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Topic: Post Office won't accept Media mail PBS printed wrappers/lables from anothe

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Subject: Post Office won't accept Media mail PBS printed wrappers/lables from anothe
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 2:10 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 3
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Newbie here, so forgive me if this is a known issue. I didn't see anything after a search.

I used PBS postage for 6 packages today--three wrapped in paper and three mailing envelopes. I dropped them by the Post Office near my office because several were hardcovers.

I stood in line at the window and the clerk refused to accept them. She said the preprinted indicia indicated it was mailed from my home zip code and that the home post office would get credit for sorting them, so she would not accept them.

Is that for real?


Date Posted: 1/5/2009 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2007
Posts: 1,140
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I do it all the time and never had the post office comment on the return zip.  If the package fits in my mailbox I'll use my home P.O., if not then I use the P.O. where I work which is in a different town.  The only time the P.O. had a problem was when I couldn't mail a package the day I expected and they had to change the date. 

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 1/5/2009 8:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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Yes, it's for real. You are supposed to mail in the ZIP code where the wrapper is printed. This has to do with which Post Office gets the revenue for processing the package. You can drop them in any blue box in your own ZIP code, you don't have to go inside.

Date Posted: 1/5/2009 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 3
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Interesting. I drove out of my way to another post office closer to home (it's the one that does the mail sorting for our zip code because our local post office is too small), stood in line again and the guy didn't even glance at them.

Thanks for the info.

Date Posted: 1/6/2009 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 6,633
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Yup.  I've run into that problem a few times.  The post office closest to my house isn't in my zip code, the post office where I usually use the blue box is also not in my zip code, and the post office for my zip code is in the other direction.  Sometimes I forget to change the zip code, but so far I've only been lectured at.  (You can also just drop the packages in a blue box if you know the amount you paid is correct -- no face-to-face confrontation!)

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 1/6/2009 8:31 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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Okay, this is an issue that has been addressed several times within the Postal Service. A post office IS NOT to turn away any mail irregardless of what that zip code is. If they do so they apparently do not know their own rules. I am a Postmaster and have dealt with this issue several times. At my last Postmasters meeting we were told point blank that we do not turn away parcels with the mailed from zip code being different from where it was actually mailed. As it was put to us, people deposit mail all the time with stamps purchased at other offices. Revenue is revenue. Good customer service is more important than your office getting credit for $2-$3. It would take alot of books, and I mean hundreds, to actually affect the budget on clerk hours.

If that ever happened to me (unlikely) but I would be walking over scalps to the top so that the clerks would learn the correct procedures.

Date Posted: 1/7/2009 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,225
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I have mailed over 300 books, and I don't think a single one was mailed from my zip code. I mail from the town where I work since I drive by that PO on the way to work. I've even mailed a few in my home town which is 3.5 hours away in another state.

In the future, just drop them in a mail slot or box. Electronic postage does not need to be handed to a person, the 13oz rule does not apply.

I thank my lucky stars every time I mail something for the great people at the PO I go to.

Date Posted: 1/8/2009 5:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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I have also mailed from a neighboroing zip code (90292) when i live in 90066

and never had  problem

next time if you encounter that problem ask to speak with a supervisor or even the postmaster


Date Posted: 1/8/2009 6:41 PM ET
Member Since: 8/6/2006
Posts: 1,619
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I mail from the Post Office near where I work all the time.  It's never been an issue.

Date Posted: 1/12/2009 8:47 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2006
Posts: 229
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I mail my PBS books with PBS postage, so I try to mail them from home (or my home PO).  But when I mail items I sold on Amazon or eBay, I use PayPal postage, which allows me to set a different mailing ZIP code than my return address, so I can mail packages from my office.

Date Posted: 1/13/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 667
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I have been mailing my PBS books (almost all with PBS postage) from the post office by work.  Work for me is almost 60 miles from home, and definitely in a different ZIP code.  So far there has been no complaint at all at the post office, and the books are getting to their destinations quickly, so all is good.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 5:15 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I've run into the "mailing from a different zip code" issue a few times at the PO.  Once, a clerk told me that it isn't allowed outside of the preprinted zip because employees might steal metered postage from their employer and bring it home to use for their personal mailing.   I was so astonished at that stupid statement that my mouth just hung open.  Finally I told him, that as a matter of fact, the metered postage was from my employer's machine and I already reimbursed my employer for the amount.  I asked if I should I go back to the office and get a note from the accounting department as proof I paid and wasn't stealing from my employer?  He finally accepted my package and admonished me not to do it again.  The package was too large to fit into the blue box, otherwise I would have done so and not have to listen to irrational lectures.

Date Posted: 1/14/2009 6:58 PM ET
Member Since: 11/7/2008
Posts: 25
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Same problem here.  Printed my book labels up in advance and had my husband drop them off.  The line was long at our regular post office and he was going to be driving past one 15 minutes away, in another zip code.  He got the lecture when he dropped off the books.


Subject: One postal employee is on my side
Date Posted: 1/15/2009 8:49 AM ET
Member Since: 1/4/2009
Posts: 3
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I mentioned what happened at my local post office, and the clerk was incensed. He said I should complain to the Postmaster of the station that wouldn't accept my package and also gave me the customer complaint number and encouraged me to call it.

He scoffed when I mentioned that the clerk at the PO that wouldn't take the packages said they used to accept them "as a favor" but they won't do it any longer. He said, "As a favor?  It's the Post Office!  What about customer service?"

Also, if I'm not mistaken, when you print your wrappers, you have the option of having the return address be {Paperbackswap.com). Would we have to go to Florida to mail those?

For the record, I had used oversized padded mailers, so they wouldn't fit in a blue box.

It's interesting to here the inconsistent practices around the country.

Date Posted: 1/15/2009 3:56 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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That's just stupid, I would definately ask for the supervisor and climb the chain until I found somebody with a brain.  Otherwise this would mean the stamps I purchase in Washington State could not be used in New York City.   What about sending a Post Card from Hawaii while on vacation and using your home address - are we supposed to use the hotel address?  Another bogus inaccuracy by local post offices.

PS what about the junk mail I receive with no return address?  This is wrong in soooo many ways.

Last Edited on: 1/15/09 3:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/15/2009 10:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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OK, I asked at my local post office.  They said this is a matter of postal employees not knowing the governing rules.  The only circumstance that the originating zip code is an issue is on rural routes for mail left in a box (anyone could have put mail in your mailbox)  They insisted there should be NO problem with mail over the counter at the post office.  Similar to the 13 oz rule, no questions if handed to a postal clerk.

Date Posted: 1/16/2009 3:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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Smaller post offices tend to make a bigger fuss because they do not get the revenue credit for these packages. I actually purchase my stamps from a post office on the small island where my parents live, to keep revenues up at that little office so that it won't get closed down. While they are not supposed to and shouldn't refuse a package, I can understand why they would want to. I just try to make sure to add the correct zipcode for the office I am dropping off at to give them the credit.

Date Posted: 1/18/2009 5:23 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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It's the freaking United States Post Office, as long as your mail includes proper postage, a proper address, and no illegal contents, there is NO legal way they can decline it, ESPECIALLY at the Post Office.   Your stamp is good anywhere in the United States.  I get junk mail all the time that doesn't even HAVE a return address, who gets credit for sorting those? 

I mail at any one of several convenient post offices, they better never try that crap with me!    *Stepping off my soapbox now* 

Thanks for the heads-up Carol!

Last Edited on: 1/18/09 5:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/20/2009 10:01 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 1,691
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Carol, Don't drive out of your way to mail your PBS packages in FL if you use the PBS return address.  I wouldn't want you to run the rick of a lecture there, since PBS is in GA.

However, this is a very good point and someone should bring it up to TPTB at PBS since we can't change the zip when we use PBS postage.  I don't think I've ever seen anyone mention it in this light before.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 12:29 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Last Edited on: 1/22/09 1:43 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/21/2009 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 542
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>I get junk mail all the time that doesn't even HAVE a return address, who gets credit for sorting those?

The post office that the junk mail company has received it's bulk mail license from is credited for
 selling the postage.

Date Posted: 1/21/2009 5:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The bottom line here. . .is postage legal tender at all USPS facilities?  As long as the answer is yes, they have to accept any mail with postage.  Otherwise each local post office would be printing their own stamps. 

The return addres is irrelevent and unnecessary unless USPS needs to return the package to sender.

Last Edited on: 1/21/09 5:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/22/2009 2:31 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Connie, can you give us a regulation # for this from the DMM?  I've tried to look it up but can't find it.


The next time this happens to me I want to be able to direct them to the appropriate section of the regulations.

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 2/14/2009 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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Hope you are still reading this thread. I finally remembered to look it up.


Section 604.5.3 Deposit of Mail

Mailer must deposit or enter mailpieces with metered or PC Postage indicia according to the following conditions,

a. Mailers may deposit Express Mail, flat-rate Priority Mail, Priority Mail weighing one pound or less, single-piece price First Class Mail, single-piece price Media Mail, and single-piece price Library Mail items with a metered or PC Postage indicia at any postal facility, preferably within the area of the customer's local post office. Mailers may also deposit......................(the rest doesn't pertain)


Date Posted: 2/15/2009 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 1/19/2009
Posts: 61
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I work at one othose tiny rural offices and we are grateful for every penny we bring in.  But we would NEVER refuse any properly prepared package for mailing, no matter what the zip code on the pkg was. If I would send that person away, they may likely take all their other business elsewhere,too.  We have a couple of e-bayers, and even though no stamps are handed over the counter, we still get credit for the revenue on their printed labels.

Once, someone from a local business came in with boxes of of calendars to mail out at Christmas.  She was refused at the larger office 10 miles away.  The clerk told her they were too busy and it may be another day or two before they got them mailed out. She drove right out to us and we were happy to help her.  That meant several hundred dollars of revenue for us.  The postmaster in town was FURIOUS when he found out what his clerk had done.

A properly trained clerk will never turn away a customer for any reason.