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Topic: Clerk at the Post Office said scanning the PBS DC label was ILLEGAL

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Subject: Clerk at the Post Office said scanning the PBS DC label was ILLEGAL
Date Posted: 6/17/2009 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Went to a different PO today and handed the guy the one package I had that was DC (printed from PBS) that I needed to buy postage for.  I admit I did have several others to mail but they were in a bag, not sure if he saw them, maybe that scared him.

He looks at the package squinting (never seen him have problems with his sight before) and says "what is this" refering to the DC label.   I told him they usually scan that label and I pay for the postage and DC.

He loudly proclaims that he cannot scan it if he doesn't sell it and if another PO is doing that it is ILLEGAL.     I smiled at the misinformed grump and said I would just go to my regular PO where they appreciate their customers.

I know I should have stayed and fought it out so to speak but frankly it was lunch time and maybe thats why he was grumpy.  Will try to work up the energy to write a complaint. Went to my regular post office and they were so apologetic. One of them mentioned a "bad" clerk at another PO that would only let a customer do 5 transactions at a time!  The lady got back in line and was waited on again to finish her mailings, then went and wrote a complaint letter.

 

 

 

Date Posted: 6/17/2009 6:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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If you got the name of the clerk maybe consider sending in a complaint of your own.  And I really think that clerk needs to lay off sniffing the stamp pad ink...

 



Last Edited on: 6/17/09 11:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2009 12:24 AM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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What a grumpy man. *sigh* He is wrong. So wrong!

Date Posted: 6/18/2009 2:24 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Grumpy and misinformed :-(    Amazing job incompetency.

Lol Bernhard!



Last Edited on: 6/18/09 2:31 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/18/2009 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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I'll have to get his name. The clerk at my regular post office knew just who I meant, described him to a tee!  Isnt that sad. 

What if everyone in their job only had to do the parts they wanted to do?  This guy might be happy if he only had to do transactions of 4 postage stamps paid for with exact change.  Maybe not...  I just hate that we pay his salary so to speak and he doesnt want to do his job. I know lots of others would be happy to have that job, especially in this economy.   

Date Posted: 6/18/2009 2:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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He loudly proclaims that he cannot scan it if he doesn't sell it and if another PO is doing that it is ILLEGAL I would have smiled sweetly and said, "but you are going to sell it to me. See, in that little box, where it says 19 cents for DC. That's what you are going to sell me,its called electronic DC. All you have to do is enter the book information and scan it and it will ring up just fine. If its in your computer to sell me, it can't really be illegal now can it?" <BIG SWEET SMILE>

Thank goodness for my wonderful PO guys and gal.



Last Edited on: 6/18/09 6:40 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 3:13 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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I just got back from my "regular" post office and she said she liked her job because the customers are nice.  Isn't that wonderful?

And she said she is glad I come to her branch because they "need the revenue" what with online banking and such. 

Melanie - I love your suggestion, that would have been a great comeback, I was so not expecting the hassle that day!

 

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I know I had a guy give me a hard time at a local PO.  I said "you know the other PO does this with no question and so nicely, I mail 10-20 packages a week and I'll just keep giving them my business". 

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 6/19/2009 6:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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Although I will have to say it is not illegal for the post office to scan the DC label, it is against postal policy. At this moment (at home) I don't have the policy wording in front of me but I could get it at work. You see, when you print the label, it already has a shipped scan and for the PO to scan it you are actually now giving it two shipped scans. I'll try to remember to look it up next time I'm in the office.

Date Posted: 6/19/2009 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2008
Posts: 10
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Connie C., when I go to the USPS site it just says "electronic shipping information received" and doesn't say "shipped" until a couple of hours after I turn it in.  Maybe they've updated how the E-DCs are handled? 

Date Posted: 6/20/2009 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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When buying postage at USPS as Jeannie did (and myself), scanning the barcode is part of the sale procedure...I think there's a screen that prompts the clerk to 'scan DC now.'  I've mailed dozens of books exactly as Jeannie described, they always scan the DC barcode.  I can tell if the clerk is unfamiliar with PBS b/c they look twice at the DC portion of the cost...it comes up on their computer as 19 cents (or something) instead of the usual 80 cents.

On the other hand, if a PBS member uses printable postage...there may be some guideline against scanning those 'just because'.  The USPS system will process them at some point en route, and asking for a 'courtesy scan' may unnecessarily delay counter customers with legitimate business???



Last Edited on: 6/20/09 1:01 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 6:58 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 2,585
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But, if you use printable postage, you get an instant credit, so there should be no need to have the PO scan in your package.

 

Date Posted: 6/20/2009 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Cyn - I use the type where you print the DC and once it is scanned somewhere along the line by a Post Office, you get "quick credit".

I pay for my postage at the post office along with paying the .19 cent for Delivery Confirmation.  

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 9:05 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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If you pay for the DC at the Post Office (any portion of it) then the screen does prompt to scan. The electronic info received is the shipped scan for electronic postage. Whenever I check a tracking # for a customer and I see electronic shipping info received that's when I assume it was mailed as that is when you are supposed to be mailing it. All shippers that use electronic postage (JCPenney, Lands End, etc.) will have electronic shipping info received as their shipped scan. You just need to know the lingo. Having the clerk scan your package when you've paid for your DC online serves no purpose and you are just wasting your time and theirs.

Now, I know what you're going to say next, what if I don't mail it on that date? Again, scanning it shipped will not get rid of the electronic shipping info received and will just show that you did not mail it in a timely manner. Of course as mention earlier, if you get the credit when you printed the label, who cares if the clerk scans it accepted? And if you pay the .19 at the PO and you get your credit (as I understand it) when it's scanned delivered, again, who cares if the clerk scans it accepted? Why waste your time at the PO?

 

Editted because I didn't proofread.



Last Edited on: 6/20/09 9:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/20/2009 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Connie, if you just do the PBS DC, without the PBS postage, you get your credit the first time the DC is scanned.  So I can see why members would want to insist that it be scanned when they pay for the postage.  But as you say, the clerk is prompted to scan it then anyway so...

 

Date Posted: 6/21/2009 8:31 AM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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My thinking on the acceptance scan is the other way. I scan as many prepaid labels as I can into the system. I do not remember what the rules state off the top of my head. I figure if I have the time why not. I do not take the time when there is someone waiting in line but I will scan in between customers. The computer keeps track of how much work I do and spits out a report. I think the scans at least show I am doing something. My post office is a middle sized one. We have a decent number of customers and it helps that we have an experienced staff.

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 6/21/2009 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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Patti, the bottom line is that it is against postal policy and any clerk of mine caught will be reprimanded. There is plenty of other work to do. I guess that is the difference between you and I. I am a postmaster and it is my job the ensure policy is followed. If you have that kind of time then your supervisors are not doing there job and you are overstaffed. That is why we have headquarters coming down on us every time we turn around. I know what clerks do, I used to be one.

Date Posted: 6/21/2009 5:01 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Uptight much Connie?  Life can be so much more pleasant when we focus on what we can do for our fellow man, rather than fuss over what we can't do for others.  Heaven forbid Patti should work hard and attempt to provide customer service for increasing postage costs...and really, who cares about happy customers anyway?   I'm sure if it's important her supervisor will discuss it with her in private, and not post it on a public forum.

By following this forum, I have become aware of regional differences in postal efficiency and service. My local post office (friendly, busy, knowledgable), recently shared how a recent newcomer (from Southeast US) had insisted their former postmaster worked with both Media Mail rates and Library rates (apparently Library rates are no longer a valid classification)  AND she allowed people to use Media/Library rates for shipping any items as long as a book was included somewhere in the package.  Apparently the newcomers were quite upset, and sure our  local PO was misinformed.

Date Posted: 6/21/2009 7:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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If it is against postal policy, why was the capability added to the POS? We are not allowed to scan the MRS labels except the ones that UPS picks up at our office. I am checking the paid postage on the packages and catching the postage due ones. I am also one of those awful postal employees who does random checks on media mail. I inform our shippers when they are not doing the labels correctly and protecting postal revenue. I thought that was part of my job.

I do not mean to differ, but I guess I do not understand. My post office does not have a customer every minute the door is open. My postmaster knows what I am doing and does not object. We qualify for the mystery shop, so we have decent sales but we must not be as busy as what you are thinking. I can get all my assigned duties done and work the window.

Connie, would you PM me where that policy is located after you return from AL? I would like to read that section. I try to follow the rules and do my job.

Date Posted: 6/21/2009 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Connie - I think one of the things you missed about the OP is that on the package in question, she did not buy PBS postage, but used PBS-DC only. Not only is not illegal to scan that package, it should be scanned in order to properly process the transaction and get it to ring up correctly. If a PO wasted my time to try and avoid scanning the item just to stand on their policy to not scan a DC unless its the 80 cent one, they would lose my business in a heart-beat. I can understand not paying clerks to stand around scanning DC on labels that are fully paid for online, but in this situation, the clerk was 100% in the wrong.

It is not in the best interest of business as a whole for one PO to try their hardest to be sticklers about not scanning the DCs on packages just because their location is not getting credit for the revenues. The USPS system is getting paid for those DCs and just because it is not local revenue doesn't mean that the PO employees should treat the customer poorly. Scanning one label they shouldn't in order to keep the customer happy goes much farther than saving the time of that scan and alienating a customer completely.

Patty - I am curious on how you would catch underpaid postage without scanning it on packages that use postage like Paypal where there is no $ amount on the package? When I print them I often wonder how a postal employee would know if I paid $.02 or $10.00.

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 2:10 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Melanie said  "Patty - I am curious on how you would catch underpaid postage without scanning it on packages that use postage like Paypal where there is no $ amount on the package? When I print them I often wonder how a postal employee would know if I paid $.02 or $10.00."

Good question, I've been wondering that also :-)



Last Edited on: 6/22/09 2:11 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/22/2009 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Melanie - thanks for pointing that out, that is exactly what I meant - I think Postmaster Connie missed a couple of points.  I'm glad I have a nice PO to give my business to on a regular basis.   

Ouch Patty, hope you aren't feelin the sting from earlier comments too badly, I'd also like to hear more about how the postage is checked up on.

 

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 7:17 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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When you print a label with the hidden postage, the weight you entered is listed or it will say which flat rate option you picked. If the weight matches the package or the flat rate option matches the packaging, the postage is right.

When you print priority with postage online, you get a discount on the priority and the delivery confirmation is free. I do not need to figure what you actually paid unless the weight is wrong. I have a chart I can check the discounts or I can check the website where  you purchased the postage with the long number that is listed on the label.

For those of you who choose to use the parcel post option when printing your own postage, especially on lighter packages, check the price for priority or if under 13 ounces check first class. The first class will always be cheaper for the under 13 ounce ones. On some the priority is cheaper or within a few cents. Priority should be faster and if for any reason the package has to be returned to you, you would not be charged the return postage. I keep finding packages where the mailer paid extra for slower service.

Note, I am tough to offend. I am actually curious what the handbook states. I am one of those oddballs that likes to sit and read the rules now and then. I can not seem to think which of the many books this might be listed in. I checked the online quick reference and that was not much help. It just told which buttons to press in order to enter the numbers. It also said we could do the labels that we are not allowed to do so it did not seem reliable. I may have more time to research later in the week.

 

 

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 9:39 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Thanks Patti, that makes sense. I believe that it does say something like 1 lb Media Mail on it when I use PayPal, I don't remember a weight on the First Class ones, I'll have to look closer next time I use it. I was stumped on why they let a person hide the postage paid,  but I guess it would be hard to get it to print the rate class and weight, and not pay the correct postage :-)

Date Posted: 6/22/2009 10:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Patti,

I just realized since you work at the post office you might want to see a post I made today at CMT titled "Package received today with no tape used".   I've pm'd the sender just out of curiosity.    

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