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Topic: Auto postage versus human

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Subject: Auto postage versus human
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 2:54 AM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2009
Posts: 3
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Hi and I am new to this site.  My printer was on strike and I bought a bunch of padded envelopes and took 20 books to the post office and used the automated machine where one follows on-screen directions.  Weight was determined by the machine and this same machine printed out the required postage. 

Recently I received an email from one of the PBS members I sent a book to and she was informed that there was postage due on her book.  How can this be?  Has anyone else had this problem?  None of the other members receiving books has indicated a problem.  Just hate to think of creating difficulties for anyone else.

Opinions?  Knowledge?   Suggestions?  Come one come all.  All welcome.

Thanks

Subject: Just brainstorming here ...
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 10:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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  1. Different calibrations for USPS scales?
  2. Is it possible that you were weighing the next book (a lighter one) while still working on the postage label for the previous (heavier) one, so the machine processed the lighter book's weight for the heavier one? (We know you didn't mix up the labels, because the books got to the right recipients)
  3. Which class of mail did you send the books by? First class or media mail? Did you or the PBS wrapper label the packages as such? The amount of postage has to correspond to the price of postage by weight and class. For example:
    • A book weighing less than 7 oz is cheaper to send first class. But if the book is labeled "Media Mail" USPS expects to collect the 1lb rate for media mail (MM prices only goes by 1-pound increments), even if the book doesn't weigh 1 lb. If you just put the first class postage for the book, it could come as postage due. 
    • A book weighing more 7oz is cheaper to send by media mail. But if the book is not labeled "Media Mail" or is mislabeled "First Class" on it, USPS expects to collect the first class/priority price, as determined by book weight.
Date Posted: 6/24/2009 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2007
Posts: 175
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I would hope that the automated machines that actually print postage were updated on time, but the week after the postal rate change, I noticed that the scale (doesn't print postage, just tells you how much it weighs and corresponding price) had not been updated to the new prices in the post office I use.  There was a line that day that I didn't feel like waiting in, so I checked the scale to make sure the PBS weight was right.  The weight was right, but the scale still showed the old media mail price.  I went ahead and bought stamps to cover the new media mail price and dropped the book in the box, and didn't have problems.

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 6:14 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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It used to be that the APC's didn't do Media Mail.  You had to know the amount needed and just buy it as postage.  Has this changed now?  Do the APC's actually have Media Mail as a selection now?

 

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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As fas as I know, the APC's still do not sell Media Mail postage as such.

But this scenario is still possible, if the OP wrote MEDIA MAIL on the package. The second scenario not so much.

A book weighing less than 7 oz is cheaper to send first class. But if the book is labeled "Media Mail" USPS expects to collect the 1lb rate for media mail (MM prices only goes by 1-pound increments), even if the book doesn't weigh 1 lb. If you just put the first class postage for the book, it could come as postage due. 

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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That may be your problem CD, I also was under the impression that APC are not programed for media mail.  Therefore, you may have used postage for something else, but your labels read media mail and may have incurred additional postage??

Date Posted: 6/24/2009 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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The OP just sent me a PM about this and says that she plans to make sure "Media Mail" is written in large letters on the package.  My advice to her, which I believe is sound, was not to write it on the package at all.  The PBS label already says it and that's all that is required.  My reasoning for this is that, Media Mail ships on a "space available" basis.  Writing it in large letters on the package just makes it easier to identify as a low priority package and will probably slow it down a bit.  But, if you only have it on the label, as printed by PBS, and someone mistakes it for a higher class of mail and it moves faster, well... not your fault, is it?  (wink)

Date Posted: 6/25/2009 3:09 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Lol Bernhard, but you are correct and the PBS label should be adequate :-)