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Topic: Paying more for NON-PBS postage than I thought-wt of packaging

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Subject: Paying more for NON-PBS postage than I thought-wt of packaging
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 6:08 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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I've not been using PBS postage this week to mail out books- to see if I really think the extra 62 cents for PBS was worth it or not for me.

What I didn't consider was the weight of my packaging.  When you buy PBS postage, you pay for the weight of the book only.  If you do not use PBS postage, the PO weighs your package.  I did not realize how much my wrapping weighs.  So far, every book I have sent out so far, I have been bumped UP to the next media mail price.  For example:  if I had used PBS postage, my price would be $2.38 + 62 cents = $3.00 total.  But I have actually paid $2.77, which is the next bump up price, just because of the weight of my mailer.  So, it's not been a 62 cent savings for me, only a 23 cent savings.

 

Hmmmmmm.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 6:48 AM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2010
Posts: 68
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If you use PBS postage and do not take into account the weight of the packaging what happens if your package does get weighed at the PO in transit? Would it then arrive postage due? 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 6:56 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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maybe there is some kind of little "padding" in the PBS postage price for the weight of the wrapping.  I don't know.

I've mailed out a bunch of books previously with PBS postage and I have been wrapping the crap outta them.  They are mummified.  I've not heard form any receiver that they had postage due from my books.  But I am not mailing them in a single sheet of paper.  They have bubble mailers, sometimes even a zip lock bag inside and tons of packaging tape.  I've even sent out a few boxes.  And you know that has to increase the weight on all of them.  But maybe there is a built in "extra" for the weight of packaging.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2010
Posts: 68
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Look what I found in the help docs...

 

"The estimated weight on the Wrapper Settings page includes a small amount for packaging materials"

 

laugh



Last Edited on: 1/26/11 7:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:14 AM ET
Member Since: 6/29/2007
Posts: 17,242
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Last Edited on: 1/26/11 8:14 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:15 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,272
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That is why having a scale is very helpful -- you should always weigh your book with the packaging. The PBS weights are often incorrect and then there is the weight of the packaging which can be about .5 ounces for two sheets of paper and tape to 3 or 4 ounces for a padded envelope. Sometimes a padded envelope will tip me over into a different weight category while a plastic envelope will keep me in a lower weight category. You have to weigh!

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:44 AM ET
Member Since: 7/31/2007
Posts: 2,693
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at some point the USPS will weigh your package and some recipient will have to pay for the extra postage. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 9:59 AM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 9,946
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It sounds like your PBS postage packages were underpaid. They could arrive postage due, f they get weighed en route.

Your packaging must be unusually heavy, or are you sending out trade sized books? I send mostly paperbacks between 300-500 pages, and I do not recall any except perhaps 1 or 2 extremely heavy dense paperbacks bumping out of the one pound rate. Usually they are only 1 or 2 ounces out of being able to go first class cheaper than media mail, in fact.

PBS does add the weight of the 2 page printer wrapper to the package weight. I do send most of my paperbacks in that, and I have only had one go lost in more than 800 mailed. Your bubble mailer must be extra heavy for some reason.

Of course, it is possible that the post office scale is off. I imagine that they have a schedule for re-calibrating their scales, but it is slightly possible that it could be off, I guess. I know that they are not always perfect because I had an incident once where I had some packages that I had weighed at the APC machine in the post office, but it broke itself before I could purchase the stamps ... and when I went t the counter and they re-weighed the packages, 2 of the books ended up being heavier than the first scale had told me. I would either try to weigh them at home to see if you get the same weight as the post office, or try a different post office once, to see if you get different results at a different office.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 11:22 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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You've probably just been lucky in that, none have been caught yet (you've only been here 2months) or that the amounts were small enough that people have just paid and no one bothered to say anything to you.  Plus through the holidays, they might check these things less. 

 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 1:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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PBS adds .6 oz to the weight for the postage estimate when you select Book Weight for the amount entered. If your packaging is weighing more than that, you should adjust accordingly because using PBS postage does not lock in that price and they will mark it up and deliver it postage due or send it back to you if there isn't enough postage on it.

Unless you have been sending the exact same book with postage as you sent in the past, there is really no way to tell for sure if the previous book should have went for the same price as the one you are sending now with PBS postage. I've noticed that 2 books can look pretty similar and still differ in weight because of the quality of paper. verifying weight on a scale is pretty important when using PBS postage.



Last Edited on: 1/26/11 1:21 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/26/2011 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I just mailed a book today that I thought would easily be 6oz wrapped.  We have a postage scale at work and I can weigh books, apply my own stamps and put it in the mail bag.  The PBS label said MM 2.38.  I thought it had to be too high.  It was a thin tradesize with only about 160 pages wrapped in a tyvek envelope so no real added weight there.  It weighed almost 9oz.  

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 601
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I have received books postage due. It's super annoying. 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 6/3/2006
Posts: 106
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I've heard that some of the weights that PBS has on file are inaccurate. So take them with a grain of salt and always weigh your book in its package...

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 6:23 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Yes, a number of the weights on PBS are inaccurate, sometimes because there are multiple editions sharing an ISBN (like a trade paperback and a mass market paperback, which are different sizes), or because folks put in crazy data elsewhere and it ends up here.  I just edited one where someone had put in "20" for every measurement value -- said the book was 20 inches high, 20 inches across, 20 inches thick (yikes!) and weighed 20 pounds.  Always use a scale when doing postage at home -- I use a digital kitchen scale.

Also, Media Mail postage does not include return service.  If the book is refused by the requestor because it is postage-due, you'll have to pay the postage again to get it back on the return.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 7:19 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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I bought a postage scale off of eBay so I could weigh my books before sending them out.  Most of the time the weight PBS uses to calculate the amount of postage due is close, and usually seems to error on the side of being a little heavy.  But, I've noticed sometimes the esitmate they have is way off.  The other day, when I went to print PBS postage, I immediately got a warning that the weight entered was probably low and to check it.  I hadn't entered it myself--it was the weight PBS had estimated and it was only 0.8 ounces.  I of course weighed my package and entered the correct weight.

Also--when you print PBS postage, there is an option where you can choose that the weight entered is either the actual weight of the book or the weight of the book plus packaging.

 

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 8:56 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,554
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When you buy PBS postage, you pay for the weight of the book only.

Completely wrong!  PBS weights are only estimates.   You ALWAYS need to pay your postage based on the actual weight of your package.  If you don't, you really do risk having the PO reweigh your books and send them on postage due.  A member can refuse a postage due book and you'd end up paying the return postage if it were media mail.  Or, you'd end up sending them the extra $$ or a credit to cover the postage due.

Invest in a scale!  Sounds like you've been underpaying your postage and cheating the USPS.  I know it wasn't intentional before, but now that you know, are you going to continue to do it?

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 9:44 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2010
Posts: 754
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I think a better solution would be to do away with the predetermined weight/postage for the PBS postage altogether.   Make the person enter what the weight is of the fully wrapped book manually and then print out the postage from that.  That way there is no confusion, no mixups.   If the predetermined weight from the isbn is unreliable, AND wrapping can vary greatly from 2 sheets of printer paper....to.....a box with stuffing.

Date Posted: 1/26/2011 10:03 PM ET
Member Since: 7/7/2007
Posts: 4,815
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Mindy, that's a suggestion you can make to the higher powers at PBS -- use the "Contact Us" link at the bottom of any PBS page to send in Feedback with your feedback.

Date Posted: 1/27/2011 2:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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Reading this thread has made me glad that I don't have a printer (so this problem isn't even an option for me), and that I have a good PO and Postal Carrier here.  But that alone wasn't enough for me to chime in.

I received a notification that I had a package with incorrect postage today (I was delivering books to send out anyways so no big deal).  It was only $0.39 to get the package out of limbo, so again no big deal (I paid it and won't bother the sender except as part of the thank you message info).  But the postage appears to have been PBS printed postage so I'm wondering if it isn't a relavent example for this thread.  I expect the packaging may have upped the weight beyond the expected amount (although they did a wonderful job of protecting the book, another reason why I don't expect anything from the sender I'd be more than willing to have a good book for an extra $0.39).