Discussion Forums - USPS Postal Regulations USPS Postal Regulations

Topic: 2 oz book mailed first class - PO demanded $3.93 postage due

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: 2 oz book mailed first class - PO demanded $3.93 postage due
Date Posted: 8/29/2007 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2007
Posts: 35
Back To Top

I always take books to the post office for mailing with one exception....which has made me really regret not doing so that one time.

Last week, on Tuesday, I had a small paperback to send that only weighed 2 oz with the wrapping.  My son had surgery early in the day and I got back to my desk after the PO had closed for the day.  I noticed the book laying there and thought....I'll just put the postage on it and mail it on my way home in the drop box.  I marked it "First Class" and put  postage .58 for 2 oz + .18 DC.  I forgot that the first oz for a larger size envelope is .80. 

The recipient PM'd me two days ago to say that the book had arrived with $3.93 postage due which she had paid.  Neither of us can understand how the PO arrived at that figure.  If anything, the postage due should have been the difference between the .58 cents I applied for 2 oz first class mail and the .97 cents that was actually due.   I asked her to take the wrapper and book back to the PO and talk to them in person about it and see if she can get a refund for the excessive postage charged.  I offered her credit back if she can't get a refund but she declined.

I haven't heard back from her as to how it went but I wondered if there is a remedy for such a situation - or is she just out the almost $4.00?  The charge just seems so wildly out of line for the item that I am stunned it could even happen.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 9:48 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
Back To Top

With the DC the post office changed the first class service to Priority Mail. DC is not available for first class letters or large envelopes. A 2 oz. book was very likely not 3/4 inches thick, which is the smallest 1st class parcel that can have DC, therefore it had to travel Priority Mail because you added the DC.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 11:47 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,631
Back To Top

Do you know what the reason is that the books need to be 3/4" thick to qualify for DC?  I'm just curious.

This is also something to pay close attention to if we're going to be printing out our own postage, since DC is a requirement with it, per postal regs. 

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 7:37 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,407
Back To Top

If a bppk is just under the 3/4 inch mark, add a piece or two of cardboard to bring it up to the right thickness.

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 8:25 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,631
Back To Top

Yeah, but I don't have cardboard or bubble wrap just laying around the house.  So it would be better for me to make sure that it's going to be at least 3/4" thick before I use the postage printed wrapper.  I'm just worried this could trip some people up. 

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 11:28 PM ET
Member Since: 4/3/2007
Posts: 35
Back To Top

That 3/4 inch thick rule for DC on 1st class package sounds like a trick - a great way for the Post Office to collect an absurd amount of postage for a simple small package.  What possible difference could it make if the package was 1/2 inch or 5/8 inch thick as opposed to 3/4 inch thick???  And why not return the package to me for postage due....then the problem could have been remedied before they took it upon themselves to charge priority mail rates.  Ridiculous.

This was definitely not an envelope - it was a small rectangular package.  Scheesh - who  in the world can remember and deal all the new regulations and rule changes?  I will never, ever again mail something without taking it to the post office for postage. 

Thanks for the explanation - even though it feels like highway robbery for the PO to charge what they did - at least I know how they will rationalize it. 

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 12:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
Back To Top

They have never specifically told us. However, my theory is that 3/4 inch is what is considered a parcel. Letters now mostly come to the carriers presorted and ready to take to their routes. Large envelopes are also sorted by machine, although rarely (yet) into route sequence. The carriers, although they are supposed to check every piece of mail as they deliver it, often just glance through the mail and often know how much usually goes to an address, so will skim the pieces. They are VERY likely to miss the fact that there is a confirmation required on those types of mail. The parcels are all still handled on an individual basis at all times by the cariiers, so they HAVE to look at the face of the piece to read the address. In order to avoid a vast amount of missed confirmations, the PO decided to not allow DC on anything below 3/4 inch thick. (Please note that when you are looking at the new rate classes for 1st class mail, the major difference between a large envelope and a parcel is that same 3/4 inch thickness)

I have no way of knowing where the piece was when someone noticed that it was shortpaid. If it was already well into the system, then it is more productive and less wasteful for us to let it continue on it's way than to send it all the way back to you. At that point we have incurred the expense of a full round trip twice, with postage for only one trip.

You can probably get just as much information from the usps.com website as from most post offices. If you use the rate calculator, it will tell you cost plus all of the available extra services for the rate choices that you make. Then you can apply your own postage to the package without going to the post office. (as long as the piece is less than 13oz.)