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Topic: Can't use the APC machines for Media Mail?

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Subject: Can't use the APC machines for Media Mail?
Date Posted: 4/27/2010 5:04 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 29
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I was told that you cannot use the APC, automatic postal center machines found in the lobby of the post office to send media mail.  I would figure out the postage and use the "buy stamps" feature.  I have been doing this for a long time and this is the first I have heard of it.  Has anyone else had trouble with it?

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 5:16 PM ET
Member Since: 10/3/2007
Posts: 29
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I always heard that you can.  I know that you have to make sure that the package is labelled "Media Mail".  Who told you, you couldn't use the APC for medial mail?

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 6:08 PM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,001
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I do this all the time... I've never had a problem with it... just have a chart with you so you know if first class or media mail is cheaper according to the weight, then either buy your first class stamp, or go back after weighing your package and buy the proper postage amount for your Media Mail under the "Buy stamps of a different value" feature. 

Just be sure that you're marking your packages properly if you're going to use Media Mail postage... and add the 19 cents extra if you're using PBS DC.

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 9:26 PM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 599
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I've never heard of anyone getting their mail returned because of doing this, as long as the package is properly marked media mail and the postage is correct. If some postal worker told you this when you handed them a package, I would just ignore them, you can put the books in a blue box, you don't have to hand them over the counter since the postage is electronic.

If you actually had a book returned because of this, I would be curious to see what they said.

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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well technically APC doesn't have a RATE for media mail so someone uninformed clerk or a cranky pants clerk probably would

say you couldn't use for media mail but all you do is print the stamps "buy stamps" feature.

thats all

Date Posted: 4/27/2010 11:06 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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As you can tell Kathy, many members use APC for Media Mail (I've received quite a few).  This is the first problem I've heard of.  You may wish to ask for clarification and more information.

ETA - if they insist it's not allowed, request to see that regulation in writing...curious to see if they can produce it.

PS - USPS link for APC, doesn't list Media Mail but doesn't ban it either.  Basically, using APC for Media Mail is like buying stamps...because the local post offices that have APC in the lobby do NOT have automated stamp purchase options.  My closest PO has neither available after hours  frown



Last Edited on: 4/27/10 11:14 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Subject: clarification
Date Posted: 4/28/2010 6:57 AM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 29
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Sorry I didn't add who told me that.  I have been using it for a long time and this week the postal employee in the loby who is there to help customers told me that he had just found it out himself the week before.  He said that they had several media mail packages returned that had been mailed from the APC recently and that I had to take all media mail to the counter.   I later went to another post office to mail my books and asked the clerk about it.  She said that you could not use the APC to mail media mail, even to print the postage but could use stamps to mail media mail (which didn't make sense to me!) but then anything over 13 ounces would have to be taken inside. 

Date Posted: 4/28/2010 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,001
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Kathy, J/W... what state is this?  (Some states seem to be way "goofier" about Media Mail regulations than others...)

I don't understand why you wouldn't be able to use a stamp purchased off the APC for media mail vs. regular stamps... a stamp is a stamp, isn't it?

Date Posted: 4/28/2010 11:01 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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That's what I was just about to type Debbie  :)

Do you happen to be in that freak state Wisconsin Kathy? They are making up their own rules on Media Mail. That's the only thing I can think of, because a "buy a stamp" stamp bought on the APC is no different the regular stamps bought in a book of 20. eta: except it gets you by the 13oz rule.



Last Edited on: 4/28/10 11:53 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/28/2010 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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iI pmed  steve coffee who is like our resident postal supervisor and asked him what his take is on this

Date Posted: 4/28/2010 12:43 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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"Do you happen to be in that freak state Wisconsin Kathy?"  I had the same thought lol!

ETA - in the great state of Washington, I just phoned our closest PO that has an APC.  The nice clerk informed me that APC should be fine for Media Mail, as long as the postage is figured correctly for the weight of the package - they don't care how the postage is delivered.  FYI, it's been my experience that our local POs are very well educated and rarely wrong in these matters.



Last Edited on: 4/28/10 12:57 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 4/28/2010 6:10 PM ET
Member Since: 7/21/2008
Posts: 29
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Hey,  not quite Wisconsin but close, Michigan (of course I do not live very far from the infamous "Cranky Pants post office" of an earlier thread.) I really didn't understand the difference between the APC stamp and regular stamps which is why I asked if anyone else had had this trouble.  I have never had a book returned or even inspected so I was very surprised by this whole thing.



Last Edited on: 4/28/10 6:17 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 4/29/2010 1:43 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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APC machines may dispense regular stamps Kathy, they also print little 'postage stickers' (similar to counter postage) with specific denominations pre-printed.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 10:48 AM ET
Member Since: 5/16/2009
Posts: 8,001
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Maybe "Cranky Pants" was relocated to your P. O., or has a relative there?? surprise

I would ask to speak to the supervisor of the P. O. that you frequent... maybe that particular employee, (or several of them) need to be re-educated so that your packages don't get returned unneccesarily!  Kind of a bother, but it could be beneficial to you in the long run...

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 11:14 AM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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Thanks for the PM Mark, I've been negligent on keeping up around here lately.

I know of no reason why APC postage can't be used but to make sure I've got a call in to an office that has an APC in their lobby to see if anything has changed.  I'll get back as soon as I can get in touch with anybody.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 2:00 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2005
Posts: 209
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I talked to a retail supervisor who has an APC in her facility (main PO here) and she said there has been no change in policy, APC postage is good on Media Mail, it's traceable and should be treated the same as any meter postage.

She said since the APC won't give MM rates perhaps the clerk is interpreting this as it's not allowed but that's not so.

If the issue persists I suggest you ask the supervisor/postmaster for the number for their district retail specialist and take it to a higher level.

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 3:17 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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IIRC the OP received the same wrong information at two local APC locations.  So Steve, I'll second your advice to climb the ladder to...what did you call it...district retail specialist.  I've also had success with the regional postmaster (is than an official title?).

Date Posted: 4/29/2010 10:24 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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ah i thought Steve would come though (would you i belive i even called a 800 ask USPS the first lady said she check with her supervisor

and told me no you cant use apc to send media mail package and if you did so they would send the package back to you! (hey maybe she was

CP! smiley[cranky pants [she sure sounded like one!]

then i called about 20 mintues later (same number) the clerk checked media mail with parcel post and told yes you can use APC

i think the confusion is that a lot clerks are not aware that you can print stamps of any denominations with the APC

so they assume it would only print stamps for express, priority or first class mail etc

Date Posted: 4/30/2010 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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"...i think the confusion is that a lot clerks are not aware that you can print stamps of any denominations with the APC..."  I agree Mark.  Unfortunately, the USPS website doesn't specifically mention Media Mail either.

You Can Do the Following at an APC:
  • Purchase postage for First-Class Mail, Express Mail, Priority Mail and Parcel Post.
  • Weigh and determine the rate for envelopes and packages up to 70 pounds.
  • Buy sheets of stamps.
  • Find a ZIP Code. . .           yada-yada
Date Posted: 5/25/2010 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 6/24/2006
Posts: 1
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The post office in the city where I work refused my package with APC postage today.  I bought it on the 14th, and it's for $2.38.  She said that postage purchased with the APC has to be used the same day it's bought.(!)  I told her that I had 14 more stamps like that, and I'd been doing it for 4 years with no problem.  She went in the back and came out with reinforcements (a supervisor, I guess), handing me a sheet that said I could get a refund for those other stamps, less 10% fee.  I told her I would do it later.  What I really meant was, I would send packages from now on from my hometown post office, where they never give me a problem.

I called 1-800-ASK-USPS when I got in the car, and she said she didn't see anything in the regulations that specified that APC postage must be used the same day.

Hmm...

Chris

Date Posted: 5/25/2010 7:06 PM ET
Member Since: 10/23/2005
Posts: 7,719
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Idiocy abounds. Too many regs that are interpretable and not enough customer-friendly interpreters.

I really hate that there are so many employees that refuse to see the grey area in favor of their patrons. Or feel free to mix two seperate rules together to form one reason to say, "No, you cant do that".

I still am amazed that so much mail gets delivered every day across America and beyond.

Date Posted: 6/21/2010 12:26 AM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I use APC postage for mailing all my books and I've come across some strange "make up" rules regarding the date issue.  I've had USPS customer service reps (the ones who offer to help the customers buying stamps from the APC machines) tell me the stamps are good for 3 months, 1 year, and no expiration date.  The service reps are all from different POs albeit in the same City.

Subject: No problem!
Date Posted: 7/20/2010 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/19/2006
Posts: 1
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Kathy,

I use the APC all of the time.  I'm in a big suburb of Chicago and there's no way I'm standing in those lines for stamps!  Ugh!  I usually try to weigh the books at home first (I use a kitchen scale, figure it's close enough) and then go to the APC to get the postage I need.  If it makes you feel better, add a ten-cent stamp or something.

I have been out of the loop here for a while, but now have a ton of kids' books posted and they're flying out of my door.  I have a 5 book package to mail now, so I'll have to go in the post office, but they told me that you can have it all postaged up and everything, you just have to hand it to a teller.  Just kind of nonchalantly cut the line and slide it on the desk of a teller in between people.  Shouldn't take more than that.  I also like to get different denominations of stamps in my house instead of just the .44.  I will buy some 1.00's from the machine.  I don't know if they do lower or not, but it doesn't hurt to have some penny stamps, and lower denominations to round it out.  None of the postage ever comes to an even .44 cent number. :)

Good luck!  Next time you go, weigh ahead of time, figure the postage, and then just go to the machine and buy postage.  You don't even have to weigh it there.  Just buy what you need and it's on one neat little sticker.

Good luck with it all!

Viki

Date Posted: 7/22/2010 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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When we got our machine, I asked if the APC sticker date mattered. The P. O. person responded, "No, but it's supposed to match the zip code mailed from." I don't own a scale, and weigh them at the APC for FC rate, or if I think the book is anywhere near one pound.