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Topic: first-class DC: large envelope vs. packages

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Subject: first-class DC: large envelope vs. packages
Date Posted: 9/2/2008 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2006
Posts: 2,303
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One of my book orders mailed today was a thin, about 8 1/2" x 11" book of patterns for teachers. (This one: link.) I mailed it in a 9" x 12" clasp envelope. I used PBS postage with DC--as I usually do. It was light enough to go first class. (I think 5 oz.)

Coincidentally, I also had today one of my rare orders for my cross stitch booklets on eBay. That order was also mailed in a 9" x 12" clasp envelope. I know in the past I have had occasional problems including delivery confirmation on my eBay orders, because in order to have delivery confirmation on first class it has to be a "package" -- and to be a package it has to be a certain thickness. (3/4"?)So... when I prepared my orders for mailing, I did not print online postage with DC for my eBay order and instead took it to the post office and just got regular first class postage to send it with no tracking.

It wasn't until I left that I realized my PBS order WAS mailed with DC even though it was sent first class and was a large envelope. Both envelopes were the same size except the PBS one was a bit heavier than the other. Both contained a book/booklet (media mail). Both were sent first class, because they were light enough to go that way. SO was I wrong to include DC on the PBS label? Would it have been okay to include DC on the eBay label? I am trying to clarify my understanding so I will know how to do it in the future.

 

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 2:25 AM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 22,480
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In order for a large envelope to be eligible for DC it must meet the requirements to be a package. 

1.  3/4" thick

2.  uneven thickness with 1/4" or more difference in the thickness levels

3.  rigid

If ANY of these apply, then the piece must be mailed at the package rates instead of the large envelope rate and DC can be applied.  If your mail actually is a large envelope - then it must be sent Priority Mail in order to be eligible for DC

Date Posted: 9/3/2008 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2006
Posts: 2,303
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So... how does that apply to my PBS books like that above? Use PBS postage, but not DC? Stick in a 1/4" thick piece of cardoard just so I can use DC? I guess I would also want to go look up the rate difference between pacakage and large envelope...

Thanks for clarifying the regulations.

 

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 9/3/2008 12:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,111
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If you print PBS postage and specify the correct weight, then you are getting the rates for "First Class Parcel". PBS will never print "First Class Large Envelope" postage, even if you are sending a thin book.

You should make sure that the dimensions of the package conform to the First Class Parcel rules. You can do that by sticking something 3/4" thick, such as a packing peanut, in the envelope, or making it rigid.

I prefer to go the 3/4" thick route, because I have noticed that sometimes the USPS covers or blacks out the barcode on thinner packages, even if they are rigid. From my reading of the guidelines, I don't think they should do this, but obviously there's a lot of misunderstanding and wiggle room in the USPS regulations and they are not very good about applying them uniformly. At least if things are over 3/4" thick, it seems unambiguous to them.

It is not possible to use PBS Postage without DC.

Date Posted: 9/4/2008 2:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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My PO tells me that if it cannot bend, it can go as a package with DC so I always include a piece of cardboard or a piece of thin packing styrofoam in the plastic with the book. I was told that in order for anything to go as a large letter it had to be able to go through their sorting machines and a book would most likely hang up in it and have problems.  If you don't want to stiffen or thicken, then you can just put a blank label over the DC so that it cannot be used, although as Cathy said, PBS does not offer anything but package rates and Dc must be purchased.

Date Posted: 9/13/2008 1:21 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 1,051
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Also, I've heard, there's a difference if the large envelope has a clasp or not. Freaky.

Date Posted: 9/13/2008 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 9/6/2008
Posts: 7,307
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I used the self service stamp machine  for 3 books which I placed in bubble mailer envelopes.  I selected all the same options and accepted the weight.  They were each around $2.36.

2 were returned for insufficient postage to add an additional .34.  This is the first time I've mailed out books.  What gives?

Subject: As a quick guess...
Date Posted: 9/14/2008 10:59 AM ET
Member Since: 5/19/2008
Posts: 562
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... without knowing everything I would say that your weight was between 9-10 ounces which would be $2.70 for a first class parcel. Instead you used the first class large envelope rate instead which would have been 34 cents less. I use the APC all the time (it helps that I am a Postal Supervisor) and what I do is print out a differential stamp for the amount of postage I need (look below and I have BOLDED the amounts I am talking about) The key is having the correct weight. This is an easy mistake to make.

You can weigh anything at the APC scale and then write that down and use the list below for the postage you need for Media Mail.

I have a 5 pound postal scale I bought years ago (it still has the 34 cent letter rate on the scale face) for about $15-20 and I also bought a 24 pound scale for a buck at a yard sale.

Another thing you can do if you actually weigh items yourself for accuracy (PBS weights are guesstimates and sometimes way off) which makes a scale pay off quickly in saved postage. I don't mind the donation to the Post Office for the excess postage (especially since revenue generation is way below expected) but I would prefer accuracy.

Using the APC you can also buy 17 cent stamps and add them to your first class rates for the next ounce. For media mail, additional 35 cent stamps takes care of the additional postage for the next pound.

I hope this is understandable.

Kevin

First-Class Mail Package

 

First-Class Mail is required for personal correspondence, handwritten or typewritten material, and bills or statements of account. It may also be used for any mailable item, including advertisements and lightweight merchandise.

First-Class Mail Package Prices

Weight Not Over
(ounces)

Prices

1

$1.17

2

1.34

3

1.51

4

1.68

5

1.85

6

2.02

7

2.19

8

2.36

9

2.53

10

2.70

11

2.87

12

3.04

13

3.21

 

First-Class Mail Large Envelope Prices

Weight Not Over
(ounces)

Prices

1

$0.83

2

1.00

3

1.17

4

1.34

5

1.51

6

1.68

7

1.85

8

2.02

9

2.19

10

2.36

11

2.53

12

2.70

13

2.87

First-Class Mail large envelopes are subject to First-Class Mail package prices if any one of the following apply:

It is too rigid – does not bend easily

It is not rectangular

It contains items that cause more than 1/4 inch variation in thickness

And here is media mail If it is 7 ounces or less go with first class it's cheaper, 8 ounces up to 15.99 ounces is $2.23

Media Mail

 

Media Mail is used for books, film, manuscripts, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, videotapes, and computer-recorded media like CDs and diskettes. Media Mail cannot contain advertising.

The maximum size is 108 inches in combined length and distance around the thickest part.

Mark each package "Media Mail" in the postage area.

Media Mail Prices

Weight Not Over
(pounds)

Prices

1

$2.23

2

2.58

3

2.93

4

3.28

5

3.63

6

3.98

7

4.33

8

4.68

9

5.03

10

5.38

For prices up to 70 pounds, see the Prices and Fees.