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Topic: FYI on new P.O. policy

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Subject: FYI on new P.O. policy
Date Posted: 7/24/2009 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2008
Posts: 2
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I went to P.O. yesterday to mail package withD.C. and Postage printed on Paper Back Swap label.  They had to open package for inspection and gave me a sheet to enclose.  I had to re-wrap and give back to clerk so she could stamp it as inspected and initial it.  I also had to fill out a form.  Was not given tape or anything to re-wrap, so glad I had brought some along.   Anybody else having there books inspected?

 

                                             

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 2:30 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2007
Posts: 5,637
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Mailed books this morning. Did not have to do this. If they start doing this, I'll probably stop mailing books, as I'm not going to spend time wrapping them and then have to re-wrap them at the PO.

ETA: I have no problem with them inspecting it after I give it to them, as I know medial mail is subject to inspection. I'm just not going to stand in line and rewrap books. But, I really think the OP's post office might be a little confused on the policies. This seems like a huge time / money waste.

Last Edited on: 7/24/09 8:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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Dorothy, did you notice them inspecting anyone else's packages? Media Mail is subject to inspection, although I doubt they will inspect every package.

Janelle, you can still trade your lighter books. First class mail is closed to inspection:

http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/133.htm

First-Class Mail is closed against postal inspection. Federal law and USPS regulations restrict both opening and reviewing the contents of First-Class Mail by anyone other than the addressee.

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,718
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Dorothy, I would seriously consider a different PO, preferably one with an APC. This sounds like  a great big pain in the neck to me, and another reason why postal rates keep going up.

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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They are supposed to inspect some packages so maybe you just got lucky and they picked you today.

I had a postal clerk insist that I could not send books media mail to an FPO address today and that I had to send them Priority for $10. Now I like sending books to the soldiers but I can't do it at $10 a box just in postage.  He was insisting that there was no possible way I could have ever sent htem media mail when the clerk next to him looked at the box and said "they can go media mail". 

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Whoa...  As far as I know, and I readily admit I could be wrong, USPS cannot inspect anything until they accept it.  Once they accept it then they can inspect it, but they have to reseal it, not the customer.

 



Last Edited on: 7/24/09 6:15 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/24/2009 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,442
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They can inspect all they want but they should re-seal it for you, not expect that you bring your own tape.  I never bring tape with me to the PO.

Date Posted: 7/24/2009 9:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Dorothy - do you go to a small PO? I really think your clerk is overstepping their inspection authority and you might want to call the 1-800 # and talk to someone higher up in the USPS system. I think that you have a clerk that is just full of themselves or is trying to annoy people into not using media mail.  I understand it as B does- they must accept it first, they are responsible for resealing after the inspection, and I believe that it must be inspected in front of a supervisor or postmaster; a clerk cannot just randomly make a customer open the package and show them what is in there before they ship it.

Subject: Inspecting packages
Date Posted: 7/24/2009 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,418
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I have a great P.O.!!  sometimes they stamp the "subject to inspection" stamp on the package...sometimes they tell me it is subject to inspection..and sometimes they look at the package and tell me I assume it is a book.....and I agree with them.  Usually i use the prepaid postage and don't even have to go in the PO.

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 12:23 AM ET
Member Since: 2/14/2006
Posts: 167
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I mailed books today and was told all media mail has to be opened for inspection from now on, no exceptions.  The clerk said she would have to open my packages and then would reseal in another packaging with a form enclosed.  I've been told before that media is "subject to inspection" and may be opened but this was now a mandatory process for all media mail.  I mail from this particular PO regularly but next time I'll try another one and see if I'm told the same thing. 

Does anybody with knowledge of postal regulations know if the media mail rules have changes and why they would change?  Weird.

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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That doesn't sound right Dorothy, new policy or not...agreeing with Bernhard (again!).  USPS has the right to inspect Media Mail after it is accepted, and it's my understanding there is a procedure that involves a supervisor and forms/documentation.

Dawn said "...The clerk said she would have to open my packages and then would reseal in another packaging with a form enclosed..."  this also sounds wrong and if correct will probably lead to much more lost Media Mail.  I'd ask to see the written policy :-(

My postal clerks are very knowledgable, so we'll see what they have to say when I send books later this morning :-)



Last Edited on: 7/25/09 8:52 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/25/2009 12:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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I just mailed 7 packages of books this morning, all but one of them multiple book packages, and nothing was said about opening or inspecting them. 

The clerk said she would have to open my packages and then would reseal in another packaging with a form enclosed..." 
Yeah, I'm thinking that would mean more lost Media Mail and more damaged by USPS books. 

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/8/2007
Posts: 1,011
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Wow, Dawn, if that truly does become the policy, my post office is in big trouble. It is a large P.O. in a busy area and the line is always backed up with 15-20 people waiting. I guess it will be even worse if they have to inspect every Media Mail package like that.   

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 2:35 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2009
Posts: 2,524
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Hmm, heard from my postal employee friend yesterday that it's been decided they will definately go to a 5 day week with Saturdays as the closed day. I think she said this was for 2011.      Maybe its spending time on something like this that is hurting their bottom line and causing things like cuts.   I mean what are they thinking, if they find a few media mail pkgs during inspection that should be first class how much can they possibly save?    No talk about this from my local post office, but its a small one so maybe they havn't implemented it yet.   

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 3:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Maybe only POs with an especially high volume of media mail going out are being asked to up their inspections for awhile. Maybe they are tyring to catch come ebayers abusing media mail.  Just a thought.

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 3:47 PM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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"Maybe its spending time on something like this that is hurting their bottom line and causing things like cuts.   I mean what are they thinking, if they find a few media mail pkgs during inspection that should be first class how much can they possibly save?"

They can save quite a lot actually, depending on how bad the problem is.  Think about it this way... If the IRS very, very seldom did any audits, how many people would cheat big on their taxes?  Right now the problem, as I understand it, is that USPS is losing a lot of revenue because of people using MM rate for items that don't qualify.  I've seen this myself, in packages that have arrived at my house and business.  (And those all get reported to my local postal inspector, and the company or individual who sent it is contacted and told we will no longer do business with them.)

The only time I didn't report it to the inspectors was when a supplier made what I felt was an honest mistake...  We got two cases of blank DVD's from a small supplier who shipped them MM.  The supplier was utterly aghast when I contacted him and explained that only recorded media qualified.  He misread the regulations and thought recording media qualified.  He immediately changed his online ads and his shipping charges to fix the problem.

So, like the IRS, the USPS is hoping that "getting the word out" about package inspection and penalties will make people think twice about taking the chance.  And, also like the IRS, there are going to be some people in the system who take things to the extreme and become petty dictators behind the shield of "THE REGS".

In the long run I think it will help USPS, because less people will be abusing the MM rate and that means their packages will be sent at the proper rates, which is more income for the USPS.  Yeah, it'll cost more to enforce than what they actually recoup from additional collections on packages that are inspected and found in violation.  But that's typical of anything of this nature.

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 8:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Mailed 4 books this morning, and asked my clerk about a new MM regulation...nada.  A very busy little post office, they are very well trained and knowledgable in every situation I've presented over the last 10 years.  They have heard of no such regulation, other than the normal 'subject to inspection.'

Looking at Dorothy's OP, IMO her PO is mistaken.  The form is probably to be used by postal employees when USPS inspects the mail...not to be filled out and enclosed by customers.  Easier and less time consuming to make customers do your work for you!  But that still doesn't make it an official requirement.  Members being subjected to this should probably ask to see the written regulation...I doubt it can be produced. 

Unfortunately, Media Mail is frequently misused...but USPS branches making up fake rules is unlikely to change the abuse.

Date Posted: 7/25/2009 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2008
Posts: 51
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If it has DC and printed postage, just put it in a drop box. There's usually one right outside the post office. Much easier than dealing with that.

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 1
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I went to the PO today to mail some books.  Last Thursday the clerk acted like he didn't believe I was mailing books.  Today he made me sign a form acknowledging that I knew they were going to open and inspect the packages.  I did not have to open it though.  I was mad enough...I felt like they were calling me a liar!!

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 5:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Can someone tell me if its ok for Disney to be sending me my DVDs via media mail that I buy from their movie club? All that is enclosed is the packing slip/order receipt.  I just thought it alittle strange to recieve something I had bought in this manner.

I think alot of ebay sellers would be in deep trouble because I know loads of them send things that are not media via media mail.  I got a cross stitch kit frm there that was sent media mail. (before I had joined PBS and knew about media mail). I found the packaging yesterday with the pattern inside.

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Susan, that is so bogus.  Almost certain that's something your local postmaster invented, ask to see the written rule for that.

Xen, e-bay is infamous for abuse of media mail rates.  Here's what USPS says about media mail:

Media Mail® service is a cost efficient way to mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Media Mail can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books. The maximum weight for Media Mail is 70 lbs.



Last Edited on: 7/27/09 10:33 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2009 7:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Can someone tell me if its ok for Disney to be sending me my DVDs via media mail that I buy from their movie club?  I don't see why they couldn't send it MM since it qualifies, I've seen some of my BN packages come MM.

Date Posted: 7/27/2009 9:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2008
Posts: 4
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I ran into this problem last week. I was told by my PO was that it is a new regulation that they have to inspect every package sent media mail. The clerk said that they have to "because too many people are mailing thing as media mail that do not qualify,  just because it is cheaper".  She said that they do not always open the packages in front of you, they only do that if they have time. Otherwise, they open it before it is sent out. She told me that there is a new form I would need to fill out for every media mail package, stating that I knew that it would be opened and inspected and had a place for me to put my name and address so that it would be returned to me if it did not meet media mail guidelines.  She said that if I didn't include the form and they rejected the package it would not be returned.  She said that anything that includes advertisments does not meet the media mail guidelines, she said that this included magazines. The form she gave me says that books with ads for other books are ok. I was more then a little annoyed that she cut open the package that I had carefully wrapped and hope it will make it to the requestor in one piece.



Last Edited on: 7/27/09 9:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2009 10:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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We have several USPS employees that are PBS members and frequently post on the threads.  If this new rule is nationwide and legit, why haven't any of them mentioned it?  Why hasn't PBS TPTB notified members of this new guideline?  Earlier today, I checked online for media mail requirements and didn't see any mention of this customer form.

In addition, my post office is usually very efficient and knowledgeable, and I asked them specifiically about this on Saturday morning...nada.  Just smells fishy that nobody has heard of it except members shipping from Wisconson, and Dorothy.  So Dorothy of the original post, mind if we ask what state you are shipping from?

Date Posted: 7/28/2009 11:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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I think you found the common theme Denise, Dorothy's profile says WI too. I have to go to the PO today and I am going to ask them if they've heard about something going on with MM in that state. It could be something they are trying out in one state to see what the net effect is on the bottom line.Or they could all be using the same dignbat postal person.

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