Stamps.com Blog

Stamps.com Blog

Get the latest information on the mailing and shipping industry.

How-To: Automatically Saving Addresses in the Address Book

March 27th, 2015 Comments off

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Did you know Stamps.com can automatically save the delivery addresses you enter onto an envelope or shipping label when you print postage? With just a few steps, you can set up the Address Book to auto-save addresses into our system.

Steps to Automatically Save Address in Address Book

  1. From inside Stamps.com software, select “File” in the top navigation and then “Preferences”
  2. Once the “Preferences” dialog box opens, select the “Addresses” tab and then select the “Automatically save manually entered delivery address to the address book” check box.
  3. Lastly, click OK.

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Just like that, you no longer have to manually input delivery addresses every time you print postage.

How to Get a Refund for Late Delivery on Priority Mail Express

March 20th, 2015 Comments off

Refund for PME BlogIf you need your packages delivered overnight, Priority Mail Express is a great option!  The mail service provides the fastest delivery offered by the U.S. Postal Service with delivery occurring 7 days a week, 365 days of the year.  The USPS also offers a money-back guarantee if your package is not delivered on time.

The Money-Back Guarantee
Unlike First Class Mail or Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express has a money-back guarantee if your mailpiece is not delivered by the promised time.  The money-back guarantee is contingent on a number of factors including the package drop-off time as well as the origin and destination zip codes.   You can access specific guaranteed times here: http://postcalc.usps.com/ServiceCommitments.aspx.

How do I get a refund on late Priority Express Mail?
So what happens if your mailpiece is not delivered by the specific commitment time?  The USPS handles delivery of your mailpiece, so even if the postage on your mailpiece is printed via the Stamps.com platform, the USPS will be responsible for the refund.

For domestic mail, if your Priority Mail Express item is not delivered by the guaranteed time, please visit your local Post Office no later than 30 days from the date the item was mailed.  Before you go, please take with you a copy of the receipt from your Print History.

If you’re logging into the Stamps.com software, click on “Search” on the left side of your software screen and click on the info box (i) that corresponds to the label/tracking number in the Print History.  Click on “Print” to generate a physical copy of your receipt.

If you’re logging into Stamps.com Online, click on the “History” tab at the top of your screen and select “Search Print History.”  After that, the instructions are the same as for the Stamps.com software.

At the Post Office, the window clerk will ask you to complete PS Form 3533 (Refund for Postage).  Please be aware that the form is not available online.  Once your claim is verified by the clerk, your claim will be paid by cash or money order.

How do I get a refund on late Priority Express Mail for international mail?
For international mail, a money-back guarantee is currently available for Priority Mail Express International items sent to the following countries:

  • Australia,
  • Canada,
  • China,
  • France (does not include Corsica and Monaco),
  • Germany,
  • Hong Kong,
  • Israel,
  • Japan,
  • New Zealand,
  • Singapore,
  • South Korea,
  • Spain (does not include the Canary Islands),
  • Sweden,
  • Switzerland,
  • Thailand,
  • United Kingdom.

You can initiate a request for a postage refund with the USPS no later than 30 days from the date of mailing by calling 1-800-222-1811 or by going to the International Claims Inquiry Page at https://www.usps.com/ship/file-international-claims.htm.

USPS Announces Postage Rate Increase – Starts April 26, 2015

March 4th, 2015 Comments off

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IMPORTANT UPDATE!  On March 27, the USPS announced they will delay the implementation of the 2015 rate increase and classification changes scheduled to start on Sunday, April 26, 2015. USPS rates WILL NOT be changing on April 26, 2015.  

The U.S. Postal Service has announced a postage rate increase for select mail classes and services for 2015. The new postage rates will start on Sunday, April 26, 2015.

First Class Letters & Postcards
The cost to send a one ounce First Class Letter will NOT BE INCREASING and will remain $0.49. Additional ounces will cost $0.22, a one cent increase from 2014. Postcard rates will increase by one cent to $0.35, from $0.34 in 2014.

If you print postage online or use a postage meter, the “Metered Mail” rate for a one ounce First Class Letter will be increasing by $0.005 to $0.485 from $0.48. The Metered Mail rate is a discount provided to users who print postage online and through a postage meter.

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Priority Mail Express

For Priority Mail Express packages, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015.

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Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes and the Flat Rate Box, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015.

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Priority Mail
For Priority Mail packages, rates will NOT BE INCREASING in 2015. As a reminder, Priority Mail rates were reduced in September 2014. With 2 day delivery to over 90% of U.S. addresses and improved tracking, Priority Mail is a great shipping option for e-commerce sellers.

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Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes & Envelopes
For Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes and Envelopes, rates will NOT BE INCREASING for 2015.

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Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes
For Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes, rates will NOT BE INCREASING for 2015. Regional Rate Boxes provide shippers a low cost option for packages traveling shorter distances.

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First Class Package Service
First Class Package Service will see an average increase of 5.1% in 2015. For packages that weigh 13 ounces or less, First Class Package Service remains the lowest cost option to ship a package to a U.S. address.

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Parcel Select (nonpresort)
Prices for Parcel Select (nonpresort), the U.S. Postal Service’s ground shipping product, will increase an average of 9.8% in 2015. While the average rate is increasing, the USPS did lower Parcel Select prices in some shipping zones.  In Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing between 6 lbs. through 24 lbs, rates are decreasing by as much as $9.35 per package (15 lb., Zone 4). There are no price increases for Zones 1 to 4 for packages weighing 25 lbs. through 70 lbs.

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Media Mail
Media Mail rates will see an average increase of 6.2% in 2015. For books, videos and other products that qualify, Media Mail remains a great low cost shipping option.

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First Class Letters & Postcards – International
The cost to send a one ounce First Class Letter to an international destination will increase five cents, to $1.20 from $1.15. Postcard rates will increase by five cents, to $1.20 from $1.15 in 2014.

First Class Package International Service
The overall increase for First Class Package International Service will be 7.2% in 2015.  The average price increases by pound are:

  • Up to 1 lb. – Average increase of $0.66
  • Up to 2 lbs. – Average increase of $1.29
  • Up to  3 lbs. – Average increase of $1.65
  • Up to 4 lbs. – Average increase of $2.01

First Class Package International Service remains the cheapest option among all carriers to ship internationally. It also includes tracking for the most popular countries including the U.K., Australia and Canada.

Priority Mail International
The overall increase for Priority Mail International will be 5.5% in 2015. Additionally, the USPS is introducing Zone-based pricing for Priority Mail International packages traveling to Canada. Canada will be split into 7 zones with rates ranging from $30.75 to $37.50 for a 1 lb. package.

Priority Mail Express International
The overall increase for Priority Mail Express International will be 6.7% in 2015.

Global Express Guaranteed
The overall increase for Global Express Guaranteed will be 7.2% in 2015.

Stamps.com Will Automatically Update to the New USPS Rates on April 26, 2015
Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, April 26, 2015. If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will see the new USPS rates automatically.

New USPS Mailing Standards For Lithium Batteries

February 26th, 2015 Comments off

Lithium Batteries Blog

What are Lithium Batteries?
Used in a diverse range of products such as cameras, laptops, cell phones and many other consumer products, lithium batteries are designed to provide significant levels of power.  While the high power levels make them an effective choice, these batteries can produce a substantial amount of heat if short circuited.  Additionally, the chemical contents of these batteries can catch fire, if damaged or incorrectly assembled.

New Shipping Regulations
Starting February 2015, businesses must comply with new U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) standards and Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) standards for preparing shipments that contain lithium batteries.  The new standards were issued to ensure the safe transportation of shipments that include these batteries and cells.  Shippers are responsible to comply with these new regulations or risk fines.

To align with these new DOT and PHMSA regulations, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has also revised its mailing standards for lithium batteries.

Changes to USPS Standards for Domestic Shipments Containing Lithium Batteries
Effective March 2nd, 2015, the new regulations impact shipping processes as follows:

  1. Lithium-ion cell and battery size was previously determined by lithium content.  Under the new regulations, watt-hours will be used (Example:  An iPhone 5 battery includes 5.45 watt-hours).
  1. Lithium metal (non-rechargeable batteries used to power calculators, remote car locks etc.) and lithium ion batteries (rechargeable batteries used to power laptops, cell phones, camcorders etc.) will be classified under separate shipping descriptions.
  1. All shipments containing lithium batteries or cells (standalone, packed with or installed in equipment) must include markings (or a lithium battery handling label) and documentation that indicates:
  • Whether the package contains lithium metal or lithium ion batteries or cells.
  • Potential of a flammability hazard if the package is damaged.
  • The special procedures to be followed in case the package gets damaged.
  • A telephone number for additional information.
  1. Shipments that only include button cell batteries that are already installed in equipment do not need to display any marks or labels or be accompanied by any document.  Additionally, no markings or documentation are required for packages that include up to 4 cells / 2 batteries (lithium ion or lithium metal) that are already installed in the equipment they power.
  1. Air shipments, including Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, can include a maximum of 2 batteries or 8 cells when they contain standalone lithium ion cells or batteries, or lithium cells or batteries packed with or contained in equipment.

Shipping Lithium Batteries to International Destinations?
With the exception of using watt-hours to determine size, there are no additional new USPS requirements that will impact international shipments of lithium batteries.  Lithium batteries can only be shipped internationally if they are installed in the equipment they operate.  Shipping carriers are not allowed to ship packages containing only lithium batteries or cells to international locations – they must be included inside a product.  No markings or documentation are allowed on these international mailpieces.  This rule applies to all international as well as APO/FPO/DPO destinations.

More info on the U.S. Postal Service’s Lithium Battery mailing standards is available on the USPS.com site.

How the New IMpB Requirement Impacts NetStamps Users

February 23rd, 2015 Comments off

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Effective January 25th, 2015, the USPS enforced a new IMpB requirement as a result of which Stamps.com customers need to make adjustments to the way they use NetStamps for their packages.  All USPS packages must now carry an IMpB tracking label.  Designed to function like stamps, NetStamps do not carry a barcode like shipping labels, which is why there are some limitations around their use going forward.

This change only impacts First Class, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  First Class letter postage is not impacted, for which Stamps.com customers can continue to print NetStamps, envelopes and mailing labels at the discounted Commercial Base rates.

Using the Stamps.com software?
You can still print postage for First Class packages, as well as Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages on NetStamps, but at retail rates only.  Additionally, these packages must be accompanied by the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label, which can be ordered at the Stamps.com Store.  To continue receiving the discounted Commercial Base rates, print shipping labels for these packages.

Using Stamps.com Online?
Stamps.com Online customers will no longer be able to print NetStamps postage for First Class packages, as well as for Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select packages.  Use shipping labels instead!  All shipping labels generated by Stamps.com already contain the IMpB-compliant tracking barcode and our customers will continue to receive discounted rates.

Printing PhotoStamps?
If you are creating PhotoStamps to use on your Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes (1 oz.), you will continue to be charged $5.60 for postage, but the Form 400 USPS Tracking Label will need to be included for these mailings.