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Topic: Recent change in APC postage date rules?

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Subject: Recent change in APC postage date rules?
Date Posted: 3/12/2008 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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A clerk at my post office (main Oak Park, IL branch) insisted to me just this weekend that there was a 'big meeting' and they were told that 'from now on' they can never, ever take any APC postage from any date but the date the package was presented -- and that they would be reprimanded or fired for printing out a zero strip to adjust the date for any such APC postage strips.

I thought the date on APC was date-of-purchase, not a postmark like printable postage is??

Date Posted: 3/12/2008 8:23 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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that is news to me, it is supposed to be the date purchased.

I would ask to see it in writing, if it isn't in writing it isn't a rule IMHO!  well it could be a local rule but not a PO rule

Date Posted: 3/12/2008 11:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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She insisted that 'they changed the manual,' and her bosses were very,v ery insistent about never again ever printing a zero strip just to update date on stale postage, on pain of being fired.

And she said if she wanted me to have her risk her job for me in future, I'd have to bring in my own printout of the DMM arguing with her boss.

So I thought I'd ask PBS's local USPS training folks if they've heard of this? Because it's a pain.

Granted, what I use APCs for (to avoid having to go to the post office at all more than once every week or two) is not what they WANT me to use APCs for (to never bother the counter clerks again, but to still go to the post office while it is open to give them my money) -- I've been misusing them, or at least using them in ways they were not intended. Still, this removes enough functionality as to make them largely useLESS to me, or at least extremely less useful.

Date Posted: 3/13/2008 11:08 AM ET
Member Since: 2/28/2007
Posts: 2,164
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Wow, your PO sounds a bit melodramatic!  Either that or she's been on the verge of being fired for awhile and the APC thing would be the final straw.  :)

I haven't heard anything like this and I've been using APC stamps with different dates than the mail date.  So, I don't know if what she has been told is true or not.

Date Posted: 3/13/2008 4:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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I'm not sure I understand the problem.

Your understanding is correct, the date is "date of purchase" not "date of mailing".

She should never have been printing a zero strip to update your APC postage. It didn't need it. I wonder if printing unnecessary strips isn't what she was actually reprimanded for.

Why are you even taking mail with APC to the counter? APC postage is traceable, since you use a cc to purchase, and can just be dropped off.

If you're taking it so you can get DC scanned, she is violating PO rules. They're only supposed to scan DC at the counter if you're buying postage at the counter - and even then, the scan is to get the right amount to charge.

So, you can skip the counter and keep using the APC. Or quit using the APC and buy all the postage at the counter, if you want your e-DC scanned.


Date Posted: 3/13/2008 5:48 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 315
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Mary J.: I've actually had APC packages refused (at the counter when I hand them across) or returned to me for old postage, so if it's more than a few days I'd gotten in the habit of asking for a zero strip, if I were at the counter buying postage for something else anyway. I was told (by a SUPERVISOR) at another, smaller PO I go to sometimes, when he refused to take it at all, that he didn't want the media getting a hold of them and thinking the date on the APC strip was a postmark and therefore publicising 'how slow the post office is'. Which is why he said I had to go to the exact post office that had the APC in the first place and ask THEM for a zero strip ...

I'm just waiting for PBS to ahve printable postage for BoBs and then I'll never have to go into one of those frelling buildings ever again and deal with this PITA ...

Date Posted: 3/13/2008 6:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,226
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When I go to an APC I "Buy Stamps". Stamps are good for when ever I get around to using them. I just used one I have printed in Jan or early Feb with no problems. Sounds to me like they are trying to get more revenue buy telling you that your APC stamp is outdated and that they won't update it with a zero strip so you have to buy new postage from them. Blue box your APC from now on. Ask for the number to the supervisor's supervisor (there is always someone higher up). Explain to that person what they are trying to do and have them inform these people of the proper procedures. Hopefully Connie or one of the other postal employees will come in and confirm whether this could be true or not, but it seems like it would be a step in the wrong direction.

Date Posted: 3/13/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Sounds like the "zero strip" thingy fixed the problem locally but undoubtedly called attention to this location - thus the special meeting. Too bad it didn't address the root problem, which is evidently lack of understanding of APC postage.

BTW, the section of the DMM is 604 - Postage Payment Methods. Paragraph 4.4 says:

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:

1. On letter-size mail, place the date correction on the nonaddress side in the upper right corner or on the address side in the lower left corner.

2. On flat-size mail or parcels, place the date correction next to the original indicium, except when applied by an ink jet printer on barcoded flats.