Discussion Forums - USPS Postal Regulations USPS Postal Regulations

Topic: PickUp from mailbox - over 13 oz

Club rule - Please, if you cannot be courteous and respectful, do not post in this forum.
  Unlock Forum posting with Annual Membership.
Subject: PickUp from mailbox - over 13 oz
Date Posted: 7/24/2013 11:04 AM ET
Member Since: 1/5/2008
Posts: 3,387
Back To Top
My mailman (I just moved) told me that there is a new thing where they no longer want to pick up packages over 13 oz even with printable postage. Is this correct?
Date Posted: 7/24/2013 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

It's possible, but I'm not a postal employee.  In the past we've heard that picking up packages from personal boxes is discretionary by the drivers, so it could be a local decision and not a nationwide mandate.  Call your postmaster and ask about this new 'policy,' if correct you will at least have interesting perspective into why this decision was made. 

Date Posted: 7/24/2013 8:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2007
Posts: 401
Back To Top

Mail carriers can't pick up packages weighing over 13 oz  if they have STAMPS used as postage. Those have to be brought to the post office. Every day just about I pick up a package from a mail box what has the postage printed. I've never been told we can't do that.

Date Posted: 7/25/2013 3:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 96
Back To Top

I haven't seen any official changes to this policy so it could be your postal workers don't want to pick them up anymore. We don't have mail delivery where I live so it's not something I've dealt with in a while. I just drop my packages off in the blue box outside or even inside when I check my po box. Most of the time I go the window is closed or they are busy and I just drop them in the box.

Date Posted: 8/15/2013 12:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2005
Posts: 31
Back To Top

I print my own postage at home and my packages are picked up by various mail carriers.  I've asked them about it and have been told that they can pick up any package with pre-printed postage.


It's the stamped packages over 13 ounces that have to go to the Post Office.  If a carrier says that they can't pick up a package with pre-printed postage, then that carrier doesn't understand the rule.  You can use the USPS website to send an e-mail and the Postmaster will do some in-service training!  :)

Date Posted: 8/16/2013 1:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

IIRC it doesn't have to do with stamps vs. trackable postage, or the 13 oz. rule.  We've seen information that some types of route drivers are not required to pick up packages ..it's optional.  It's rare that they will actually choose to refuse, but it does happen.

Again, I'm not a postal employee...hopefully one will wander in and let us know.

Stamped packages over 13 oz. will most likely be refused from your mailbox, they have no way of knowing who put it there.

Last Edited on: 8/16/13 1:30 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 8/17/2013 12:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,087
Back To Top

that rule is showing up everywhere..........online sales where you print a pre-paid postage label state the PO rule that any pkg over 13 oz can't go in a blue box but must be delivered to a counter. Doesn't matter what type of postage-- stamps or label.  At PO I was told it was a security measure.

Date Posted: 8/17/2013 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

Over 13 oz. bearing stamps must go over the counter.  Over 13 oz. with any type of 'trackable' postage (PBS, APC, purchased anywhere online, etc) can be blue boxed.

Although frequently misunderstood, unless it's changed very recently, that's what DMM says. 

Date Posted: 8/24/2013 12:18 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2013
Posts: 28
Back To Top

My current mail carrier is a total sweetheart, and he takes any package I give him. From time to time I meet him at the curb, hand him multiple boxes over 13 oz. each (eBay sales) and he just smiles, asks me how my day is going, and puts the packages in his truck. So I think it must be a discretionary thing, or at least some carriers do what they want regarding package pickup. The counter workers at my local post office, they're another story entirely when it comes to helpfulness.

Last Edited on: 8/24/13 12:20 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/29/2013 1:50 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
Back To Top

If it is Priority Mail I think they have to pick it up, Media Mail and First Class I don't think they _have_ to take it, but most will, especially if you are also shipping Priority packages. If it's just a book or two in a mailbox, IDK what their problem would be, unless they are on foot.

Date Posted: 9/3/2013 1:33 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,222
Back To Top

 Doesn't matter what type of postage-- stamps or label.

Jeanne, could you provide a quote from a site that says it doesn't matter what type of postage? I've not run across that and usps.com still has it worded as bearing only stamps:

"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 Shipper location. 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."

and this is what I find for in the DMM linked from usps.com

Mailpieces weighing more than 13 ounces bearing only postage stamps as postage must be presented to an employee at a retail service counter in a Postal Service facility. Letter carriers may not pick up or accept mail weighing more than 13 ounces bearing only stamps as postage. If this mail is discovered in collection boxes, Postal Service lobby drop, Automated Postal Center (APC) drop, Postal Service dock, customer mailbox, or other unattended location, it will be returned to the sender for proper presentation at a retail counter.

So nothing I find from the USPS at this time shows that they've made changes. That doesn't mean that a local PO isn't trying to not have to pick up packages and is saying the reason is the 13oz rule, but the 13oz rule ONLY applies to packages bearing ONLY stamps. It would be interesting to see an online company wrongly enforcing the 13oz rule when they would lose sales over it.

Date Posted: 9/4/2013 12:05 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

Is this a new rule Jeanne?  B/c otherwise, it's like Melanie posted.  For years it's been the Homeland Security ruling of over 13 oz. bearing stamps (untrackable postage) must be passed over the counter, but any type of electronic postage is ok regardless of weight b/c they are 'trackable'.  Many PO's are unclear (poorly trained), but (unless there is a recent change) the DMM is very clear on this matter.

Subject: Thirteen ounces!
Date Posted: 11/3/2013 8:55 AM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2008
Posts: 12
Back To Top

Halloween I took 2 books wrapped as one to the PO for verification. I printed my label, postage, and DC and taped it to the wrapper. I was advised that as long as it has a pre-printed label and identifing address on the package ( can be traced back to you) and left in your personal box, it can be picked up even if it weighs over the 13oz. However, these can only be placed in YOUR mailbox, not others, from work, Blue Boxes or anywhere else. All of the above rules regarding stamps still apply.


Date Posted: 11/3/2013 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 9/19/2006
Posts: 3,461
Back To Top

Jim, I mail over 13 oz packages bearing printed postage using a blue box near my house all the time. I haven't actually gone into a PO for years except to occasionally pick up a package. I hate waiting in line, so I do all my postage online. I have never had one of my PBS books returned to me for using a blue box. That is what they are for. So IMO, your PO is wrong about being able to mail packages bearing printable postage from ONLY your mailbox. As long as the other locations are within your zipcode, your packages should be fine.


Date Posted: 11/3/2013 5:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 563
Back To Top

I'm not even sure zip code is that crucial. I've dropped off packages with prepaid, trackable postage in blue boxes and at post office dropoffs all over my area - just depends on where I'm running errands that day - and I've never had a package not arrive or be returned to me. There are a couple zip codes that cover my town and several more in the neighboring area, so I'm not even sure which blue boxes are in my home zip code anyway! I'm sure in a less population-dense area they might be more picky about it.

We don't even have a mailbox, just a slot in the door, so anything I need to send that's a package ends up in a blue box rather than on my porch where it could get stolen before the mail person comes by.

Date Posted: 11/3/2013 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

I think the mailing zip code applies if you are using bulk mail rates.  We occassionally hear of postal staff attemps to apply this to individuals, but if it was the case then postage stamps would be sold with a zip code.  IIRC this has to do with which PO receives operational funds for the item(s) mailed.

Date Posted: 12/11/2013 3:58 PM ET
Member Since: 8/21/2008
Posts: 752
Back To Top

We have to hand all packages to a clerk at our Post Office even when postage is printed online.  (I am referring to packages over 13 ounces.)  There is no distinction between printed postage (click 'n ship, PayPal, PBS) and stamps.  It's only annoying when you need forget and get there the hour they close for lunch.

Date Posted: 12/12/2013 12:50 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
Back To Top

USPS can't enforce that Katie, complain online or to the regional postmaster.  The 13 oz. rule only applies to non-trackable postage (stamps)...anything else is a local fetish.  Your staff needs retraining.