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Topic: The Price of Media Mail

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Subject: The Price of Media Mail
Date Posted: 4/25/2010 10:13 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2010
Posts: 154
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I had an interesting experience at the post office the other day.
The person ahead of me was madder than a hatter because a package he had mailed was returned to him - postage due.
Seems he had taken one of the free Priority Mail boxes off the rack, put his stuff in it, wrapped it in brown paper and mailed it Media Mail.

The clerk said it had been opened for inspection (to make sure it was REALLY media mail) and the box had been discovered. The free boxes can't be used for anything but Priority mail.

The thing that stood out for me was that the packages can/may be opened by postal employees to confirm that the media mail rate was used correctly. I asked the clerk and he said that was right, random and "suspicious" packages are checked to make sure the cheap rate isn't being misused. I showed him my package and asked if it would be opened and what would happen if it was. He said IF it was it would be put into a plastic bag and send on to the requestor - if it was damaged while opening it - oh well so sad.

He also mentioned that, TECHNICALLY, my package was wrapped wrong because the area where the postage label went was covered with tape. he put the label on and cancelled it with his handstamp, then wiped the cancel off the tape. He said the postage has to be "tied" to the package to assure the postage was not used on another package. Seems you shouldn't tape either over OR under the postage.

Makes me rethink the way I package stuff.

wc

Subject: media mail
Date Posted: 4/25/2010 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/1/2008
Posts: 552
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One thing the post office will do is open a box that seems to be their priority boxes because they are FREE and for use ONLY for priority mail.  They just don't want the free boxes misused. People used to be able to turn them inside out but now they have priority stamped on them. 

 

I have been mailing books for over 7 years media and have only had problems once or twice.  If you are mailing a large box and it doesn't weigh much they will check to be sure it should not have been parcel post. 

 

Good reminder.

Auddiemae

Date Posted: 4/25/2010 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Media Mail is always subject to inspection, it's a condition of the cheaper rate. IIRC, regardless of the reason for return, Media Mail always comes back postage due (another condition of the cheaper rate).

Priority Mail packaging may not be reused for other mailing rates...period.  The customer is going to loose this argument every time.

Taping over stamps is not allowed, otherwise not sure about your clerks comment.  I live in a wet climate and tape over the entire label, including DC barcode.  I then take my books to the PO counter and purchase postage.  Ive mailed well over 200 packages in this manner.  My local branch is very knowledgable, and have never made a comment about taping over the postage area.  My packages have all arrived safely, and I frequently receive books with counter postage & APC labels applied over protective tape...again, no problems or USPS comments.



Last Edited on: 4/25/10 4:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/27/2010 2:54 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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Yeah tape under stamps is fine. My post office does not have any kind of electronic postage, my postmaster sticks stamps on everything I ship, often over the packing tape. Never had a problem and I've shipped hundreds of books between this site and others. 

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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"He said the postage has to be "tied" to the package to assure the postage was not used on another package. Seems you shouldn't tape either over OR under the postage."

 

One of those rogue "rules" that someone trained folks on as "official" ... sigh

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 11:03 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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One of those rogue "rules" that someone trained folks on as "official" ... sigh   +1 *sigh*

Yuppers, again today I mailed a flat rate priority package to the boy.  Taped over the entire label.  My fabulous USPS clerk applied counter postage on top of the tape without any comment or complaint.  4 Media Mail packages earlier this week went exactly the same.

ETA - Time to request the clerk show you this regulation in writing.  Chances are, they can't produce such a rule from the official USPS regulations.



Last Edited on: 4/27/10 11:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/29/2010 11:30 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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The reason stamps can't be taped over is they have to be cancelled and if covered with tape that can't happen.  It's called revenue protection and it's there to keep people from reusing stamps, has probably been an issue forever.  Same applies to customer generated meter postage.  Meter postage is not cancelled so it's easier to reuse which is also one of the reasons why employees are taught to pay attention to the dates on meter postage.

The only reason I can think of for the comment on putting postage over the tape is some plastic based tapes have a surface that makes it hard for stamps to adhere to so they tend to come off in transit but I've only seen this with actual postage stamps and older, gummed meter postage.

Subject: first class sometimes cheaper than media mail
Date Posted: 5/2/2010 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2010
Posts: 125
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I have found that books, typically paperbacks, will be cheaper to ship first class mail. My post mistress is very good at checking both ways, so we always can send the cheapest way.

You might check it out.

Date Posted: 5/2/2010 5:20 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The cut-off is 7oz Sandy.  Under is cheaper First Class, over is cheaper Media Mail.

Date Posted: 5/3/2010 8:04 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2010
Posts: 125
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that is true...........but every $$ counts. I was mainly thinking paperbacks.  thanks for the info.....Sandy

Date Posted: 5/4/2010 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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A lot of them will go for $2.41 and I'll choose that to get them there faster. Worth the .3 extra.



Last Edited on: 5/4/10 9:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 1