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Topic: New change? APC + stamps now also has to be handed personally?

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Subject: New change? APC + stamps now also has to be handed personally?
Date Posted: 8/2/2011 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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I see that the regs for using PBS postage changed, and wonder if there are other changes as well. I've never had a problem giving over 13 oz pkgs to my carrier if they had at least one APC stamp on them. Today I received one back with the standard sticker about 13oz and stamps. Since with the APC, they have all the info, I've been buying 25 $2 apc stamps at a time and using numeric stamps to make up the differences. Is that no longer allowable for over 13oz?

Date Posted: 8/2/2011 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,402
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I use PBS-DC and postage stamps and sometimes leave them in the mailbox with the flag up. I was told today that this is a violation and they must be taken to the window at the PO. I had no idea that this was not allowed. (over 13 oz.).

Subject: Postage
Date Posted: 8/2/2011 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2005
Posts: 5,430
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The short answer is it depends on the mailman! Technically the mail mail delivers mail, not pick it up. Most/some will pick it up. If you use the PBS-DC and postage stamps, you could just toss it in the blue box,



Last Edited on: 10/13/11 7:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/2/2011 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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From the USPS site--

Don’t put stamped mail over 13 oz in a blue collection box, lobby drop, Automated Postal Center drop, or any other unattended location.
If your mailpiece weighs more than 13 oz and is bearing only stamps as postage, you’ll need to take it to the retail counter of a Post Office™, Contract Postal Unit, or Approved Postal Provider. If left in a mailbox, it won’t be picked up; if dropped in a collection box or lobby drop, it will be returned to you.

 

We don't have an APC here, so not sure about the combination, but don't see why that would be any different.  A DC code does not matter, either.  I've had over 13oz packages returned with DC and stamps before.  Lesson learned the hard way, and now I weigh all my outgoing mail and print postage on it if it's over 13oz.

Date Posted: 8/3/2011 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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APC is considered 'tracable' postage, b/c customers cannot pay with cash so there is a credit trail.  I'm guessing, but suspect that your APC with addtitional stamps was returned in error.  Yes, the APC portion is trackable and should not need to be handed over the counter...take it in to your post office and ask at the counter.  If they give you any problems, contact PBS or a regional supervisor.  Many branches do not understand APC...in some areas it's almost as misunderstood as electronic DC.

I don't believe that a PBS DC is a substitute for actual tracable postage (ie DC with stamps).  DC is not a consideration for the 13 oz. Rule.

Rural carries do not count as ''passed over the counter to a postal employee" in regards to the 13 oz. rule.  They really have no way of knowing who placed the package in your outgoing mailbox.



Last Edited on: 8/3/11 1:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/3/2011 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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Denise, I don't think any postage (stamp or meter) is considered traceable.  The only things they allow you to drop in a box over 13oz are those with electronic postage, and I'm not sure the APC "stamps" are considered electronic postage the way the individual package labels are.

It appears to me from reading that the APC can give you printed postage stamps, which are not the same as electronic postage.  It would be the same as something someone with a stamps.com account (or similar) could do--and that's printing stamps in any amount.  It's my understanding that the stamps are treated just like stamps you'd buy at the counter, which means they would not be allowed to go over 13oz without handing it off to a person.  However, the APC also seems to be able to mail out packages with electronic postage, too--I'm sure each package has its own label and this is therefore different than the postage stamp strips given out by the machine since the package they will go on is unknown.  This difference may be causing confusion with customers.

I read more about the APCs online at the USPS site because, as I said, we don't have them and I'm not familiar with them.  However, in reading, it says specifically that the reason they only take credit cards is not "to trace" the postage, but to prevent jams in the machine.  It also says that an APC is not intended to take the place of transactions that are required to be face-to-face.  Since packages with postage stamps have to be handed over the counter if over 13oz, that would be something an APC couldn't do.

Now, maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it seems to me that they SHOULD require packages that have APC postage "stamps" and are over 13oz to have to be handed over the counter.  It was a safety issue, and while it's certainly annoying, for those packages over 13oz, I either go in to the PO or I print my label using Paypal. 

 

Date Posted: 8/3/2011 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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My thoughts mirrored yours, Denise - and that's how it's been working for me since the 13oz rule went into effect. My carrier (great) is out ill, but the sub took it back to ask for me. Since it had a lot of stamps, I thought they might have missed the APC on it.  The APC has my name, address, credit card # and a camera which I presume is functioning when I use it! I'd think that would be more "secure" than handing in a package with just stamps at the counter. In theory, I could put anyone's (or one that doesn't exist) return address on it, with stamps if safety is a concern. 

I do the APC buying once a month, likewise the stamps online -

I hope it doesn't disallow the APCs for pickup - I sent too many books to want to add .19 per for paypal (or the time), and honestly, I'm of the mindset to mail them the same or next day, and if I have to lug them all to the PO weekly (adding 3 additional trips),  I'd probably purge my books of all but WL or first class. :-( Oddly, that would make my carrier unhappy, lol! He's a 3rd generation guy...and appreciates my business! :-)

Date Posted: 8/4/2011 1:19 AM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,773
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Any package that contains at least partial APC postage SHOULD be mailable without taking the package to the counter.  It can be dropped in a blue box, or picked up by your carrier.  APC postage is used all the time for packages over 13 oz.  There are places to drop the packages after hours if they don't fit into the normal blue box slots.

Date Posted: 8/4/2011 2:06 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2008
Posts: 7,759
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Not being familiar with APC machines--can someone tell me what the advantage of them is over printing your label with Paypal and dropping it in a blue box and/or mailing from home?

Date Posted: 8/4/2011 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Sure Shelia, APC is electronic postage and the machines print a little postage sticker that looks similar to counter postage.  IIRC a bit smaller with an additional pink band (at least the one I use once in a great while).  You may have received packages with APC and not even known it.  The advantage is that the machine is in the lobby ... do-it-yourself for mail customers.  No need to wait in line or for the PO to open.  APC will also weigh your package and help determine postage amount.  I don't use Paypal, so no idea how it compares to other postage services.  But being electronic postage, APC should be ok to blue box even if over 13 oz.

The disadvantage for PBS members, is that last I heard APC does not have a Media Mail option so members must bring their own MM rate chart (add DC if necessary) and use the 'other' option to get the correct postage amount. 

Some PBS members just print several APC stickers for standard MM rates and take them home to use later (which is allowed b/c APC postage does not go 'stale').  Like the OP, stamps can be added to APC.



Last Edited on: 8/4/11 12:45 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/4/2011 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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PS - Cindy works for USPS, her info is good  yes

Date Posted: 8/4/2011 9:32 PM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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My book wasn't returned so I presume it's on its way....hopefully it was an oversight, and they just missed the APC when they were sorting. I did affix a post-it with the fact that I understood the APC was what made it allowable to have it picked up or dropped in the blue box. My carrier often trades the big plastic tubs with me...and he knows it's books - coming and going.

Date Posted: 8/5/2011 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 1/22/2011
Posts: 2,402
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Jodi,

You are so lucky to have such a nice mailperson!  Mine is a stickler for rules and regs. I'm thinking of renting a box in the town where I work because of this.

Date Posted: 8/6/2011 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/21/2009
Posts: 2,925
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Lori...you are so right! It makes a huge difference. He often laughs and says I know the regs better than they do...my first padded priority envelope threw the office into a tizzy. :-)  As I said, he's a 3rd generation employee - and says he's happy to have the business and won't ever complain about picking up, he's appreciative of customers and the $ they spend - and I spend a lot (and he certainly knows first hand about the layoffs and problems they are having).

Date Posted: 8/8/2011 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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Not being familiar with APC machines--can someone tell me what the advantage of them is over printing your label with Paypal and dropping it in a blue box and/or mailing from home?

The big advantage I find is APC postage is that is is not considered a stamp for the 13oz rule, but it is also not considered dated like Paypal is so it does not go stale. I can buy a bunch of APC postage strips and use them up as I please. I also don't have to buy DC like I do with PayPal so I don't have that added expense.

The whole point of an APC is to sell you postage that is just like counter postage 24/7.  I have only ever had a problem with a package with APC postage returned once and I took it back in to the substation with the APC and they said it was the main branch's blue box that I had dropped it in and they called them up and yelled at them, then sent it back out without making me apply new postage. I'd try to get the correct amount on the APC, but I'd sometimes buy $2 strips and then just add stamps to it to get to the right amount.

Date Posted: 8/8/2011 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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See Jodi, Melanie successfully mixes her postage too!

Date Posted: 8/9/2011 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,959
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So, let's say that a package explodes somewhere. And they trace it back to the Post Office it was mailed from. It completely mystifies my how they expect a postal clerk to remember what the person handing in a specific package (lets say, a week ago) looked like. I mean, they might remember a memorable package, OR a memorable person, but I would think it would be pretty rare to remember a mundane person handing them a mundane package. Not to mention, that if someone was going to mail an exploding package, you would probably mail it from as far away from your home as possible, and from the busiest office possible. And probably wearing a disguise of some sort.

Unless there is cameras in the PO lobby, I can't see this as effective at all.

But in any case, back to APC. I only mail on Sunday. Using APC allows me to go to the PO on Sunday and do my mailing without standing in any line whatsoever. Or I can go at mignight, Or whenever I feel like it.

And, the package slot that you can drop packages into is quite large. Meaning that you could mail a very large and heavy box using APC postage only. If packages using APC could only be under 13 oz, they would either lock up the package slot and make people come back when the counter is open, or post a sign about it and make people come back when the counter is open. So, packages over 13 oz. are perfectly OK with just APC postage on them, wthout going to the counter.

Date Posted: 8/10/2011 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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you are being recordedd t all times when you are in the post office there are camera everywhere in the post office