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Topic: Wrapper printed First Class not Media Mail?

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Subject: Wrapper printed First Class not Media Mail?
Date Posted: 9/18/2009 9:24 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 375
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I just mailed a book the other day and I printed the address as I always do and taped it to a bubble mailer.  Because I have done this so many times I didn't pay close attention.  When I got to the Post Office I finally noticed that the label I printed said FIRST CLASS in red instead of MEDIA MAIL which it usually does.  Even the postal worker was surprised.  She accidently printed media mail postage at first because she recognized the PBS printer label.  She checked the rate and I think it was 39 cents more to send First Class so ended up paying it because I didn't know why it had printed that way.  Has this happened to anyone else?  Any ideas why?

Date Posted: 9/18/2009 9:31 AM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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The system weight must have been off. The label will always print the lowest priced class for the label. The weight on that book must have indicated it was under 7oz. It isn't that rare that PBS weights are off so its usually a good idea to check the weight before printing the label. If you can't then I'd at least eye ball it and if the book looks like it weighs too much to be FC, then mark the weight up to get a MM label.



Last Edited on: 9/22/09 2:07 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/18/2009 9:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2007
Posts: 26,510
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You have to really watch the PBS weights.  A few minutes ago I almost paid $5.50 to mail a mass market paperback.  Luckily I caught it in time.  PBS had the weight as over 8lbs. 

Rick B. (bup) - ,
Date Posted: 9/18/2009 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2007
Posts: 2,625
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My guess is that if you had wrapped it only in the PBS-printed stuff, instead of a bubble mailer, it would have been light enough to be cheaper to send it first class instead of media mail.

Just a guess, of course, but the point is the system attempts to determine whether it's cheaper to go media or first class.



Last Edited on: 9/18/09 9:52 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/18/2009 10:12 AM ET
Member Since: 8/18/2009
Posts: 375
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OK - thanks for the info.  I did not understand the part about predicting the weight of the book.  I will watch for that in the future.  As always PBS members are awesome at answering my burning questions.  Thanks guys! :P

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 12:21 PM ET
Member Since: 9/14/2008
Posts: 379
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You can cross through the First Class on the wrpper and hve the PO stamp Media Mail instead. I've had the wrapper print Media
Mail, then at the PO they tell me it would be cheaper to go First Class. In that case they have put a blank label over the Media Mail, then got out their stamp and stamp First Class a couple of times.

Date Posted: 9/19/2009 12:46 PM ET
Member Since: 7/12/2009
Posts: 177
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I've stopped using PBS postage until I get a more accurate scale.  Fortunately, the post office is just a couple of blocks from work, and is staffed with friendly, competent clerks.  I mailed 20 PBS and SwapaDVD packages on Friday, and 1/3 of them were wrong on the suggested postage.  It was driving the poor clerk crazy until I told her that the weights were just estimates from the website and I hadn't weighed the books/dvds myself.  Some of the packages had to be corrected like Sue said above.

If the book is at the cutoff where FC is just 3 cents more than MM (I think it's 7 oz.), I'm a big spender who always pays the extra.  Just throwing the copper around!

Subject: wow
Date Posted: 9/19/2009 3:43 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2009
Posts: 4,581
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I have never had a problem with the books I mail.  So far all of them have been perfectly accurate on the mailing. 

My post office puts paper and tape over the part that says media mail if it was cheaper the other way.  I've had this problem with DVD Swap.  You could make sure you keep some of those adress lables in your purse and have them check to make sure to see if its cheaper the other way.  If it is put the adress label over the media mail or first class and then they can stamp it the way its suppoes to be.  

You post office should always check to make sure your getting the best price. 



Last Edited on: 9/19/09 3:47 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/20/2009 1:24 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,269
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It is really worthwhile to have a postage scale! I do an informal survey when I receive books and I would estimate that about 1/2 of the MMP I receive have more postage on them than necessary, plus they have travelled slowly as Media Mail when they could have flown as First Class and the sender would have received their credit much sooner.

If you do much swapping I would imagine you could pay for an inexpensive postage scale in just a few weeks with the savings from paying what they actually require to be mailed.



Last Edited on: 9/20/09 1:25 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 9/20/2009 1:42 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2006
Posts: 14,177
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Lol Marsha...from another PBS member throwing copper around!

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 8:07 PM ET
Member Since: 8/23/2009
Posts: 4,581
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Yeah you can buy a cheap postal scale at usps for 35 and at amazon the cheapest one I found was 19.  But if you dont swap alot it wouldn't pay to buy one. 

Another thing you could do is when you print the label it estimates how much pounds the books weight is.  You could go to USPS.com and hit the Calculate postage tab at the top, then click calculate dometic postage.  You do have to print the wrapper first to find out the zip code but you can see what all the prices to ship you package through all options.  Then if it was cheaper one way you'd have to find a way to cover up the part that says media mail or first class postage.  The post office has the stams to restamp it the way its supposed to be.  thats why the little adress lables are helpful if you dont have the postage scale you can just place it over the spot and they can restamp your package.   

Date Posted: 9/20/2009 11:45 PM ET
Member Since: 12/28/2008
Posts: 66
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I bought a cheap postal scale from WalMart just for PBS. It has saved me a bucket of money. Probably half the books I mail have the wrong weight listed in the PBS system, most of them higher than actual weight.

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 12:45 PM ET
Member Since: 2/13/2007
Posts: 2,269
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I just did a search for postal scales at Froogle, and basically you can get one for $10 and up. A $10 investment can save you far more than you paid for the scale over time!

Date Posted: 9/22/2009 2:17 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,187
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There's no need to buy a postal specific scale. I use my digital kitchen scale I got at Walmart. All you need is something that can give you accurate weights in ounces up to about 5 pounds. Enter the correct weight on the Print Label page and you are good to go. PBS will add 6 ounces for packaging, if you use heavy bubble mailers, you might need to weigh it in the package and select the wrapped book option instead.

As time goes by, your postal workers will get used to you and ask if you want it to go MM instead since its cheaper.