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Topic: Anyone having DC Scan problems at their PO?

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Subject: Anyone having DC Scan problems at their PO?
Date Posted: 3/31/2008 4:05 PM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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I don't use DC often, probably about 4-5 times a month, but almost every time I do, it won't scan at my PO.  I always take my books in to the PO and pay the postage there, so this is kind of a problem.  I make sure that I don't put any tape over the barcode.....the PO's computer just won't accept it unless they manually key the numbers in.  Today the woman was really snippy about it and didn't want to key it in, but I basically told her she was going to have to do it.  If she doesn't put it in, I can't pay for it, and then it will end up postage due down the line.  I suspect this is a problem with my PO's equipment, but she blames PBS and said that she wished "they would get this problem fixed" (talking about PBS).

Does anyone else have this problem at their PO?  Any advice?  Aside from telling her to get their software or equpment looked at, I don't know what to do except put up with her being grumpy about putting the numbers in.

Date Posted: 3/31/2008 9:45 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,414
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What kind of printer are you using to print the DC on?  I have a regular ink jet and my PO has never had problems scanning the barcodes.  Maybe there's something on your print heads that's smearing the barcode a bit or not printing it clearly enough?

Also, it very well could be the equipment at your PO.  Older equipment may not read home printed barcodes well at all.

Date Posted: 4/1/2008 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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My printer prints very clearly, it just won't accept the barcode when they scan it.  I don't know if it says "not found" or what, it just doesn't register as legitimate when they scan it.  When they type it in manually though, it does show up.  The PO is getting annoyed and thinks it's a PBS problem.....something about all the DC labels that start with 420 (and I think they all do).  I think it's the PO because I certainly don't see everyone else complaining about it.  They're just starting to throw a hissy fit and acting like they don't want to bother to spend the ten seconds to type in the numbers. 

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/1/2008 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,110
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All electronic DC labels that contain the destination ZIP code start with 420, whether they come from Paypal or PBS or any other online provider. If they're having problems with other people besides you, then the problem is definitely with their equipment, not yours. Do your barcodes get scanned en route? If they do, then that is also an indication that the problem is with the local PO's equipment.

In any case, they do not have to scan it or enter the number. There is a way that they can charge you 18 cents for eDC without going to all that bother. Apparently, the method is somewhat hidden in the software and not many clerks know how to do it.

There are some things you can do to make your barcodes more readable though. When you print a wrapper, there's a section of the Adobe Reader print screen that says "Page Handling". Make sure to set Page Scaling to None. The default is Fit to Printable Area. This setting may be squishing your barcode just enough to make it unreadable to some scanners.

You can also click the Properties button next to the printer name and look at your printer settings. Make sure you select the highest quality output for these documents. You may have the default set on Draft mode, but you need to override it and use the best possible quality for PBS labels with barcodes. Different printers have different options, you should avoid using anything that might modify the barcode itself. Mine has things like Edge Smoothing and Toner Saving. If I were having problems with my barcodes, I'd definitely have both of these turned off.

Date Posted: 4/1/2008 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2008
Posts: 14,735
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mine scan fine at the local post office counter. 

we've got an inkjet printer, and i use the lowest print quality.  i started with higher, but DH complained about how much ink i was using, so i tried it lower on a package or two.  since it's been working fine, i kept using that.  i do always print 'black ink cartridge only' though.  mine were scaling by default at first, but i turned that off.

Date Posted: 4/1/2008 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Someone else here was having that problem recently, and of course her PO was convinced it was PBS's fault, couldn't have been their equipment not being up to reading bar codes printed at home.

I'll tell you what I told her - when you get tired of their griping, ask to see the Postmaster for that branch. Then ask him/her why there is a problem taking PO-approved electronic DC.

 

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:06 AM ET
Member Since: 4/20/2006
Posts: 5,646
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I'll check all those things Cathy (thanks!) but it all looks crystal clear (dark, distinct lines, no blurring, etc.).  I print a lot of store coupons as well with little bitty barcodes, and never have a problem scanning them at cash registers.  It sounds like my PO is just frustrated and wants to ignore it (and me).  My packages do get scanned along the way, or at least, at delivery.  I just wish I knew what to tell the PO here so they would stop dumping the blame on me or the site.  I'd be perfectly happy saying "Fine, take it, don't charge me the .18....I don't care"......except somewhere down the line, it's going to either be sent on postage due or returned to me.

Date Posted: 4/2/2008 9:51 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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Are they using a handheld scanner like the carrier has or one of the computer setups? If they are using the computer ask them to try with the handheld. I print scaled labels that scan fine. (I send out stuff in those small bubble mailers and the half page ones do not fit well.)

I would ask for the supervisor. The clerk is paid hourly to do the job. It really drives me up the wall when I hear "I don't have time for that" or get the "attitude" for doing what they are paid to do.

There is another way. It is a workaround that you should not have to do but....buy the 18 cents in stamps (one 10 cent and two 4 cents) and put them on yourself. If you decide to go this way, there will not be a scan showing when and where it is mailed from. It may be worth the hassle for you but I would hate letting the clerks off the hook for doing the job they are paid to do.

Date Posted: 4/3/2008 4:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 55
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The people who work at our small town PO are really easy going nice people.  I mentioned to them once that I get that book credit pretty quickly when the dc is scanned.  They hand scan it right then.  Even when my mailperson picks it up from me, it is scanned that very day or the next if they pick it up on Saturday.  Small town PO's must have less stress.

Date Posted: 4/14/2008 12:38 PM ET
Member Since: 4/9/2007
Posts: 19
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I have had some trouble with getting DCs to scan, and I noticed for me it was completely up to what printer I was printing on.  For some reason, my cheap printer at home never had a problem, but the expensive printer at work never worked.  I don't know if the settings were turned down or what, but I finally just stopped using DC because it was such a hassle. 

I wish I could offer to type the number in form them, I key numbers like that really quickly because of the types of jobs I've had.  What gets me is how they'll try thirty times to get it to scan when it would have been faster to just key it in after it didn't work the first two times.

Good luck!

Subject: my post office is brain dead as well
Date Posted: 4/15/2008 10:49 AM ET
Member Since: 3/22/2008
Posts: 352
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They always give me  hard time about the books I receive...they knock cuz they HAVE to but they tap the door once and walk right away. never give me any time at all to get to the door and it's not like I walk all that far...I live in one room...

they say my bar code scanned today but the credits never showed up so somehow it is not in the system...what do I do now??? How long does it take for the system to get notification? My post office can;t answer this either...they are being nasty today because it is tax day

deborah

Date Posted: 4/15/2008 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 55
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Date Posted: 4/15/2008 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/14/2006
Posts: 55
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Sorry, my computer has a mind of its own. I didn't mean to hit submit yet on that last post. I was just thinking about what a great job our postal service does for us in my area, especially compared to some of the posts I've read on this site.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 4/15/2008 11:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,110
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William -- it takes varying amounts of time to get the scan data over to PBS, but it's usually within 24 hours. You can kind of figure out where the scan record is by going to your account page and checking the details box for the transaction.

If you see Electronic Shipping Info Received, then USPS knows you printed a barcode. You need to see the next line there that says Acceptance or En Route to get your quick credit. You can copy the DC # from that details box and paste it into the tracking box at www.usps.com to see if they have more info. If they do, then PBS should have it within 6 or 8 hours. If they don't, then your local PO hasn't uploaded the data to the central PO computers yet, and depending on how they work, that might not happen until after business hours tonight.

If you can see more data on the USPS website than you see on PBS' website, and it's been that way for 24 hrs, then you should send feedback to PBS. In that case, something is broken in the communication process between PBS and USPS.

Things can be fairly unpredictable though. I have two books that were mailed to me on 4/12 with DC, showing no scans; but one that I dropped in a blue box on Sunday the 13th got scanned at 5:30 PM on Monday the 14th and PBS already has that info.

Date Posted: 4/18/2008 11:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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I use a little HP deskjet printer that is at least 4 years old.  Also use the "black ink" only option.  I even cover the barcodes with really clear packing tape to protect them from the rain.  And they ALWAYS scan.  I'm sure there is a way around it...just use stamps, hand them the package, and leave...it will get scanned somewhere.

It seems to take alot of effort to mail a package with the new computers, they type in zip codes for each package.  Hello, it's media mail, doesn't matter where it's going it's all the same rate.  If they are having issues, I just stand there and smile...it's their job to solve any problems, not mine.  While in the post office, I see alot of packages being successfully mailed with pre-printed labels.  I suspect if your postoffice is having chronic issues, it's their equipment.

I have major issues with my local post office, luckily there are others close.  The mailman is afraid of my dog, so he sits at the end of my drive and honks. Our mail is often delivered after 6pm.  The local office has no drive thru mail facility (the only one I know that doesn't), no automated stamp purchase facilities, and doesn't have one of those new mailing computers.  For all this lack of service, our rates are going up anyway!

Date Posted: 5/2/2008 10:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 58
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Delivery Confirmation does not have to be scanned at acceptance (and online barcodes are not suppose to be scanned at acceptance).  The clerk can just add the additional fee for the service on to the package.  Delivery Confirmation at the present time requires only one scan - DELIVERED.  They are often scanned enroute but remember you are not paying for tracking you are paying for DELIVERY CONFIRMATION.  Some processing centers have machines equipped to read barcodes and some don't. 

Just a not about the comment about entering the zipcode when it doesn't matter because it is media mail.  True the destination won't change the price on your package.  However, entering the zipcode is actually the first step on the newer machine.  Plus it puts a destinaiton barcode in the postage meter.  If the right zipcode is not entered your package is not going to the right destination. 

I would say your mailman is not necessarily afraid of your dog.  He is following the safety rules.  Do you have any idea how many letter carriers get bit by dogs.   Please don't respond my dog doesn't bite.  ALL dogs will bite if they think they are protecting someone or something.  Imagine what would happen if your carrier got out and got bit by your dog.  Dog bites are reported to animal control and become the owner's responsibility.

Actually for 42 cents we will deliver a first class letter across town or across the country.  How far will your car get you on 42 cents with of gas?

Rates will be changing every May with the rate of inflation.  I only wish that gas would go up only once a year and only within the rate of inflation!

Date Posted: 5/2/2008 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2006
Posts: 58
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One note on barcodes.  Take a look at your printed bardoes are they crisp and clear or do the lines run or streak into the space between the bars.  Something I learned when my husband worked for an inventory taking company at one time is that the scanners do not read the black bars, they read the empty space between the bars so if your ink is blurring the barcode the scanner may not be able read it.  If you accidently put a small crease in the barcode applying it to your package (or in the tape), it may not not be able to read it.

I have had barcodes that look perfect to me that the scanner will not read but they are the exception.  I have also had barcodes that I have thought no way is going to accept this one and the scanner has no problem.