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Topic: A way to get around the 13 oz rule!

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Subject: A way to get around the 13 oz rule!
Date Posted: 1/3/2008 10:37 PM ET
Member Since: 3/2/2006
Posts: 120
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I started printing out custom stamps at the APC (Automatic Postal Center); it's just easier to pick up stamps for the exact amounts I ship at.  One day after waiting in a ridiculous line, the postal clerk told me I don't have to hand over the mail if it has APC postage on it because they can track me b/c you pay with a credit card.  So now all of my media mail goes directly in the mailbox, whether it's 3 oz or 2 lbs.  This is in San Francisco, so I have to imagine that the policy is the same everywhere.  I'd hate to cause anyone trouble, so double check with you Post Office, but hopefully this tip will make shipping easier for some people.

Happy New Year!


Date Posted: 1/4/2008 9:00 AM ET
Member Since: 9/20/2005
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The rule only applies to packages/envelopes with stamps.  Electronic postage doesn't have a weight limit. 

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 1:11 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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that is correct Dawn...I love my APC machine and not having to give anything to a postal worker!

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 6:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/5/2007
Posts: 30,805
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Yeah - this has always been the rule as far as I know.       

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 10:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2007
Posts: 137
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Are you talking about the Automatic postal machines that are in the post offices? I tried to use that the last time because there was a huge line, but they didn't offer a media mail rate as an option. Or is there an online APC that you are talking about?


Date Posted: 1/4/2008 11:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2007
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It is possible to print out postage in a certain amount, such as $2.13. Just follow the instructions on the screen. You can print out as many as you like, to use at any time.

Date Posted: 1/4/2008 11:49 PM ET
Member Since: 6/4/2007
Posts: 159
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Thanks for the information! The people at the post office hate to see me coming some days with all my books, so I will try this next time!

Date Posted: 1/5/2008 2:37 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2007
Posts: 808
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APC postage is great for mailing books but there are a couple of things:

You can buy the postage there, but you have to know the Media Mail rates yourself ahead of time (2.13. 2.47 etc.) and select "Buy a Stamp" for that amount as follows in an example ...

I put my package on the scale selecting First Class to get a weight. Machine says 1 lb 1 oz and quotes a high number. I exit the transaction, and start again with a new transaction, selecting Buy Stamp. I purchase one for 2.47, putting the (peel off) APC sticker where the PBS label says "affix postage here" and drop the package in the mailbox (doesn't have to be the APC slot in back). No need to stand on line for a clerk at all.

Your package must clearly be marked MEDIA MAIL on it or the Post Office can (and does!) hit the recipient for the First Class difference!

Be sure you select NO when asked if the postage sticker shown will fit! I absentminedly said YES the other day and got a huge sticker that I had to discard instead of the small one I was expecting.

 Lynn:  you can weigh the books first (as above) keeping track of which ones are over and under a pound (say 3 of each) before exiting the First Class option.You can then "Buy a stamp" for 2.13 and get a quantity of three; tell the APC that, yes, you do want another transaction, and buy three more 2.47 stamps at one go. You don't have to weigh and purchase each book separately!

( hint: I have found that APC'ed books generally do not get de-selected from the rest of the APC goods and are lumped in with the First Class pacakges - my avg delivery time has been a week or less vs. giving them to a window clerk with a minimum of 10 days for delivery.)


Last Edited on: 1/5/08 2:55 AM ET - Total times edited: 4
Date Posted: 1/5/2008 11:35 PM ET
Member Since: 8/22/2005
Posts: 1,103
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I generally pre-print several of the $2.13 stamps from the APC and keep in my purse. My only gripe is that one is limited to printing 5 at a time. But still - it is very handy. I don't have to go to the post office with individual books.

Date Posted: 1/7/2008 2:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/28/2006
Posts: 2,218
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The APC is my primary form of mailing lately, and I almost always go when the PO is closed.  It's wonderful!

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 4/7/2007
Posts: 2,027
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I usually put my over 13oz packages with the outgoing mail at work and I have never had one be returned to me.  I think it works, since I work in a hotel, and they just grab the boxes and go.  But maybe that would work for others who have a large amount of mail to leaving their workplace.

Date Posted: 1/8/2008 11:44 PM ET
Member Since: 12/26/2005
Posts: 21
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APC pre-printed stamps rock!  It is so convenient to buy them in advance and then just drop the books in your local blue box.

Another tip--There is 34c difference between different media mail weights.  If your package is overweight, just add two 17c stamps.  (17c stamps are used on first class letters that are an extra ounce overweight and can be purchased at any p.o.)  They don't mind if you combine APC stamps with regular stamps.

Date Posted: 1/9/2008 8:09 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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I usually put my over 13oz packages with the outgoing mail at work and I have never had one be returned to me.

If these packages use just stamps, Jennie, you can expect at some point to receive them back at the return address on the package. Whoever is picking them up is mistaken and obviously doesn't know the stamped, over 13 oz. regulation. But if traceable postage has been used, never mind!

Date Posted: 1/9/2008 10:39 PM ET
Member Since: 6/12/2005
Posts: 191
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I always use the APC to print media mail postage in batches. Once I brought a package to a PO worker that had a previously purchased APC stamp on it and she told me that they werent supposed to take APC postage that was backdated, but I've never had a problem after that.

Date Posted: 1/9/2008 11:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/24/2007
Posts: 2,825
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So if you are paying with a card, why not buy PBS money and print you postage on the mailing label? It gives the option of changing the weight and shipping date and then there is no time spent at the P.O. except to give them your books.

I am just wondering...would like to know what the benefits are

Date Posted: 1/10/2008 4:00 AM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,371
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I use the PBS printable postage.  There's a small extra fee, but I like supporting the site, and if my book goes "lost" I still get the credit for it.  Also I receive instant credit as soon as I mark my book mailed.

Date Posted: 1/10/2008 7:41 AM ET
Member Since: 2/6/2006
Posts: 1,186
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I used the APC exclusively before PBS had the printable postage option available. This option has only been available to us since September. Now I use PBS to print most of my postage and labels. I'll still use paypal for my swap books because the custom DC option at PBS doesn't include postage yet. When that becomes available, I'll use PBS.

Date Posted: 1/10/2008 4:11 PM ET
Member Since: 7/23/2006
Posts: 15,930
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I also use PBS postage almost all the time.  I'm really really looking forward to being able to use it for Custom DC too!!  Until then, I also use paypal.

Before paypal and PBS printable postage, I used the APC stamps - and loved it!

Date Posted: 1/13/2008 10:53 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,920
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APC sounds great! I wish my post office had it! I tried using the PBS postage but my printer had trouble printing out the special labels so I had to give it up.

Karen L. - ,
Date Posted: 1/15/2008 4:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 1
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When I used stamps, I always put the packages out in my mailbox at home and the postal worker always took them and none were ever returned to me.  Now I just use the PBS money to print my labels with the postage on them already.  Gets me the instant credit plus it allows for Delivery Confirmation so if it's lost, they can track it.  It's a little more in postage but it saves time going to the Post Office and standing in line.

Date Posted: 1/15/2008 4:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,231
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Aimee - the difference is the fees. It costs .50 every time you put $ into your PBS account and then it cost a small fee for each use of the PBS postage. Not a lot, but it all increases the cost of swapping. For me, I drive within a block of the PO when I go work. If I were to look at it financially, I should be using the PO instead.

Date Posted: 1/16/2008 5:56 PM ET
Member Since: 6/23/2005
Posts: 379
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Just a note: the date on APC postage is the date sold,not an electronic postmark (like is printed on PBS postage, Paypal, metered mail, etc) It is mail with an out-of-date electronic postmark the PO has a problem with, and that can be fixed by presenting it to a postal clerk and having them apply a postage strip for 0 postage but the current date.

APC postage does not have an electronic postmark and does not "expire". Because most postal clerks don't  deal with APC postage (that's kind of the point, right? <G>) they often don't know the difference and see a problem where there isn't one.

Date Posted: 1/17/2008 9:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I always use the APC to print media mail postage in batches. Once I brought a package to a PO worker that had a previously purchased APC stamp on it and she told me that they werent supposed to take APC postage that was backdated, but I've never had a problem after that.

Jilian, that postal employee is misinformed.  You can buy the stamps through the APC machine and the date is the date of purchase NOT the date it has to be mailed.  If they say they can't take it tell them to ask a supervisor because it is just a purchase date not a use date

Date Posted: 1/18/2008 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 7/18/2006
Posts: 3,359
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I keep a handy dandy card in my purse that lists all of the weights and rates for Media Mail vs. First Class.  Since I drive right past the PO on the way to work in the morning, it makes sense for me to stop there.  I am usually there before the PO opens, so I can head right to the APC where I weigh each package first, decide whether I am sending it MM or FC, and then buy the appropriate stamp.  Drop the packages in the bin, and I'm done!  The APC also lets you select an add-on cost for DC (yes, it costs a little more at the PO but I'm there anyway so it's ok with me).

Date Posted: 1/20/2008 3:16 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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That's what I love about the PBS postage. Don't even have to go inside-just drive up to the Blue box-unless you have a really big order. But then I just have to pop it into the mail shute right inside the door. I hope they come out with the printed postage for Boxer's soon.  I bought a bunch of stamps so I wouldn't have to stand in the postal line-but then I remembered the 13oz rule. D'oh.  Oh well.  At least I can just hand it to them w/o waiting inline since the postage is already on the box.  I only do BOBS for 1 or 2 books anyway.