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Topic: Sports cards, are they legal for media mail?

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Linda S. (thk) - ,
Subject: Sports cards, are they legal for media mail?
Date Posted: 8/22/2007 11:13 AM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
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I have some opened hockey card packets, and am thinking of offering them as freebies with an order. Are they legal to include with media mail?  We do read them, don't we?

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Last Edited on: 1/16/12 12:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/22/2007 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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Brandy, if that were the case, then the PO wouldn't have such a fit about people including bookmarks and tea bags in with the books. If it's not media per their description, it isn't allowed. And I don't think sports cards qualify. Here's their short official description. for the long version, click the link:

Content (373.2.0)
"Generally used for books (at least eight pages), film (16 mm or narrower), printed music, printed test materials, video and sound recordings, playscripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, and computer-readable media. Sound recordings may include incidental announcements of recordings and guides or scripts prepared solely for use with such recordings. Books may contain no advertising other than incidental announcements of other books. "

Date Posted: 8/22/2007 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Last Edited on: 1/16/12 12:37 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/23/2007 2:34 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Actually, that's from the Media Mail rules. Here's the http://pe.usps.gov/search/jsp/search/vv_docread.jsp?k2dockey=http%3A%2F%2Fpe.usps.com%2Ftext%2Fdmm300%2F173.htm%40PE_DMM300_HTML_5&serverSpec=56.0.145.56:9920&QueryParser=Simple&querytext=%28media%3CAND%3Email%29&dtype=2#hit0 to the Media Mail rules from their own Domestic Mail Manual (DMM). Look at section 4.0 for rules on enclosures.

Steve can probably tell us more, but my opinion on why they're picky about invoices, teabags, etc is that
(1) they lose money on MM anyway, but are having a horrible problem with folks mailing non-media at MM rates
(2) so they're cracking down on non-Media, but are going by what a supervisor tells them, not the actual rules as printed in the manual

My advice? Go ahead and send the cards with the books, and also enclose a printout of the rules in case your pkg is chosen for inspection. Hey, I much prefer education over confrontation!

ETA: Rules in the 300 series are for discounted mail, like bulk mailers. Most of us send Retail mail, which is in the 100 series (MM rules are section 173)



Last Edited on: 8/23/07 2:38 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/23/2007 2:42 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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The last time this was brought up, Steve did say he doubted it, but I believe he said he wouldn't rule it out. Here is what it says about "incidental" items and why they are probably not allowed. I don't see anything in the rules that say anything more about something being included, and I surely don't think cards are related to a book:

"An incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, ..."

Date Posted: 8/23/2007 2:59 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Sherry, the information you are talking about is in subsection 4.5 The information Brandy mentioned is in subsection 4.1

Here is the link again: http://pe.usps.gov/search/jsp/search/vv_docread.jsp?k2dockey=http%3A%2F%2Fpe.usps.com%2Ftext%2Fdmm300%2F173.htm%40PE_DMM300_HTML_5&serverSpec=56.0.145.56:9920&QueryParser=Simple&querytext=%28media%3CAND%3Email%29&dtype=2#hit0

Even under SS 4.5, a personal note would be allowed (one of the things MM has been returned for*). And the OP specified "sports cards" (specifically hockey) so if she threw them in with an order of a hockey-themed book, I can surely see a relationship.

ETA: * further evidence, to me, that inspectors are going by a third-party interpretation and not actually reading the rules. Which is not to say I don't appreciate the USPS and its employees - I do, but if you're gonna publish rules, go by them, KWIM?



Last Edited on: 8/23/07 3:04 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/23/2007 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2005
Posts: 6,421
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I would imagine the PO would question the validity of sports cards being related to a hockey book, but probably depends onhow they feel that day and whether they read the rules or had them read to them and how much brain power they put into deciding whether those are actually related items! hahahaha And like you say, it would be nice, if not only they went by the rules, but if they all had a clear understanding of the rules. Unfortunately, just as easily as you and I read that rule two different ways, there are thousands of PO employees out there that may read it yet a 3rd, 4th, or even a 5th way! hahaha