Did the post office just hose me?
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39 posts in this topic

I was mailing some comics. I knew it was too heavy to go first class and realized I’d have to mail it priority. Rather than take a priority FLAT RATE box (because that was all they had) I figured I would purchase a box. So I picked out a box the same size as a priority box, but it was brown in color. First they charged me five dollars for the box, (which is higher than I expected) but then they still charged me $16.10 for flat rate priority. The employee told me this was the only way to mail a box that size. I asked her if  they could charge me based on the measurements of the box and the weight of the box, and she said no. I mean, what if I walk in off the street with my own box? Don’t they measured and Weigh it?  There was a hell of a line behind me so I didn’t fight it. So basically, it would’ve cost the same amount if I would’ve mailed a box of rocks or one half cubic feet of lead. There is no advantage to mailing something light weight when you ship in a box via priority???   It all goes flat rate?

Edited by Westy Steve
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Seems a little odd to me, but I will say I don't have a ton of experience with it. My wife ships pretty regularly and uses an ap for it to come up with the label. And they ask up front if it is a flat rate box or custom. Once you pick custom you put in the measurements and weight and that is what the charge is based on. I guess its possible that based on the measurements you put it you end up getting the flat rate price. 

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On 2/10/2022 at 12:24 PM, PopKulture said:

I've found postal employees to be like lawyers and accountants, in that you get as many varying answers as opinions you seek.  (shrug)

^This.  Also, if you just can't get a box any other way, don't buy it at the PO - try Home Depot.  Next, if you bought it at the PO and had to put it together there, you probably had to use their tape which is never generic, rather it is emblazoned "USPS First Class" or "Priority" or some such, at which point they've got you paying.  Now as far as soaking you for flat rate... that's just laziness on their part.  You are correct that zip code zone, box size and weight determine actual costs.  If you have time in the future, postage can be bought via PayPal where they ask all of those questions and you can wind up adjusting accordingly (ie. smaller box, lighter packing material, etc.) as well as occasionally saving a little.

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On 2/10/2022 at 12:42 PM, wombat said:

Seems a little odd to me, but I will say I don't have a ton of experience with it. My wife ships pretty regularly and uses an ap for it to come up with the label. And they ask up front if it is a flat rate box or custom. Once you pick custom you put in the measurements and weight and that is what the charge is based on. I guess its possible that based on the measurements you put it you end up getting the flat rate price. 

Pretty sure that this is what happened. It’s some kind of default rate.  I was so bothered by this I went back to the post office and took my receipt with me and talked to another employee. She filled the information in manually, and came up with the same answer. For what it’s worth the weight was just less than 2 pounds. 
 

In summary, when shipping a comic book in a sturdy container, you may as well use the free boxes. 

Edited by Westy Steve
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Well that post office employee definitely got it wrong. The flat rate rates are specifically for flat rate only. I have no idea why she would have done it that way. I suppose the price could have been coincidentally the exact same though.

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Once in a while, this guy makes sense.

What lizards2 says is spot on. I would also recommend printing your postage yourself. Whether through ebay or PayPal it's always cheaper and you don't need to stand in line unless you're trying to maintain ebay TopRated status and need the scan to show it's in the hands of the P.O.

Edited by Dick Pontoon
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On 2/10/2022 at 10:33 AM, Pontoon said:

Once in a while, this guy makes sense.

If you can get past the bad grammar, I might be easier to understand than that booty lovin' pirate.

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On 2/10/2022 at 1:30 PM, lizards2 said:

 

Word to the wise, never, ever use the medium Flat Rate boxes in 11 1/4" x 8 3/4" x 6" to ship comics in, as they are too small to provide cushion, and books usually come in with corner duns.  Never, ever use these boxes.

 

Can confirm.  Someone sent me a stack of raws packed in one of these and one corner on the entire stack was crunched.

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@Westy Steve

Go to this link, fill in the zip codes, weight, package size and you find out exactly what you should have been charged.

If you were shipping this across coast to coast most likely won't be too far off. But as @lizards2 outlined, if it's same coast or your more immediate region area, a two pound or less could run in the $8-$10 range. 

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On 2/10/2022 at 10:40 AM, Poekaymon said:
On 2/10/2022 at 10:30 AM, lizards2 said:

 

Word to the wise, never, ever use the medium Flat Rate boxes in 11 1/4" x 8 3/4" x 6" to ship comics in, as they are too small to provide cushion, and books usually come in with corner duns.  Never, ever use these boxes.

 

Can confirm.  Someone sent me a stack of raws packed in one of these and one corner on the entire stack was crunched.

I received about $600 worth of delabbed CGC comics from a boardie about eight years ago (think of the value change in today's prices), and they were all fuculated - every last one of them. It almost made me cry. I shipped them all back in a better box.   

Yes, I got all my money back, but I would have much rather had those books, as there were some really difficult to obtain (in grade) books in that box.

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I got my money's worth using a large game size box-which the PO doesnt typically have on hand but a customer brought in an extra one-to ship 150 pages of 11 by 17 original art pages weighing maybe 30 pounds-or more for the flat rate price.   cant remember it was like $20?  :acclaim:

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On 2/10/2022 at 11:44 AM, lizards2 said:

I received about $600 worth of delabbed CGC comics from a boardie about eight years ago (think of the value change in today's prices), and they were all fuculated - every last one of them. It almost made me cry. I shipped them all back in a better box.   

Yes, I got all my money back, but I would have much rather had those books, as there were some really difficult to obtain (in grade) books in that box.

Felt a stab in my balls reading this 

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Looks like you hosed yourself by not knowing your options ahead of time.  If the brown box was $16.10 for 2 lbs, you were certainly $5 better off using the Medium Flat Rate free box, even if the postage was the same.

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On 2/10/2022 at 9:32 AM, gregwynn said:

Go to the USPS website. You can order priority mail items for free and the ship them to you.

 

On 2/10/2022 at 10:33 AM, Pontoon said:

Once in a while, this guy makes sense.

What lizards2 says is spot on. I would also recommend printing your postage yourself. Whether through ebay or PayPal it's always cheaper and you don't need to stand in line unless you're trying to maintain ebay TopRated status and need the scan to show it's in the hands of the P.O.

The above is what I generally do. For Priority boxes, I'll pick up a couple every time I go to the post office from the lobby. They never have the long Large Flat Rate boxes so I just ordered from USPS and the mail person dropped them off at my house. 

To avoid the forever long lines at my post office, I always print out via Pay Pal, put the label on myself and walk past everyone and drop off to the side (not the drop box in the lobby) where you can put prepaid packages. 

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