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Topic: Question on media mail vs priority mail

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Subject: Question on media mail vs priority mail
Date Posted: 2/23/2010 3:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 402
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Hi, I went to the PO and mailed 3 seperate sets of books.  Two of the packages contained 3 books.  I had wrapped them in plastic, brown paper and then taped with the PBS mail label taped to the outside.  Those 2 three book packages ended up being charged at priority mail because they were over 11 ounces.  Is this normal or did I miss something somewhere???  It cost me almost $20.00 to mail 7 books.  I think that it was a little much. 

Any help would be appreciated.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 4:07 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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They certainly should NOT have been charged priority mail rate!!   I've mailed out 10 books in one box and it went media mail.   WHO told you they had to go priority?  They always tell me the cost of priority but I then ask to see the media mail price.   Actually I just checked on the USPS site and you can mail up to 70 pounds media mail.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 10:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Sometimes they'll try to sell you more expensive services. You need to communicate clearly to the clerk that they are books and you want to send them media mail. It's a LOT cheaper.

Date Posted: 2/23/2010 6:22 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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What Becca said.  Depending on weight and distance a lot of times Parcel Post cam be less expensive then Media Mail and Priority Flat Rate can also save money over Media Mail/Parcel Post depending again on weight and distance.  BTW, the cut off weight between 1st. class and Priority is 13 oz., not 11.

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 12:37 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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What Steve said.  First Class mail has a limit of 13 oz, after which it's required to use a different shipping rate.  Flat Rate Priority also has a weight limit, but it's up around 70 lbs or so.

Louise, your books should have travelled by Media Mail...wasn't that printed on the PBS shipping labels?  Media Mail is much cheaper, half of what you paid or less (depending on weight).

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 598
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Under the latest fee schedule, I don't think Parcel Post is ever cheaper than media mail... not even close. What I am finding is that a lot of times parcel post is more expensive than Priority Mail if purchased via the Click'n Ship price. 

Date Posted: 2/24/2010 5:39 PM ET
Member Since: 2/10/2008
Posts: 1,080
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Becca is right. Always check the price between priority and parcel post when you are not shipping books. Weight and distance matter! Lighter weight items tend to be cheaper priority. Heavier items try the flat rate boxes if they are going some distance.

When you are at the post office, always ASK if there are other options, if you want to know. Clerks are told not to offer parcel post. If you are sending books, you MUST say it is books and request media mail. The clerk is supposed to tell you the package could be inspected and take a long time to be delivered. For books on PBS, we know the books can take time to arrive and media is fine.

Media is always cheaper than priority and parcel post.

Keep in mind, if you use priority or express packaging, it has to go that way. You cannot reuse a box and send it media.

Louise, did you print one book wrapper and then add other books to it? If so, the PBS wrapper may have printed first class instead of media. When the extra books put the weight over 13 ounces, it would have to go priority unless the first class is scribbled out (or cut off the wrapper). You can adjust the weight on a book and see if it is going to print first class or media before you print. A few inches up from the print wrapper now button, there is a box you can change the weight.

Subject: Thanks
Date Posted: 2/25/2010 8:33 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2009
Posts: 402
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I printed the wrappers without postage as I always do and they clearly stated media mail, but I did not question too much which was my (costly) mistake.  I will know better for the future.

Thanks all for your responses they have been very helpful.    Live and learn....

Louise

Date Posted: 2/25/2010 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,185
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Next time I was in the post office I would take the receipt showing the Priority charges with me and let the clerk know that they overcharged you on packages that were clearly marked Media Mail. You shouldn't have to be watching them to make sure they don't rip you off. They need to charge you what the package is labelled as. As long as there is no Priority markings or materials on the package they were 100% in the wrong and I'd make sure to complain so that the person knows they have to pay more attention to their job.

Date Posted: 2/26/2010 1:44 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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If your labels were printed Media Mail, and the clerk changed it without even quoting prices, services, and offering you a choice . . . you should consider discussing the matter with your postmaster.  Sounds like they may have taken advantage of an inexperienced customer, and there's no excuse for that.

When purchaseing counter postage for PBS DC labels noted Media Mail, I have to point out to the clerk and request they change the rate to
First Class if I wish.  Although they may ask/confirm 'Media Mail?' when weighing my package, they certainly don't change it without my request. 

Yesterday I picked up a package of three books (too big for my mailbox), all fair size & 2 were hardback, the postage was $3.35 for Media rate.