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Topic: VENT: PBS Tracking and Media Mail

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Subject: VENT: PBS Tracking and Media Mail
Date Posted: 9/17/2013 7:24 PM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2008
Posts: 52
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This is the first time I've used the USPS tracking since the big change.  I actually didn't know about the BIG change until I read about it on this forum.  

The postal clerk told me my PBS DC was invalid and charged me 90 cents.  That's one issue.  

The next issue:  after she asked if the package contained anything liquid, perishable, etc., I said, "No.  They are all books."  At which point she asked if they were all going to be sent media mail.  I said, no, whichever way is cheapest (because every so often the PBS weight is incorrect).  She ended up just charging everything media mail even the ones which were labeled First Class and much lighter.  

I'm just feeling so annoyed because I probably overpaid by $3-4 today.  

What I learned today:

- Print out the "how PBS pre-printed tracking works" to bring to the post office

- even though it is nearly impossible, read the prices being charged on the terminal vs.what the PBS suggested postage

- go to a post office that isn't so crowded and trying to move people through like cattle

Is there anything else I missed?

Rant over.  Thanks for reading.  

 

Subject: Well Said!!!
Date Posted: 9/18/2013 6:37 PM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 179
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I had the same problem a coulple weeks ago.  My biggest complaint was the extra charge PLUS there's no quick credit since I only did DC and not postage.  I prefer to get actual weight because as you said, sometimes it's cheaper by first class.  I was afraid to use the DC the last one I mailed but I have since read the directions and I may print them out and give it a try.  Just not sure I want to risk it.

Thanks for the rant!  I feel much better now after reading yours.

Melanie :-)

Subject: My workplace postal counter may be pasting a new delivery confirmation over
Date Posted: 9/18/2013 6:46 PM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2009
Posts: 4
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My workplace postal counter may be pasting a new delivery confirmation over the PBS one...I noticed the Quick Credit icon is not appearing on books for which I paid is not appearing, and the DC is not coming up in a search on the USPS site...

 

And, when I brought a book directly to the postal counter (instead of dumped in my office mail basket), I saw the young person slap a new DC sticker on the book, it looked like, to me...

 

Should I be nervous?

 

 

Date Posted: 9/18/2013 11:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Yes Kate, be nervous.  If your clerk added another barcode at the counter (other than just the postage sticker), they probably covered up your *entirely valid* PBS Tracking barcode.  Therefore you will not see any scans or delivery information for that barcode.  But the new tracking number should be listed on your USPS receipt and you can check it on USPS.com.

Unfortunately, USPS staff information and training after 'The Big Update" was inadequate.  Even usually well informed postal branches (like mine) were stumbling around trying to figure out how to process some of these pre-printed labels.  Entirely counter productive, b/c USPS obviously wants to see more automated labeling/postage not less.  The continued customer frustration over extended ignorance has got to be costing USPS profits and customers.

Do take PBS advice tho, and print a copy of the new instructions as reference for next time you need to deal with counter staff.  My local staff is usually awesome, but they were making incorrect assumptions after The Big Change too.  Luckily, when I brought in the instructions they were happy to give it a go...and even shared the information with their nearby sister branches. I recently stopped by a PO out of my usual area...the clerk started to say she couldn't get the UPS barcode to scan in.  So I asked her to type in the zip code first then scan.  She was willing to try (bless her) and it went right in. 

I will say tho, that occasionally I have a label for a smaller b that is labeled 'Media Mail' that scans in as First Class.  So far they have only been the smaller (cusp) books and I opted to just upgrade to First Class and have them change the label.  This could be a problem at some point tho, because with the software upgrade there's no way for clerks to change the information that is 'encoded' in the Tracking barcode.  The only option is to mail at the encoded rate or void and repurchase at the 90 cent rate.



Last Edited on: 9/18/13 11:10 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Thanks
Date Posted: 9/19/2013 1:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/14/2009
Posts: 4
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Because it's a postal counter in my office building, I didn't ask for a receipt.  Ugh.

Well, when the books arrive, all will be okay, I hope!  I just miss the happy feeling of the credit as soon as USPS scans it, you know?

Date Posted: 9/19/2013 2:58 PM ET
Member Since: 4/29/2008
Posts: 52
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I'm especially bummed about the quick credit.  My clerk totally pasted a new barcode over the preprinted one.  I did love how those credits instantly appear.  

Again, I say aargh.  

Date Posted: 9/21/2013 1:33 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Early on (before the solution was posted) I just refused to let USPS counter staff cover or deface my origional barcode.  Just tell them 'no'...then regardless of whatever else happens, there's a chance one of the automated scanning machines enroute will pick up a scan and trigger the auto credit.
 

Date Posted: 9/22/2013 1:39 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2008
Posts: 2,992
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Can someone post a link to, or tell me where I can find the new instructions "how PBS pre-printed tracking works"?

I just moved from one small town, where the postal clerks had no problem with my pre-printed tracking, to another small town, where the clerks are having problems with it.  I'd like to be able to print a copy of the new instructions so they will better understand what I'm trying to tell them about it.  Last Friday I needed to mail off a couple of books, and the clerk put a new bar code sticker on each one.  He didn't cover my PBS bar code, but he said that the USPS needed their on bar code.

Date Posted: 9/22/2013 3:00 AM ET
Member Since: 1/21/2009
Posts: 11,707
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When I mail a lot of books, which is often, there may be one or two that do not get the acceptance scan; I think it is this one particular clerk who works very little, only part-time.  But, thank God, the machines in Seattle seem to catch the DC and I get my quick credit then, usually the next day or two after dropping them off.  I bought a scale and always weigh it before affixing stamps.  That scale has paid for itself as I have saved money when the PBS postage was wrong and it is sometimes.  I even found an old postal scale at the thrift store for one dollar and it is accurate as I compared it with my digital one.

Date Posted: 9/22/2013 6:26 AM ET
Member Since: 7/22/2009
Posts: 2,617
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Nancy -- here is a link to the instructions: Mailing with PBS DC.

Date Posted: 9/22/2013 9:12 AM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2008
Posts: 2,992
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Thank you so much Deb!!

Date Posted: 9/30/2013 8:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2008
Posts: 2,992
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Do you ladies know that when you move, and put in a Change of Address, Media Mail is forwarded, but it is forwarded with postage due?

I didn't change my 'Mail To' address soon enough here at PBS (in the My Profile section), and I had 4 books on their way to me when I moved.  I had a notice left, in my new mailbox, about having 4 packages that I needed to pick up that had postage due.  When I picked them up, it cost me $10.57...the same as it would have cost if I was mailing them off to someone.

Date Posted: 10/1/2013 12:16 PM ET
Member Since: 2/2/2009
Posts: 3,789
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Wow, Nancy, I had no idea that postage would be due on forwarded Media Mail!  Good to know (but what a ripoff! Can't believe you had to pay over $10 to get your books!)

Date Posted: 10/1/2013 4:09 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
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Express Mail, Priority Mail, and First Class Mail are all forwarded free of charge.

Other classes are not.

Date Posted: 10/1/2013 7:15 PM ET
Member Since: 3/20/2008
Posts: 2,992
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Ignorance is no excuse, I know.  So, it looks like this was my own fault.  If I had known that Media Mail was only forwarded postage due, I would have changed my address sooner, or delayed the book requrests.  This was a lesson that I won't forget, lol.

Date Posted: 10/11/2013 1:08 PM ET
Member Since: 6/20/2007
Posts: 4,979
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I'm glad I found this thread. Just got back from the PO, and the clerk, who has mailed many many of my book packages before without an issue, had trouble with my preprinted DC, said it wasn't a service that was sold any more. Asked a supervisor who said the same thing. I told him that I'd been mailing stuff from the APC all week and they've all been fine with the media mail rate + 20 cents. In the end he simply added a 20 cent stamp to the postage amount. Somehow he was able to scan my PBS barcodes so that I would get my credits (one box was a copy paper size box with a deal for 7 credits, which is the only reason I went to the counter instead of using the APC--it wouldn't fit in the drop box I don't think). I checked the tracking numbers at the USPS website and they are scanned as accepted, so thankfully once those scans are transmitted to PBS I should get my credits. I printed out the instructions and will take them over to the PO.
 

Date Posted: 10/14/2013 12:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/31/2009
Posts: 2,877
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I have  a question for you all.  When I went to the PO this week to mail books by media rate (no tracking) I was told by the postmaster to keep the receipt as that was my tracking number.  If this is true, why do we pay for tracking at all when we just have to keep the receipt?  



Last Edited on: 10/14/13 12:34 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 10/14/2013 6:18 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
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The free PO tracking does not provide the "credit insurance" that the PBS tracking does.

Date Posted: 10/15/2013 1:26 AM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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You are correct sheryl and your postal staff is mistaken.  Lucky they were cooperatives enough to use the .20 stamp, many insist on covering (or otherwise defacing) the perfectly valid pre-printed E-DC.

Date Posted: 10/22/2013 8:19 PM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2009
Posts: 28
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R E K.,

If you did not purchase tracking then you were not able to track your book with the number on the receipt. The PID # on the the receipt is an internal postal ID #. The post office can track it if needed, but if you need that information it will cost you much more than .90 after mailing. I'm not exactly sure on the amount, but it's somewhere around $4-$5. So what that postmaster told you was only partially correct.

Subject: Re: new problems with direct credit??
Date Posted: 10/26/2013 11:42 AM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2008
Posts: 3
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Yesterday, a sub clerk couldn't seem get the system to work, even though I remembered the sequence correctly. This am, my dh had another sub clerk and gave him the printout from Swap--no dice, apparently nothing worked.

Scale/zip code/scan, right?

Have they changed the system again?

Thought we had it figured out...frustrated Hampgal

 

 

Date Posted: 10/29/2013 7:32 AM ET
Member Since: 5/3/2010
Posts: 577
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The  tracking system doesn't seem to be working well. When looking at the shipping details, it seems like it is taking much longer for them to show up on the PBS site.  I would have to think that it is a USPS issue.

Normally I take all my books to the post office but the scans are not showing up so I tried printed postage and they are not showing up either. The next time  i got to the post office I am going to mention it to them. Maybe with every package having a tracking number it is clogging the USPS system.

Gotta love the government, every time they improve something, we go two steps backwards.

Date Posted: 10/30/2013 2:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,171
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Haven't done one lately, but 7 - 10 days ago it worked fine.  Anyone else having issues (again)?



Last Edited on: 10/30/13 2:16 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Re: update
Date Posted: 10/30/2013 5:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/12/2008
Posts: 3
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Well, 3rd time the charm, I guess. I took the book in for the third time and the sub couldn't do it, but my fav USPS lady was there and did it right away! I think the others were selecting a button on the screen, even though #3 says not to--I think they are not used to scanning before touching the screen...I did get my credit.

Sooo, probably not the system.

Happy fall reading!

Hampgal

Date Posted: 2/23/2014 11:41 AM ET
Member Since: 11/14/2006
Posts: 2,552
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I say, if they start to print out a new label, insist they scan YOUR code first.  and also, then insist, they NOT cover up your perfectly paid for label!!

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