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Topic: Post Office Regulations - Unbelievable!

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Subject: Post Office Regulations - Unbelievable!
Date Posted: 4/22/2010 10:20 AM ET
Member Since: 7/20/2009
Posts: 1
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I dropped off two books to the post office on Tuesday, received my confirmation that evening. Books were returned to me for two reasons: 1) said postage wasn't enough even though I put the correct amount PBS indicated 2) said I had to drop off at a window with a teller not just drop off on counter (which I've been doing for a year, at the same post office). And the kicker: received a note stating: "You will have to bring these in personally (underlined)!! They will send back to you again over 13 ozs. CONSIDERED A THREAT (underlined with many !!!).

HELP!!! Waiting in line to drop off books that already have stamps = horrible. Paying more postage than indicated not going to happen. I already had received confirmation on these books so I could have been mean and not mailed, but I paid additional .39 for each and sent today. (PBS said $2.57 and post office said additional .39 or $2.96)

Thanks for your help.

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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that's been a rule for awhile you can *NOT maail* packages using stamps unless you have given the package  to clerk at the post office

(you can thank the unibomber for that)

the post office  and  lots of time postage suggested by PBS has been wrong

now you if you wanted to you can get printed postage (either from  PBS or PayPal)

and if you use preprinted postage then you can drop the package (any size) into an blue collection box

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The 13 ounce rule is courtesy of Homeland Security.  When mailing with stamps this way, I stand off to the side until I can catch the eye of a counter clerk...hold up the package so they can see the postage and wait until they wave me over, then quickly hand over the package & I'm free to go.  My PO handles pink 'pick up' slips the same way, patrons are not required to stand in line for those.

Last Edited on: 4/22/10 11:13 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/22/2010 12:35 PM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2009
Posts: 11,071
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The amount that PBS suggests you pay is not always correct if the weight is off in the system.  Many people use kitchen scales or postal scales to weigh their packages and enter the correct weight on the print label page.  Then the amount that PBS suggests would be correct.  Or you can weigh them at the PO on the scale in the lobby and add the correct postage then.  $2.57 is the price for up to 1 lb Media Mail with eDC, while $2.96 is up to 2 lb Media Mail with eDC.  The book weight was probably very close 1 lb and the packaging tipped it over.

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 10,088
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The PBS weights are often wrong. Most people who rely on stamps or who print the PBS postage use a postal scale at home to check the weight.

The way that works best for me is, I just print the wrapper (and DC sometimes) ... and than I take my books to the PO, but I use the APC machine to weigh them and to buy the APC stamps needed.

This solves both problems ... I have the correct postage amount on the packages, and the APC stamp does not fall under the 13 oz hand-over-the-counter rule, so I can just drop all of those packages into the box, regardless of the weight.

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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I have received several books postage due via PBS, the system is often wrong. You should always verify the weight, either by weighing it yourself, or by taking it to the counter at the post office.


As others have said, if you are deadset against waiting in line at the PO, you need to get a small scale for weighing books, and purchase your postage online for anything over 13oz. Unless your PO has an APC machine, but then you just need to make sure you have the chart of media mail rates with you, because the APC machine won't present media mail as an option. 

Date Posted: 4/22/2010 9:20 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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What did you wrap these books in? Sounds like you may have jumped the boarder of up to 1lb to over 1lb and using a mailer can often do that. Sometimes the PBS weight is off, sometimes people wrap in a method that adds more than PBS estimates so you need to verify your wrapped weight if you are not taking a package to the counter to be weighed.

The 13oz rule is given on the screen when you print the label and again on all USPS drop boxes stating that you must hand the package to a clerk at a retail counter, not just drop them in a box. If you don't have time to wait in line, then you can always use PBS postage, but then you'd definitely want to get a little scale to verify weight.

Scott (scalta) - ,
Date Posted: 4/25/2010 9:57 AM ET
Member Since: 2/20/2010
Posts: 723
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Last Edited on: 7/15/11 5:27 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/25/2010 4:00 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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Using DC does not mean you get to keep the credit you received if the package is never received by the requestor.  Once the book is declared lost by the system the requestor gets their credit back.

Using PBS-DC DOES mean that you keep the credit you received if the package is never received by the requester. The site refunds the requester's credit if they don't get the book, it does not take away a credit received under the Quick Credit or Instant Credit. That is the whole point of the fee giving you a guaranteed credit. It guarantees that as long as the DC has been scanned you get your credit if the book goes lost. If the book doesn't get scanned, and you have a good track record, the site may give you the credit anyway.

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 1:04 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I never trust the PBS weight if I'm buying the PBS postage or adding stamps to drop in a mail box.  Between pubslishers reusing ISBNs for different book editions and the fact that PBS gets it's info from all different sources-you can't trust the weight.  I weigh the book with the packaging because like someone else said-sometimes the packaging bumps you up to the next cost bracket.

Another option to consider is using Paypal postage. You will still have to pay the .19 DC fee which PBS will not honor if the book goes lost.  However if using the printed postage is just a convenience thing for you-it might be worth it. That credit guarantee fee quickly adds up to more than what the cost of a lost credit or book would be.  You can't escape the .19 DC fee for any online postage as it's required by the PO.  But the .19 might be worth it if you really don't have time to go to the post office. If I had to use printed postage on all the books I sent-I'd use paypal.  For just the occasional book or bulk orders-I'd use PBS.  Yes the fee helps support the site but when you send as many books out as I do-the fee gets to be really expensive. 

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 5:08 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 29
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Just as an FYI, I just posted a thread about it, I was told today that you cannot use the APC for media mail, it has to go to the counter.  I double checked at another post office and was told the same thing! 

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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who is this person who is telling you this information you are leaving out  a lot of information!

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 11:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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Just as an FYI, I just posted a thread about it, I was told today that you cannot use the APC for media mail, it has to go to the counter.  I double checked at another post office and was told the same thing! 

You are asking the wrong question or they are hearing the wrong question. You cannot select Media Mail on an APC, that is correct.  But it absolutely incorrect that you have to take your Media Mail to the counter. You can use regular stamps on less than 13oz and drop in a box.  You CAN use the APC select the print a stamp option to print a stamp for the correct amount, affix it to the Media Mail package, and drop it in the bin.

I have been doing this for 2 years and have had 1 package returned by an idiot post office who promptly got a call from my post office correcting their ignorance and the package was placed back in the mail with my APC stamp and a zero strip to update the date.  An APC printed stamp can be used for any class of mail. Just because its menu doesn't give the option doesn't mean that you can't use it for that class, it just means you need to do the manual stamp.  The people you are talking to don't know what they are talking about. Maybe if you mention them, some of our postal employees can call them and correct them.

Last Edited on: 4/27/10 11:08 PM ET - Total times edited: 1