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USPS postal criteria and effects on shipping Geocoins


scificollector
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Over the last few weeks I have had several shipments of geocoins come in from both vendors and private individuals where the local postal office has determined that postage was due. In one case, I had thought that it was because of the electronic label had said 1 oz for the entire package but, as more and more packages came in with postage due, it had to be something else. Contacting the post office, I learned that the delivery confirmation that is pretty standard in shipping coins around the country was the problem. Delivery confirmation was intended as a cheap way to track the First Class Parcels but here recently it was being used by consumers to track the regular First Class Mail (for which it was not intended and thus not allowed to be used in conjunction with). The difference between the two types of First Class was that the Parcels had to have a minimum of 3/4" thickness. With that in mind, the post office has been tacking on an additional $3.83 in postage to First Class Mail that is under 3/4" thick in order to upgrade the package to Priority Mail which can use the Delivery Confirmation option. I have been making sure that all the packages that I send out have extra padding to get around this 3/4" rule but am still getting packages that occasionally require me to pay extra postage or have the package shipped back to the sender.

 

Anyone else having this problem with the post office or is it just a local problem in my area (Panhandle Florida)?

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Yes. Both my post office in New Jersey and Washington have stated these rules. Basically, people send geocoins but use paypal to track (cheaper than buying tracking at the USPS). It's $0.18 instead of $0.75, they also need to be .75 inches thick --- the USPS has now caught on and re-send any priority, the next class up.

 

To get around this (and to use the light green packing slip), I cut up old mailers and wrap them around the coin. The package is now the required 0.75 inches wide and I can use the green slip as tracking... for those of you who use paypal... good luck.

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My Post Office, several branches around town actually, won't sell me delivery confirmation without my coin packet passing the 3/4" benchmark... I've heard that adding packing peanuts bulks them up enough to pass muster.

Edited by Droo
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I use stamps.com, but I didn't realize about the 3/4" rule! Good to know, and I apologize if anyone has gotten something with postage due from me. If they have, please message me and I will paypal the amount that was due.

 

I'm still getting some geocoins with postage due since some people choose to pay envelope price instead of package price. That's less than a dollar, though. $3.83 is nuts!

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I use Uline #000 Poly mailers, and I own a postal scale. I have instituted a method of mailing through my store that uses exact weigh per coin and the USPS module works great that way.

 

When I pay for postage through paypal, I always select "large envelope" and enter the exact weight. The postage paid by my customers is usually within 20 cents of actual postage. Since I purchase my envelopes by the case, it usually runs me about 17 cents per envelope & I apply the other 3 cents for gas to my post office.

 

I know Matt (SoCal) uses stamps.com, but I believe there is a monthly fee associated with that (I don't know for sure, so correct me if I'm wrong). I don't believe any of my customers have ever had to pay extra postage.

 

~J

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There is a monthly fee for stamps.com, but for me it's worth it. :) (maybe not for everyone else, that's fine!)

 

Anyway, I have been under the impression that "large envelope" is not appropriate for geocoins because they are rigid, and therefore it should be sent as a "package". That's what I've been doing.

 

The delivery confirmation thing confuses me a bit I admit. I think I'll stop by the post office and ask about it next time I'm there.

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If you're walking into a USPS location, large envelope vs. parcel is at the discretion of the clerk. Large envelope is between 1/4" and 3/4" thick, fits the overall length x width, and is bendable. I have clerks all the time "crumple" up my package and call it a large envelope. But true, a coin is not too bendable, so it's a judgement call :) We've had tons of discussion on these boards since they made the major rule changes a few years back to define large envelope vs. parcel. Basically the response is "my clerk does this", and if I'm there on Friday, "the other clerk does this". Unfortunately not standard. Surprise, government office :D It's not the clerks fault, it's the rules being grey.

 

The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

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I've gotten a couple of "postage due" notices for things sent as envelopes instead of packages, so I just play it safe and always call it a package.

 

So if I'm understanding what everyone says correctly, if I make sure my package is over 3/4" thick, the $.17 delivery confirmation is fine? I really don't want people getting packages with postage due on them.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system" if you get insurance and delivery confirmation online? That would mean that any company that uses paypal shipping or stamps.com is also "skirting the system." I have had a package go missing shown by the lack of delivery confirmation after the sorting facility and I used paypal shipping.

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I've gotten a couple of "postage due" notices for things sent as envelopes instead of packages, so I just play it safe and always call it a package.

 

So if I'm understanding what everyone says correctly, if I make sure my package is over 3/4" thick, the $.17 delivery confirmation is fine? I really don't want people getting packages with postage due on them.

 

That is correct.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system" if you get insurance and delivery confirmation online? That would mean that any company that uses paypal shipping or stamps.com is also "skirting the system." I have had a package go missing shown by the lack of delivery confirmation after the sorting facility and I used paypal shipping.

 

I believe he was referring to the lack of control by the post office in checking whether the package meets the requirements or not if the label/postage is printed via online. My local postal official usually double checks the ones that I have been sending out regardless if I have printed them via the internet or used a manual greenie at the post office. Most of the ones that I have been on the receiving end of I believe were unintentional but it is possible for someone to "skirt the system" by intentionally sending something not meeting the requirements in order to get the cheaper tracking (19 cents via Paypal) as opposed to the 90 cents at the Post Office using manual greenie tracking. Eventually the package either gets there without people noticing or a postal worker will tack on additional postage due. The consumer then has the choice of paying the postage and trying to get it back from the seller or letting the package make the return trip back the seller usually taking time an inordinate amount of time to get there (if it doesn't get lost in fact). The seller would then have to apply even more postage to the package or fix it to meet the requirements and send it back to the consumer (taking even more time). For the most part I have just paid the extra postage then informed the seller of the requirements regardless of them paying me back as it is a bit of hassle.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system" if you get insurance and delivery confirmation online? That would mean that any company that uses paypal shipping or stamps.com is also "skirting the system." I have had a package go missing shown by the lack of delivery confirmation after the sorting facility and I used paypal shipping.

 

I believe he was referring to the lack of control by the post office in checking whether the package meets the requirements or not if the label/postage is printed via online. My local postal official usually double checks the ones that I have been sending out regardless if I have printed them via the internet or used a manual greenie at the post office. Most of the ones that I have been on the receiving end of I believe were unintentional but it is possible for someone to "skirt the system" by intentionally sending something not meeting the requirements in order to get the cheaper tracking (19 cents via Paypal) as opposed to the 90 cents at the Post Office using manual greenie tracking. Eventually the package either gets there without people noticing or a postal worker will tack on additional postage due. The consumer then has the choice of paying the postage and trying to get it back from the seller or letting the package make the return trip back the seller usually taking time an inordinate amount of time to get there (if it doesn't get lost in fact). The seller would then have to apply even more postage to the package or fix it to meet the requirements and send it back to the consumer (taking even more time). For the most part I have just paid the extra postage then informed the seller of the requirements regardless of them paying me back as it is a bit of hassle.

 

Sorry, clarification. Mail things as parcels that are packed as large envelopes. Oops :) My bad.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system"

 

That isn't. But having a package less than 3/4 thick and mailing it with tracking for $0.17 is.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system"

 

That isn't. But having a package less than 3/4 thick and mailing it with tracking for $0.17 is.

I think the other point of the rules being missed here is "rigid". If it is rigid it does not have to be 3/4" thick. My post offices consider all bubble mailers as rigid here in Indianapolis. I have had only 2 a year or 2 ago come up with postage due that I know of. Hopefully it is not happening more than I know. Unfortunately what one post office see as rigid and what a sroting center or other post office sees as rigid is subjective.

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The only drawback is, delivery confirmation, insurance, or other tracking is only available on parcels (greater than 3/4" thick) at a physical office. So folks that use Paypal labels and stamps.com (as previously mentioned) and mail things as parcels with the $.17 delivery are skirting the system (not necessarily intentionally). Luckily I still use the old manual greenies because I want to actually have coverage if a package goes missing.

 

TMA

 

I don't understand this part about "skirting the the system." If the package is over 3/4" thick and mailed as a first class package or parcel how is that "skirting the system"

 

That isn't. But having a package less than 3/4 thick and mailing it with tracking for $0.17 is.

I think the other point of the rules being missed here is "rigid". If it is rigid it does not have to be 3/4" thick. My post offices consider all bubble mailers as rigid here in Indianapolis. I have had only 2 a year or 2 ago come up with postage due that I know of. Hopefully it is not happening more than I know. Unfortunately what one post office see as rigid and what a sroting center or other post office sees as rigid is subjective.

 

That may be true that your post office classifies it as rigid, but each post office it goes through has that chance that someone else will disagree and tack on the extra postage requirement. Most of the ones that I get here in my town, the locals are making that determination else the package would never have made it that far. :angry:

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My Post Office, several branches around town actually, won't sell me delivery confirmation without my coin packet passing the 3/4" benchmark... I've heard that adding packing peanuts bulks them up enough to pass muster.

 

Verified, this is the method that I use. I haven't had any issues on the sender end.

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