Last week I went to mail a bubble mailer as I have done a thousand time before. It measures 9x6.5x.5 and weighs 2 oz. I usually request it be sent first class parcel, which allows me to buy delivery confirmation which is considered an "up charge". the postage is 2.07 plus .90 cents for a total of 2.97.
The "new" post master said to get delivery confirmation, I would need to upgrade to priority mail, making the shipping fee close to 6 dollars. I said I did not want that. She said if it was a certain size envelope, it would either go "large envelope" for $1.12 with no delivery confirmation, or need to go priority for 6 dollars. I sent it for $1.12 although anyone who sells on EBay knows to never do this.
I pointed out that I had mailed for years the same package and that all the other clerks did that. She said that if they charged the wrong amount, that was not her problem. I reminded her that they were HER employees.
So I went home and contacted customer service who is listed on the USPS website. Both agreed with me. They suggested that I go back and plead my case with the post master before opening a case with the regional supervisor through consumer affairs.
She stood her ground even though I pointed out that the mailing requirements was for what was allowed to be classified as "large envelope" and that there were no restriction on what is called a package, and that it clearly states "parcel" is ANY mailable item lightweight and of general merchandise.
I went home and contacted consumer affairs. They then contacted a "shipping specialist" who is familiar with the 1200 page shipping manual.
The debate centered on whether a bubble mailer could be requested to be mailed as a package, under the parcel category, which would allow me to purchase delivery confirmation.
They said because it was less than 3/4 in thick, it had to be sent "large envelope. If it was not 3/4 inch thick, I would have to make it 'rigid". They rationalized that they need it a certain thickness to bypass the automatic precessing machines. But that did not hold water as I could keep it the same thickness and add a cardboard insert and make it rigid, keeping it less than 3/4 inch and then qualify for the parcel rate and classify the mailer as a package.
Two days into it, with 6 different postal employees all divided on what to do, they came up with the following:
They admitted the website was wrong.
Customer service was wrong. Although they rationalized that these "people" never worked in a post office and were clueless. They are by the way private "contractors".
At least three pages on the USPS website are wrong and needs corrected.
The bubble wrap mailer would need to be rigid or more than 3/4 thick to NOT qualify as a "large envelope. Even though there is not a description of what makes a package....a package.
I would roll up a paper towel and stuff it into the mailer, making it more than 3/4 inch thick, and thereby making it a package qualifying it to be mailed a "parcel".
When the dust finally settled, and as I was back in front of the post master, I said the following:
You do realize that for a customer to "up charge" a sale of 1.12 to a sale of 2.97, I am forced to stuff a one by one piece of foam or a rolled up paper towel into my shipping mailer. It does not change the mailing cost. It does not change whether you can process it in a machine or not. All you did was increase land fill matter.
She said they "were happy to be an assistance to me".
In the end, I need to put in a piece of foam making it too thick, or place a piece of cardboad making it too rigid, making it something other than a large envelope. It makes no difference whether it goes by machine sort or not. I would mail the same package for the same price as I have done for years, and the postal service through their "green" initiatives, increased land fill matter.
And that is a small piece of why the postal service is going under.
And why I will be visiting the local UPS and FedEx stores to see what they offer for my heavier packages.
All I wanted to do was up-charge my shipping cost from 1.12 to 2.97.
But as the consumer affairs stated...."it was a shame that this could not of been handled differently!". The post master must be so proud of herself. :-D