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Topic: Tracking # Problems at USPS

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Subject: Tracking # Problems at USPS
Date Posted: 3/28/2014 5:13 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 20
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Is anyone else having issues with the post office accepting the tracking numbers from PBS? I do not print postage, because I do not have a reliable way to weigh the books and I want the right postage to be put on. I do print tracking confirmation so I can get the quick credit. Everytime I go into the PO to mail it I get the same run around. They do not know what to do with it. Most of the time they just ignore it and have me pay the postage then in a day or two someone scans my tracking and I get the credit, and all is good. Today the postmaster would not accept it. He said he would have to print out a new tracking number and charge me their dollar and whatever change that they charge. I was annoyed but agreed. I have had that happen a few other times and they put the tracking number they printed somewhere else on the label, but again in a day or two my PBS number gets scanned and I get the credit. Today he printed the number and covered up the tracking number I had printed out on the label.  I am a little irritated and curious if this is an issue for anyone else, or is it my post office that is incompetent? 

 

Kathie

Date Posted: 3/28/2014 5:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,322
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Other members have run into this, as well.  Unfortunately the postal employees haven't received the training they should have to deal with electronic delivery confirmation.  If you go up to the "What's New" page -- near the "log off" link at the top right corner of any page -- there's a discussion of the problem and printable instructions you can take in to your Post Office next time you go.

In short, the trick is to scan the bar code BEFORE choosing the "media mail" option.  The computer will then guide the postal worker on what to do next.



Last Edited on: 3/28/14 5:43 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/28/2014 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/30/2008
Posts: 20
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Thank you! You have been most helpful!

 

Kathie

Date Posted: 3/28/2014 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,384
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The directions were written by a postal worker.  My post office loved them.  I keep a print out of the media price list and the label tracking directions to take with me to the PO.  (We can use the APC machine for media mail by selecting the other value stamp if we have the price chart.)

Date Posted: 3/29/2014 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2009
Posts: 28
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The directions were written by a postal worker.  My post office loved them.


 

Our system has many "shortcuts" that are not part of the standard training. We have to learn these shortcuts by word of mouth. This procedure was a shortcut that was in the system long before the software change last year. After the change this became standard procedure, but since it was not "new" they did not provide training. I have a regular customer that uses the USPS Click N Ship program to print labels with tracking, but applies stamps and brings them in (because they're usually over 13oz). I have to put a $0.00 label on them. When the change happened last year I had to search for a way to accept these labels. I knew there had to be a way because our own program allowed a label with tracking only. It took me about a month to finally dig up the procedure for these labels. I knew that if I, as a trainer, didn't know how to accept these labels then the vast majority of other employees didn't know either. Since then I've done my best to spread the knowledge. That's why I gave the instructions to the PBS team. I have also mailed the instructions to other offices. I've gotten a good reception from all and they were thankful for the instructions. Anyone that has already tried taking the instruction printout with you and you are still having problems at your post office with them accepting your e-DC labels send me a PM with your city, state and zip code. I will mail them the written instructions.



Last Edited on: 3/29/14 9:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/29/2014 10:10 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,322
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Thanks so much, Michelle.  I've referred so many people to your instructions.  It's nice to know the history behind them! smiley

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 5:00 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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An ongoing training problem Kathie, it's unfortunate so many USPS counter employees do not know how to process their own barcodes.

But if your local staff will use the directions, it does work!  If they push too many computer buttons before scanning the barcode, it just comes up invalid crying

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,617
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a different topic but if you would like to save some money when you go to the post office with a package and buy postage there, don't buy delivery confirmation. When the clerk asks if you want dc tell them no. They put a trackable barcode sticker on the package that works just like dc. It scans all the way to delivery point just like regular delivery confirm. free. I guess this won't get you the instant credit but the receipt you get has the dc number printed on it and you can enter that in the tracking at usps and follow the package. I send that number to the requester so they can follow the scans on the package.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 11:03 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Charles. Yes they put tracking on every package. However, on media mail and a couple others, that tracking is not activated unless you buy tracking.  Priority and first class the tracking is activated without any extra fee. 

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,617
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well it works for me. All the packages I send are media mail. They all have the bar code put on by the clerks and they all scan at various points until they show a delivery scan. and there is no charge. I know it doesn't make sense but it does work. I have been doing it for almost a year now. I copy the number off the receipt into a pm to the requester and they can check and I have checked to see when they are delivered. I'm not making this up. This is my experience for a while now. Try it once. You may be surprised.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 11:43 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 691
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Charles K, the clerk is supposed to black that line out on your receipt, but I have read comments on postal discussion boards from clerks who refuse to black out the tracking number.  Their theory is somebody should fix the software so that number doesn't print on the receipt in the first place.  So some post offices, the customer will be able to get free or unpaid tracking, and other post offices, the clerk will be blacking out the tracking number unless it is either paid for, or supposed to be free.  Not a great system.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 12:18 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2008
Posts: 2,617
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well I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

I go to the po with media mail packages. For light weight stuff I use paypal and ship 1st class and dc is free in that case anyway.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,359
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My post office not only doesn't black them out, they point out that they're there.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 12:54 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,800
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Hmmm I will have to try tracking mine.  They are never blacked out.  I was just told my clerk that it wasn't activated.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 11/15/2008
Posts: 3,308
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Michelle's instructions worked great at my PO, but I stopped using those labels due to crankiness at the local sorting center. They kept returning the packages for insufficient postage even though I called and so did the lady from my local branch. The workers at the local office got them sorted, but it was a hassle, and after the fourth one, I just gave up on it.

Date Posted: 3/30/2014 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,167
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Interesting info Diane, I wondered why some people mentioned tracking but didn't seem to be paying for it.  IIRC with the old software, the internal USPS tracking was not usable from the public USPS tracking sites.

It still amazes me, in an age when USPS would seem to want customers to bring packages in already labeled and barcoded...and they have such difficulty processing those labels at the counter.  Apparently, some branches are fighting modern times all the way.



Last Edited on: 3/30/14 10:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/31/2014 12:44 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Just like to give a GOOD story about USPS. I had a CD mailed from Japan, with a tracking number. That worked just fine, as I followed my package from that country to ours.  I went to pick it up on saturday, and the poor postal worker just grinned at me. ALL the information (apart from tracking number and my address) were in japanese characters (kunji?).  So they had to just assume the number on it (no barcode) was the tracking number.  I was able to show the postal worker my email (in english) and show that yes those numbers were the tracking numbers. Plus what was inside the package.
She'd never seen anything like it before, even the return address was in japanese characters.  But they still got my package too me, and were nice about it. I promised to email the company about the issue today.  (as I've other things I want to buy from them).

Date Posted: 3/31/2014 2:05 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,322
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What a great story, Xengab!  The postal workers are probably talking about it at the dinner table, too!