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Topic: Do not tape over barcodes

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Subject: Do not tape over barcodes
Date Posted: 12/3/2007 4:08 PM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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Just a note. I read somewhere not to tape over barcodes, it may make it harder for the barcode machine to read it. I suppose, in the case of USPS, it would be rejected by the machine and hand scanned by a person.

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 4:42 PM ET
Member Since: 2/15/2006
Posts: 73
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Wow ... thanks for the reminder. I keep forgetting that and since I often reuse envelopes that need a LOT of taping, I can often tape over the barcodes. Thanks to your post, I'll get back to my habit of taping first .. THEN affixing the label.



Date Posted: 12/3/2007 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 965
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I've taped over the barcodes before not realizing this might be a problem. To date, I haven't had a problem. I thought I read somewhere on this forum that only some P.O.'s have a problem with this. I plan not to in the future just to play it safe.

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 5:57 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,371
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In general, if it's one thickness of tape, and there are no wrinkles in the tape, it doesn't cause a problem.

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 6:12 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,231
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Most of the equipment has been updated enough for this to not be a problem anymore.  As Patty said, as long as it is just one layer and not wrinkled, you should be fine.

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,832
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I compromise and tape over the lower half of the barcode.  That way, the numbers are preserved if the top, uncovered half, smears.

Mendy -
Date Posted: 12/3/2007 7:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/16/2005
Posts: 8,262
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I've had my clerk tell me that I should tape over the barcode because it keeps it from smearing.  I do like Sarah and I tape over 1/2 just in case.  :O)

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 7:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 12,167
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I tape over the numbers, too, just as a precaution.  I do remember that one of our kindly USPS employees/PBS members said that as long as the tape isn't wrinkled, it's fine, but that wrinkles do cause real problems for the scanners.

Date Posted: 12/3/2007 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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I print my mailers with my Ink Jet printer not a laser, so I always tape over the barcode so it won't get smeared if the package gets wet (which often happens here in the snow).  As long as the tape is completely flat, the scanners don't have a problem with it.


Date Posted: 12/4/2007 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 8/8/2005
Posts: 1,061
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I tape over the barcode as well and it doesn't seem to be a problem...to date anyway.  All the books I've used DC on has been able to be scanned and the PO workers never say anything to me about it.

Date Posted: 12/4/2007 12:28 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2005
Posts: 390
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I tape over the barcode all the time with no problem. In fact I received a book that the barcode hadn't been taped over and it had gotten wet. The ink smears when it gets wet and the barcode couldn't be read, it was actually crossed out by the PO because it was so smeared.

Date Posted: 12/4/2007 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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I tape over the barcode all the time. I send out 10-15 books a week and have never had a problem.  I make sure there are no wrinkles over the barcode or stamp area.  I use the prepaid postage.  I use envelopes and the 1 page label/packing slip. There's really no way once you cut off the packing slip and trim the label to fit the envelope to tape the label w/o going over the barcode.  It says under the PBS directions about wrapping books that you can tape over as long as there are no ripples in the tape.

Date Posted: 12/4/2007 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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From the PBS help center on taping over barcodes:

    • It is okay to apply clear tape over the DC barcode if you are sending a package with PBS-DC
      • If you do this, avoid wrinkles in the tape that can interfere with barcode scanning
Sianeka - ,
Date Posted: 12/4/2007 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/8/2007
Posts: 6,630
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I also tape over the barcode all the time with no incidents yet.

Date Posted: 12/4/2007 2:07 PM ET
Member Since: 1/15/2007
Posts: 880
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I also tape over the number part, leaving the barcode free of tape. I have taped completely over the barcode a few times and those have all been scanned without a problem (or some poor sap had to punch in that endless line of numbers...).

Date Posted: 12/5/2007 7:12 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2006
Posts: 547
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I change the way I tape when I use the bar codes.  Usually, I put my tape the long way across my label when adding it to an envelope or larger package.  When I have a bar coded label, I tape the short way.   This way, I have less tape to mess up and only one piece of tape over the bar code.  But I aways tape over my entire label.  I might be lucky because I live on the edge of a big city and mostly use two of the bigger post offices in the area, and their equipment is really up to date, but I have never had a problem or complaint with my packages.  Honestly, they like me a lot, because if I'm standing in the real line, I'm looking for a lot of stamps, specific stamps or mailing out of the country.  The rest of the time, I know exactly how many stamps I need to put on something or I'm using the APC.  Heck, I've even been complimented on my use of the blue boxes in the area.  Sadly, between this site and another, I really know how to work the under 13 oz postage system.  :)


Date Posted: 12/5/2007 8:33 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
Posts: 14,915
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I tape over my bar codes too.  It doesn't cause a problem unless the tape is wrinkled.

Date Posted: 12/5/2007 8:50 AM ET
Member Since: 1/31/2006
Posts: 1,405
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My PO and carrier both said to tape over the barcode as wetness will smear the ink. 

Date Posted: 12/5/2007 10:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 4,449
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I'd much rather have someone tape over the barcodes and have it not smear and hold the wrapper on better. My P.O. has never had a problem with it.

Date Posted: 12/5/2007 4:56 PM ET
Member Since: 10/2/2007
Posts: 71
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 Down here in my part of the world many of the mail carriers drive trucks and the packages ride around in the back and sometimes end up a little wet so I mail my books in waterproof envelopes and tape over the complete label.  So far I haven't had any problems with the PO about it.

Date Posted: 12/7/2007 8:40 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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I'm glad to hear that it's ok to tape over barcodes. I think I will do that now. Ink jet ink will smear, although you can buy waterproof ink, the standard ink is not waterproof. Labels printed on laser printers will not smear, but the paper could still get wrinkled from water.


Date Posted: 12/7/2007 12:27 PM ET
Member Since: 8/13/2006
Posts: 126
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You also have to take into account the shininess of the tape.  My daughter usually tapes up mine, and once she forgot and put tape over the bar code.  He couldn't scan it, not because of any wrinkles, but because the tape was too shiny.  We live in a small town and still have larger old fashioned hand scanners.