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Topic: can I use Priority boxes for sending books first class?

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Subject: can I use Priority boxes for sending books first class?
Date Posted: 11/19/2007 9:16 AM ET
Member Since: 11/16/2007
Posts: 745
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I have some Priority boxes (free from USPS) that will hold VHS tapes, and are the right size for the average paperback. Can I use those boxes to mail books First Class or Media Mail if I tape over the words "Priority"? Or will the USPS have a fit?

Is this against regulations?


Date Posted: 11/19/2007 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 8/9/2005
Posts: 20,024
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No you will be charged the priority price. If you send it on your own with stamps it will arrive postage due. Cant use priority boxes for anything but priority rates.

Date Posted: 11/19/2007 9:39 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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many have learned that you can't do that...while it would be nice they are free because the USPS expects you to pay priority shipping when you use the box.  do not turn them inside out (some have) because if it gets inspected the receiver will have to pay the difference and not be happy!

Date Posted: 11/19/2007 8:35 PM ET
Member Since: 10/30/2005
Posts: 884
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I got a PBS package last week that the person turned a priority box inside out--then taped the entire 1-page package label to the front--telling everyone what was inside.  Luckilly it wasn't checked.

Don't the newer Priority Boxes say "Priority" on the inside as well?  I know they did that at one point.

Date Posted: 11/20/2007 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,848
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Yes, newer boxes say Priority on the inside as well as the outside.  The USPS is on to people turning the boxes inside out.

Chuck, the reason the USPS supplies those boxes for free is to get you to use Priority mail to ship your items.  Of course, Priority costs more than first class or media.  The free Priority supplies are NOT to be used for any other class of mail except Priority.

Date Posted: 12/10/2007 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2006
Posts: 5,751
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I got a package that the sender had turned insode out and shipped and had $3 something in postage due! I was not a happy camper so I wouldn't risk making a receiver owe money.

Date Posted: 12/18/2007 11:37 AM ET
Member Since: 9/18/2007
Posts: 27
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years ago i use to use the priority boxes for ebay. i turned them inside out. this was before they changed.

Date Posted: 12/18/2007 6:15 PM ET
Member Since: 9/16/2007
Posts: 1,003
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Good to know - I thought if you taped over the markings, it would be ok.  I wasn't thinking about people using the boxes for free, I thought it was just like re-using any other box, you had to be sure there were no previous bar codes, stickers etc visible.

Subject: I just received a book wrapped in an inside out Priority tyvek envelope
Date Posted: 1/14/2008 6:53 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2005
Posts: 8
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According to the PBS "Poor choices for alternate packaging materials" help section...

- Priority mail envelopes  (this is illegal to use for MediaMail, even if you are reusing it, and even if you turn it inside out!)

-- if you do this, and the package is inspected, it will arrive postage-due at the requestor's, or be returned postage-due to you (the additional postage required will be the difference between postage paid and Priority Mail rate)

Link:  http://www.paperbackswap.com/help/help_index.php

Misusing postal supplies hurts us all as it causes cost increases to the USPS who will in turn pass those costs on to all of us who use the postal system for mail.

Of course, when I mentioned this to the sender, she took offense.  Go figure!!! :)

Last Edited on: 1/14/08 6:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/17/2008 1:56 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 587
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It is actually perfectly ok to use Priority Mail packaging materials for sending books by first class mail if the weight of the book(s) exceeds 13oz. 

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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But understand that a one pound book will cost you $4.60.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 10:54 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,231
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"It is actually perfectly ok to use Priority Mail packaging materials for sending books by first class mail if the weight of the book(s) exceeds 13oz. "

Only if you do not get caught. Any USPS Priority Mail supplies will require priority postage. Even a little chunk of priority tape. In the PO I go to, the only tape dispenser accessible to patrons is the Priority tape. Every person I have seen use it has been required to pay priority rates. Never an exception.

Date Posted: 1/28/2008 5:32 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2005
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federal offense, I believe.

Date Posted: 1/29/2008 7:45 AM ET
Member Since: 10/9/2005
Posts: 28
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Uh-oh . . . I think I just did a no-no. I recieved a book in one of those tyvek envelopes with a stamp for 4.60. And then I re-used the envelope yesterday to send another book out. I knew that the sender had sent it to me Priority (I have no idea why), but I didn't realize the envelope couldn't be re-used. The postal clerk didn't charge me priority rate, although he was kind of looking at me funny, I thought. The envelope did not say priority mail on it, it had had a strip of the blue tape, but that was pretty much covered by my new shipping label. So did I screw up here? And will the sender end up getting postage due at the other end?

ETA: I did pay First Class on the package, not Media Mail, because it was fairly light. Does that make any difference?

Last Edited on: 1/29/08 7:47 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/29/2008 9:54 AM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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First Class makes no difference.  But the only ones you can't use are the Priority envelopes and boxes given out by the PO.   Just because an envelope was once sent priority mail does mean you can't use it again for First Class or Media Mail.   All the tape and stamps that say "Priority" would of course have to be removed or covered. 

Date Posted: 1/29/2008 7:00 PM ET
Member Since: 4/25/2007
Posts: 11,848
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There is no First Class rate if you're over 13oz, it turns into Priority mail at that point.

Gina, if your package is inspected and found to be Priority materials, then, yes, your package gets bumped up to the 1lb Priority rate of $4.60 and will arrive postage due to your sender.  The PO makes no distinction between new and used Priority materials, they all are at the Priority rate.

Date Posted: 2/4/2008 10:51 PM ET
Member Since: 6/25/2006
Posts: 382
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note you can use a fedex or UPS boxes/enevoples  and send them US Mail

(those boxes are also free) and the post office will accpect them (as long as you have paid the postage of course!(

Date Posted: 2/7/2008 11:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2007
Posts: 1,837
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You can't even re-use a priority mail box that was mailed TO you to repackage something and mail it First Class.  All Priority Mail boxes, whether reused or not, inside out or not, will be charged Priority Mail rates by the USPS (found out about not being able to reuse an old Priority Mail box the hard way, LOL).