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Topic: how shipping by MEDIA MAIL is handled...

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Subject: how shipping by MEDIA MAIL is handled...
Date Posted: 9/10/2008 10:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/20/2007
Posts: 4
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I just thought I'd share what I learned from my local Postmaster yesterday when I went to file a claim on a damaged book I just received.  This hardback book was wrapped as well as anything I've ever seen.  First in a plastic wrap, then brown paper wrapped, and taped very well on all areas.  It was shipped Media Mail and THAT IS WHERE THE PROBLEM CAME INTO PLAY.  At least that's what the local Postmaster claims.  This book appeared to have been driven over by a vehicle.  It's spine was broken, the front and back covers were broken in two places about one inch apart, there were loose pages due to the broken binding, the end flaps were torn up and actually open, despite the tape.  Had I been at the mailbox and seen this I would have refused it.  But of course, my local mailman just put it in my mailbox and therefore it was considered "delivered."   It was not acceptable to anyone in the neighborhood I showed it to!!
    My local Postmaster told me when I went to put in a claim, that when someone ships anything, but especially paper products (like books), and they ship it MEDIA MAIL, it goes into a huge bin with up to 70 pound packages and they are tossed around etc., and most people aren't aware of this. This is how it is handled over the next several days while being sorted and shipped.  Media mail does take longer to handle, and that adds to the problem.  He also said that there isn't much difference in cost of shipping books by first class verses media mail, at least not when shipping a single item,and especially paperbacks.  I foiund that out myself today. 
     I'm not sure exactly what the difference would have been with the damaged book I got, as it was a hardback book that was completely demolished, but yesterday I was shipping out a regular sized paperback book and so I checked and the difference between first class verses media mail was exactly $0.07 cents!! That's all.  But the way it is handled by the post office is so completely different.  I just wanted to advise more of our members to be at least aware of this issue.

It is so very frustrating trying to get the post office to give me a refund on the cost of this book. Having to find documented proof from the sender of the actual cost of the book, and being sure that they insured it's shipping and then seeking copies of all the paperwork involved in the shipping, etc., all that.  I'll probably never be able to recover the cost and just lose out on this damanged book I received, but I'd feel better if people knew to at least be aware of or check into the differences of how things are handled in the post office shipping, and if it's just a few cents, ship things first class. It gets there quicker and in much better condition!  Believe me, for 7 cents difference I'll do it first class every time!

Date Posted: 9/10/2008 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,183
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. MOST USPS do not abuse Media Mail and if your PO is, then you should complain higher up the food chain. The class it is shipped does not give them the right to abuse the mail. When I ship MM from my PO, it goes in the exact same bin as the FC. Media Mail is shipped in the same method as other mail, it is just given a lower priority if a truck is full. If the book ends up in the bottom of a bin, the class on its label won't make a difference.

I have seen a few members post similar stories and it is just your Postmaster not wanting to ship MM because they make less profit on it so they try to disuade you from using it by telling you horror stories. It is really sad when postal employees do this. My USPS guys have argued with me to send them MM when it was cheaper before. They smile and are happy to send the MM mail. I have only had a handful of books show up damaged and I figured it was came from one of those POs with attitudes.

PBS does default to the lower FC rate on everything up to 7 oz. After 7 oz FC goes to $2.36 which is .13 higher than MM. Make sure to check the weights before printing the label.

Don't let him interfere with sending the mail the cheapest way and don't stand for them damaging your mail. There is nothing that gives them the right to damage your mail.

Date Posted: 9/10/2008 11:50 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Melanie, you are half right. but if your PO is putting Media mail in with the first class they are WRONG. media mail is concidered a package service, and gets mixed in with parcel post. Parcel post packages can be up to 70 lbs and up to 120" lenght+girth. so the big heavy packages go this route. Media Mail packages need to be packaged well enough to survive those 70 lb packages mixed in with them.

first class mail is limited to 13 oz. so there are no large heavy packages to tear the light ones up.

There is nothing that gives them the right to damage your mail.  NO one is damaging the mail on purpose, in most cases it is lack of proper packaging.

This hardback book was wrapped as well as anything I've ever seen.  First in a plastic wrap, then brown paper wrapped, and taped very well on all areas.

This is really not adiquite packaging for Hardcover books. Things that I have seen being mailed parcel post include, tires, rims, the front bumper of a Camaro, 70 lb boxes of lead (truly) asorted engine parts, a totem pole, cast iron skillets. etc etc.

It is so very frustrating trying to get the post office to give me a refund on the cost of this book

Unless the shipper bought insurance thru the PO they will not refund any money. The shipper assumed the risk when they sent it if they didnt buy the insurance.

Date Posted: 9/14/2008 4:14 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2008
Posts: 13,147
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All mail really isn't handled all that gently....

If the PO treated each package with great care, we wouldn't see our mail for months!!