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Topic: 1st Class Mail vs. Priority?

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Subject: 1st Class Mail vs. Priority?
Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:01 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,149
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Today, I got a package back that I mailed out yesterday. It's a package weighing 5.4 ounces which I mailed out at the 6 oz. first class rate. I got it back today saying that it needed to be shipped priority and needed more postage.

I reprinted the wrapper and am re-mailing the book tomorrow--without any extra postage. I'm not mailing a book priority. I have sent and received many books 1st class, and have never encountered this problem before. Has anyone else had this problem with USPS?

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2009
Posts: 619
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Hmmmm.... Never had that happen.  I've printed out the "media mail" labels before, only to have the postal clerk tell me it would cheaper first class, but I've never had one returned for priority postage! 

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/27/2006
Posts: 1,768
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Did you happen to reuse Priority Mail packaging the first time you sent it? That is the only reason that I can think of that would cause them to return it and demand more money.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,149
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The book is in an old manila envelope. No Priority Mail packaging at all.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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There used to be a rule that first class mail has to be 3/4 of an inch thick in order to be sent with delivery confirmation. I found an ebay guide on this when I was considering selling some unwanted items, and the guide said anyone sending items under 3/4 of an inch thick via 1st class mail with DC, was taking a chance that their packages would arrive with postage due (the difference between priority and first class). I asked my postal clerk about it at the time and she said with the new first class parcel rates, if the package was rigid, it would also qualify.

But I'd suggest asking on the USPS Regulations thread. There are postal workers who frequent that forum and may have a more certain answer for you.



Last Edited on: 10/26/10 8:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,516
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That would be my guess as well, that it's not thick enough to go FC with DC.  If you have time, you might want to take it to the PO counter if you can and ask them about it.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2005
Posts: 1,328
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Just wanted to add that I seldom use DC on lightweight, thinner books but at one time, if I did, I added something bulky and light weight - a scrap of bubble wrap or even a small crinkled piece of news paper to meet the 3/4 inch rule - but since my post office said it wasn't necessary on something rigid like a book, I've stopped doing that and never had a package returned or sent on with postage due, at least that I know of.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 8:53 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,149
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I printed postage from PBS for this package, just like always.

Date Posted: 10/26/2010 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,516
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It needs to be 3/4" thick though.  Is it that thick?

Subject: repost from a relevant discussion
Date Posted: 10/26/2010 10:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I was told of this rule by a postal clerk who claimed that "First class" had to be "at least 3/4" thick" and I did some research on the regulations.

I came to the conclusion that you can mail books as first class PARCEL, not LARGE ENVELOPE, less than 3/4" and get DC without the styrofoam packing peanut.

If you look at the definition of a flat, it has to be flexible.

If they are not flexible as defined by this test,  it is considered a parcel. (Basically, it has to bend by more than an inch)  

Most books are not that flexible.

If it is a first class parcel, it is eligible for DC.

Edited for typos and clarity.

 

9.2.2 Eligible Matter

Delivery Confirmation is available for First-Class Mail parcels; all Priority Mail pieces; Standard Mail prepared as Not Flat-Machinable pieces or as machinable or irregular parcels (electronic option only); and Package Services or Parcel Select parcels under 401.1.0. For the purposes of using Delivery Confirmation with a Package Services or Parcel Select parcel, the parcel must meet these additional requirements:

a. The surface area of the address side of the parcel must be large enough to contain completely and legibly the delivery address, return address, postage, and any applicable markings, endorsements, and extra service labels.

b. Except as provided in 9.2.2c, the parcel must be greater than 3/4 inch thick at its thickest point.

c. If the mailpiece is a parcel under 401.1.0 and no greater than 3/4 inch thick, the contents must be prepared in a strong and rigid fiberboard or similar container or in a container that becomes rigid after the contents are enclosed and the container is secured. The parcel must be able to maintain its shape, integrity, and rigidity throughout processing and handling without collapsing into a letter-size or flat-size piece.



Last Edited on: 10/26/10 10:11 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/26/2010 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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PBS does not differentiate on the label for thin book because members use different packaging so it can't know if your package meets the requirements. From the Help Center:

Are there any requirements to use Delivery Confirmation?

Yes.   The package must be at least 3/4 of an inch thick ("at its thickest point"), according to USPS Delivery Confirmation Regulations, and is being sent to a USPS-validated address.

  1. "rigid" (most books are)
  2. be greater than 6" x 3" x 1/4 " in dimension
  3. weigh more than 6 ounces
 


If you are concerned that your package does not meet the dimensional criteria above, you can always "bulk up" its dimensions with lightweight material that will not add significant weight (for example, Styrofoam, crumpled plastic bags or paper).




Last Edited on: 10/26/10 10:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/27/2010 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/17/2008
Posts: 1,149
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I took the package back to the post office today and the clerk said it was fine. She didn't see why it had been returned to me, and she took it for re-mailing. Hopefully it will go through this time. I PMed the requestor to let them know that the book might be delayed a bit.