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Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

Is it OK to Mail Prescription Medicines Through USPS?

September 22nd, 2017 Comments off

Wondering if it’s legal to use USPS to ship drugs? It’s definitely important to remain compliant with federal and state laws regarding the shipment of medicines, drugs, and controlled substances via the USPS.  Here’s a rundown of what’s allowed—and what’s prohibited.

Prescription medicines

According to USPS rules, if you want to ship prescription medicines, you must be a drug manufacturer, a registered agent of a drug manufacturer, pharmacy, medical practitioner, or other authorized dispenser.

Over-the-counter drugs

What about non-prescription medicines like pain and fever reducers (i.e. Tylenol, Advil), cold and cough medicines, decongestants, and antihistamine pills?

You can mail over-the-counter drugs, which are medicines purchased or obtained without a prescription. However, you would still need to be compliant with local and federal laws like the Poison Prevention Packaging Act and the Consumer Product Safety Act.

Controlled substances

Controlled substances, such as narcotics, anabolic steroids, and hallucinogenic drugs, cannot be mailed internationally and in cases of domestic mail, you would have to be an authorized dispenser, such as a medical practitioner or pharmacist. The USPS takes the shipment of narcotics very seriously, and the Postal Inspection Service Prohibited Mail Narcotics program investigates shipments of illegal drugs through the mail and works closely with state, local, and federal law enforcement agencies to combat this illicit trade.

Marijuana/cannabis

While marijuana/cannabis has been decriminalized in some states for recreational or medical use, mailing marijuana via the USPS is still illegal. Considered a Schedule I drug under the federal Controlled Substances Act of 1970, it is important to remember that marijuana is unmailable.

Drug paraphernalia

Drug paraphernalia, such as pipes of various materials, are considered restricted matter and cannot be mailed domestically or internationally.

 

For further information on USPS regulations regarding drugs and medicines, please see: http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_019.htm

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Can you mail eggs with USPS?

September 15th, 2017 Comments off

Which came first—the chicken or the egg?  The egg, if you ship it through the U.S. Postal Service! Since eggs are mailable with the USPS under certain guidelines, you can use Stamps.com to make the process easy for you.

Eggs are very sensitive to temperature changes, so monitoring weather for upcoming snowstorms or heat waves that may affect the shipping destination is a good idea. Send them by a fast mail class such as Priority Mail Express.

How should I package my eggs?

When you’re shipping eggs, the USPS also asks that you individually cushion each egg. Use bubble wrap to avoid breakage and shock-proof packaging material such as shredded paper to cushion the individually bubble-wrapped eggs.  Pack your individual eggs closely but not too tightly.

A number of egg varieties exist, from a Rhode Island Red’s brown eggs to a Leghorn chicken’s white ones, but using a USPS Flat Rate Box, such as the Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box, will keep your postal rates consistent for all types of eggs. What’s more, barcoded shipping labels printed via Stamps.com have built-in, free tracking. You can also use our Shipment Notification feature to email tracking information to your recipients and give them an accurate idea of when to expect their package.

Don’t crack under the pressure: you can order free USPS packaging by logging into your software and clicking on “Online Store,” which appears beneath “Buy Supplies.”  Click on the “Free USPS Supplies” tab and order the right box or envelope for your mailing needs today!

For peace of mind, we recommend requesting a free USPS pickup when shipping eggs.  The free USPS pickup service is available for Priority Express Mail, Priority Mail, Priority Express Mail International, Priority Mail International and Global Express Guaranteed. In the Stamps.com software, click “USPS Pickup” from the “View History” menu on the left navigation bar of the software to start the process.

For further USPS details on mailing eggs domestically, please see:   http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c5_010.htm

Can I send eggs internationally?

If you want to ship eggs to a destination outside of the U.S., you must use Priority Mail International. We recommend researching specific import restrictions by accessing the Individual Country Listings here: https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immctry.htm

For specific packing instructions on mailing eggs internationally, please see: https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c6_015.htm

Categories: Shipping Tags:

All About USPS Postal Zones

September 8th, 2017 Comments off

Imagine that the originating point of your mail is your home or office. Your mailpieces, bearing postage printed with the powerful Stamps.com program, will travel to a wide variety of destination points on the map. If you draw a perfect circle on a piece of paper with a compass, your originating point will be where the compass needle hits the paper, and the arc would represent the destination zones.

The USPS uses a distance-based system of postal zones. This means that the area that is considered Zone 1, for example, would change depending on where you are. The farther a zone is, the higher the zone number.  Distance also affects the price of postage and the farther a zone is, the higher the postage cost if you are sending non-Flat Rate mailpieces. The farther the zone, the longer the mail will take to get there.  Simple, right?

Make this radial, distance-based system work for you. The Postal Service’s Domestic Zone Chart has two useful tools. First, you can get a Zone Chart by entering the first 3-digits of your ZIP Code—for example, “967” for ZIP Code 96795.

You can also plug in a mailpiece’s origin ZIP and destination ZIP to determine the appropriate zone. Say you’re sending a case of bottled water from Manchester, New Hampshire (ZIP Code 03101) to Honolulu, Hawaii (ZIP Code 96795). For this pair, Zone 8 pricing and travel times would apply. If you’re sending the package from Manchester, but this time it’s headed to Concord, New Hampshire (ZIP Code 03301), it would be Zone 1.

If you’re an e-commerce seller, this will help determine what you want to charge for shipping and whether switching to Flat Rate Boxes, in which the price remains the same regardless of distance, is a better fit.  If you have a secondary office or a partner working from another location, you may want to coordinate your efforts to ensure that certain items are sent over shorter distances.

Using the Stamps.com software 

The Stamps.com platform will take the guesswork out of zones. You’ll never have to enter the zone number. However, it is helpful to keep zones in mind as you look for the most economical way to ship your packages. When using zone-based mailing and shipping services, you’ll notice that you may have to enter dimensions for some mailpieces. The higher the zone number (and longer the travel distance), the more likely you’ll have to enter package dimensions.

To ensure you’re paying the correct rate of postage, always enter the dimensions when the software asks that you input them. For non-Flat Rate envelopes and boxes, you may be subject to a USPS Dimensional Weight Surcharge for Zones 5-8. The Stamps.com software will take stress out of the equation and calculate this automatically for you.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Unique Mailing Standards for Queens, NY

September 1st, 2017 Comments off

Queens, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is known for being the home of LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), the Unisphere, and its ethnically diverse community. Did you know that Queens Borough also used to have its own unique mailing standards?

Back in the 1920s, when Queens  was a collection of scattered rural settlements, each with its own little mailing grid, a master grid was applied to the entire area. This created a unique mailing system, in which mail sent to Queens street addresses needed a dash between the nearest cross street on a building’s block and the house number (for example, “139-30 Example Crescent”) and “18-05 XXXXth Street”).

However, while the traditional system of cross-street number, hyphen, and house number may still be well known to many mailers, the USPS has eliminated this requirement. This is part of an ongoing process of streamlining and standardizing the delivery of your mail.

When using the Stamps.com software, you no longer have to worry about including the dash after the cross-street number in a Queens postal address to ensure delivery. The Stamps.com software is fully compliant regarding Queens addresses and will automatically check and cleanse each address by accessing the powerful Address Matching System (AMS).

Therefore, rest assured that changes the Stamps.com software makes are correct and compliant.  You’ll see changes such as:

139-30 EXAMPLE CRESCENT

To:

13930 EXAMPLE CRES

AND:

18-05 XXXXTH STREET

To:

1805 XXXXTH ST

Using ZIP Codes

The dash (-) in the address line is no longer the crucial, required component of the address. While Queens has many distinctive neighborhoods, it is also not necessary to include the specific neighborhood names (e.g. “Rego Park”) in the mailing addresses. The critical and required pieces of information are the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4, which are scanned by the USPS.  Queens, the largest of the New York City boroughs, is actually served by four USPS postal zones.

The good news is that Stamps.com will check the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4 when you enter an address in the delivery address box. Whether you’re sending mail to Flushing, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Jackson Heights or Corona, Stamps.com’s powerful software ensures that your mail will get to its intended recipient in Queens.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Free Guide: How To Ship To Canada With The USPS

August 25th, 2017 Comments off

Have you considered expanding your US-based ecommerce business to Canada? When shipping with the USPS, you will not be charged extra fees to deliver packages to Canadian destinations.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of shipping to Canada, check out Stamps.com’s new eBook, “How To Ship To Canada With The USPS.” This guide will walk you through your options for shipping to the great north.

This guide covers:

  • How to evaluate shipping carrier cost to Canada
  • What products cannot be imported into Canada
  • Which duties, taxes and tariffs apply to your products
  • Choosing a shipping carrier for Canadian shipments
  • USPS Priority Mail International zones for Canada
Categories: International Shipping Tags:

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