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Understanding the USPS 13 Ounce Mail Rule

Let’s say I want to mail a 14-ounce bottle of cough syrup to my sick mom. Do I really have to wait in line at the Post Office to send it? Well, according to the USPS 13-Ounce Mail Rule, I do. However, Stamps.com customers have a way out!
What exactly is the USPS 13-Ounce mail rule?
Glad you asked. The 13-Ounce Mail Rule requires that any mail piece weighing over 13 ounces that is mailed with postage stamps has to be presented in person to a USPS employee at the Post Office. Since postage stamps are untrackable, presenting the mail piece to a postal employee serves as a security measure to keep the public, customers, employees and the U.S. mail safe. It’s a good rule. But it still means an extra trip to the Post Office. Luckily, Stamps.com offers a way around it.
Stamps.com shipping labels to the rescue
There’s an exception to the rule: If you use online shipping labels instead of postage stamps, you can send mail pieces weighing over 13 ounces WITHOUT a trip to the Post Office. Why? Online shipping labels (like those printed with Stamps.com) provide the USPS with sender information that regular postage stamps do not.
Moral of the story
Forget the 13-Ounce Mail Rule and just use Stamps.com to print your shipping labels. It will save you from those gas-guzzling, time-sucking trips to the Post Office. Let’s hear it for Stamps.com shipping labels! Mom, your package is on its way!

Let’s say I want to mail a 14-ounce bottle of shampoo to my mom. Do I really have to wait in line at the Post Office to send it? Well, according to the USPS 13-Ounce Mail Rule, I do. However, Stamps.com customers have a way out!

What exactly is the USPS 13-Ounce mail rule?
Glad you asked. The 13-Ounce Mail Rule requires that any mail piece weighing over 13 ounces that is mailed 13 OUNCE-RULEawith postage stamps has to be presented in person to a USPS employee at the Post Office. Since postage stamps are untrackable, presenting the mail piece to a postal employee serves as a security measure to keep the public, customers, employees and the U.S. mail safe. It’s a good rule. But it still means an extra trip to the Post Office. Luckily, Stamps.com offers a way around it.

Stamps.com shipping labels to the rescue
There’s an exception to the rule: If you use online shipping labels instead of postage stamps, you can send mail pieces weighing over 13 ounces WITHOUT a trip to the Post Office. Why? Printing shipping labels with internet postage (like those printed with Stamps.com) provide the USPS with sender information that regular postage stamps do not.

Moral of the story
Forget the 13-Ounce Mail Rule and just use Stamps.com to print your shipping labels. It will save you from those gas-guzzling, time-sucking trips to the Post Office. Let’s hear it for Stamps.com shipping labels! Mom, your package is on its way!

  • http://www.drupal-web-designers.com/ Drupal Web development

    My post office will not allow me to simply drop off mail. I must wait in line, so that they can check that I have placed enough postage on my stamps.com-generated label.
    web Design london

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Mark, As of now, intelligent mail barcodes are only on pre-sorted mail. Things could change in the future as the USPS is trying to improve their tracking of all mail.

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Mark18nw

    ok, I thought that the intelligent mail barcode was also replacing the delivery confirm barcodes and also the barcodes printed on all regular mail envelopes?

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Mark, The intelligent mail barcode will be required for all presorted mail classes in order to qualify for discounts starting in May 2011.

    Since Stamps.com does not offer presorted rates currently, the intelligent mail barcode is not required on our postage printing.

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Mark18nw

    When is stamps.com converting to the new intelligent mail barcode? I thought that May 2011 is the deadline but nothing has changed on my end that I am aware of? Thanks for any updated info.

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Contact, In the Stamps.com software, you should be able to adjust the weight and mailpiece under the “Postage Details” section of the software. The postage rate will change with each adjustment of the mailclass and weight.

    If you’re looking for more specifics on the April 2011 postage rate change, check out http://www.stamps.com/usps/postage-rate-increase/

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Contact

    Where can I find the chart to print with ounces and rates?

  • Mark18nw

    Hopefully with the new bar code that is going to be on envelopes by May, stamps.com will give the option to have it print in the lower right corner rather than being in the same field as the address. Looks more professional in the lower right corner.

  • thejans

    Ignore the 13-oz. rule? Way cool.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6ZVVRDEOCNZV7OMURXMHK75GWI sal

    I ve used Stamps.com for Years I try to Suggest to Friends How easy it is & How You do not have to buy Actual Stamps & Print on Envelopes
    Question tho
    Can I Print Directly on a window Envelope without using Labels for Window Envelopes?

  • gravytrain

    My daily mail carrier doesn’t want to pick up anything unless I’ve scheduled a pickup. I’m still driving to the PO every day that I don’t have Priority or International pkgs (and most of my shipments are First Class, so it’s about a daily drive for me.) Something about her mail count coming out right or something?? A total pain, for sure.

  • beth

    My local carrier doesnt stop at my house, but rather at my box which is across the highway. Plus I mail International Parcel First Class, NOT priority. I ship items in the $5-$10 price range and it would be ridiculous to pay International Priority rates!! Who pays that!? Why do that when you can ship for less than $2? Additionally, I wouldnt trust a carrier to ride around with my merchandise all day throughout the county area only to drop it off at the post office later that day. I would rather take it myself.

  • Beth

    The poly bag is too big for my packages. Most of my packages weigh 1 oz and are in a #000 bubble mailer. So what is one to do??

  • Cwilson1846

    Thank you Stamps .Com I no longer have to WAIT at the Post Office while the people on duty are on coffee break !!!

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Greenman, You bring up a valid point if you are dropping packages off at night and the Post Office is closed. But you should not have to wait in line ever if you are dropping off packages that include pre-paid postage when the Post Office is open. If your local Post Office is requiring this, you should ask to speak to the Postmaster.

    Also, your packages should not weigh any different amount at the Post Office vs. on your scale at home (maybe fractions of an ounce due to calibration).

    Hope this helps!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Janet

    I used to carry my packages into my post office leaving them at a closed window. However, one of the postal employees told me I could just drive around to the back and set my packages on the loading dock. This has been wonderful. I no longer have to look for parking and drag all the packages into the post office. (During my busy season I’m shipping 100 or more packages a day.) I noticed all the other commercial shippers are doing the same at this post office. It’s super fast and easy and best of all the back gate remains open after the post office officially closes and they will receive my packages until the last outgoing mail truck departs about 30 minutes after closing time.

  • Janet

    Yes, that has worked for me. I will even put a note in the mailbox that says “Ring bell for pick-up” so that they have to come to the door just to protect myself from thieves. My packages are very valuable. During my busy season, we will fill my mail carrier’s car with boxes of packages.

  • Wilma

    Wilma: I’ve been a stamps.com customer for several months now, and I love it.

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Kerry, We’re working hard to get the Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes added to the software. We should have them added in mid-to-late April.

    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Datthings1, The postal clerk was probably referring to a SCAN form. But this is absolutely not true! SCAN forms are NOT, and I repeat NOT required to drop off packages that have online postage. While the USPS prefers sellers to use SCAN forms, they absolutely are not required!

    You should ask to speak to the local postmaster or call 1-800-ASK-USPS and alert them that your specific Post Office is not providing accurate info.

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Datthings1

    The person at the post office told me yesterday that I now have to provide them with some kind of form. This form would be obtained from the internet showing the postage information from each Stamps.com postage label. Does anybody know what this is or is she misinformed?

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rae-Gallaher/1161787116 Rae Gallaher

    Thanks Eric. This is good to know. I’ve been sending my priority mail envelopes via the “envelopes” feature. I’ll use the package tab from now on.

  • Jenkwong77

    does anyone know if you have to pay extra postage for the shipping labels and the tape we use to attach the lables to the packages? i got a lecture from the clerk saying i’m dishonest and that i should print and attach all labels before weighing it, but i can’t. i told her i need to print the lables before i can attach it to the pkg. she just don’t understand and said it’s because of people like me that’s why usps is broke.

  • Greenman

    Stamps.com saves a lot of time, but it does not override the 13-oz rule. You still cannot put a package of any reasonable size in a mailbox (if you can find one). Even when you get to the post office, you will find that many post offices are locking their package drops at night and over the weekends. What this means is that you can put your stamps.com postage label on your package, but in many cases you still have to take it to a postal counter and physically hand the package to a postal clerk. At that point the postal clerk may re-weigh the package and demand additional postage.

  • stampscomblog

    Hi P Vaughn, I’m referring to a standard shipping label printed from the “packages” tab in the Stamps.com software.

    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • stampscomblog

    Hi Dick, According to the USPS rules, only shipping labels printed from online postage are allowed to be inserted into the local mailboxes. NetStamps from Stamps.com are not specifically excluded from the rule.

    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • stampscomblog

    Hi RedBen48, The USPS requires you to declare the Post Office that you will be mailing from at the time the label is generated. If you want to mail from a different Post Office, you should change the address associated with your Stamps.com account. To do this, go to My Account, Postal Meter Address. You are free to use any “Return Address” you wish, but the “Origin” zip code in your Postal Meter Address should match the zip code of the mailing Post Office.

    I think this rule is based on the USPS accounting policy for Post Offices (but not sure).

    Hope this helps.
    Thanks!
    Eric
    Stamps.com

  • Kerry

    when will stamps.com start supporting the new priority regional method of mailing? I was contacted by someone at USPS informing me a new method of shipping was coming. If someone wants to contact me I have the rate sheet and info that was sent to me. Thanks,