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Topic: caution for printable postage users

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Subject: caution for printable postage users
Date Posted: 8/28/2009 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 8,631
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When I was printing the label for a rather heavy book this afternoon, the site said that it weighed just under 9 oz. and the postage would be about $3.00.  Well, I knew that this book was significantly heavier than other ones I have sent out for about $3.00 so I had it weighed on a commercial mailroom scale [not my kitchen postal scale which tops out at one pound].  Turns out it was almost three pounds!   I am so relieved that I caught that, but usually I don't weigh books before wrapping them because the weight given on the site doesn't set off any alarms like this one did.

Date Posted: 8/28/2009 7:46 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Nora  -thanks - I would also change the weight in the book's data page so it doesn't happen to someone else.  Great catch - there was member who posted recently that the postage was $11.00 and they didn't catch it until it was printed.

Date Posted: 8/28/2009 9:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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I've noticed a lot of weight discrepancies lately myself.  It's not usually a problem with single mmp's, but you can also run into problems if the book is in the system incorrectly as weighing less than 6oz and the postage prints out as 1st class instead of media mail.  media mail rates are in 1lb increments, and 1st class is by the oz.  I had two books last week that turned up with weight discrepancies and the labels would have printed out at the 1st class rate, which was off by an oz or two.  One I missed and had to pay overage at the counter (thank goodness I had some shipments over 13oz and went inside), and the other I caught and weighed on my postal scale & was able to adjust.  I also had a hardcover that weighed less than 1lb & the system had it as weighing over two:P

Last Edited on: 8/28/09 9:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/28/2009 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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And all the MMPB seem to have been set at 8 oz now.  Like the standard weight has shifted up due to those oversized paperbacks.  I'm having to weight everything.

Date Posted: 8/28/2009 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2007
Posts: 3,326
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I recently mailed a very small child's paperback - PBS said it weighed 8 ounces. Even after wrapping, the weight at the PO barely made 3 ounces.  I rarely use printable postage, I just get DC and have stuff weighed every time.

Date Posted: 8/29/2009 12:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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I had this happen and bought a scale that has paid for itself.  I highly recommend that you buy a scale.  The small ones aren't expensive and can save you money.


Date Posted: 8/29/2009 1:34 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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PBS is pretty clear that it is recommended that you use a scale to verify the weight of the package and to not rely on the weight they insert. Always has been that way. Even before printable postage, I've always advocated that the database shouldn't be "guessing" or allowing members to insert weights since they might not be any more correct than the one that was there.

Date Posted: 8/29/2009 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2007
Posts: 4,058
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Sherry, do they get the weights from Amazon's database?  I read once here, and it's been quite a while back, that the book data comes from Amazon.  I too would recommend getting a reliable digital postal scale if you use PBS postage, or if you're printing the standard PBS wrapper and putting stamps on your packages from home.  I bought mine from an ebay seller for about $2, but by the time you pay the shipping, it comes out to about $20.  It's comparable to the ones I've seen at Staples & even Walmart for about the same amount.

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2008
Posts: 1,181
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I found a nice scale -- ChefMate, I believe -- at Target for about $20.

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I purchased one form Target - not chefmate (geez it was only yesterday and I can't remember the name) but I am returning it, everytime I put a book or anything else it never went back to zero it would up 1/4ounce.   Now for a question:  does it matter if it is a postal scale or just a good food scale? 

Date Posted: 8/31/2009 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/29/2009
Posts: 9
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I just recenly joined and took my first batch of 13 trades to the Post Office to verify that I was doing it right. Only one of the packages was wrong.

Tonight, I have another 14 books to mail out tommorrow. I used my small, 5 lb. postage scale on each of these and found several incorrect weights.

I'll be using my scale from now on and recommend everyone get one. It would really stink if USPS had to send back a package because of 39 cents.

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 2:16 AM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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I use a digital food scale to weigh my books, so it doesn't have to be a postal scale if it works.

Weight data is taken from a variety of sources, including Amazon, and is rarely correct.  Always, always, always weigh your books when using printable postage.