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Topic: Help would be much appreciated..

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Subject: Help would be much appreciated..
Date Posted: 5/23/2011 3:02 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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Hi. I am hoping someone who works at a post office can help me. I have paid the postage and printed the labels and well over 30 books this week and when we took them to the post office, when the DC is scanned it comes up invalid. Today I sent my mother in law to the post office to send off the books, and she was told that it wasn't legal to print the postage this way (which I know is a load of complete *** ) I had already told my MIL that I had paid on them and she told the girl at the PO what I had said and she said she had never heard of it, but called the main PO in town to see what they said and THEY said that they had never heard of such either.....

Could someone please explain to me (in kindergarten terms) how to tell the people at the post office how to scan these packages and send them on their way? When I handwrite the addy's on my packages I have never had a problem before..
Thank you in advance for any help I can get

~Jenn

*edit* I just spoke to the girl at the PO and there were a mix of packages that I had paid the postage and then others I had only paid the DC on, and all the ones that still required the postage were coming up invalid. Last Saturday we went through this same thing where I had paid postage on all the packages and none of the barcodes worked, but I can clearly see on here that some of them have reaced a way point and have been scanned there because they are showing up...



Last Edited on: 5/23/11 3:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/23/2011 4:07 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Have they tried just entering the numbers?  It could be your printer, or their scanners (some older models have difficulty with home printers). Are they attempting to refuse electronic DC, or is the problem arising when they attempt to scan your barcodes?  Do they use the online computer/cash registers? I print PBS DC and buy counter postage several times a week...no problem, my PO staff doesn't even blink. 

There are several previous threads dedicated to this problem, and uneducated Postal staff.  Here's one, and another, here, here, and IIRC this is the infamous 'Cranky Pants' thread.

Electronic DC is legitimate, approved by USPS, and a very common element in modern mail services.  There's no excuse for your local PO not to be trained in processing it.

 

Date Posted: 5/23/2011 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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They are refusing the DC when they attempt to scan them, and they are using the computer registers.  It is a new post office, but it still dopesn't make any sense that the main office wouldn't have heard of it either. I don't think they have attempted to just enter the numbers manually. I'm supposed to call the girl back later this week and she said she would call someone else and see if they could tell her anything about it. She wanted the site name too so she could look into it..

Date Posted: 5/23/2011 6:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Asking for the site name is a red herring, either she is capable of identifying legitimate electronic DC or she isn't (although there's no real reason to argue the point).  There are several online venues that provide this service, PBS, E-bay, Paypal, and even USPS itself has a label & postage generator website. 

If you remember any of the more recent labels that were refused, you can reprint them (free) and take them to your post office.  PO staff could then attempt to enter the DC numbers instead of scanning.  Do any have recent DC's showing enroute scans after being refused?  Obviously, if they are scanned later then the barcode was in fact 'valid' your staff just didn't enter them correctly.  I've been informed that USPS equipment only scans USPS barcodes, so if later scans appear then they are in fact valid (I used to deface all previous barcodes when recycling packaging, but was informed it's not necessary)

You may also wish to check with TPTB, several months ago there was a brief issue with PBS DC's (with postage IIRC) that were scanning invalid.  It was some type of electronic problem that PBS and USPS worked out.  But you are the only member I've seen posting problems at this time, so you can notify TPTB but the problem is most likely with your local Post Office.

There's also a PBS help document "The PO can't scan my barcode!" - it's one of the suggestions in the discussion links posted above.



Last Edited on: 5/23/11 6:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/23/2011 6:32 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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I plan on sending her to the USPS site that was in one of those links when I contact her again.  There are some that have been scanned in route, and 3 have been recieved since saturday that I marked sent and they were scanned at another location also. When I was discussing it with the po employee, she suggested I not tape over the barcodes, but the ones that went were taped exactly as the ones that did not. I printed since last night and this morning and one of the 6 is showing the scan so I know it worked atleast once.

Date Posted: 5/23/2011 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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A year or so ago, a PBS member posted that the USPS counter scanner didn't like her printer (there was some discussion as to why and how she might change some printer settings to try and resolve the issue) apparently some of the older models are not very compatable with some types of home printers.  You might have a similar situation?  Still puzzled why they didn't just enter them by hand.  Although I tape over barcodes without difficulty, you might wish to experiment with some 'bare' and see what happens.

Date Posted: 5/23/2011 11:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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My MIL informed me that the girl did try to enter the numbers by hand, and it still came up on the screen "barcode unavailable"- her words not mine... Anyway they wont be scanned again at a different location because its been covered up with the bright green DC from the office,which I paid dearly for.. so I don't guess we will ever know on those ones. The PO in question just opened their doors like 2 months ago so they have all the new stuff that even the main post office in town has not upgraded to. I am going to try a few more with no tape. I just wonder if theres something that is needing to be pushed before they try to scan the code as all the ones that I paid for the postage with the site went through fine.

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 1:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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When purchasing postage at the counter, the computer prompts the clerk to scan the barcode at a specific point in the transaction.  My staff insists it's almost idiot proof, but there's a surprising number of USPS employees with inadequate training (ie can't figure out how to use the computer).  Even when confronted with what comes up on the screen, some of them insist it's incorrect and PBS members are somehow stealing postal fees *eyeroll*

I glanced through some of the discussion links posted above, and one mentions the time between printing your shipping labels and the USPS attempting to scan. . . maybe an problem if the system has not downloaded the data to USPS yet?  Fairly sure I've printed, wrapped, and run to the PO in less than 30minutes a few times with no problems...but could this be a factor for you?

But given the 'barcode unavailable' status, you might want to bounce this one off TPTB and see if they have any additional insight.

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 7:44 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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What if my labels said I was going to mail the next day? I can't figure out the dates to print those on because I don't ever know exactly what day I will be going to the post office...

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 5/24/2011 12:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,145
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It sounds like you have two kinds of packages:

1) Those where you printed postage. The clerk is not supposed to scan these and some or all of their scanners may not be able to read these barcodes anyway. This came up back in January when PBS switched to the new format and there were rumors that USPS had changed their software so as not to be able to read eDC barcodes where postage was purchased online. You don't need to take these packages to the counter, even if they weigh over 13 oz. Just drop them in a blue collection box somewhere. These packages will get scanned en route at the sorting centers, which do have the equipment to read them.

2) Those where you purchased eDC only. The clerk needs to either scan the barcodes or enter the number in order to charge you the 19 cents extra postage that you must pay. If the clerk cannot figure out how to get her system to accept these barcodes, the easiest thing to do is ask her to sell you stamps for the correct amount of Media Mail postage plus 19 cents then stick them on yourself. Don't let her mark out or cover up the PBS DC barcode. It may take a couple of days longer to get a book credit, but you will get one as soon as the barcode is scanned at a sorting center.

There is additional information in the Help Center. Search for the document titled: "The PO can't scan my DC barcode!"

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 12:58 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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I have read that document. I did have both kinds. The ones I paid the postage on went without a fuss. The ones that I only paid the e-DC on are the ones that had a problem. I was charged the shipping on them, and then charged an extra .80 for the delivery confrimation to put on those because of the barcode not scanning. One of the books was scanned in Nashville just a few minutes ago so that makes me think its her scanner but if she tried to enter the numbers too then it should have went. There are 4 more that have yet to scan..

Date Posted: 5/24/2011 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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One of my clerks said they make eDC idiot proof - obviously not! You clerk needs to do a little reading up on electronic DC. Print out the Help Center document and take it to them.

I wonder if they are trying to scan it without telling their system first. They need to input that they are scanning a DC. It will show at the retail price, but once they scan the number it will tell the system it is electronic DC and charge the proper fee. DO NOT allow them to sell you the green retail DC. Tell them to add 0.19 postage and send the book, it will get scanned along the way. If they refuse, send in Feedback and ask the Team if their postal liason will contact your post office. They are refusing to provide a legitimate service you have paid PBS and Endicia for, don't let them get away with ripping you off because they are uneducated.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 2:27 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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"One of my clerks said they make eDC idiot proof..."  not the eDC Melanie, the USPS terminal, lol!

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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As of last night, the rest of them scanned at their next location.

Date Posted: 5/25/2011 1:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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That's really sounding like a hardware or staff problem at your local branch Jennifer.  Not refusing to accept your DC, merely having difficulty figuring out how to troubleshoot their problems entering barcodes.



Last Edited on: 5/25/11 10:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/26/2011 9:10 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,326
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At this point, I really would ask to speak to the Postmaster at your location.  Obviously, there is some kind of a problem, either with the employees not understanding something, or with their equipment.  You really shouldn't have to deal with this.  Additionally, I'd call the number on the USPS website and file a complaint there too. They do follow up on them, and your local post office has 48 hours (I believe...) to respond.  Give it a try- it certainly can't hurt!

Date Posted: 5/26/2011 9:28 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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Dumb question?  If you are paying for hte online postage-why take them to the counter?  That just defeats the whole purpose of the printed postage convenience to me.   I don't use the DC because I thikn it's a waste of money. But I do use the printed postage sometimes for convenience. If I was going to counter anyway, then I'd just buy the postage there and save .50/transaction or whatever the fee is now.

Date Posted: 5/26/2011 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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I take it to the counter because I don't have a scale to make sure the book weight or wrapped weight is correct, and I don't want the package coming back to me, or getting to its destination with a fee tacked on. Also I normally have 3 or 4 boxes which I have no DC or postage on that have to go anyway... So I send them all in one trip.

Date Posted: 5/27/2011 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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I just sent off 23 more books with the e-DC on them from a different PO location and they all went.. I also tried to call the first PO and now I can't get ahold of her so I will just print off the help docs and take them to her if I have to take those packages to that location again.. Thank you all for the help :)
~Jenn

Date Posted: 5/27/2011 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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23 mailed without incident, awesome Jennifer!  Kinda indicates where the problem originates...your local PO needs to figure out why they can't get it to work properly.

Date Posted: 5/27/2011 11:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,765
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As a window clerk I can tell you this.  We have been instructed NOT to accept the eDC unless the person sending the package has already put the postage (including the 19 cent fee) on the package.  The discount that is given for the eDC is valid ONLY WHEN you don't buy postage at the counter.  If you bring in a package with a preprinted label and eDC, but no postage already applied, we have been told to replace the eDC with a green DC.  They are able to be scanned, and will come up with the 19 cent charge, but even I have to apply my own stamps or purchase postage thru PBS in order to get the discount on the eDC.

Date Posted: 5/28/2011 4:59 PM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2007
Posts: 6,559
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The information on the USPS website states eDC can be used with a shipping label, it doesn't state anywhere that postage must be on the shipping label with the eDC.  When I need to go to the counter at my PO with only eDC on my label (I usually use the APC or printable postage), they weigh the package and the postage is calculated then they scan the eDC and 19 cents is added to the postage. 

Date Posted: 5/28/2011 5:24 PM ET
Member Since: 10/1/2010
Posts: 511
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I just called the 1800askusps and the girl I spoke to said it did not matter. I don't see why it would as long as they are getting their money...stamps or no

Date Posted: 5/28/2011 7:26 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 704
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"As a window clerk I can tell you this.  We have been instructed NOT to accept the eDC unless the person sending the package has already put the postage (including the 19 cent fee) on the package.  The discount that is given for the eDC is valid ONLY WHEN you don't buy postage at the counter.  If you bring in a package with a preprinted label and eDC, but no postage already applied, we have been told to replace the eDC with a green DC.  They are able to be scanned, and will come up with the 19 cent charge, but even I have to apply my own stamps or purchase postage thru PBS in order to get the discount on the eDC."

 

As a Postmaster, I can tell you, you have been misinformed.

Date Posted: 5/30/2011 8:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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Cindy you have been informed 100% incorrect and if I was one of your customers I would be going up the chain and having the postmaster straighten your post offie out. Reading USPS.com can tell a person that the discounted eDC price is available to be paid multiple was including counter postage and APC. I would definitely turn your post office in for forcing me to pay for retail DC when I have eDC on the package.  ...They are able to be scanned, and will come up with the 19 cent charge...,  - that fact that your own system knows what to do with them, yet your post office still refuses to handle them properly and is over charging your customers is bothersom. Does the person who told you clerks this misinformation really think it would programmed into your system if it wasn't allowed?

This is from the DMM and clearly shows that the eDC price is available when the label is printed NOT just when the postage is paid and that retail and eDC can be paid via the same range of payment methods. 

9.0 Delivery Confirmation

9.1 Delivery Confirmation Fee

9.1.1 Fee

Delivery Confirmation fee is in addition to postage and other fees, and is charged per piece. See Notice 123—Price List.

 

9.1.2 Fees and Postage

The applicable Delivery Confirmation fee must be paid in addition to the correct postage. The retail and electronic option fee, and postage may be paid with postage stamps, meter stamps, PC Postage, or permit imprint. Precanceled stamps are not permitted as postage payment. The electronic price is applicable when customers privately print an electronic Delivery Confirmation label. (See Exhibit 9.3.1c).



Last Edited on: 5/30/11 8:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
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