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Topic: USPS doesn't recognize PBS DCs

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Subject: USPS doesn't recognize PBS DCs
Date Posted: 9/25/2014 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2007
Posts: 394
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For the last 3 trips with many books, I've had the USPS do everything they can to get the PBS DC to take in the system but it won't unless I ALSO buy the USPS DC for an add'l $1.05.   Anyone else experiencing this??!!  It's getting DARN pricey to pay for DC twice just so I can get credit!   I have 3 books on my list that DC shows delivered (after paying for the extra DC so I could get my credits) that the recipients haven't taken the time to post received.  Had I NOT paid all this extra $$, I would be still sitting here waiting for the receiving members to mark it.

Date Posted: 9/25/2014 10:22 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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This has been discussed at length over the last 18 months, and has to do with a software change.  PBS has a guide to print and take to your postal branch.

Bottom line, most counter clerks go too far into the transaction before attempting to scan the barcode.  They need to enter the zip code first, then scan.  Once they push several buttons and get to the part about rate (and attempt to enter Media Mail) it's too late and the barcode will scan as invalid. 

Date Posted: 9/27/2014 9:01 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2007
Posts: 394
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After MUCH arguing with the postal clerk and asking to speak with the Postmaster directly, the Postmaster said it has to be scanned as prepaid mailpiece acceptance and then postage sold and then the USPS adds a PID (at no cost to me the consumer) and it then allows the PBS DC to work.  I  WISH  the Postmaster would have agreed to come out and explain this to us & the workers before I spent $20+ in extra DCs I did not need!

Date Posted: 9/28/2014 1:14 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Actually, your postmaster is also mistaken...but at least believes that it''s a valid transaction and you don't have to purchase counter Tracking/DC.  If they know how how to do it, it's a simple process same as other counter postage situations.

If you have the time and energy, you can contact your regional postmaster or staff training person and request your Post Office be instructed on the proper method of processing pre-printed Trackiing.

Did you try the PBS suggested method of printing the instructions and taking them with you to the PO?  My old PO was happy to learn how to do it and even forwarded the information to their satellite branch for their use also.



Last Edited on: 9/28/14 1:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/29/2014 7:23 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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Sorry, but the printed instructions do not work anymore. 

I have a VERY COOPERATIVE post office, live in a small town, took to TWO different post offices and now, tracking is not working again, even though I have had them follow the instrucitons in the past for last 3 years.

Today, we tried every method known to man and could not get it to work. 

Date Posted: 9/29/2014 7:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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^^^^  to be more specific:

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROCESSING A PACKAGE with ELECTRONIC DC:
1) Place the parcel on the scale.
2) Key in the zip code.
3) Stop. You should have the "What are you mailing?" screen showing. Scan the tracking barcode on the label. This should bring up a new screen showing the postage plus the correct charge for the e-DC (.23 for media mail)*

We did that.  We  were very careful about it, just put on scale, key in zip code, then scan the tracking barcode.  "Don't do anything else" before that, I told them. 

As SOON as they scan the bar barcode, it brings up "invalid". !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Whatever the problem is, I don't know.  It worked before 2013, then we had to do this all thru 2013, it worked thru part of 2014, and just now, it stopped working again.

According to my PO, USPS redid something again in their software, maybe the postal liaison and usps need to have another talk.

We tried and tried, and could NOT get past the invalid label problem.  I spent 20 min down there today, these people have been scanning my PBS packages for 4 years now, since 2010.   Happily and with much friendliness.  

But right now, it is NOT working again.  

Date Posted: 9/29/2014 8:40 PM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2010
Posts: 1,540
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By the way, it worked a few weeks ago, didn't today.  

I will just use PBS Printable Postage from now on, no biggie, still cheaper than counter.  :)

The Team was very quick to get back to me on this problem,

 

I am also going to print out the instructions AGAIN for my po (even though  I watched them do everything today, they turned the screen around so I could see, and it really did not work today.  

I still think it is a software problem w/in the USPS software....a glitch somewhere where something isn't programmed quite right ?

Date Posted: 10/4/2014 8:16 PM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2009
Posts: 28
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I'll check on this.  I'm pretty sure I had an e-DC this week that worked just fine. The only changes to my original instructions would be that after keying the zip code the customer has to answer the hazmat question on the screen. Then the barcode can be scanned. So the steps would be:

1) Place parcel on scale.

2) Key in zip code

3) Have customer answer hazmat question on keypad display.

4) STOP! Scan the tracking barcode on label. This should bring up the additional services screen with Tracking already checked. Proceed as normal to finish the transaction.


 

I'm not sure why it wouldn't work for your PO. Hopefully, I'll have one come in so I can check the procedure to make sure nothing has changed.


 

Date Posted: 11/2/2014 11:24 AM ET
Member Since: 10/5/2005
Posts: 465
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I have the same problem as Wintertriangle and my PO does the same thing. I usually have the same workers I deal with who know how to make it work and then it won't work. If they don't cover the DC when the package hits Nashville it scans correctly but it will NOT no matter what they do scan at the local PO.

Date Posted: 11/7/2014 7:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,441
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There is another thread about this. There is a new software update at some branches so the old method no longer works. PBS has been contacted.

This is about PBS DC, not PBS Postage.

Date Posted: 2/20/2015 1:52 PM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2007
Posts: 28,408
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I as well got the:  INVALID LABEL turn away today at the same post office where they usually do it.

Is this now something with PBS now that after the 15th they changed something?

 

Date Posted: 2/23/2015 12:50 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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This is a long and ongoing problem which began with the software update (IIRC) Jan or Feb of 2013.  Even staff that knows how to process the barcodes seem to forget from one month to the next.

Bottom line, the PBS barcodes ARE VALID...and I spent hours and hours on the phone getting this information from my regional USPS office.  If you can get your  USPS Tracking barcodes past the counter staff without defacing or covering them with more expensive counter postage, the barcodes scan just fine and will receive all enroute and even delivery scans.  It's just the software on the counter scanners that's the problem...even their 'behind the counter' back room scanners will scan the barcodes correctly.

There's several options for USPS counter staff to properly scan your barcodes, IIRC PBS has a printable version in the Help Documents.  Usually counter staff push too many buttons on their screen (mail rate, etc) before attempting to scan the barcode. IME, if they scan it early (only one or two options in, zip code only) it scans fine, and in fact brings up all the rate and other information automatically as it is encoded in the barcode itself.  If they attempt to manually enter the label information before scanning, it comes up invalid.

A quick solution is to use the APC and blue box your Media Mail...the scans work and you don't have to deal with untrained counter staff.

Date Posted: 2/25/2015 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2010
Posts: 582
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I just mailed out 5 books using PBS DC with no issues.  

Date Posted: 2/27/2015 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Yuppers, PBS labels are entirely valid and properly trained staff shouldn't have any issues.