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Topic: DC problem at PO - Will system still work?

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Subject: DC problem at PO - Will system still work?
Date Posted: 9/26/2014 7:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2014
Posts: 2
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The first day I mailed books through PBS I printed out two mailers, with Delivery Confirmation only, and mailed them at my local PO. All went well, so I printed out 7 others, wrapped, and mailed them from a PO on my way to a meeting. At that PO they insisted the codes did not work and pasted new ones over the ones I'd printed. (I'm talking about the DC codes I printed "not working". I did not pay to send them with DC again, so they went standard media mail.) I assumed this would be OK because the receiver would let PBS know when they arrive. However, now I'm wondering if I need to contact someone and let them know what happened. Will I still automatically get credit for my books, even though the system thinks they went out with DC?

I tried reading the help pages, but didn't find anything to address this. I don't imagine it happens very often. 

If anyone knows how this mess will work out, I'd appreciate hearing from them.

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 8:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2013
Posts: 1,022
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You won't receive instant credit, you'll have to wait until the book is received and then the member has to mark it as received for you to get your credit. I mail all my books this way and 99% of the time the transactions are smooth. You just have to wait a week to a month before your account is credited, depending on how long the package takes in transit. 

Date Posted: 9/26/2014 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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The clerk at the post office failed at their job. They processed the books wrong. It is their mistake. (Do feel free to contact the Customer Service number and complain. 1 (800) 275-8777)

I recommend printing out the directions listed under What's New. These are over a year and a half old.

Darn it. Where are those old directions? I'm not finding them! Okay, They can be found in the Help Center under the following topic:

The clerk needs to enter the zip code, scan the bar code, then select the services. Your clerk did not follow the USPS directions.

You may contact PBS about these orders. Sometimes they will credit your account with the quick credit. 

Last Edited on: 9/26/14 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 9/26/2014 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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Here is a copy:

How to mail your e-DC (PBS-DC, Custom DC) packages after 1/27/2013

USPS has had issues processing packages with e-DC since USPS made some changes in their system on 1/27/2013. 

Some POs have told members that they are required to buy 90-cent USPS Tracking at the PO , and they have been covering up the PBS-DC (eDC) barcodes! Neither of these things is correct.

We got the following information from one of our members, who is a USPS window clerk and trainer.

She said that "Apparently this was a procedure in place before the latest changes, but most of us were never informed that it could be done this way. With the latest changes it made it necessary to do it this way and they didn't instruct us on it because they assumed we all knew...."

Below is the information you can give at the PO when you are mailing an item with PBS-DC or Custom DC (this is what the USPS window clerk can do to process your package with e-DC):


1) Place the parcel on the scale.
2) Key in the zip code.
3)STOP! DO NOT MAKE ANY SELECTIONS ON THE SCREEN. You should have the "What are you mailing?" screen showing.
4) Scan the tracking barcode on the label. This should bring up a new screen showing the postage plus the correct charge for the e-DC ($0.23 for Media mail)*
5) If any postage is affixed, press the "Postage Affixed" button and key in the amount of postage on the parcel. If the parcel has no postage skip to the next step.
6) Press the "Print PVI" button. This should print just the postage PVI and no tracking PVI.

*If the e-DC barcode will not scan from the "What are you mailing?" screen follow this procedure:
1) Proceed as normal telling POS what it is that is being mailed.
2) DO NOT select Tracking
3) When you print the PVI, affix the postage as normal and place the tracking PVI on the package, but DO NOT cover the pre-printed tracking barcode on the label. Covering an existing DC is only acceptable for the green Delivery Confirmation labels.

4) Sell and affix $0.23 in stamps to the parcel to cover the cost of the e-DC.  Or you can use the "Short-paid Online Label" to charge the needed $0.23.


You can print the above instructions, and take them to the PO with you, and hand them to the window clerk.  Here is a link to a printable page if you need one: How to mail your e-DC (PBS-DC, Custom DC) packages after 1/27/2013

If your clerks have difficulty with the instructions, please speak to the Postmaster or Supervisor.  If the Postmaster/Supervisor is also unclear or unhelpful, you should call USPS Central to alert them to the problem and get your Post Office on board with current procedures. You can contact USPS at 1-800-ASK-USPS.  They may refer you to your local branch of Consumer Affairs.  Be sure to have the street address of your local PO handy when you call.

We would appreciate member feedback regarding how things go from here.

We are super-grateful to Michelle A, for the information above!

Last Edited on: 9/26/14 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/27/2014 5:50 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2014
Posts: 2
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 I'll print out these directions and keep them with me in case I need them again. Thanks. My small local PO hadn't seen this type of package before, but she figured it out and showed everyone else there how to handle it. The next time I went in she was on the phone to another small PO telling them how to do it, too. :) But the one bigger PO refused to accept that they weren't doing it right. 

As long as I get my credits eventually I'll be satisfied. :)

Thanks for everyone's replies. I'll just wait and let it work itself out.

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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I have one clerk who just refuses to learn. I try to go to the other branch or wait for another clerk.

After a year and a half you'd think they would have been trained by now. Considering the push for businesses to use the USPS?

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/15/2013
Posts: 1
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This JUST happened to me today.  I am going to print out the directions for next time.  I did not get instant credit for the scans either. :(  And the clerk put a new DC tracking label on there.  Which I was now charged twice for, once from PBS and then USPS.  Should I PM the person(s) receiving the books to let them know they will have to mark them received when I get them?  In the past, I have waited over two months for someone to mark received so that I receive credit, even with a confirmed scan that they were received via tracking. I will have to make sure I have a super awesome rapport with the PO so that when I do show them the printed directions, they don't get upset that I am trying to tell them how to do their job.  It happens!

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 5:06 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,040
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And the clerk put a new DC tracking label on there.  Which I was now charged twice for, once from PBS and then USPS.

You need to make a bigger fuss when they try to do this. Go instruct them to read the DMM. It says quite clearly that the fee for electronic Tracking can be paid for with stamps (meaning it does NOT have to be paid for on-line).

I just insist that they are incorrect when they try to do it, and if necessary, I have them call their supervisor out.

You can also just insist that they just ring up the postage ONLY, and then sell you a 23 cent stamp to cover the cost of the Tracking, and stick that on the package yourself. Even if they don't scan the package that day, it gets a scan almost always in the next day or 2 at a processing center.

I never let them charge me again or cover up the label, though.

Usually when I tell them what the DMM says, they realize that to get rid of me they are going to have to go look it up themselves and show me a rule that contradicts what I am telling them. Which they can't because I am telling them what the DMM actually says.

Last Edited on: 11/7/14 5:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 11/7/2014 7:56 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,484
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Okay. Some branches have updated their software. The old method is no longer working at those branches. I believe the bar codes are still scanning at the sorting hubs. PBS has been notified.

I have just asked for the 23 cent stamp and skipped the scan. They should not charge you the high price. They should not cover your bar code.

There is a thread about this in the USPS forum.

This is the response that Ed received from PBS:

Here is the response from PBS regarding the recent resurfacing of the problems with PBS-generated barcodes not scanning properly at POS-equipped branches:

Dear Ed,

Thanks for writing in. Yes, we have had some reports from members whose Post Offices have refused to honor the electronic DC ("e-DC") barcodes. We have been trying to find out what the situation is from our USPS liaison (but haven't had a ton of success so far). The e-DC product was developed in cooperation with USPS and their system actually generates the barcodes, so we're not sure where the resistance is coming from, in the individual Post Offices.

We'll keep trying to get a solid answer from USPS on what's happening with e-DC. We've been offering it for 8 years now and it has worked well - it continues to work for the vast majority of members who use it. If there's been a USPS policy change we hope to learn the specifics ASAP. We really don't mean to mislead members or get people to buy something that doesn't work.

As you note, the e-DC barcodes on the packages are being scanned promptly by USPS, so the barcodes are working and adding another barcode and paying for it is not necessary. If your PO refuses to process e-DC, you may have better success mailing with PBS-DC using the Automated Postal Center inside your PO if there is one. Or, to have the PaperBackSwap system track your shipment (and get Instant Credit), you should choose PBS Printable Postage when printing your wrappers - this service costs less than tracking purchased at the Post Office.

All the best,

The PaperBackSwap Team

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 8:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,329
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Sometimes, for whatever reason, the DC code won't process through the PO point of contact.  I usually tell them to just let it go (it will get scanned somewhere along the line - usually at the next facility it reaches).  The unfortunate thing is that the PO doesn't receive their share of the DC money ($.30?).  All of mine do get scanned though, long before they reach their destination.

When they have to  put the Postal bar code tracking on the package,I always ask them to not put it over the PBS DC code.  Pat

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 9:34 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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They don't "have to" put the Postal bar code on the package.  Ask them not to put it on at all.

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 10:26 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,405
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I have my choice of post offices in my town. I like to mail my books at one in particular, because the clerk who handles my books is also a member of PBS.