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Topic: "Tip Sheet" to help educate Post Office staff

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Linda S. (thk) - ,
Date Posted: 2/24/2009 4:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
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Just had an idea----

Our Post Office members and other knowledgeable people have mentioned several references about some of the common problems PBS members have with PO staff, references to the actual USPS documentation.  While I am very comfortable saying "PBS folks said so", this is not very convincing to most PO staff.  These references are scattered throughout the forum.

I wonder how do-able and useful it would be for "us" (mostly the USPS folks, of course)  to compile some of the most useful references into a Tip Sheet that members can use to help their local PO staff.  What do you think?

I see the topics as being the most-commonly-encountered and most-painfully-frustrating-to-have-to-try-to-explain ones.

Here are some ideas of my own to start, the ones I've recently run into:  (Please add others.)

  • APC-printed postage is not an ordinary stamp.  It is trackable postage, and does not need to be handed in at the PO counter, even for a package over 13 ounces.

USPS Reference and brief quote:

  • The date on APC-printed postage is NOT a postmark.  As the postage states, the date is the date of sale.  APC postage can be kept indefinitely and used at any time.  In this way it IS similar to a stamp, though it is NOT a stamp (see above).

USPS Reference and brief quote:

  • PBS delivery confirmation is a recognized online DC.  It only requires an additional 18 cents postage.

USPS Reference and brief quote:

  • Media Mail packages do not have to be partly opened or their contents unwrapped on arrival at a PO

USPS Reference and brief quote:

  • Media Mail is a legitimate form of mail, not inferior to first class, and can be put into the normal Post Office drop box and other places.  It does not need to be handed over the counter,

USPS Reference and brief quote:

!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I ran into the one above for the first time this morning.  Shock to me.  I don't ever recall seeing it mentioned here in the forum.  The PO person said I could put my first class book into the drop box, but that I should hand the media mail one in over the counter.  Because "you people with media mail", or "you ebayers" take up too much space in the drop box, and can clog up the box, and make it hard for the people with first class mail to put their packages in.  I guess we are fourth-class citizens.

Surprisingly to me, I have found a reference that may actually support that position, though I don't know what we are supposed to do when the PO counter is closed.  Come back in the morning, I guess.  See copied below from the Domestic Mail Manual:

176 Deposit

1.0 Deposit for Media Mail

1.1 Single-Piece Mailings

Single-piece Media Mail must be deposited at a time and place specified by the postmaster or designee at the office of mailing. .....

 

 edited to remove duplication



Last Edited on: 2/25/09 7:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Linda S. (thk) - ,
Date Posted: 2/24/2009 4:40 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
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Copied from a post by Connie C.  (cade) about mailing from a different ZIP code than the return address.

Section 604.5.3 Deposit of Mail

Mailer must deposit or enter mailpieces with metered or PC Postage indicia according to the following conditions,

a. Mailers may deposit Express Mail, flat-rate Priority Mail, Priority Mail weighing one pound or less, single-piece price First Class Mail, single-piece price Media Mail, and single-piece price Library Mail items with a metered or PC Postage indicia at any postal facility, preferably within the area of the customer's local post office. Mailers may also deposit......................(the rest doesn't pertain)

Linda S. (thk) - ,
Date Posted: 2/24/2009 4:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
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copied from post by Barbara B (stitch0852)  about maiing items with PBS printed postage on the date shown in the postage

[[[apparently only for metered mail]]]]

4.5.2 Mailing Date Accuracy and Mailing Periods

The date or period when mailers may deposit or present metered mail for mailing is controlled by the mailing date in the indicia under the following conditions. (PBS NOTE: is PC postage considered Metered mail?)

a. Complete Date. Mailpieces bearing a complete date in the indicia must be deposited or presented on that date, except that pieces entered after the day's last scheduled collection from the Post Office or collection box may bear the actual date of entry or the date of the next scheduled collection from the Post Office or collection box. When authorized by USPS, presort mail accepted after midnight may bear the previous day's date. If the mailer knows that the mail is not to be deposited or presented on the date in the indicia, the mailer must use a date correction indicium under 4.4.1.

Month and Year. Mailpieces bearing only the month and year in the indicia may be deposited or presented for mailing on any day during the month shown in the indicia and through the third day of the following month.

c. No Date. Mailpieces bearing no date in the indicia may be deposited or presented for mailing on any date.

Linda S. (thk) - ,
Date Posted: 2/24/2009 4:51 PM ET
Member Since: 10/4/2006
Posts: 317
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copied from post by Caroline S.  about some PO staff wanting Media Mail packages left partly open.

as Caroline comments:  sounds like they can inspect it if they care too - but i dont see where it says it has to be left open!

 

173 Prices and Eligibility

2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Media Mail
...
2.2 Postal Inspection

Media Mail is not sealed against postal inspection. Regardless of physical closure, the mailing of articles at Media Mail prices constitutes consent by the mailer to postal inspection of the contents.

Connie C. (Cade) - ,
Date Posted: 2/27/2009 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2006
Posts: 24
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I noticed that you used one of my posts. I have pasted the entire regulation concerning that dropping of media at other zipcodes. My advice, if you are having a problem with a cetain post office, is to go to the USPS website, search the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual), print off the regulation and take it with you. If you still have trouble, insist on talking to a supervisor then next request the number to consumer affairs. Stay calm at all times because going psycho never helps.

This is from section 604.5.3

Connie

4.5.3 Deposit of Mail

Mailers must deposit or enter mailpieces with metered or PC Postage indicia according to the following conditions.

a. Mailers may deposit Express Mail, flat-rate Priority Mail, Priority Mail weighing one pound or less, single-piece price First-Class Mail, single-piece price Media Mail, and single-piece price Library Mail items with a metered or PC Postage indicia at any postal facility, preferably within the area of the customer's local Post Office. Mailers may also deposit zone-priced Priority Mail pieces at any postal facility, provided the postage affixed to each mailpiece is calculated to include the amount due as specified in 4.3.1, taking into account the weight, shape, and the zone from the ZIP Code of the office where the mailpiece is deposited to the ZIP Code of the destination address.

b. Mailers must deposit all mail not specified in 4.5.3a as follows:

1. At a postal facility within the ZIP Code shown in the indicia.

2. For Presort price mail, at the authorized mailing office if not at a facility within the ZIP Code shown in the indicia.

c. Mailers also may dropship metered mail according to standards in 705.18.0.



Last Edited on: 2/27/09 7:42 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2009 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2008
Posts: 253
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Someone should tell them that "you people" are their customers. 

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
Posts: 285
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As a postal employee, I can tell you why they don't want you dropping your books in the "blue box" collections. Simply, they take up a lot of space in the box, leaving less for first class and other more profitable mail. Also, books tend to be thick, and can jam in the "snorkel" part of the box and prevent other items being dropped in.

If possible, take these items into the post office and drop them in the lobby drop, which has a lot more room and is emptied more frequently. Also, some offices (especially ones with APCs, like mine) have large parcel drop bins for this purpose. (The one with the big sign that says "No letters please,"  that every dern fools drops his letters into anyway. Pardon my venting.)

Also, your packages can be picked up by your letter carrier, saving you the time and gas of going to the P.O. If you have more than will fit in your mailbox, call your post office and request that the carrier come to your door to pick it up. there's no extra charge.

Date Posted: 3/1/2009 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2007
Posts: 515
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Also, your packages can be picked up by your letter carrier, saving you the time and gas of going to the P.O. If you have more than will fit in your mailbox, call your post office and request that the carrier come to your door to pick it up. there's no extra charge.

I thought one had to have at least one package of Priority Mail to be picked up at home by request. I'll have to look into this.

Date Posted: 3/7/2009 1:16 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2005
Posts: 2,148
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I had a run-in with a supervisor at my local post office last week.  I brought in some packages with PBS DC, to get postage applied.  Of course, I got the clerk who looks at everything with great suspicion.  I explained to her that it was electronic DC, and if she scanned it, it would come up as $.18.  She, of course, didn't believe me and had to get her supervisor...who told me that they would NOT accept my packages...that I had to have printed postage online as well, and I was "trying to get around the system."  I told them that I've sent packages this way many times...apparently I had "gotten away with it" until now.  I was getting angry at this point and I asked (actually, relatively calmly) why this was the only post office I ever had problems with.  At which point he told me "so take your packages to another post office, we won't take them here."

Anybody got a citation I can wave in his face?  I'm thinking of filing a complaint, but I want to have the info in hand.

This is a great idea, but I'm just so tired of having to bring in my own copy of their regulations to get anything done at that post office.  (I've had them return packages with "outdated" APC postage as well...was told it was too old, and had to go to the p.o. where I purchased it in order to get it resent.  Different supervisor, but same clerk.  :(

Date Posted: 3/8/2009 1:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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I just was "schooled" last week by a postal clerk at the small satellite branch I usually use when I have larger book mailings (oversized/weight).  I accept a request, pick the latest mailing date and print the mailer with dc and postage and wrap to mail on the date I chose.  I do typically forget or overlook changing the mail date option, so I will watch that more carefully in the future. 

This clerk informed me that the date was way off (I printed it 4 days prior) and it was considered "stale mail" and would mess up their efficiency ratings.  I mailed 8 packages that he scanned in, adjusted the date and printed and stuck stickers on.  He "educated" me and gave me looks for each package.  I finally couldn't keep my trap shut and asked why, in the past year or so that I've been using printable postage, dc and not mailing on the exact day the postage is printed had none of the regular clerks ever said anything to me?   And none of them ever scanned anything in front of me or reprinted stickers as he was doing?  I would just give them my books, they looked at them and placed them in a tub marked media mail.  

I told him since I was now aware of the issue I would try to go by the rules but I thought it was interesting that none of the 3 regulars clerks that work there had ever mentioned any issue to me in the past year.

I realize that in this day and age everything that can be is held to numbers and effieciency ratings and graded and I certainly don't want any business to be called out when because I didn't know the rules but geeesh, this guy seemed to be one of those who really relished putting me in my place. 



Last Edited on: 3/8/09 1:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/9/2009 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 2/19/2008
Posts: 2,007
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Donna, it's possible that, since this is a new month, the station may have just gotten "graded" on their efficiency, and scored low because of this very problem.  Don't worry, it probably wasn't you who caused it, if that's the case, since I doubt you're the only one mailing packages from that station.  But if they just got a report showing that this is a problem there, then the clerks will have been instructed to be more viligent about it, and to explain it to the customers.

 

Date Posted: 3/10/2009 1:12 AM ET
Member Since: 12/4/2005
Posts: 2,320
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Thanks Bernhard--you're most likely correct about the situation.  I am watching  and changing the "mailed by" date on the wrapper print screen and changing it when needed:)