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Topic: Printable Postage & Dates

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Subject: Printable Postage & Dates
Date Posted: 7/6/2009 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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I have been using printable postage from PBS from the time I joined.  I like it because it's so convenient.  I often send out books over 13oz. & I like the printable postage because you don't have to hand it to a postal employee.  However, my local PO says that they have been told recently to only accept postage that reflects the current date (it can't be 1 or 2 days different).  In the past, if I was late sending out a package I'd just take it to the PO & have them print a $.00 postage label with the correct date...no problems.  However, now they say they can't do that. 

Today, I had to take in a package that was dated 7-4-09.  I printed it Friday night, forgetting that the next day was a holiday.  Well, the clerk said that she'd postmark it with today's date but that they could only do it once, from now on they can't take it unless it has the correct date.  This is not information just from the clerk...it's from the local head post master.  What am I supposed to do if I print the wrong date again?  Has anyone had this problem?  One clerk gave me the impression it's a new USPS rule (not just my local PO)

Date Posted: 7/6/2009 11:01 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2009
Posts: 133
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I'd check www.usps.com and see if this is addressed there. I thought that once you had printed the postage on it, it could be dropped in any mailbox, and something that's been in the mailbox over the long holiday weekend could legitimately have a few-days-old postage on it.

Date Posted: 7/6/2009 11:15 PM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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USPS is not the most user friendly site, but here's what I found.  It seems to confirm what my local PO said. 

Label Printing Issues

·         What happens if I print a Click-N-Ship label, but do not use it on the ship date selected?


o        General Information


You must mail your item on the date that you selected for your Click-N-Ship® label. An electronic record is generated on that date indicating that your mailpiece has been mailed. Packages shipped with labels that have incorrect ship dates may be returned to the sender and will not be eligible for a refund. If you are unable to use the label, you should request a refund within 10 days of the printed label and create another label with the correct ship date.


Your online label can be used only as it has been printed, without any alterations. If you find an error in your label, print a new label with the correct information and request a refund from the Online Postage Refund page. Any mailpiece which has a manually altered online label will be returned.



Date Posted: 7/6/2009 11:19 PM ET
Member Since: 1/8/2009
Posts: 2,016
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I think it's an existing rule that is now more strictly enforced, given the postal service's current financial situation and threat of closing inefficient offices. I don't use PBS postage -- does it give you an option of choosing a later date to print on the wrapper? I think the best solution is to pick the latest date to print on the wrapper, and if you are sure about the weight, drop it off into a blue collection box before the printed date instead of having to wait in line. However, if you miss the deadline, they are supposed to issue a date correction for you. But I can see how they don't want you to make a habit of this.

I've cut and pasted the relevant sections of the DMM below:

4.5.2 Mailing Date Accuracy and Mailing Periods
The date or period when mailers may deposit or present metered mail for mailing is controlled by the mailing date in the indicia under the following conditions.

a. Complete Date. Mailpieces bearing a complete date in the indicia must be deposited or presented on that date, except that pieces entered after the day's last scheduled collection from the Post Office or collection box may bear the actual date of entry or the date of the next scheduled collection from the Post Office or collection box. When authorized by USPS, presort mail accepted after midnight may bear the previous day's date. If the mailer knows that the mail is not to be deposited or presented on the date in the indicia, the mailer must use a date correction indicium under 4.4.1.

b. Month and Year. Mailpieces bearing only the month and year in the indicia may be deposited or presented for mailing on any day during the month shown in the indicia and through the third day of the following month.

c. No Date. Mailpieces bearing no date in the indicia may be deposited or presented for mailing on any date.

4.4.1 Date and Postage Corrections
Mailers may print a date correction or additional postage indicium directly on the mailpiece or on a USPS-approved label under the following conditions.

a. A date correction indicium is required for any mailpiece not deposited by the date of mailing in the indicium. Only one date correction indicium is permitted on a mailpiece. For all postage evidencing systems except PC Postage systems, a date correction must show the actual date of deposit and zero postage value ("0.00"). Place the date correction as follows:


Date Posted: 7/6/2009 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/9/2007
Posts: 9,601
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Being someone who cannot get out to the PO and having to depend on non-PBS family members to mail them for me - I choose the farthest out date to send that I can, but I can usually get them out sooner.  I just choose the date that will be most likely the one someone can do it and add a day in case they forget.  They 're only going to put it in the mailbox anyway.  they would never go into the PO for any reason short of what they would consider an emergency.


Date Posted: 7/7/2009 1:31 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I've gotten around it by buying a penny stamp at the APC.  It is really silly to use my debit card for a penny.   But there is a lobby near me with a 24 hour APC.  (And no lines.) 

Funny how with the concern over closing branches, the clerks get more picky?

Can we pick the month but not the date?  Does PBS postage let us do that?

Last Edited on: 7/7/09 1:32 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/7/2009 6:57 AM ET
Member Since: 8/10/2005
Posts: 4,601
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When you use PBS postage, there is a drop-down menu that allows you to choose the date you're sending it. I often would forget to change it, and thus far, even though I've occasionally mailed the books a day or two later than the printed label says, I've not had a book returned. If you print labels at night, the default date on the postage label (i.e,, the date you are mailing the book) stays listed as TODAY's date, even if you are printing the label at 11:55 p.m. So recently, when I heard the USPS was getting more picky about those online labels, I have taken to delaying printing my labels until the morning of the day I will mail them, that way I don't have to remember about changing that date..

I should say though, that I always just drop my books into the blue box in front of my work, I don't take them in to a PO.


Last Edited on: 7/7/09 6:58 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/7/2009 8:23 AM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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I like the idea of selecting the last possible print date, but I'm nervous they'll return it because I'm not sending it on the actual mailing date.  I know that the farthest date looks better for them, say if the label says 2 days before I actually mail it, but what if that backfires on me? 

Date Posted: 7/7/2009 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,213
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Can we pick the month but not the date?  Does PBS postage let us do that? Printable postage must have a full date on it.

Sheena - if it is a frequent problem, can you hold off some on printing your labels until you actually know when you are going to get it in the mail? If not, then you should definitely print with the latest mail date offered. The PO doesn't care about stuff with a future mail date, they only have issues with accepting stale postage.

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 1:08 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2009
Posts: 133
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To go back to your original question: PBS postage has a drop-down menu where you can select the date you'll mail on. So if you're printing on a Saturday but will mail Monday, you can select Monday's date.

If you printed the postage but weren't able to mail it on the correct date, PBS will let you re-print the label (without paying twice, as you're just re-printing the same postage). You could update the date on the postage by doing that.


Date Posted: 7/9/2009 7:59 AM ET
Member Since: 10/21/2007
Posts: 3,430
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You can reprint the label, but there is no way to change the date after you have printed it the first time. 

Date Posted: 7/9/2009 12:08 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I used to use the pbs postage a lot when I ran a full daycare. Much easier to just use the blue box then to lug a bunch of kids into the PO.

I would usually put the next days date on the postage.  So if I dropped it in at night or forgot I was covered.  I also think they cut you more slack with teh blue box. So had you put the book in a blue bin say not at the PO (we have one at Target) on the 4th and it didn't go out until Mon-they probably wouldn't have even noticed.