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Topic: Any new memos to Post Offices?

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Subject: Any new memos to Post Offices?
Date Posted: 3/13/2014 6:28 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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I've had several friends report issues with flat rate packages that are stuffed pretty full, when they have not previously had issues with their local POs. Have any new memos gone out on this subject, or just a coincidence?

Date Posted: 3/13/2014 9:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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yeah, there was a new training thing for supervisors that basically said to enforce the "if it fits...it ships"  the flat rate boxes are not to be altered at all, and that includes expanding them by "stuffing them" if the flaps can't close at the prefolded folds, or the box "bulges" then the customer can't use the flat rate if the weight and distance price is more. 

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 12:00 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,486
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At work we use the legal size tyvek priority envelopes to send reports to clients. These are 9x12 punched & bound books in a stack that's anywhere from 2 to 5 inches thick. I fold the extra material over and tape it closed. We've never had a problem with the postage or packaging. My mailman picks them up from the tray in my office and I'm sure he would say something. Personally, I've even used these envelopes to send all different shaped things using priority. If it fits inside, no matter how thick or bulky, as long as it closes up I just fold over and tape any loose flaps and it's good to go for just under $6. I'd use them for books too if they're heavy enough to be close to $6 using MM, which would be 8-9 pounds. 

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 6:26 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
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The Priority Tyvek envelopes are not flat rate.

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 1:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 2,486
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The envelopes are also flat rate. We send anything for the same price from a few ounces to several pounds without weighing.

 

Link to USPS rules page.

Date Posted: 3/14/2014 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 704
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The cardboard envelopes, including the legal size flat rate envelope, are flat rate, and so is the padded flat rate envelope.  But the Tyvek envelopes are not flat rate.  Unlike the flat rate envelopes, the tyvek envelopes do not have the words "flat rate" printed on them.

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 5:45 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
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This is really annoying, a lot of people I know are having trouble mailing the padded flat rate envelopes unless they are "flat". Are you freaking kidding me? Every time they send out one of these stupid memos, it gets completely misinterpreted. 

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 5:47 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Also, if "bulgy" is going to be the new standard, then put that in the DMM. I hate these stupid memos. Fortunately I haven't had any trouble with my outgoing mail... yet... 

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Was this the memo, or was there an additional one? https://liteblue.usps.gov/news/link/2014/02feb/news28s1.htm

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
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The "rate" is flat, the envelope doesn't have to be.

"If it fits, it ships, for a low flat rate."  Don't see how it could be an clearer.

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 9:17 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Diane, I totally agree with you, yet USPS is now demonstrating a pattern of issuing poorly worded memos that cause clerks, carriers and postmasters to make up their own rules. Lots of discussion about this in the eBay forums. The problem is recent and people all over the country are having trouble with it. 

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 9:42 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Becca, the "problem" was that they were not enforcing the rule before and now they are. It is not ambiguous at all..."If it fits....it ships"  If it distorts the box, it doesn't "fit" therefore, it can't go for the flat rate. 

Date Posted: 3/18/2014 9:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
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What Brandy said.  According to my PO staff, the contents may not be forced to 'fit' to the point the box (we were disucssing the flat rate boxes, not envelopes).  Contents must fit inside without distorting the box...that's how they've been interpreting these rates for a long time.

Date Posted: 3/21/2014 12:48 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
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"If it fits it ships" is an advertising slogan, not in the DMM, and obviously the term "fits" is subjective. Here is what the DMM says: 

"Any amount of material (up to 70 pounds) may be mailed in a USPS-producedPriority Mail Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box. When sealing a Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container, provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way."

 
I can make my FRBs bulge and still meet every single one of the criteria stated in the DMM. Furthermore, I have never had a bulging FRB returned or rejected, and as far as I know, have never had one arrive postage due (believe me, most of the people I ship boxes to these days would tell me). 
 
If they want to start defining "fits" in a way other than what the DMM says, then change the stupid DMM. Until then, they need to stop putting out these stupid memos and making up rules. 
Date Posted: 3/27/2014 2:11 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
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I have had a few bulgeing  flat rate boxes refused. This has not been recent but at least two years ago. Was told that the lids had to meet completely with no "rounding" of the box. 

Date Posted: 4/21/2014 8:59 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
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I regularly use the flat rate padded envelopes for my ebay sales; I often roll up four or five articles of clothing and stuff them quite full.  I do seal them at the area where they're meant to be sealed, then reinforce with tape.  Going to have to raise my S&H costs dramatically if the USPS decides that a 'rounded' flat rate padded envelope isn't acceptable and I have to move to a flat rate box.  I haven't had any problems with mine being rejected (yet!), but sounds like I could, based on what others are experiencing.

Date Posted: 5/5/2014 2:46 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
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I've been having this problem ever since January......doesn't have to be a 'flat rate" package though.  ANY envelope larger than business size is now being measured for thickness at all 5 POs I use in Tampa area. Even putting the cardboard in the envy with a few photos can make it too thick for the cheaper rate!

And they advised me NEVER to fold over a 5x7 or 9x12 manilla envelope to fit around anything other than MM---- that makes it an 'irregular' size so the postage is more!  

Date Posted: 5/7/2014 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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ANY envelope larger than business size is now being measured for thickness at all 5 POs I use in Tampa area. Even putting the cardboard in the envy with a few photos can make it too thick for the cheaper rate!

And they advised me NEVER to fold over a 5x7 or 9x12 manilla envelope to fit around anything other than MM---- that makes it an 'irregular' size so the postage is more!  

 

Well, that's a little misleading on their part. There are three types of first class mail: letters, flats (large envelopes less than 3/4" thick), and parcels (up to 13oz only). Each of those categories has very specific size restrictions. Folding an envelope over could be an issue for a letter or a flat, but not a parcel, and certainly not for media mail, parcel select, Priority Mail, etc. If you ship a lot of letters and flats that are not standard size, I suggest making sure you are familiar with the size restrictions. 

 

Date Posted: 5/7/2014 8:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Yes, Becca is correct. Letters can only be 1/4" or less, Large envelopes 3/4" or less, everything else is a package. 

If you folded a letter size envelope down, it would probably bump it into the Non-machineable catagory. there is a .21 cent surcharge on non-machinable letters.