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Topic: Mailman would not give me my BOB - What Now??

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Lisa W. (WAL) -
Subject: Mailman would not give me my BOB - What Now??
Date Posted: 8/24/2007 8:25 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2007
Posts: 718
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My Mail Carrier pulled into our driveway & honked the horn today as he does whenever I get a package. However, he was holding it & told me he couldn't let ma have this one. It had Postage Due - I said no I need that because it has a school book my girl needs how much is it & I will pay it. He told me it was $3.52 but, he still couldn't give it to me even if I paid because the package had been mailed with stamps that had already been use which was fraudulent. HE said it had tobe shipped back to the senders Post Office to deal with.

My problem is it was a BOB of 9 books for which I had already sent 10 books for being my requested ones were a tad bigger.

I have Messaged the sender but while I wait to hear from him I thought I would find out.... what's next

I assume if he doesn't respond I am out my 10 books but didn't know if PBS does anything in these cases??



Lisa W. (WAL) -
Date Posted: 8/24/2007 8:33 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2007
Posts: 718
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I copied this over from the discussion forum i had wrongly placed it in last night & want to add more info now because to me it gets weirder....

I got 2 replies from the Sender....

"Those stamps were off of envelopes that had not been postmarked.Unused wedding invitations from a house Tom's boss tore down. I cut them off & glued them on. Tom took it into the post office & they accepted it there. If they had been used they would not have accepted it & sent it out. Tell him that & see what he says. I have a postal reciept for the mailing -how about you give me your email address & i'll email you a picture of it to show him?"


I uploaded the picture of the part of the reciept it was on-it's too long to get the entire reciept so I just got a picture of the part that shows your package. Here is the url to the picture. If you can print it up & show him it & tell him what I said before. If they had been used before the post office here would not have accepted the package & sent it out.


The Proof is in the Pudding so to speak but how do I get my books.....

Also, I don't know much about the Post Office because before belonging here I rarely went so I am just curious if he had stamps already that had been attached to something else but not used then how did they show on this receipt?



Date Posted: 8/24/2007 9:35 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2007
Posts: 465
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It looks like the PO subtracted the value of the unused stamps ($3.52 - customer postage) from the total due for that box and issued a sticker for 49 cents.

Your postman screwed up.

Last Edited on: 8/24/07 9:36 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/24/2007 9:52 AM ET
Member Since: 7/30/2007
Posts: 4,275
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Last Edited on: 1/16/12 12:39 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Lisa W. (WAL) -
Date Posted: 8/24/2007 10:15 AM ET
Member Since: 3/7/2007
Posts: 718
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OK, I just got called by the postmaster and it is too late to do anything on my end, the package has already been shipped out. However, he did confirm what Brandy just said about the stamps but he said the package still needed to go back to the originating post office because of way it was sent. I think they just want to say..... YOU MESSED UP and our little town picked it up...LOL

I had no clue about not being able to use unused stamps that had been stuck to something else previously.... so if nothing else I learned something.

Thanks ya'll



Date Posted: 8/24/2007 10:37 AM ET
Member Since: 6/8/2007
Posts: 16
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I believe you can reuse stamps if they've been steamed off....?

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 11:54 AM ET
Member Since: 9/11/2005
Posts: 905
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If you have attached stamps to something and not sent it, the PO will NOT! give you new ones for them.  The thing to do is to soak them in warm water until they come off, dry on a newspaper or something similar and then glue them on the package, envelope or whatever you want to use them on and then they are acceptable----probably because the PO won't be able to tell that you did this.  They are trying to catch people who are removing stamps that were used but missed getting cancelled---that reusing is not OK, though.  You got caught by the people who assumed that this fit in that category, unfortunately.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 11:56 AM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2005
Posts: 661
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Well, the relevant regulation seems to be from the Domestic Mail Manual  604 1.3d.  Anyone have a better rule citation?

Hard to say if "cut from" is meant to cover "peeled off" or "steamed off" or not  but you could argue it (they could
 have used a more general term such as "removed from" but they chose to specifically say "cut".  Also not sure how USPS is going to tell it was peeled off of an "envelope, aerogramme, or stamped card" as opposed to a sheet of typing paper, magazine cover, page from a daily organizer, etc.). 

1.3 Postage Stamps Invalid for Use

The following are not valid to pay postage for U.S. domestic or U.S.-originated international mail:

a. Postage due, special delivery, special handling, and Certified Mail stamps.

b. Stamps of other countries.

c. United Nations stamps, unless on mail deposited at the United Nations, NY.

d. U.S. stamps that are mutilated or defaced; cut from stamped envelopes, aerogrammes, or stamped cards; covered or coated in such a manner that canceling or defacing marks cannot be printed onto the stamps; or overprinted with an unauthorized design, message, or other marking.

e. Nonpostage stamps, such as migratory-bird hunting and conservation stamps, U.S. saving and thrift stamps.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 3:11 PM ET
Member Since: 8/1/2007
Posts: 5,034
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Hmm.. interesting...

"cut from stamped envelopes, aerogrammes, or stamped cards;"

This could be referring to the pre-stamped envelopes that are printed with postage like you get with some stationary sets.  I recently sent package with stamps cut from unused envelopes and i am crossing my fingers that it gets there. 

Is there any consensus on what is premissable to do for stamps that have been stamped to envelope or package and it turns out the envelope or package is not going to be used?

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 3:42 PM ET
Member Since: 5/10/2007
Posts: 5,526
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I didn't know you couldn't cut stamps out and use them if they weren't used the first time....learn something new every day!

I have peeled some off when I put it on but didn't need it after all. 

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 4/11/2006
Posts: 1,032
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I remember reading another thread on this type of situation and it was commonly accepted that you can remove an unused stamp (not one where the USPS overlooked cancellation) and put it on another envelope.  After all it was paid for but not used.  In fact, I was helping my mother on her jury summons and was getting it ready for mailing.  We ended up requesting a postponement via internet so I'm definitely going to soak the stamps off the envelope, that I had intended to send the response in, and put it on another envelope.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 5:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/29/2005
Posts: 3,823
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My post office has pulled extra stamps off of my packages when I accidentally used too many. They stick them to a postcard and give them to me the next time I come in. Surely, if they take stamps off of one package for my use on another, it must be okay.

Of course, they also say that this new 13 ounce rule doesn't apply to me so I may have a renegade post office!

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 5:49 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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Another way of dealing with this if you have unused stamps on a blank envelope is to simply paste the entire envelope to your box.

Date Posted: 8/24/2007 9:00 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
Posts: 447
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"cut from stamped envelopes, aerogrammes, or stamped cards;"

This could be referring to the pre-stamped envelopes that are printed with postage

That is exactly what this is referring to - envelopes & postal cards with postage preprinted on them. These only usable in their entirety, clipping off the postage portion & attaching to another item to mail is not valid, though I've seen examples of them getting through, as well as obviously re-used stamps cut from an envelope with the original postmark still visible.

As for the OP, unfortunately leaving the envelope backing on the stamps gives the appearance of re-use of "skips", an ongoing problem for the USPS.

Scott out.

Last Edited on: 8/24/07 9:02 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 8/25/2007 9:37 AM ET
Member Since: 11/28/2006
Posts: 877
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The stamps she used were not legal as used.  Even if un-used, you cannot cut stamps off and attach them to a new mailpiece.  Because, as Scott said, it gives the appearance of re-use. The jury is out on soaking them off and re-using them:  my sense is that they probably don't like it any better, but they can't tell.

That part is quite clear to me.  What's less clear is why they wouldn't let you pay the postage due.  Are they planning on sending this poor woman to Leavenworth over a couple of stamps?  Geez!  Not only that, but they handled it MORE times for NO money than if they had just given you the thing and let you pay.

I think the relevant convo with your PM would be about why they had to send it back.  I would ask him/her to quote you chapter and verse from the DMM on why they wouldn't let you pay the postage due, because that seems totally wrong to me! 

But I'm not an expert.  Steve is on vaca, but maybe one of our other kindly postal experts will stop by. 

Sorry about your kid's schoolbooks - ugh.

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 7:43 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2006
Posts: 236
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What amazes me honestly is that someone used STAMPS on a 10 book BOB! That's a LOT of stamps and pretty much guaranteed the post office was going to be looking closely at them. I use stamps on my PBS stuff so rarely my mailman looks at me funny if I bring in stuff with stamps instead of having my postage printed.

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 8:09 PM ET
Member Since: 12/7/2005
Posts: 7,143
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I think if the post office accepted the package, the person to deliver the package should of given it to her. It's not his place to inspect the packages IMO.

Date Posted: 8/25/2007 10:23 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2006
Posts: 4,110
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I think they just want to say..... YOU MESSED UP and our little town picked it up...LOL

I think you are right, because when you offered to pay the postage I think in any other case they would have.  I know there have been times when I have had my postal carrier ask me if I wanted to pay the over due on packages or envelopes with postage due  or send it back.  Of course I always choose to pay, and they happily let me.

As for using stamps that were glued to something else, this is the first time I ever heard of being illegal, no one not my carrier or my Postmaster has ever mentioned it being illegal.  Could be a sign of the times, or a postal carrier bucking for a supervisor's approval, who knows but I know I've done it, my parents and friends have done it and I have never heard of it being returned.


Date Posted: 8/26/2007 12:29 PM ET
Member Since: 3/13/2006
Posts: 2,024
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The irony is that the recipient is not the one who "messed up" in this scenario, so what good does it do to taunt the recipient by flashing the box at her and then saying sorry, it's going back to the sender?  If it needs to be returned to sender under the rules, just go ahead and do that -- no need to bring the poor recipient into it.

Date Posted: 8/26/2007 2:28 PM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2005
Posts: 447
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I agree that showing the package to the recipient before returning it was not good. Although it could be the carrier hadn't noticed the reason for the postage due until he looked to let you know the amount, at which time he decided it should have been returned to the sender rather than sent on postage due. The reason for this is to alert the sender's PO that they are potentially reusing stamps - they can then keep a look out for future mailings. If it's an ongoing problem they would then address it.

t's not about this single incident, but rather that they need to record the problem & at the least inform the sender that it is unacceptable. You only see the one mailing, what if this person was reusing hundreds of dollars of stamps? Chances are not all will get caught & marked postage due, so the USPS loses $ and a chance to educate or investigate the sender. Postmarks themselves were developed for the express reason that people would reuse unmarked stamps (& have been known to chemically wash the cancellations off to reuse the stamps). There was an article in a monthly stamp journal I get that illustrated many different reuses of stamps, most of them modern examples.

Scott out.

Date Posted: 8/26/2007 2:36 PM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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I commented in the other thread - but I would think that there should have been more than one way to remedy the situation, especially since the guy drove into your driveway, for pete's sake.  That would be my beef.  Why would you come onto my property just to wave it in my face, why not offer me a solution?  You could have paid for the whole thing, even if you didn't get reimbursed from the sender, it would be way less hassle then what you're having to go thru now.  I find his actions unprofessional and unreasonable and that's where I would begin my conversation with the PM.  My two pennies

Date Posted: 8/29/2007 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 2/25/2007
Posts: 73
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I agree, Julie. As a window clerk, I would be more than happy to refer to the PM with an issue like this. Once the parcel has moved that far, we are wasting money, "just to make a point" .  The "point" could be made also by the PM of the receiving office calling the PM of the sending office and alerting them to watch for further problems with the mailer.

I also feel that if the window clerk accepted it and added a PVI to it then it becomes an internal USPS problem, that should be dealt with without customer involvement. The clerk needs to be trained not to accept reused stamps, then they can teach the customer the rule. Once the PVI was placed the package should have been delivered and the above solution used to resolve the internal issue.

Date Posted: 8/30/2007 11:20 AM ET
Member Since: 5/29/2007
Posts: 13,347
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I agree Jean.  Of course I don't know this postal worker, and I'm simply guessing at his intentions, but to punish the receiver seems inappropriate.  If you're going to go so far as to drive onto someone's property and involve them, but not give them an opportunity to find a way to actually receive their package, that seems punitive.  The receiver is the victim as much as the usps.