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Topic: Using an APC

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Subject: Using an APC
Date Posted: 5/5/2010 10:41 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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How the heck do you mail packages with the electronic DC using an APC? Or print custom postage amounts to be able to use on media mail packages?

I tried using the APC machine to send two books first class today, but I couldn't figure out how to get a postage sticker that adds on the 19 cents for the electronic DC. I could find out how to do the 80 cent regular DC, but obviously don't want to do that. I know people have done it, but how?

Date Posted: 5/5/2010 11:14 PM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2009
Posts: 10,955
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You have to use the Buy Stamps option on the main page.  Then click Buy Other Amount and enter the amount of postage you need.  So you would need to know the Media Mail or First Class price for what you're mailing and add .19 for the DC.  Make your stamp for that amount.

Date Posted: 5/5/2010 11:21 PM ET
Member Since: 7/28/2006
Posts: 4,982
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Thanks Jenna, I am going to have to try that!  I always see other members using APC postage, but could never figure out how...

Date Posted: 5/5/2010 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,472
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I have printed out the media mail rates from PBS.  The APC do not offer media mail, but you can buy the correct stamp from the buy stamps option.  I keep the sheet of rates in my car.  I will also go through the parcel mailing option to get the weight of the package, then back up to the beginning to buy the stamp.  Then I will add on the DC charge.  My post office has been great about quickly scanning the eDC that I put in the APC.

PBS Media mail rate page



Last Edited on: 5/5/10 11:55 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/5/2010 11:46 PM ET
Member Since: 1/20/2009
Posts: 2,680
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Oh! Thank you! That makes perfect sense. I was so confused, but now that I know what to do I'm sure it'll be a lot easier.

Date Posted: 5/5/2010 11:59 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,472
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The post office does not make money from media mail.  Since the APCs are not supervised, they just left off the option.  But they do accept media that is mailed in them. 

I almost always use the APC for media over 13 oz.  We have a 24 hour APC across from the grocery store.  No lines!

But bring the rate chart!



Last Edited on: 5/6/10 12:00 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/6/2010 12:41 AM ET
Member Since: 5/25/2009
Posts: 600
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They are probably also concerned about the general public getting confused about what can be mailed as media mail, or just trying to scam the system more easily by having the media mail option available on the APCs. 

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 7:25 AM ET
Member Since: 12/3/2005
Posts: 3,348
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Ditto Becca!  It's not that it doesn't make them money, it's that generally, people are cheap and will cheat the system to save a buck or two.  I once had a woman send a box lot of clothing I won from Ebay via Media Mail.  I opened it at the counter showed the clerk and had them send it back to her postage due with a nice little note explaining not to do that.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 7:33 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Tiffany - You must be a mind reader. I was just about to ask this exact same question in the Postal Regulations forum!

What I don't get though is why do we need to add the 19 cents. According to the Help Docs:

Each time you use PBS-DC, it will cost you 46 cents:

  • 27 cents to PBS paid in PBS Money
  • 19 cents to USPS paid in postage applied to the package.

So you already added the 19 cents...why do we need to add them again?

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 7:43 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2009
Posts: 10,955
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The 46 cents is what you have to pay total above the Media Mail rate.  When you buy DC here, the 27 cent fee is taken from your PBS Money.  You still owe 19 cents to USPS, which is done through stamps.  If you use PBS Postage, it's all added in with what you pay, but if you are buying your postage at the Post Office or APC, you have to pay the postage and the USPS fee.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 8:13 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Oh so PBS only takes 27 cents for PBS DC! I understood from the Help Docs above that they charged you 46 cents.

Another question...are the APC dated?

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 9:29 AM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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The APC stamps are dated, but I've printed out several at a time and used them later as needed without any problems. 

(And yes, the $.19 fee is to be added to the postage - it's only collected here when you print the postage as well.)

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 9:44 AM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2008
Posts: 15,690
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Thanks for your help!

I might try that for swap books and single book transactions. I'm too cheap to pay the 43 cents fee for PBS postage for those but at the same time, I'm getting tired to logging into PayPal and triple checking the address (I'm cheap and anal too!)

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 9:47 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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Another question...are the APC dated?

Yes and No. They have a "purchased on" date on them. That does not equal a post mark date and you can use them at any time.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 1:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,472
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Yes and No.  I've had APC stamps refused at the PO because the stamp was an old date.  Ended up having to buy another penny of postage to get the right date on a stamp.  It depends on the policy at your post office.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 1:19 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,201
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Emily - was the PO that refused it the one that sold the APC? If a Post Office is enforcing a policy of not accepting valid stamps, I would recommend going up the chain until you find someone that can explain it to them with authority.

I have had one returned because I used a new blue box that the main branch apparently picks up. They returned it as an old meter date. I took it into the substation that has the APC and they put on a zero strip and sent it on then called the other post office and chewed their arses out for not understanding the difference between a purchase date on an APC stamp and a post mark on a meter strip. That date is only for tracking purposes and has nothing to do with a post mark.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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What Melanie said.  Apparently branches that do not have APC on-site, have not been trained in the details and often make errors.

Date Posted: 5/6/2010 1:54 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,472
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This branch did have a APC on site.  Just not the one I bought the stamp at.  They will take the outdated APC stamps with a new postage strip.  (Either a penny or zero.)  But not without one. 

I still think we should not blankly say that old APC stamps work.   Heard of too many books returned.

Date Posted: 5/10/2010 11:32 AM ET
Member Since: 7/13/2005
Posts: 5,201
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When I first started using the APC, I was upset that you could not do Media Mail there.  However a clerk at the P.O. directed me to a scale in the lobby which Icould use to weigh my items and find out what the media mail rate would be, then I could just step over to the APC and buy the stamp(s) for that value.  Even with that extra step it still beats waiting in line.