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Topic: US Postal service charging extra first class postage for paperbackswap pack

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Subject: US Postal service charging extra first class postage for paperbackswap pack
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 3:45 AM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 247
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My local post office today charged me 44 cents extra per package (and I mailed 12 book orders) because my packages had invoices or packing slips (8 of them were the official pbswap packing list with no additional info on them). I complained and asked them to research the question and was told that packing lists and invoices can no longer be enclosed in books. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY NOT TRUE according the US postal service site. What do you do when your own post office is flouting its regulations and charging you more?
Tracy in Boston

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 1:30 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,135
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Call 1-800-ASK-USPS and discuss this with them. They'll forward a complaint to your local Postmaster.

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 1:40 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,381
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The only thing I can suggest is to print out the section of the DMM (Domestic Mail Manual) that shows invoices ARE allowed and take it with you.  If they still insist on charging more, ask to see the new regulation IN WRITING.  If they can't provide it, then insist that the package go at the Media Mail rate.  If they continue to say it isn't allowed, ask to speak to the Supervisor.  If that still doesn't work, ask to speak to the Station Manager.  

If you still have problems - if possible, go to another station and mail.  When you get home, go to USPS.com and send an email outlining your complaint.  Be sure to ask for a response, either in writing or an email that you can print out.

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 1:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,381
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The problem with 1-800-USPS is that the people who answer are NOT postal employees and have not been trained as window clerks.  A lot of wrong info goes out thru that number.....

Here is the link for the appropriate part of the DMM:  http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/473.htm#1015188  Item 2.4.1 specifically states that invoices are allowed.



Last Edited on: 6/2/11 1:51 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 3:48 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Anytime someone says something is no longer allowed or the rules have changed make them produce written proof or refuse to pay the extra. It gets really old that these people make this kind of crap up.

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,381
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Melanie - often it isn't that they are "making it up".  It usually is a miscommunication.  The Postal Service is a HUGE entity.  We get "tips" and "reminders" all the time.  Some of them are vague, and a few of them ultimately are incorrect.  If there isn't a seasoned Window Clerk at a facility, misinterpretations can and do happen. 

We are all human and we all make mistakes.  Having an "attitude" or being beligerant won't help matters.  Yes, ask to see it in writing - but do it nicely and don't be condescending.  Especially if you need to go back to that particular location in the future.  Believe me - we remember the "problem" people and the rude ones.  Just like we remember the nice, courteous ones.  Most of us will bend over backwards to help someone who requests something in a pleasant manner.

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 9:25 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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Cindy I have never been belligerent or had an attitude with a single one of my postal clerks because I have never had a single problem with them trying to do things that are not coming directly from the DMM. And they do all remember me, we usually all chat when I am in there and I run PBS problems by them to see if they have heard of the "new rules"  someone's post office has inevitably come up with. One of the clerks even offers to call other post offices who are doing things wrong and in his words "straighten the idiots out.". I have fabulous clerks who believe that working with their clientele and keeping them happy is their job.

In Tracy's situation she was charged over $5 because a clerk would not listen to her. That is absolutely uncalled for. The USPS's own manual is in contradiction to what the clerk was saying and if members of a random website can all know this, then people that have been trained into the job should know this too. In any job, if a customer says "no that isn't right" the person providing the service should be double checking their sources.

Subject: Spoke to a postal supervisor
Date Posted: 6/2/2011 10:52 PM ET
Member Since: 12/23/2004
Posts: 247
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I went back to my post office today when the supervisor was in and talked to him about what happened - and brought in a printed copy from the DMM site which even he wasn't familiar with. It does seem hard to believe - there are thousands if not millions of booksellers in this country, and if even a postal supervisor doesn't know that packing slips and invoices can be enclosed in media mail, something is wrong. Anyway, he did listen to me.

It turns out the clerk who was so nasty to me was new - at least to my local post office (I can just guess why she was just transferred!) and apparently has been irritating a lot of people in the four days she's been in town. I posted my experience on our local community list and half a dozen people emailed me with her description to say - "Was that her? She was nasty to me too".

Anyway the supervisor is rebuking her and going to have a talk to all the clerks there both about media rate AND about consideration to customers.

There may be a lot of postal regulatons for postal employees to remember, but frankly knowing what can and can't be enclosed when mailing books is incredibly basic.........and really should be required knowledge. A LOT of people on selling books on Amazon and Ebay (and dvds and other kinds of media) and certainly a lot of people are using paperbackswap.com as well.

Tracy

 

Date Posted: 6/2/2011 11:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,194
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I am glad you found someone to resolve the issue for you Tracy. It sounds like you've ended up with Connie's Crankypants.



Last Edited on: 6/2/11 11:24 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/3/2011 11:23 AM ET
Member Since: 6/27/2008
Posts: 23,381
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Actually, the entire DMM and IMM are "required" knowledge.......  That said, whatever is not used on a regular basis does tend to fade from memory.  I've been a window clerk for 20 years and still have to look things up, even regarding Media Mail.  Yes, including an invoice should be basic enough to remember, but if the clerk in question has not handled Media Mail, I suppose that it is something that could be forgotten.  However, in this case, it sounds more like you really did have a Crankypants for a clerk.  I'm so sorry that happened to you.  Unfortunately, being a Window Clerk is one of the few ways a clerk in the PO can have regular daytime hours.  Because of that we have people in that job who really aren't suited for it. just because they want or need those hours.

Date Posted: 6/3/2011 1:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I was going to agree with Cindy, but I see the problem has been resolved!  Congrats!!

I also have great postal staff, although some of the outlaying areas are not as knowledgeable they at least listen and run it though their computer (ie don't argue with me over stuff they don't recognize).   

And Cindy, funny you should mention the 'seasoned Window Clerk'.  Besides being well trained, my local PO has one of those too!  I've noticed when they run across something unusal or looking for a techincal reference, all the other clerks (and the postmistress) ask 'Nan'!