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Topic: Received a post due package

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Subject: Received a post due package
Date Posted: 10/16/2016 8:11 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2009
Posts: 712
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I received a single book that the post officed marked it as "stamps defaced/postage voided. I had to pay $3.21 to receive it. I RWAP as "not enough postage" so the sender got the notice. She only replied that she wasn't sure that happened and sorry....nothing about reimbursing me. Am I just out of this money?

Date Posted: 10/16/2016 8:18 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 951
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Well, that's a mystery to me.  The first thing I thought of was that maybe she put tape on the stamps, which is a huge no-no. I think it says on the wrapper not to put tape on the stamps.  So, not sure what "stamps defaced" means. I think you should get your credit back, but I don't make the rules here. Maybe someone else can shed some light?


If you are NOT using printed postage, do be sure NOT to tape over postage stamps! USPS will not accept this.

  • Stamps applied to tape can also be prone to falling off a package.


Last Edited on: 10/16/16 8:27 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/16/2016 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,672
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You can certainly request your credit back from the other member to cover the money you had to pay to get the book.

Your other option would have been to refuse delivery or delay going to pick up the book until you had discussed the issue with the sender and been reimbursed a credit prior to getting the book.

Date Posted: 10/16/2016 9:40 PM ET
Member Since: 9/22/2010
Posts: 3,518
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This past year I had three cases where I placed the correct gummed postage stamps on books I sent to members. In each, some of the stamps came off. 

One was returned to me by the Post Office. I was able to convince them I mailed from that office, giving it to the clerk who accepted it. Therefore, I must have had the correct postage on it. The PO re-mailed it for me.

A second was not accepted by the requestor as there was postage due, more stamps fell off and it was returned to me. I had to mail it again.

The third with postage due was accepted by the requestor, who refused to accept her credit back. I thanked her.

I no longer use stamps on the books I send.  Makes you wonder what the Post Office makes these books go through on their way to the requestor.

Last Edited on: 10/19/16 8:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/17/2016 6:17 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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I am wondering if perhaps the sender was attempting to reuse stamps? We can only speculate... On one hand, the sender has no control over what happens to the package after mailing, but if indeed she had taped over the stamps or attempted to reuse stamps I definitely would have asked for a credit return. In hindsight, you probably should have refused the book.

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 8:17 AM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2009
Posts: 712
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Thanks for the input. I guess I should have refused it. Expensive mistake...hindsight...

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 8:42 AM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,672
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Teresa, you can still request a credit from the other member to cover the postage you had to pay.  They may refuse but at least you tried.

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 8:54 AM ET
Member Since: 1/3/2010
Posts: 16,435
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I agree, you should still request a credit from the sender to reimburse you for the postage.

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 3:19 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2009
Posts: 712
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I asked her if she was going to refund my credit, but I haven't gotten a reply yet.

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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I recommend reporting it to PBS under Feedback. Not Live Help. That will put the issue to the front of the line to be reviewed. 

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 6:49 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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"Makes you wonder what the Post Office makes these books go through on their way to the requestor."


Nearly everything is sorted by machines now and I expect there is some rough treatment along the way.

Date Posted: 10/17/2016 10:00 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 1,031
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Gotta Rant ! ! ! 
Lesson #1 - Postage Due means "OUT OF YOUR POCKET" - why would you pay for someone else's mistake?

OK - 10 cents, 11 cents, 23 cents I can understand - it's cool. 
No Stamps?  Full Postage Due ? ? ? 
I'd be askig the Post Office the embarassing questions of WHO AUTHORIZED THIS PACKAGE TO BE SENT ACROSS COUNTRY WITHOUT POSTAGE - WHY WAS IT NEVER CAUGHT AND SENT BACK BEFORE IT ARRIVED AT IT'S DESTINATION??? Why are you (the Post Office) wasting money like this ? ? ?
Heads should be rolling at the various post offices that any package went thru without BASIC POSTAGE on it AND NO ONE CATCHING IT ? ? ? 

When I get a notice from the PO that a package has arrived with POSTAGE DUE I ask how much is DUE? 
Under 50 cents I can eat - over 50 cents I'll mark it "REFUSED" - I do not even want to know who sent it - it doesn't matter who sent it - they can have it back....that said - IF it was a book that I had ordered, and it goes back to whomever sent it then they can just resend it - hopefully at the proper postage and they'll learn a lesson. If the book never arrives then it'll be added to my Wish List as #501, as soon as the PBS Timer goes off and it'll be marked as "LOST IN THE MAIL". I don't even have to go thru the process of RWAP stuff - never received. If it does arrive later (after it is marked as lost) I'll go thru the proces of marking a book "Lost In The Mail" as received at a later date. 

I don't have a problem with that - why should any one else?
If a package arrives for you and the mailman wants money, then it's out of your pocket - want to cough it up? That's your biz - want to get paid back? Try it and see what happens, might work out for you, might not work out for you. It's your responsibility for interferring with the proper operation of the Post Office and its proper operation of ensuring everyone pays the proper postage.

At some point in time, after you've dealt with insufiicent postage problems one time too many, you'll realize that you really don't have to deal with them - just pass them back to the post office which allowed the problem to begin with. 


Rant's over - your method on how to deal with this issue is welcomed - snarks are always welcomed.

Danny N (Alameda) - Havelock NC 
One Postage Due Too Many ! ! !  




PS - as an aside - every piece of mail sent thru the US Postal Service is automatically scanned and photographed for various reasons (most having to do with National Security). - if you send a package (Book, DVD, CD) with full postage paid and it is returned to you because the stamps fell off (or whatever), then it is your responsibility to file a claim against the P/O that full postage was paid and you want recompense. They have all the proof needed to validate your claim and can do so if pressed, If need be PRESS the issue. Failure to do so just allows the problems to continue. w/o ever getting corrected.





Last Edited on: 10/17/16 10:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 1:34 AM ET
Member Since: 1/23/2014
Posts: 889
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Danny N. - great advice.  2 thumbs up! yesyes

Date Posted: 10/18/2016 3:14 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,898
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Having worked for the Post Office, I can tell you that no pictures are taken of every single piece of mail and only ones that had drugs or suspicious looking contents or damaged parcels might, I say might, be photographed by an employee or inspector. The machines handle 99+% of the mail now; when I retired, almost all letters went onto machines and small parcels and flats.  Now I saw the machines that handle parcels and again, no pictures are taken of every piece (I do not even believe the machines can snap a pix) and it is only when the carrier goes to deliver it that the mail may be caught with insufficient or no postage.  In a small city, the Postmaster may be the one to put up the mail.  The mail is supposedly sorted by how it is delivered so the carrier does not sort the letters anymore one by one.  My job before I retired was handling short-paid or no postage mail as well as handling the damaged letters and parcels.  That position no longer exists; it was eliminated at my sorting center by the early 2000s.  In the race to sort mail faster and faster to keep costs down, there can no longer be anyone that goes through the mail looking for short-paid mail.  Usually those without postage get kicked back, letters I am talking about.  But nothing is 100%.  You all do realize that billions of pieces of mail are sent out every day, not a week or month, every day.  Can you imagine photos of a billion pieces of mail taken every day and stored where and for how long.  

In any event, I have gotten short-paid books sent to me.  I always pay and mark the book RWAP letting the sender know.  Most of them have been under .30-40¢.  I did get one that was sent without postage and refused it and PMed the sender about it.  There were also two or three members that reused postage and when the Post Office brought it to me, I refused to pay, letting them send it back.  Again, I PMed the sender letting them know they were caught reusing postage as well as contacting PBS about it in the event the member made a habit of doing this.  One gal had her account closed or they may have closed it but she was gone no long after I sent PBS a PM.

Last Edited on: 10/18/16 3:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 11:59 AM ET
Member Since: 6/2/2014
Posts: 11,524
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Good advice Danny!

Date Posted: 10/18/2016 12:49 PM ET
Member Since: 11/6/2009
Posts: 712
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Thanks to everyone who chimed in. I got some useful advice. I did PM the sender, and she was polite about it. She asked if I wanted a check or a credit. I just had her send the credit. So all is well, and I'll know better how to handle it if it ever happens again. Surprisingly, this was the first time this happened to me.

Now if I can just get a "deal" mess worked out where the person let the order time out and everything rolled over to the next people....Unfortunately, this ISN'T the first time this has happened.

Last Edited on: 10/18/16 12:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/26/2013
Posts: 767
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Well, it usually means the stamps had already been used once.  Sometimes you'll receive a letter or package where the stamps appear to have never been used - stamped, etc.  But the post office will, at times, use something akin to an ultraviolet light to stamp them, so it doesn't show to the naked eye, but it definitely has been used.  

I don't know if the sender knew this or not, but if they pulled the "unused" stamps from another package and tried to reuse them, this is illegal.  The post office does NOT miss stamping postage by one way or another.

The sender should reimburse you your cost.



Date Posted: 10/18/2016 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,276
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Teresa, thanks for letting us know how this turned out, and glad to know the sender refunded your credit!

Date Posted: 10/18/2016 1:55 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2014
Posts: 2,793
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Sometime I receive packages with stamps.  The Stamps usually not cancelled with a postmark because I think most clerks have abandoned that process.  

That's very interesting about the UV marking on the stamps.  Thanks for telling us JoAnne.  

Subject: USPS PROGRAM - > Mail Isolation Control and Tracking
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 4:17 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 1,031
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Edited - as Bob Dylan would sing - "well, the times they are a changin'" -  

USPS has two programs known to the public that monitors mail sent thru the USPS system.
The 1st one has been around for over 100 years - taking pictures of mail sent to or sent from a "person of interest", usually for suspected criminal activity and usually under a warrant. It was and is called simply: 'Mail Imaging' 
The 2nd system used by the USPS is called the 'Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program', which was created and put in place after anthrax attacks claimed five lives in 2001.

For further info just search for "MAIL ISOLATION AND TRACKING" 
The 1st program was used to assist Law Enforcement when requested and (almost) always under a warrant issued by the proper channels and documented for official actions and controls.

The 2nd happens 24/7 for (almost) everything that goes thru the USPS mail system. Supposedly Law Enforcement cannot review any images without prior authorization, but it is currently unknown who has the authority and under what conditions any law enforcement agency may request such data (etc). In other words some ask and get, and some ask and don't get - some ask with a warrant and get, and some ask with a warrant and don't get. 


Mail Isolation Control and Tracking (MICT) is an imaging system employed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) that takes photographs of the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States.[1] The Postmaster General has stated that the system is primarily used for mail sorting,[2] though it also enables the USPS to retroactively track mail correspondence at the request of law enforcement.[2] It was created in the aftermath of the 2001 anthrax attacks that killed five people, including two postal workers.[2][3] The automated mail tracking program was created so that the Postal Service could more easily track hazardous substances and keep people safe, according to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe.[2] 

etc -  


From Newsweek - http://www.newsweek.com/postal-service-photographs-every-piece-mail-us-shares-agencies-request-it-280614 

By Lauren Walker - 10/28/14 
The USPS uses a program called Mail Imaging, which takes a photograph of the outside of every piece of mail sent in the U.S. While the primary purpose of taking the pictures is to process the mail, law enforcement agencies are able to request images of mail sent and received by a target they are investigating.

Another system used by the USPS is called the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking Program, which was created and put in place after anthrax attacks claimed five lives in 2001. It tracks and investigates mail suspected of containing bio-hazardous material, and was first made public in 2013 during an investigation into ricin-laced letters sent to President Obama and then New York City Mayor Bloomberg.


From The New York Times by Ron Nixon July 3, 2013

Headline - U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement

 - ...was targeted by a longtime surveillance system called mail covers, a forerunner of a vastly more expansive effort, the Mail Isolation Control and Tracking program, in which Postal Service computers photograph the exterior of every piece of paper mail that is processed in the United States — about 160 billion pieces last year. It is not known how long the government saves the images.

Together, the two programs show that postal mail is subject to the same kind of scrutiny that the National Security Agency has given to telephone calls and e-mail.


It doesn't take a Rocket Scientist to figure where something was sent from - you start at the destination and work your way back using time stamps, CCTV video images and anything else available to recreate events - it mostly takes time and man power and common sense (AKA Detective Skills). It costs money - time is money and man-power is money. Most Law Enforcement agencies have to budget for this and do. 

I don't have a problem with them doing this, but would like to know that there is some structure codified in the law to prevent abuse by personel on their own agenda. Seems like everytime a new system is installed and used, that at some point in time there will be folks attempting to abuse that system for their own nefarios schemes - happens over and over again. 


Last Edited on: 10/20/16 6:02 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 1/7/2007
Posts: 1,031
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 - as an aside - 160 BILLION PICTURES a year (and growing!!!) where can you store such an amount and be able to retieve something of interest with some semblance of ease?

You can buy Hard Drives with up to 100 TBytes of storage for a few hundred bucks - I've read that Samsung has just invented Circuit Cards that can easily hold 100 TB (Terra Bytes) and uses 1/20th the power used by Hard Drives that did the same thing and are 20 times faster - there are places like google and yahoo that use racks upon racks upon racks of storage devices - they all require power and all generate massive heat. They have Super high speed versions and slow speed versions - all depends on what requirements are needed as to which you use and of course the money you are willing to spend.

I have to wonder who pays for this program because it has to be very big bucks and has to be a major part of some ones (agencies) budget. 


Last Edited on: 10/18/16 8:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 10/18/2016 7:16 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 10,068
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I have rec'd books from PBS members with stamps missing, but not been charged 'postage due'.  It's been obvious that stamps had been stuck on in a row and when I received the package one or more were missing.

Date Posted: 11/5/2016 5:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Yes, at least some mail is photographed.  USPS lost a piece of mail I sent Certified, and while the were investigating why it was not returned to me (delivery refused) a supervisor pulled the picture.  Apparently not all employees know this exists, nor how to go about retreiving a copy.

Date Posted: 11/5/2016 9:07 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 3,349
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I haven't received a postage due package but I have had media mail packages returned to me and I had to pay media mail rate to get the package back.

Date Posted: 11/27/2016 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I have a very good post office.  Even then, the little PBS markings in the postage corner of the wrapper look enough like postage that sometimes they would try to toss them in the mail bin before I could request postage.  So I can see how it might happen that a package got accidently mailed without postage.

As for defaced postage...DH is very thrifty and sometimes wants to try to reuse postage, therefore I try to throw away the ones not obviously postmarked before he sees them.