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Topic: APC stamps and mailing date

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Subject: APC stamps and mailing date
Date Posted: 6/7/2008 3:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 2,148
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I've been using the APC for while now, and think it's a godsend....at least until yesterday.

I mailed out a book last week, using APC postage.  (I was using up an APC stamp I got back in April, and added on regular stamps to reach the new postage amount.)  When I picked up my mail at the p.o. yesterday, there in the pile was the book with a "returned for postage" sticker on it, for $2.46.  The date of purchase on the sticker was circled, which seemed a little weird.  So I went to the counter, where I was informed that it was returned because the sticker was "old". 

I explained that you can use APCs any time -- the date on it is the purchase date, not a mail-by date.  They didn't believe me.  (Did I mention the two grumpiest workers at the branch were manning the desk?)  Well, I kept insisting, so they got a supervisor, who informed me that you could only use APCs if you *immediately* put the package in the APC mailbox next to the machine.  When I told her that I -- and many other PBSers -- used APCs regularly, and that it was acceptable to use the stamps later, she told me I was just "lucky I hadn't been caught before now."

So...I left in a fury and stormed to the library, where I spent an hour unsuccessfully trying to find the regulations regarding APC postage.  Finally, I just went to the post office where I got the APC postage, where the desk clerk assured me that yes, you can use APC postage any time (although he did suggest that it be used as soon as possible.  

So, apparently, the word that APC postage can be used any time hasn't quite gotten out.   (I saw a message on here that noted that the regs were only in the APC Manual...which the post office only gets if they have an APC.) 

Does anybody have any suggestions on how to handle this if it should happen again?  I would really love to be able to print out something that says APC postage does NOT have to be used the day it's purchased, but can be used any time.  I was thinking of giving the postmaster at the first post office a call, but I would love to be able to cite something.

Date Posted: 6/7/2008 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 1/29/2006
Posts: 54,837
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Laurie, like many others, I've heard different murmurings about this.  Here is what the HC says on the subject:

Using an APC for mailing books

At the very end, it does say that you can print them in advance. 

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 3:31 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 2,024
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I found this on the usps website: The availability of postage strips at APCs also benefits customers who may wish to purchase postage for future use. Look at the last sentence : http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?session={515ecd50-35f5-11dd-78d4-000000000000}&event=11&view()=c%7B00000920-57e2-11dc-51b6-000000000000%7D&objectId=&eksObjectId=&objectType=Case&isJumpEnabled=false&isContentJumpEnabled=false&vendorKey=&objTitle=&versionId=642
Date Posted: 6/9/2008 3:32 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2007
Posts: 2,024
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I found this as well: http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?session={515ecd50-35f5-11dd-78d4-000000000000}&event=14&view()=c%7B059134e0-57e2-11dc-51b6-000000000000%7D&objectId=&eksObjectId=&objectType=Case&isJumpEnabled=false&isContentJumpEnabled=false&vendorKey=&objTitle=&versionId=642 :-)
Date Posted: 6/9/2008 6:34 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Laurie, I used a 'google' search to look for the APC manual that I've referenced in the past, but it seems the document has been removed from the APWU website. The only thing that came up was the page numbers and the word search highlighted--nothing else!

Kirstin's first find looks like your best bet!

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 510
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Hi Connie,

Can you tell what the original link was?  If so, the manual may be retrievable through the Wayback Machine - www.archive.org.

Date Posted: 6/9/2008 8:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 2,148
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Kirsten, thank you -- the second link is glitching up on me, but the first is *exactly* what I'd been (unsuccessfully) looking for.  I'm going to print out a copy, highlight it, and carry it around with me.  Perhaps I'll even show it to the grumpy postal workers.  :)

I'd tried googling as well, Connie, but I didn't even make it to your "remants" of the APC Manual.  That would be awesome if the Wayback Machine is able to find it.

BTW, in a completely unrelated vein, if you're into bluegrass/country/folk, the Waybacks are fantastic.  :)
(Sorry, I couldn't resist.)

Date Posted: 6/10/2008 6:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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Ooohh, I'll try that, Bret!!

Hmm, seems I was able to access it today and was able to find the pdf version. The 'manual' basically gives instruction to USPS clerks about the APC and what functions it performs. This was the only mention of the date on the APC postage:

• Q. Is there a date on the postage strip?
A. Yes, the postage strip shows a “Date ofSale” and the amount.

That's not much help!



Last Edited on: 6/10/08 6:46 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/10/2008 6:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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I've tried editing my post above and keep getting a blank page for some reason!

The 'manual' is actually the 'Customer Service Advisor Guide' to be used by the USPS clerk who introduces the APC machine to the public and gives the clerk a little information about the services offered by the APC.