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Topic: USPS excludes media mail based on zip codes...

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Subject: USPS excludes media mail based on zip codes...
Date Posted: 5/12/2012 6:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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I went to the Post Office today to mail some DVDs back to Amazon that I bought by accident (because I had no memory of already buying them), and they have a new policy where if you're sending to certain zip codes, their computer asks the clerk if it's a product return. If it is, Media Mail (for this package, $2.89) is not available; you must use either Parcel Post ($6.13) or Priority Mail ($6.30).

I asked if she had any labels. She did, and I took them over to the table, wrote the address out as "Recipient," etc., and covered the label that was there. When she asked this time, I said "No, not a product return." She gave me a look, but she put it through as Media Mail.

She also implied that Media Mail would be going away altogether. I guess this is the latest plan for making more money....

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 6:33 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 704
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Was it a label Amazon had provided you?

Date Posted: 5/12/2012 7:03 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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Yes, but I didn't cover the bar code.

Date Posted: 5/13/2012 12:23 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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There's no real truth (yet) to the Media Mail rate being eliminated, but some anal USPS branches seem to enjoy threatening customers with the possibility.  Reading 'between the lines' this comment usually means the postal staff at this location have a personal vendetta against the Media Mail rate, consider themselves Media Mail Nazi's, and pray daily that USPS will abolish the rate altogether...an interesting fantasy/fetish, but very little truth to it at this point.

Regarding Amazon returns and zip/no Media Mail...I'm curious to see more input from postal employees on that one.  I've not heard of it, and Amazon locations tend to be in high mail traffic locations (no limited services).  Maybe the barcode on the return label was encoded with a different rate? 

I reuse Amazon boxes all the time, and send them out Media Mail...never had a problem.  But I'm shipping to PBS members and not Amazon.



Last Edited on: 5/13/12 12:23 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/13/2012 2:20 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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THe label was not prepaid, so presumably there was no amount of any kind encoded.

Date Posted: 5/14/2012 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2010
Posts: 220
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I cannot imagine a rule that says you cannot send media mail to certain ZIP codes, and would love to see some evidence of it.

Date Posted: 5/14/2012 10:18 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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I searched the web but couldn't find anything, so I only have what the woman at the post office told me. But it's not an entire zip code; it's that certain zip codes have been marked as having retail return centers in them. So, if you have that zip on the package, the clerk asks, "Is this a merchandise return?" If you say "yes," you don't get the option for Media Mail.



Last Edited on: 5/14/12 10:21 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/15/2012 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2006
Posts: 15
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I'm a postal clerk. It issue is that the machine asks us if it is and item being returned to a company. If we say yes we can't select media mail and an option. We also can't add delivery conformation. You do get the internal tracking # that our machines print for every package without additional services. It show on your receipt. As of this time that is the only time the general public gets access to that #. Most clerks don't even realize its on the receipt. Hope this helps.
Date Posted: 5/15/2012 1:13 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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OK, I can understand that it's programed into USPS computers.  But not why.  I know Media Mail rates to not cover return postage.  But if the customer is paying for the (one way) shipping, and it qualifies for Media Mail, why does USPS ban that rate?  Without more information it doesn't seem to make much sense.

Date Posted: 5/15/2012 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 5/4/2009
Posts: 408
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We also can't add delivery conformation.

Uhoh. Can we still use that Internal number to track the item? The only time I will buy DC at the post office is when I am returning items. Otherwise, I will buy it right from PBS.

Date Posted: 5/17/2012 12:31 PM ET
Member Since: 3/24/2006
Posts: 15
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You can use media mail to those Zips you just can't be using the parcel return service. Just say no it's not a return. The internal tracking # works just like delivery confirmation it's just free.
Date Posted: 5/18/2012 2:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/12/2008
Posts: 1,356
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That makes no sense. If the package contains 'media', it should be entitled to the media mail rate regardless of any other facts surrounding its mailing.

Date Posted: 5/18/2012 5:02 PM ET
Member Since: 2/3/2009
Posts: 21
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I didn't think DVDs quailfied as Media Mail?

Date Posted: 5/18/2012 9:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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USPS says: "Media Mailand Library Mail - Books, audio-video recordings, and educational materials that cannot be mixed with clothing or other merchandise as well as specific items mailed by schools, libraries, museums, and non-profit organizations"

 

http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?session={de4ef3b0-a14f-11e1-5732-000000000000}&event=1&view%28%29=c{18a78750-57e2-11dc-51b6-000000000000}&objectId=&eksObjectId=&objectType=Case&isJumpEnabled=false&isContentJumpEnabled=false&vendorKey=&objTitle=&versionId=8664&searchProperties=type:natural&naturalAdvance=false&allStr=&phraseStr=&anyStr=&noneStr=&keywordStr=&tTitle=&topicFromSub=&topicsORSubUrl=&report%280000%29=p{2adbb220-28a9-11e0-5c1d-000000000000}&bcobjectId={409592d0-6974-11dd-e6c4-000000000000}&search=%22media%20mail%22&topicAndSubtopic=Sending%20Mail$ALL

Date Posted: 5/18/2012 10:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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I didn't think DVDs quailfied as Media Mail?

Blank DVDs do not, but DVD movies do. Any prerecorded media qualifies for media mail.

Date Posted: 5/19/2012 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Pre-recorded DVD's are considered Media Mail, blank disks (of any kind) are not.  And I don't believe game disks are considered Media Mail either.  IME single DVD's are light enough to qualify for First Class rates cheaper than Media Mail.

Date Posted: 5/20/2012 5:21 PM ET
Member Since: 8/3/2009
Posts: 545
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That is weird. I regularly sell used books to a bookseller that gives me a prepaid media mail label to use for the box, and I'm pretty sure it says merchandise return on the label. In that particular case it's not a return, per se, but perhaps that's how all their prepaid labels are categorized? It never occurred to me that it could be an issue, because they are books (and only books), and thus should qualify for media mail by the standard rules. If you're returning a book to Amazon, say, whether or not the postage is prepaid you should be able to send it media mail, since it's a media mail item. If it's a commercial vs private citizen thing, Amazon or other booksellers wouldn't be able to send out ordered books via media mail in the first place, and I know they can, as long as the package doesn't contain any non-media items besides an invoice.



Last Edited on: 5/20/12 5:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/24/2012 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2010
Posts: 262
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I'm a little confused by all this.

Does the label provided by Amazon include pre-paid postage? Because if it does, then I don't understand why there's a negotiation of rates at the counter. You should have to pay the rate that Amazon assumed you would pay, because that's what would be coded into the label, right? It seems, from the Amazon site, that they take care of the postage if they're the ones that made the mistake; otherwise you do (I would assume that they deduct the cost from the refund you're about to get). If you paid at the counter, you'd be double-paying the postage, right?

Or did Amazon give you a simple label without postage already paid?

But if you're using your own label (not a postage-paid one), it does seem like you should be able to use media mail. In that case it's not really a mechandise return according to the post office ("parcel return service" or something), and I wouldn't think the addressee would matter....

When I first joined PBS I saw that this forum existed and I asked myself, "What could people possibly find to talk about in a postal service forum? It's just not that complicated." It's amazing how complicated things get, when you get into them....

Date Posted: 5/24/2012 10:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/14/2009
Posts: 8
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The label had a pre-printed address and bar code, but no postage. When I return things to Amazon with a pre-paid label, I find that Amazon charges more for return shipping than the post office. (Or did before now.)