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Topic: Has the law changed on books weighting more than 13 oz.? Had a book return

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Subject: Has the law changed on books weighting more than 13 oz.? Had a book return
Date Posted: 1/5/2012 11:22 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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A couple of days ago, I mailed a book that weighed more than 13 oz.  I used DC and put stamps on it and dropped it in the blue box outside the post office, something I've done for years.  Today the book was returned with a sticker that said "packages over 13 oz. must be given to post office personnel inside facility."  This sucks as I will not be able to go to the post office until next week.  Is this a new law that went into affect on Jan. 1?  This is really going to slow down my mailing of heavier books.

Date Posted: 1/5/2012 11:42 PM ET
Member Since: 9/8/2010
Posts: 399
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I think that's been true for awhile at least in my neck of the woods it has been.  I had a book returned to me too the beginning of last year.  I had mailed several from my home mailbox - NO PROBLEMS.  Then, one unfortunately came back. so now I just go to the PO.   Money is too precious to waste by a returned book like that (& then you have to pay again to send it to the same address!!).  I didn't know that you couldn't put it in the blue box though (I thought it was just from home).  WOW!!



Last Edited on: 1/5/12 11:44 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 12:04 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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No, this is nothing new, just maybe they are starting to crack down on it.  Any package weighing over 13 ounces and bearing stamps must be handed to a post office worker at the counter.

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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This has been the rule for over 4 years -- any package weighing more than 13 ounces in which stamps are used for postage must be presented at the post office. This is why folks find it convenient to use electronic postage -- packages with e-postage can be dropped in the blue bins. You've been blessed by the post office gods if your stamped packages over 13 oz. haven't been returned previously.
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 12:13 AM ET
Member Since: 8/5/2009
Posts: 7,940
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It's the postage that has to be traceable, and I don't think it matters if you bought DC. That means that you can do PBS postage, postage at the APC (the little machine inside the post office, as you have to pay there with a credit card), buy counter postage, or stamp it and pass it over the counter to the clerk.

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2008
Posts: 170
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Wow, I've mailed many books, over 13 oz., for years using the blue box outside the post office.  I guess I have been blessed by the post office gods as this is my first return.  So, if I use printed postage, I can put them in the blue box.  Good to know.

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 1:46 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Yes Sarah, any type of trackable postage (printed postage, APC, etc) will waive the 13 oz. rule.  Trackable/traceablel postage may be blue boxed regardless of weight.

ETA - If you have an APC machine nearby, you can pick up a handfull of small denominations (.01 or .05) and use them in combination with stamps.  This also counts as trackable postage.



Last Edited on: 1/6/12 4:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,253
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Over the years I have had a number of books returned to me with the sticker about 13 oz -- the problem was that none of them were! Usually they were only 10 or 11 oz. Very frustrating! What other members suggested in a similar thread was that I write the wt. on the front of the packages next to the stamps and now I do and I have not had a book returned since I started this practice.
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,253
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oops - double post



Last Edited on: 1/6/12 9:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/6/2012 8:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I've never had one returned but since I put stamps on books under 13oz-I do what Sally suggests and write the oz on the label. 

You've just been lucky over not having one ever returned before. 

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,978
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This law was instituted shortly after September 11th happened, so it's been in place probably close to 10 years now.  If I remember correctly, shortly after 9/11 there was a problem with pipe bombs going through the mail.  As long as your package is traceable back to you, it is fine to put in a blue box.  Stamps are considered untraceable.  Otherwise you have to drop it off to a post office clerk at the counter, or hand it directly to your mail carrier (if you're lucky enough to catch them). 

And it really does mean that you have to hand it to someone.  I remember a few years ago I mailed off a package in a Priority flat rate envelope.  Since I had a priority mail stamp I just stuck it in the package bin under the letter slot when I was at the post office.  A day later it came back to me.  So just dropping it off at the PO is not enough. 

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2009
Posts: 8,022
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It's not new.  That's been in place for a while.  The post office is only a mile or so away for me, so I always just walk it down there.

Date Posted: 1/6/2012 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 8/19/2007
Posts: 4,222
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It's also posted here on PBS when you go to print the wrapper  - at the bottom of the page, just before you go to PRINT WRAPPER and after you've entered that you want postage, DC or nothing but the label - in red letters there's a statement that tells you about mailing over 13 ozs. I believe it's also on the blue boxes, at least it is in my area.  Pat