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Topic: Why am I paying more?

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Subject: Why am I paying more?
Date Posted: 2/17/2014 12:24 PM ET
Member Since: 5/27/2009
Posts: 2
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I live in the Pittsburgh, Pa. area.  This is old news but when I mail out a book say to Colorado, I pay $2.72.  when I receive a book---same weight--with PBS tracking, the postage is $2.52.  This has happened several times.  To prove my point,  I received a book from N.J.  With PBS tracking, the cost was $2.34.  I opened the envelope, put the back in it, put a hand printed label on it, took it to the post office.  Without the tracking, the book would cost me $2.69..  Someone told me that there is a discount if you use electronic mailing, but this is over the top.  Please explain this to me.

Date Posted: 2/17/2014 3:08 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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I don't use PBS postage so I can't address that portion.  But pre-printed USPS Tracking does have a discount.  If I print it here at PBS, the cost at the PO (I buy counter postage) is .30 instead of .90 for counter tracking/DC.

Date Posted: 2/17/2014 6:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Are you using an actual post office or a mailing counter at a copy story or UPS store? those types of places are not "real" postal places and they charge you a surcharge for every package to cover their overhead costs. 

I can't figure out a $2.72 price, a 5 oz first class rate would be $  2.68 and a 6 oz would be $2.86 and the 1 lb media mail rate would be $2.69

The only other thing I can think of is that there is a discount given for using printable postage over purchasing postage at the window. 

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/17/2014 10:04 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,150
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First off, it doesn't matter where the book is coming from or going to. First Class and Media Mail are the two rates used for mailing books and neither one of them is based on how far the book is traveling.

Secondly, there are two types of tracking you can purchase at PBS. The first type is printable postage. If the package you received has printable postage, it will have a square barcode in the upper right corner of the label and there usually won't be any stamps or tapes with other postage. USPS gives senders a discount if they print First Class postage online. The other type of tracking you can purchase here is Delivery Confirmation. If the package has Delivery Confirmation, it will have an extra 30 cents in the purchased postage.

Your numbers are a little off, so it's hard to know exactly, but I think the book you received that you thought had $2.52 on it was actually $2.53 and that book was mailed to you before January 26. It was sent at the 1 pound Media Mail rate with no tracking. So it probably weighed between 5 oz and 1 lb. If you want to turn around and send that same book out now, with no tracking and postage purchased at the Post Office, it will cost you $2.69 because the rates went up on January 26.

The package that was $2.34 with tracking might have actually been $2.39. That was the old discounted First Class rate for a 7 oz book with printable postage. That same book today would be $2.59 with printable postage (First Class) and $2.69 (Media Mail) without.

There's no rate that's exactly $2.72. If the Post Office tries to charge you that, tell them you want to send the package Media Mail with no tracking instead and that'll save you 3 cents.

If you still have the envelopes and have questions, tell us more about how the postage was paid (e.g. stamps or printed right onto the label), the postmark dates, and if there are markings on the labels that say First Class or Media Mail.