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Topic: Is this true?

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Subject: Is this true?
Date Posted: 3/5/2011 7:55 PM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I used PBS electronic postage - I am in NH, but couldn't drop the books in a blue box because they were multiples and in boxes.  I couldn't drop them in my local PO either for I was heading towards Boston, MA.  I dropped them at a PO  in Boston and  I was told they would take them this time, but the zip code on the return address has to match the zip code of the PO branch.  Basically, I can only use my local PO when dropping off mail and using electronic postage.

I usually only use DC, but time restraints I used Postage.  Is this true or is this Clerk making her own rules? 

ETA:  add info.

Last Edited on: 3/5/11 10:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 3/5/2011 10:46 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2006
Posts: 279
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Yes, this is true.  I was told that when I was mailing an Ebay package 3 hours from my home one day.  They time how long it's taking packages to get to their destinations, so if you are mailing from a diff. zip code then what's on the package, they are not producing totally accurate info.

Date Posted: 3/5/2011 11:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/14/2010
Posts: 577
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So is it ok to post something without a return address?  I used to do this a lot when I was living without an address, no one said anything.

I also know several people that have mailed things from vacation, it seems like the PO could lose potential business especially from tourist areas if something wasn't available.

Last Edited on: 3/5/11 11:01 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/5/2011 11:18 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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At one time we were told that POs get paid based on the amount of mail using their zip code.  Some POs do not want to spend time processing mail with a different zip.  Based on the rules, which probably were developed for those mass mailings, there is some truth...but only a little.  Single mailings should not be subjected to this guideline.  As already mentioned, we've all mailed postcards while on vacation.  If we were really only meant to mail from our own zip code, stamps would be pre-printed with the zip codes.

Basically, it's a bogus excuse unless you are mailing hundreds of envelopes at a time.

Last Edited on: 3/5/11 11:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 3
Date Posted: 3/6/2011 12:34 AM ET
Member Since: 2/9/2011
Posts: 126
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I send mail and books from a different zip code all the time and have never had a problem. I live in one town and work in the neighboring town. I frequently use the blue mailbox that is right at work, and if I need to go to the actual postoffice, the one for my work town is right near my work place, so I go there (my home town's post office is not convenient to me). It may also help that my work town is the regional distribution center, so chances are if I did mail my stuff from my home town, it would get forwarded on to my work town for distribution anyway.

Date Posted: 3/6/2011 1:49 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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It is partially true. When you use electronic postage that is purchased online, the PO of the return zip is given some sort of credit for the sale. It is assumed that the books will be sent out through this PO. I believe postmasters are encouraged (and possibly have some sort of incentives?) to get their customers to use the online postage, so they want to make sure they get credit for it. 

This only matters for electronic postage. When you mail from the counter, it doesn't matter what the return address is. And good old fashioned stamps are a whole different issue, but again, the return address doesn't matter on packages bearing regular stamps. It only matters for electronic postage.

When you use USPS Click'N'Ship (Priority Mail and Express Mail online), it gives you the option to send from a different zip code as the return address. Unfortunately, the vendor PBS uses for their postage does not allow this, occasionally causing headaches for PBS users who might mail their packages from work or wherever. 

However, I don't think USPS employees have the power to reject a package for this reason. If they catch it at the counter, or if you are someone who does this frequently, you'll likely get a lecture about it. But I have never heard of them refusing or returning a package for this reason, so I don't think they actually have the ability to do it. 

My advice is to avoid this when possible, but if it's not possible, try to avoid face to face contact with a human being. Blue boxes are great, or most POs will just let you leave them on the counter. You shouldn't have to wait in line or interact with a human. You bought the postage online, so they can trace you if they really need to. 


I got a big lecture about this a few years ago. The PO who delivered my mail was 15+ minutes away, so I always took everything to the post office that was 3 minutes away (different zip code). I started using Click'N'Ship for my business, and learned very fast that I needed to change the mailed from zip code!! It's too bad PBS doesn't have that option as well, though I don't think it's their fault, I think it's Endicia's.

Date Posted: 3/6/2011 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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Post Offices cannot make up their own rules.  They must go by the DMM, which says:

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.

Date Posted: 3/6/2011 11:51 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Diane, does this means that though they prefer that I mail the packages at my lcoal area, all postal facilities should accept the packages?  Correct? 

Thanks for everyone's response.  Though I always try to mail from my location, it isn't always doable because of my schedule and the limited hours of the post offices. This kind of restraint would make it sometimes impossible to mail books using electronic postage. 

Date Posted: 3/6/2011 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 706
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It's true IF they are flat-rate type of articles.  If they are zone-rated, then the first 3 digits of the office of mailing need to match the first 3 digits of the zip code where the postage was printed, so that the zones won't be off.    So if a person was mailing Parcel Post, or Priority over a pound, they would have a little less leeway than the people mailing articles listed in my other post.

Date Posted: 3/6/2011 12:15 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,804
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When I mail things home from my son's (I never have enough room in my suitcase), I always use my own return address.  That is so if for some reason the TO address is messed up I'll still get the package.  I've never had a problem doing so, priority or not. 


Date Posted: 3/6/2011 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 602
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Again, the return address is only potentially an issue when you are using postage you purchased online. If you use stamps or an APC or the post office counter it doesn't matter. 

Diane, good point about the zoned postage. Fortunately books sent with PBS postage always go first class or media mail, so it shouldn't be an issue if you're purchasing postage from PBS.

Date Posted: 3/7/2011 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,210
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I have rarely mailed my PBS packages from my home zip and have mailed from at least 3 states without a problem. My clerks say it is their job to take the mail and mail it and it should not be an issue. Some post offices don't like to do it because they do not get the credit for it.

Date Posted: 3/7/2011 9:04 PM ET
Member Since: 5/15/2008
Posts: 193
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And sadly, that is a failing of PBS, because they do not allow you to change the "mailed from" zip when printing the labels.  But most post offices, like said above, have no problem if you go inside and ask them to print a "0-strip" ($0 postage meter sticker) as a way to show a transaction in their office.  So the USPS knows that they handled the item, even with postage already attached.

Date Posted: 3/10/2011 7:55 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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Thanks for all your replies.  I thought it odd and it seems like the clerk was making her own rules.  I think I will call the postmaster and explain the issue and make sure that their clerks understand the rules!

Date Posted: 3/10/2011 3:29 PM ET
Member Since: 12/12/2005
Posts: 921
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Last Edited on: 10/17/11 9:24 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 3/18/2011 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,889
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I mail packages all the time when I'm on business trips or vacation with my home address as the return address and have never had a problem. In fact, if I try to mail with no return address, they won't take it!