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Topic: Asked to leave envelope open for inspection

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Subject: Asked to leave envelope open for inspection
Date Posted: 10/4/2013 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2009
Posts: 2
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I reviewed some of the previous topics and notice my concern has been mentioned before in recent years.  Here is the story.  Today I needed to mail out a book for a fellow member.  I usually go to a "big" city post office.  Today I had other errands near a "small" town post office so I stopped there to mail the book.  The postmaster ask me if I send things out a lot via media mail.  I said, "yes."  He said next time I should leave it open for inspection and then he would seal and tape up the envelope.  My "big" city post office has never said a word about this.  In fact, I just tell them it is a book and it saves them asking me the usual question of is it anything hazarderous, liquid or fragile.  What gives??????



Date Posted: 10/4/2013 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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Sounds like the small town postal guy is on a power trip, lol.  I have NEVER had this happen to me, and I take books to three different post offices.  From time to time they do say that things marked media may be opened/resealed, so perhaps it's happened without my knowing it.  

One of the postal gals I was talking to had a person bring in a large comforter in a box and told her it was "media mail".  She said when she questioned it (a box that big full of books would have been VERY heavy), the girl got very upset and said, "I'm sending this media".  So, she paid for the media postage and left.  The clerk opened the box and saw the comforter.  She said the customer was going to be "in trouble" over it, but I don't know what ended up happening.  Would have loved to know the outcome, whether she was fined or had to pay return postage (parcel post), whether she got a slip in her mailbox to come to the post office or what.

Date Posted: 10/4/2013 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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I would just politely say that yes, they are allowed to inspect media mail, but the DMM does not require you to bring the package in unsealed. 

Date Posted: 10/4/2013 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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Retail Acceptance Procedures for Media Mail Packages, includes the following:


5.  Advise customer that Media Mail service has special eligibility requirements and is subject to postal inspection (DMM 173.2.2) after acceptance.  Under no circumstances should customers be required to present packages open or be told to open packages at the window.

Date Posted: 10/5/2013 2:02 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Diane said/posted. yes  Although Media Mail rate allows inspection, DMM outlines specific inspection protocal (which is "...after acceptance..." not at the counter with the customer waiting).

There are occasional PBS reports of this type of inspection attempts.  Continue to properly package your Media Mail before arriving at the post office.  If the situation arises again, politely let the postal clerk know that you have no problem with them inspecting your MM packages...in the proper manner stated in the DMM.

Last Edited on: 1/1/14 1:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/5/2013 8:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2009
Posts: 2
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Thank you Diane for the clarification.  It is nice to know I am not the only one experencing this issue.



Date Posted: 10/6/2013 11:10 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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you should never be asked to leave packages open, BUT if you start using a different post office to mail media mail items, that throws up a red flag for the clerks and your packages have a VERY good chance of being inspected. Some people will stop going to one office where they have been caught misusing Media Mail and go to another office.

Date Posted: 12/30/2013 3:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2013
Posts: 767
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I live in the big city and never have this problem.  But when I went to visit in-laws in a small town, I wanted to ship a box of books back home.  52 pounds!  (Long story).  Anyway, they wanted to open the box and see if it was all books, and I told them sure, but that they'd have to repack it all.  They didn't open the box...

Date Posted: 2/23/2014 11:28 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2006
Posts: 2,552
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you got lucky.  if they HAD opened it, they certainly would not have packed it securely.

Date Posted: 3/7/2014 10:09 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2007
Posts: 833
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I realize that this is not a new thread, but I just have to add that in 7 years of PBS membership, I've only had one book shipment arrive opened for inspection - and it was from Amazon! I occasionally get a PBS package with "Media Mail - Subject To Inspection" stamped in red on the package, but have never actually had a PBS package inspected.

Date Posted: 3/19/2014 5:35 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2011
Posts: 4
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The package that was opened and had a comforter inside was probable sent postage due. The receiver had to pay the difference in the media mail rate and the first class rate. I work for the post office, and I have a customer who repairs typewriters. He gets them media mail on occasion. He has to pay the difference in the postage.