courier is an illegal and punishable offense. Stamp reuse involves lifting a used stamp from an item or parcel and placing it on another. 

Parcels with used or counterfeit stamps will be rejected or abandoned by the carrier. According to postal laws, anyone who reuses a stamp without the permission of a postmaster is guilty of a federal offense, which may result in fines or a criminal record.

Consequences & Ethical Concerns of Reusing Stamps 


1. Negative financial implications 

Aside from being an illegal and punishable offense, reusing stamps has a direct and negative financial impact on postal services and operations.

For example, USPS charges $0.63 (per oz) for stamp sales. As little as it may seem, this fee plays a role in the sustainability of postal operations. Denying postal offices this right will affect their revenue significantly. 

2. A decline in quality or eventual shutdown

It is common for businesses to shut down services, failing to generate enough revenue. While this may be temporary, postal service employees in such departments may be laid off or transferred to other units. A decline in service quality usually precedes these events. 

3. Increase delay and cost of shipping

Stamp reuse (if detected) may result in a fine or parcel rejection. These events affect or extend how long the package recipient has to wait. If USPS ships such an envelope, the recipient may have to pay an additional fee to receive the package. 

4. Stains your reputation 

Reusing stamps shows dishonesty, lack of empathy, and respect or negligence of your legal and social responsibilities. Hence, it may result in a criminal record or restrictions from certain postal services, which is bad for anyone’s reputation. 

Where to Get Real Stamps 

Aside from lifting a used stamp for reuse, buying one can also land you in trouble. To avoid these, it is safer to get stamps from places such as: 


Can you reuse stamps that haven’t been marked?

No, reusing postage stamps that have not been marked is illegal. 

How can you tell if a stamp has been used?

Signs of a used stamp include missing or weak gum, cancellation, possible cracks, and a dull overprint. A mint stamp should have no faults. 

What information is on a stamp?

A stamp typically contains 3 vital pieces of information: subject, country of origin, and stamp value. 

In a Nutshell 

While stamp reuse is seen as a means of saving money, you must understand that it is illegal for items shipped or approved by a postmaster. Such practice contradicts the fundamental legal and ethical principles of a society. 

Aside from being a federal offense, reusing a stamp negatively affects the finances and the ability of a post office to provide quality service. In the long run, this may shut down vital postal services or lay employees. 

The best and easiest way to get a postage stamp on a letter is to pay for it since the service is very affordable (costs about $0.63 per oz). In addition, steering clear of such a dubious and incriminating practice supports post office operations and maintains a harmonious society. 

I hope you found this guide helpful. For further reading, please see how many stamps you need for a 10 x 13 envelope.

Thanks for reading.