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Topic: Media mail must be opened

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Subject: Media mail must be opened
Date Posted: 1/29/2011 5:28 PM ET
Member Since: 2/18/2007
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Hi, I went to my local post office in Baltimore today with a bunch of books to mail and was told that a new regulation specifies that media mail must be open and inspected.  Either you, the sender, have to leave it open when you go to the post office, or the post office will open and verify that it's media mail and reseal the package.  Not sure how carefully they will reseal.  The option is to send everything first class. 

 

Has anyone else encountered this?

Date Posted: 1/29/2011 5:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2009
Posts: 231
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Oh wow. I was just at my local post office yesterday and I wasn't informed of this.

Hm.

Date Posted: 1/29/2011 6:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
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You weren't informed of it because it isn't true.  That local post office is going rogue.

Date Posted: 1/29/2011 7:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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What Diane said.  Ask to see the new regulation in writing (it doesn't exist). 

According to USPS regulations, Media Mail is always subject to inspection.  There is a specific procedure they are required to follow, which does NOT include requiring customers to leave packages open at the counter.  Nor does it allow postal employees to open packages at the counter.   The inspections are to be done on USPS time, as regulated by their own guidelines (DMM - Domestic Mail Manual).

If they continue this rogue behavior, you might wish to contact TPTB and see if PBS postal liason has any suggestions.



Last Edited on: 1/30/11 3:46 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 1/31/2011 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2008
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Hi Linda.

I am also in Baltimore (Mt. Washington) and the lady at the counter told me the same story, I have sent two books in the last week and both times I've been reminded of this. She also refered to DVD's, they have to be left opened before sending them. I am not sure how this is a standard procedure but it seems is standard in Baltimore... :)

Octavio

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 1:32 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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Ask them to show you the regulation on paper and insist on seeing a supervisor.  Someone there has made up a fiction because it is not in the regulations.  You need to send a note to the USPS to complain about people making up rules, because that is what they are doing.  They tried to do a similar thing here in Lincoln, NE, and I wrote to Washington and got a very nice reply and the head guy here at the PO got an official letter from Washingto  telling to not apply this facetious rule!  Go over their heads!!

Date Posted: 1/31/2011 1:43 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
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I have sent the USPS an email about this problem and am supposed to hear back in 2-3 business days.  When I do, I'll forward their reply to anybody interested.  Winston, Lincoln, NE   (crabby-doctor)

Date Posted: 2/10/2011 9:53 AM ET
Member Since: 12/15/2007
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Media mail CAN be inspected to make sure it is media. Takes an act of God to find the right page but it is posted on the site that they are subject to search.

Date Posted: 2/10/2011 11:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Yes media mail can be inspected, but there is no requirement that you leave it open when you bring it to the post office. 

Date Posted: 2/10/2011 4:30 PM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
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See my thread down below this one.  I did hear back from the powers in Washington and they are going to send a letter to all of the PO's in Baltimore setting them straight.  The squeaky wheel truly gets the grease!

Date Posted: 2/19/2011 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2007
Posts: 460
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I had a lady at my LaGrange KY post office try this several years ago. 

OK fine, so I left one side of my book mailings open so she could see it.  Then she asked if I'd brought any tape to seal it up.  Uh... no.. I don't carry packing tape in my pocket.

I took my business to another post office.

Mary F in KY

Date Posted: 2/25/2011 8:08 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2008
Posts: 426
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I went today and got in an argument with the lady when I showed up with all my packages to mail in Kansas City MO when she told me I would have to open all my packages. I completly seal my singles in tape and wrapper so they do not leak...talk about a hassle! I finaly got her to see reason because U can see thru package that it was a book but all others I had to open up for them to inspect..and there were a lot. I was up at that counter for a good 30 mins not counting all the time I spent in line and there was a huge line behing be giving me the evil eye....I don't see how they can do this ..No Notice or Anything and I'm not sure that I trust them to be opening up my books and taping them back up properly =( 

Date Posted: 2/25/2011 11:09 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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just ask them to show you in writhing where it says the patron must be present  when they present books marked media mail

yes they can be inspected but not while the patron stands there

plus that another good reason to use prited postage or the APC  you can just dropped them into the collection boxes

and deal with nobody

 

Date Posted: 2/26/2011 5:11 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Actually Diedre, the only way they can do this is to intimidate customers into allowing it.  There is NO written rule that says you have to prove anything at the counter....NONE.  Read all the comments in this post, and if you can fine Winston's thread read it also. 

Complain to the USPS, IIRC there's an online link.  Complain to your regional postmaster.  PBS guidelines also have some recommendations for dealing with untrained USPS staff.

Date Posted: 2/26/2011 2:26 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Here's Winston's thread, for folks seeking it: http://www.paperbackswap.com/Media-Mail-Requirement-Open/topic/228659/

Date Posted: 2/27/2011 10:02 AM ET
Member Since: 12/5/2010
Posts: 3,024
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Is the post office responsible for  resealing opened packages that they've inspected? I received a package from a sender that was opened on the side but I wasn't sure if it was poorly wrapped or if the PO opened it.

Date Posted: 2/27/2011 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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usuualy if the package was inspected there would be a note inside tell you the package was inspected and rewrapped

if there is no note then i belive it would be the shipper who didnt package it correclt

Date Posted: 2/27/2011 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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That's the understanding Mark & S, according the the Domestic Mailing Manual (USPS rules). 

When properly inspected, an insert is added and I believe a stamp on the outer wrapper....or at a bare minimum at least one of those items.  Otherwise, it's an illegal inspection or poor wrapping job by sender (maybe they live in one of those areas where the clerks are asking books to remain open and forgot to seal it up properly...another good reason to discourage this practice).

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 4/4/2008
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Ok so I wrote in a complaint and they sent to my local office. This is the answer I got back today:

Deidre,

We have received new instructions on Media mail.  When staffing is available we are supposed to open all Media mail pieces.  This should not however interrupt the flow of the window.  In your case,  the clerk should have informed you of the new instructions and opened one of the pieces. 

I will contact the Independence Post Office to see if they have changed their procedure.  I will also contact other post offices and see how they are handling media mail.  I will keep in touch with you to provide you with more information. Please feel free to contact me if you continue to have concerns.

We regret any inconvenience this may have caused.

Sincerely,

 

Meredith Anstine

Postmaster

Bates City MO

816-625-3475 

 

Is this what others are hearing as well?

Date Posted: 3/2/2011 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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No Diedre, there is no 'new' policy that requires (or even allows) Media Mail inspection at the window.  DMM has specific guidelines and requirements for mail inspection (which does not include counter inspections), and the DMM will invalidate any local 'memo' that might be circulated by misguided USPS staff.

If your local Postmaster can't get to the bottom of the problem quickly, go ahead and contact the regional postmaster or there's a national office (postmaster general?) that handles problems.

. . . When staffing is available we are supposed to open all Media mail pieces.  This should not however interrupt the flow of the window. . .   and this may very well be true, but not the entire truth.  Shouldn't interrupt the flow of the window, because inspections should not be performed at the window.  we are supposed to open all Media mail pieces, note the we instead of customer?   There may be internal USPS memos regarding Media Mail, but these do not and should not impact the customer.  In fact, you shouldn't even be aware they are happening unless the receiver tells you, or USPS contacts you in the case of a content problem.

ETA - there's a thread in the Club Member Thoughts today regarding missing mail in MO, makes ya wonder what USPS manager has a bee somewhere the sun doesn't shine??  Maybe the WI postmaster has been reassigned to MO lol!



Last Edited on: 3/2/11 3:00 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/8/2011 5:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
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I just came back from the post office here in Whitestone, NY, and the clerk (whom I've never seen in the past 4 years I've been mailing books) told me that Media Mail had to be opened as well.  The she asked me what kind of book it was.  When I told her a regular book, she said only textbooks can be mailed Media Mail.  I asked if that was a new policy and she said it's always been the policy. I've always mailed Media Mail with never a problem.  Has anyone had this problem?

CR

Date Posted: 3/8/2011 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 690
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That clerk is wrong.  Tell her to show you where it is in the DMM, and that until she does, you expect to be able to send your Media Mail parcels the same way you always have.  You can probably say it nicer than that, but that's the message she needs to hear.  Ask to speak to the PM if she gives you any grief over it.

Date Posted: 3/9/2011 12:19 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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No Carolyn, your previous experiences have been correct. 

The first point, counter inspections are sometimes attempted.  But as Diane says although the DMM allows for Media Mail inspections, the procedure is specific and does not include counter inspections.  In fact, mail inspections do not require the presence of the customer at all. 

The second point, is also totally wrong.  Media Mail is not restricted to textbooks.  Your clerk is under-educated, and if she doesn't by a clue quickly you should ask the PM to correct the situation pronto.  A quick search of USPS.com shows Media Mail descriped as:  For sending small and large packages consisting of books, film, manuscripts, sound recordings, video tapes, and computer readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). No mention of textbook restrictions.



Last Edited on: 3/9/11 12:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/9/2011 7:28 AM ET
Member Since: 7/6/2007
Posts: 747
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That is what i figured.  If I had more time (I was parked at a meter, and the traffic cops are literally waiting to write out tickets) I would have asked to see a manager.  I took the book back when the clerk wanted to charge me twice the amount I would have paid under Media Mail.  I  printed out the Media Mail page under the USPS site and will bring it in today, since I still need to mail out books.  The problem is : why do I (we) know more about postal regulations than the people that actually work there?! 

Thanks for re-confiriming this information!

CR

Date Posted: 3/14/2011 8:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 22,610
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Sounds like you got a new clerk.......and they didn't get good training.  Sorry about that!  Here are the items that can be mailed Media Mail - straight from the DMM:

 

Qualified Items

Only these items may be mailed at the Media Mail prices:

a.Books, including books issued to supplement other books, of at least eight printed pages, consisting wholly of reading matter or scholarly bibliography, or reading matter with incidental blank spaces for notations and containing no advertising matter other than incidental announcements of books. Advertising includes paid advertising and the publishers' own advertising in display, classified, or editorial style.

b.16-millimeter or narrower width films, which must be positive prints in final form for viewing, and catalogs of such films of 24 pages or more (at least 22 of which are printed). Films and film catalogs sent to or from commercial theaters do not qualify for the Media Mail price.

c.Printed music, whether in bound or sheet form.

d.Printed objective test materials and their accessories used by or on behalf of educational institutions to test ability, aptitude, achievement, interests, and other mental and personal qualities with or without answers, test scores, or identifying information recorded thereon in writing or by mark.

e.Sound recordings, including incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. Video recordings and player piano rolls are classified as sound recordings.

f.Playscripts and manuscripts for books, periodicals, and music.

g.Printed educational reference charts designed to instruct or train individuals for improving or developing their capabilities. Each chart must be a single printed sheet of information designed for educational reference. The information on the chart, which may be printed on one or both sides of the sheet, must be conveyed primarily by graphs, diagrams, tables, or other nonnarrative matter. An educational reference chart is normally but not necessarily devoted to one subject. A chart on which the information is conveyed primarily by textual matter in a narrative form does not qualify as a printed educational reference chart for mailing at the Media Mail prices even if it includes graphs, diagrams, or tables. Examples of qualifying charts include maps produced primarily for educational reference, tables of mathematical or scientific equations, noun declensions or verb conjugations used in the study of languages, periodic table of elements, botanical or zoological tables, and other tables used in the study of science.

h.Loose-leaf pages and their binders consisting of medical information for distribution to doctors, hospitals, medical schools, and medical students.

i.Computer-readable media containing prerecorded information and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such media.

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