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Topic: PBS Postage - Blue Box question

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Subject: PBS Postage - Blue Box question
Date Posted: 1/25/2013 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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For the second time in two days, I received a returned book, saying that the books were over 13 ounces and should have been brought to the counter.  BOTH books were under 11 ounces, as proven by the clerk who weighed them for me.  He apologized and said the PO was wrong to return them.  Here's a picture of the label that was tacked right over the mailing address (luckily, easily removable):

http://img836.imageshack.us/img836/6307/warningbe.jpg

Has ANYone who uses PBS Postage ever had a book returned to them due to the book being "over 13 ounces", even those which were obviously over 1 or 2 pounds?  I've been a member a long time and this has never happened to me.  I am now seriously thinking of joining the PBS Postage-user ranks because of this.

-deb



Last Edited on: 1/25/13 1:30 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2013 1:49 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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That's happened to me a couple of times. Now when I occasionally send a book with stamps, I have since started using a red marker to write the exact weight of the book on the front of the package when the book is near the weight limit. None have been returned since I started doing it. My theory is that employees that are sorting packages aren't using a scale. They're just estimating the weight by feel.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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Well, another way to get around it would be to buy APC stamps at the Post Office the next time you are there. They are trackable postage, so you can any weight with them from a blue box, and they are "stamps" not metered postage, so the date on them doesn't matter.

I buy $2.47 APC stamps by the dozen.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 2:01 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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I have even had trouble with APC stamps.  I bought a bunch of them thinking that I could drop in a blue box.  I brought a hardcover book to work and put it in the "outgoing mail" bin.  The mail center called me to come and get it because they couldn't mail it due to it being over a pound.

I brought the same book to the PO and asked them:  "Could I have dropped this into a blue box, having used this [APC] postage label?"  They answered "No, because it's over 13 ounces." Another time I even went to the PO where I purchased the APC postage, brought something to the counter to mail, pointed to the APC machine and asked "If I purchased stamps at that machine, could I drop an over-13-oz package into a blue box?"  The answer they gave me was "No" and then explained the "security risk" stuff!

It doesn't matter if these two post offices gave me \valid information or not.  It scared me enough not to bother with APC postage again.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,916
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Your Post Office is not correct. You shouldn't have to figure out ways to get around their incorrect practices.

If your Post Office follows incorrect procedures, then there is no way for you to figure out if they are going to cause you problems or not with PBS postage ... they  have all kinds of wrong things in their heads, so, it's a toss-up.

If it were me, I would start complaining higher up in the chain, so that the clerks can be re-educated.



Last Edited on: 1/25/13 2:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/25/2013 2:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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If your Post Office follows incorrect procedures, then there is no way for you to figure out if they are going to cause you problems or not with PBS postage ... they  have all kinds of wrong things in their heads, so, it's a toss-up.

That is an excellent point, Sara.  Sigh...

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Sara said yes  Your PO is incorrect, regarding APC and their package weight issue.  I'd also encourage you to complain upline, somebody needs retraining.

That said, not all PO's understand APC (unfortunately) and the answers to customer questions are often not consistent...no excuse, just sayin'.

The only package I've had returned for weight, was before I was aware of the 13 oz. rule.  But, I usually take mine to the counter these days and let them figure weight and postage.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 5:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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If it is under 13 oz I always write the weight on the package, that stops them from returning those packages.

If it is over 13oz and you are using PBS postage and they are still returning them, your PO needs some education. I would (a) write across the back of the package, TRACEABLE ONLINE PRINTED POSTAGE, NOT SUBECT TO 13 OZ RULE! or (b) send in Feedback and ask the PBSTeam if their USPS liason can do something about educating the post office.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 5:17 PM ET
Member Since: 3/8/2007
Posts: 2,541
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No, I use printable pbs postage and I have not had any books returned to me.  I always use the printable postage because I can't get to the PO, so I drop mine in the blue bin.

In the past, when I used stamps, i had a couple of packages returned to me for being over the 13 oz, when they were not. 

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Did I miss another point of error?  The label was placed over a PBS postage label?  Yikes, that's just wrong...the 13 oz rule does not apply to tracable postage (such as PBS, e-bay, and APC).  Print another copy of that label (to keep as proof with the picture) and make a complaint to the regional postmaster.  There's also an online complaint form you can submit.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 7:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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Oh my God. I also misunderstood. The very sticker they placed on your package says it clearly. STAMPS! The 13 ounce rule only allpies to packages bearing stamps. Any printed postage that is traceable back to the purchaser is exempt. Hell, I've dropped packages with printed postage weighing over three pounds into the blue box. I mail several books a week via the blue drop-box that weigh over 13 ounces, and I've been doing it for three years now. None of them ever come back.

I suggest you call 1-800-ASK-USPS and complain. Explain the problem in detail. They're very good at getting to the bottom of problems like this.

Melanie's suggestion of taping a note to the back is also good. Kinda sad that you have to teach postal workers what they should already know in this way, but it seems typical of the type of training they're receiving these days.

Date Posted: 1/25/2013 9:23 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,540
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I almost exclusively mail from blue boxes.  I use Paypal postage and have never had a package returned to me because of the 13 oz rule.  And I regularly mail books or bundles of books that are well over 13 oz.  I never write anything extra on the package either.

I'd definitely start complaining up the chain.  See if you can't start with your local postmaster and if that does not work call in or send a complaint via the USPS website.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 5:06 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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Did I miss another point of error?  The label was placed over a PBS postage label? 

Oh my God. I also misunderstood. The very sticker they placed on your package says it clearly. STAMPS!

 

no no.  I put Stamps on the book and mailed it.  The label was stuck over the mailing address.  Perhaps you misunderstood because the title of my OP was "PBS Postage - Blue Box", and I led the topic by talking about the bad thing that happened first.  (The book had been returned to me for over 13 ounces when it was clearly two ounces UNDER that limit).  After describing that, I asked if anyone had had the experience of a book being returned after having used PBS postage.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 10:30 AM ET
Member Since: 9/25/2008
Posts: 4,046
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If you buy electronic postage the packages can go in a blue box regardless of the weight. Most books I mail are at the 2 pound rate and I've never had an issue.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 11:16 AM ET
Member Since: 5/1/2007
Posts: 6,559
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I haven't had a book with PBS Postage (or APC postage) returned to me re: 13 ounce rule.  When I mail a book with stamps and it is close to but under 13 ounces, I write the weight above the stamps.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/31/2009
Posts: 3,995
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no no.  I put Stamps on the book and mailed it.

Oh good. I thought the P.O. invented yet another style of crazy. Sorry for misunderstanding.

 

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 1:01 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I write the weight on the package too when it's closer to 130z. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 1:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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no no. I put Stamps on the book and mailed it. The label was stuck over the mailing address. Perhaps you misunderstood because the title of my OP was "PBS Postage - Blue Box", and I led the topic by talking about the bad thing that happened first. (The book had been returned to me for over 13 ounces when it was clearly two ounces UNDER that limit). After describing that, I asked if anyone had had the experience of a book being returned after having used PBS postage.

Yeah, your subject line says PBS Postage and then you ask if anyone has ever had PBS postage returned so I assumed you were saying you had one returned. The only thing I've ever heard of the PBS label being returned for was being stale because it wasn't mailed promptly and I don't think that really happens that often.

If it has just been stamped packages under 13oz being returned, write the weight on the package and I bet that fixes the problem.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 2:08 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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For the second time in two days, I received a returned book, saying that the books were over 13 ounces and should have been brought to the counter.  BOTH books were under 11 ounces, as proven by the clerk who weighed them for me. 

I understand that the actual package weight was less than 11oz, but how much postage were you putting on the package? Sometimes it's cheaper to use the 1 pound media mail rate for packages over 7? 8? 9? (this keeps on changing with postal price changes) oz. So I've always wondered if the 13 oz rule only applies to packages that actually weighed 13 oz, or whether it also applies to packages that were mailed at the 1 pound media mail rate but actually weighed less than 13 oz. 

I have never tested this out, since I use electronic postage and have not had a problem. 

I think writing the actual weight on the package mailed with stamps might be a good next step to try. 

Good luck. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 3:41 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 1,442
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I understand that the actual package weight was less than 11oz, but how much postage were you putting on the package? Sometimes it's cheaper to use the 1 pound media mail rate for packages over 7? 8? 9?

I had put $2.47 on both packages, for media mail under 1 lb.  I like the idea of putting the weight right on the package; will try that next time!  I also won't be mailing my books at this particular post office any more.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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Yes, I had packages under 13 ounces with stamps returned to me, shortly after the 13 ounce rule went into effect.  I had to bring them to the post office and tell a manager what was happening, after that, I had no more trouble.

I use APC stickers for books of any weight and use the blue box with no problem, but this coming week I'm going to be adding some postage stamps in addition to the APC stamps (to use up some APC stampsI had at home with the old media rate).  I've never tried that with a package over a pound, so we'll see if my post office knows what to do.  If they return them, saying they have stamps on them and are over 13 ounces, I'll have to make another trip to the post office to let them know it's okay to use stamps ALONG WITH trackable postage.

My post office has actually been getting better with knowing the rules, so I'm going to make the optimistic prediction that I won't have any problems!  smiley

Diane

 

 

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I had them returned to me regularly for being over 13 oz. when they were well under 13oz. I, like others, started writing the weight next to the stamps and I haven't had one returned since...one of the many invaluable tips picked up here in the forums.
Date Posted: 1/26/2013 6:44 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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I had them returned to me regularly for being over 13 oz. when they were well under 13oz. I, like others, started writing the weight next to the stamps and I haven't had one returned since...one of the many invaluable tips picked up here in the forums.
Barb S. (okbye) - ,
Date Posted: 1/26/2013 7:40 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2011
Posts: 5,767
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If you print postage from here or anywhere else you don't have to worry about the weight or it being returned, you can mail any weight package from your door. I've sent 5 pound boxes of books with printed postage, never had any returned except one time when I tried stamps on a book. It is completely crazy that any package I print postage for is safe and one that I mail the exact same way but put stamps on may contain the devil or a bomb but it's their silly game, you have to play it. Save the headache and the trip to the p.o. and print postage.

Date Posted: 1/26/2013 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/27/2005
Posts: 4,133
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I was just thinking about the 13 ounce rule yesterday, when I dropped a book into a blue box.  I just find it so hard to believe that it's possible that a postage sticker would survive being wrapped around an exploding bomb in good enough condition to be read and to identify the sender.  Or that a person handing in a package over the counter will later be identified from a blurry security camera film (most likely while in disguise) when the package--that will look like every other package on the film--explodes.  

Not to mention the fact that if someone did put a bomb wrapped in a package with postage stamps in a blue box, the package has to go to the post office, be marked with a return label, and then taken out again on the next carrier route.  So maybe the postage stamped bomb won't make it all the way to the White House, but the post office people are not really being protected, are they?

I'm hoping that one of these days this rule will be recognized as way more trouble than it's worth and they'll change it.

Diane

 

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