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Topic: USPS Opening Media Mail

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Subject: USPS Opening Media Mail
Date Posted: 9/2/2009 3:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2008
Posts: 3
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Today I went into my local post office to mail out some books. I had one first class and one media mail. They told me that when I bring in my media mail I should not close it because they need to confirm that it is actually "media". Just wondering if this has happened to anyone else.

Thank goodness I use envelopes to mail my books in and do not wrap them.

Date Posted: 9/2/2009 3:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,200
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It something that's happening in your nutty state Sabrina. All of the reports of automatically searching all Media Mail have come from WI and one member said her clerk told her that it was instruction handed down from the district office.

Personally, I'd be using PBS postage on everything over 13oz and stamps on anything smaller and dropping them in a box, let them waste their own time.

Date Posted: 9/2/2009 4:33 PM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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As a former Congressional aide, I'm going to suggest you guys start writing to your Congress members that you object to this method, and that if they want to check pacakges, they can inspect them behind-the-scenes at random, properly re-sealing them, as per procedure. This situation sounds as though it's gotten out-of-hand.

Date Posted: 9/2/2009 11:55 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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It sometimes helps Sabrina, to demand your post office to produce that official rule in writing.  Keep insisting, because it doesn't exist and they can't produce it.  Media Mail is always subject to inspection.  But if they wish to inspect your Media Mail, they can use proper procedure...which does not involve you or the front counter.

Date Posted: 9/3/2009 12:46 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2009
Posts: 60
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This is why I greatly prefer the APC. No human, no muss, no fuss. =P

Date Posted: 9/3/2009 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 11/24/2007
Posts: 29
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How funny!! I am in WI as well and just received the 3rd book in 2 weeks that was opened by the PO! I always mail with electronic DC and pop into the box so never had to have mine checked personally while i waited in line though.

 

lill

Date Posted: 9/4/2009 3:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Smart girl Lillianne, your state has recently become rather anal regarding Media Mail.   But trying to inforce rules that don't exist isn't going to improve the situation.  USPS has established regulations for inspecting mail, and your post office needs to follow the rules.



Last Edited on: 9/4/09 3:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Another one.
Date Posted: 9/5/2009 2:27 PM ET
Member Since: 12/30/2005
Posts: 10
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I am also from Wisconsin and when I took a really small book to the post office (which went really cheap) this morning, the clerk said did they tell you about media mail? Um, no.  Well the next time you are going to mail something media mail, don't seal it before you bring it in because we have to check it... then we'll tape it up for you. And if I mail it from my house?  Just don't seal the end so the carrier/clerk can check it and seal it.  Soooo...don't know what's going on with that. If I leave it open and they seal it, are they still required to include the "inspected" document?

Date Posted: 9/5/2009 9:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2008
Posts: 3
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While the clerk was explaining the rule she said it was because media mail in a discounted rate and they USPS wants the make sure the it is actually media mail we are sending. I to usually use printable postage I just thought I would be nice and take the package in because I was mailing out 4 books.

I just can't wait until next time I wrap a media mail book. I can just imagine the look of my clerks face when she needs to figure our how to put it back together. ;)

Subject: Just remembered
Date Posted: 9/5/2009 10:12 PM ET
Member Since: 4/30/2008
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So I just remember another thing the clerk told me that I think of it is pretty funny.

I live in a town with about  200 people so the post office is about the size of my walk in closet. While she was telling me that I need to not close up my package she also says that I am the only person in town the she has ever had that uses media mail. And we have talked about PBS and what it is. She has even told me that she has looked PBS up and has thought about joining.  :)

Date Posted: 9/6/2009 8:37 AM ET
Member Since: 5/14/2009
Posts: 6,852
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I spoke to my clerk about this she said there aren't enough postal inspectors and if they suspect fraud upon delivery they the "clerks" can request to see the package - but can not open it themselves until it is accepted.  Even when shipping if they suspect fraud then they can open the package and reseal, but a form needs to be placed in the package. She said what is going on in WI sounds strange and she said if she lived there she would be asking alot of questions and call USPS for answers.  Procedures aren't being followed.

Date Posted: 9/6/2009 6:57 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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The subject of leaving Media Mail open when bringing to the counter, actually arises every so often here at PBS. 

IIRC, there is no official written rule regarding this practice...though various post offices attempt to invent a local policy.  If you don't wish to participate in their mock inspections, demand to see the Official USPS Written Rule - it doesn't exist, and they have no authority to enforce their request.  OTOH, Media Mail by defination is subject to inspection, and USPS is certainly welcome to inspect per proper procedure...which does not include the customer nor the front counter.

Also curious about mock inspections at the counter and the official inspection enclosure...anybody know?  Although, since there's no front counter rule, there's unlikely to be a guideline as to the inspection documentation.  But if your postal clerk insists on inspecting at the counter, at a bare minimum, I'd insist she enclose the official enclosure and any other legalities I could think of.

ETA - Agree what WI is attempting sounds kinda sketch and possibly not legally compliant.



Last Edited on: 9/6/09 6:59 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 3:25 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2009
Posts: 81
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I've gotten a couple of books from WI, and I could tell the envelope had been ripped open and resealed.  No enclosure about inspection though.  Looks like they're just ripping them open and sealing them back up.

Subject: WI is lucky I don't ship from there!
Date Posted: 9/11/2009 6:05 PM ET
Member Since: 9/10/2009
Posts: 1
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I just PBS, and I mailed out a half dozen books or so today.  I wasn't even thinking about someone (besides the intended recipient) having to open the package.  I wrapped the holy heck out of the books I sent because I wanted them to arrive in good condition!  Luckily (for me and my postal workers), I live in Indiana, not Wisonsin, but I'll still be keeping my fingers crossed over the weekend!

Subject: WI opening media mail
Date Posted: 9/12/2009 8:52 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,721
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Any PO  can open media mail to verify that's what it is, but it's not usual. Could happen if there is an upcoming inspection. 

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 9/10/2009
Posts: 438
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I'm new to media mail (and PBS).  I mailed one book without problem.  The second time I mailed using media mail, I was given a form to sign acknowledging that the package would be opened.  Not that it MIGHT be opened, but that it WOULD be opened.  This was in a span of two or three days that I had different experiences -- at the same post office!

And yes, I live in Wisconsin.

Date Posted: 9/23/2009 3:55 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Sara P. - it's my understanding that the inspection enclosure is a legal requirement.  Ask your local Post Office, if you don't mind making waves lol!

Rich - I'd ask for a copy of the document you signed (every time) and inquire whether or not an enclosure will be inserted when the inspection takes place...keep'em honest :D  that much over-zealousness is bound to get out of hand, and lead to abuse of the guidelines.



Last Edited on: 9/24/09 2:10 AM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 9/23/2009 9:22 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,277
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Looks like it's a good idea to use DC whenever I ship to WI, if they're going to rip open every package...

Date Posted: 9/24/2009 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 12/29/2008
Posts: 182
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I live in Alabama, and no one has ever mentioned inspections, but I did receive one book in the mail that was in a large brown envelope. ON the outside was written in black marker my Address and  "Inspected by USPS" and it had a Green Card attached that has information about media mail inspection. Inside was the book in the opened media mail package with the pbs label on it.

Date Posted: 9/24/2009 10:01 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,277
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I received one envelope that had been stamped "inspected" also.  It was one of those manilla envelope type mailers, and the books had been chucked loosely into it.  The P.O. had re-sealed it with only scotch tape, and the postal carrier told me that the books had all been loose in his bin & he wasn't even sure if everything was there.

That's only happened once though...  seems like if the books are wrapped tightly in a PBS wrapper, or some other similar type of wrapper (like grocery bags or brown paper), they're less likely to be opened because they can tell easier what's in them. 

Date Posted: 9/25/2009 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I was assured that if USPS inspected a package it would be securely re-packaged.  It is a government agency, so why am I not surprised? 

Question - for those of you that have received media mail that has been inspected, is there an insert with the books?  And if so, what does it say? 

Subject: annoyed with USPS
Date Posted: 10/4/2009 8:10 PM ET
Member Since: 4/27/2008
Posts: 4
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I cant stand the usps anymore.  one of my books took more that a month to reach its destination with an "inspected by the USPS" sticker on it..  My other book that went out the same day, no doubt inspected, NEVER made it. 

 

Nice huh?

Date Posted: 10/6/2009 10:35 AM ET
Member Since: 8/24/2009
Posts: 6
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 I got a package last night that had been inspected.  There was an insert saying that media mail was open to inspection and this package had been inspected.  The package was resealed.  Honestly, if not for the paper insert, I probably would have thought that the mailer had just been used once before.  The package was in good shape.

Date Posted: 10/6/2009 11:45 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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"Honestly, if not for the paper insert, I probably would have thought that the mailer had just been used once before.  The package was in good shape."

My last incoming book was the same - my first thought was it'd been inspected, but no sign of a notice upon carefully checking, so I decided she had re-used an envelope (or the inspector had neglected to include the note).

Subject: MEDIA MAIL
Date Posted: 10/10/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 2/23/2009
Posts: 5
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I live in Michigan's Upper Penninsula.  My local Post Office just started this "MEDIA MAIL" inspection process.  It took me by surprise.  The clerk was a bit indignent and told me it had to do with an Ebay issue of people not getting what they actually ordered????????  My package contained a standard paperback.  Just under the front cover I had inserted the PBS mailing notification (a half sheet of paper) which I had signed and wrote "Enjoy".  The clerk put the paper on the counter and said, "This is not allowed, it's unauthorized correspondence!"  She handed the book back to me and tended to the next customer.

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