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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Who Can Open Mail Addressed to a "Current Resident" or "Business Owner"

    My question involves civil rights in the State of: Pennsylvania

    I'd like to apologize if this is in the wrong section.
    Now for my question: Is it illegal to touch mail that is addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"? I was at my roommate's work. It is an extremely small business. I noticed mail in the open that was addressed, "For Business Owner", so I picked it up and went to the back to ask the manager, "Hey since it's not addressed to a specific name, do you mind if I open it?" And he replied saying that it was against federal law and his attitude quickly changed. I of course know that it's illegal to touch mail if it clearly states that it is for someone, but again, it said "For Business Owner", which is the only reason why I picked it up to ask in the first place.

    I relate what happened to circulars that are addressed "To Resident" and since most of us end up trashing those, I genuinely thought it'd be okay to ask him. I simply thought it was a marketing effort, which majority of us also tend to ignore and trash, so I thought it'd be okay. But I guess not.

    I'd like to put emphasis on the fact that my question wasn't ill-intentioned by any means, and it was out of complete curiosity as to what kind of loans are offered to small businesses. I've always talked about one day opening up a place of my own, if that means anything. Due to the fact that I'm already naturally paranoid, I can't help but think the manager will tell the owner, who is then going to file charges against me. I also don't want my friends getting in trouble because I don't want the manager to think they gave me the okay to ask the manager. I have apologized to the manager two times and explained that I honestly didn't know it was wrong, he simply ignored me. Mind you, we had a new, but already decently established 'friendship', if you will and I'm sure he knew that my apology was sincere.

    Thoughts or comments?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    Are you the business owner? If not, then regardless of whether or not it's addressed to a specific name, it's not addressed to you and you have no business picking it up.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    Okay, fair enough, and thank you for the quick reply. My roommates claim he switches his mood up all the time and that he'll forgive me. What actions would they be allowed to take against me? What would you suggest I do?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    24,521

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    I would suggest that you not visit there for a while and when you do, you keep your hands to yourself. Since no damage was done and you didn't actually open the letter, you haven't committed any crime for which any agency is going to take action. But truly, you should know better than to be picking up mail that isn't addressed to you, in an office where you do not work.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    4

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    I did plan on not going there for at least a few weeks; unfortunately, it's the cheapest food around campus, but I guess I'll have to manage. It's unfortunate that it's impossible for me to explain the place, and even though what's wrong is wrong regardless of the setting, the setting and overall atmosphere of the place is the exact opposite of what you would think. Anyhow, I really do appreciate your quick responses and I definitely feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders; thank you again.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Posts
    1,991

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    it is not a crime to touch mail.

    was the mail in a designated post box? my guess is no, and so the same laws apply to it as to the salt shaker on the table. it is the property of it's owner and taking it without permission would have been theft, but you did not take it, you asked for permission to take it, were denied permission and left it there.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Toledo, OH
    Posts
    16,307

    Default Re: Touching Mail Addressed to "Resident/Business Owner"

    I noticed mail in the open that was addressed, "For Business Owner", so I picked it up and went to the back to ask the manager, "Hey since it's not addressed to a specific name, do you mind if I open it?"
    What in the world possessed you to do such a thing? Don't do this. It will save you quite a lot of headaches.

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