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USPS Implementing New Automated Package Verification System

July 18th, 2017

Update: This article has been edited to reflect the new launch date of August 15 for the Automated Package Verification program.

 

The USPS is implementing a new system that will change how shortpaid or overpaid mail is charged and handled. Previously, shortpaid pieces used to go through a cumbersome process by which they’d be returned to the sender, treated as dead mail if they had no return address, or delivered to the addressee with a postage due notice.

New Automation Package Verification System to Start August 15

Automation will be changing all of that. Now, postage discrepancies will be detected by a new USPS program called Automated Package Verification (APV). APV will ensure that mail processed through USPS sorting facilities will be fully verified and checked for any errors.  Your mailpiece’s weight, dimensions, package type, and entry ZIP code will all be reviewed by this new state-of-the-art system.

Benefits of APV for Stamps.com Customers

There are a number of benefits to being a Stamps.com customer, such as not having to wait in line at the Post Office, access to useful features such as Hidden Postage, and the ability to send shipment notification emails. The new APV program will align with the efficient processes you already enjoy with our PC Postage product.

Make this new streamlined process work for you. If you’re one of the many Stamps.com customers who sell online, you won’t have to worry about having your customers pay postage due and suffer the embarrassment of poor ecommerce reviews and delayed deliveries. Postage adjustments will be made to your Stamps.com postage balance automatically, ensuring a smoother delivery process for you and your recipients, and a better overall customer experience. If you have overpaid a shipment, you may receive a credit to your postage balance to make up for the extra amount.

Shipping Tips to Avoid Postage Adjustments

Prior to the full USPS release of the APV program, Stamps.com may send courtesy notices to provide examples of your mailpieces that have been detected by the USPS as being shortpaid. These notices offer a great opportunity to make any corrections going forward before APV is fully rolled out!

  • Remember that Large Envelopes/Flats must always be bendable and have an even surface with no protuberances (flaps) or content shifting. A Large Envelope/Flat must have:
  1. Height: a minimum height of 6-1/8″ and a maximum height of 12″
  2.  Length: a minimum length of 11-1/2″ and a maximum length of 15″
  3. Thickness: a minimum thickness is ¼” and the maximum thickness is ¾”.
  • Remember to attach Priority Mail Flat Rate postage only to the appropriate Flat Rate packaging (e.g. Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope rates to Flat Rate Priority Envelopes). Flat Rate packaging is not interchangeable. A Medium Flat Rate Box should not be used with Large Flat Rate postage. Also, do not affix non-Flat Rate Postage to Flat Rate packaging. For further tips, please see: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/04/28/priority-mail-flat-rate-best-practices/
  • Take the guesswork out of package weights. The Stamps.com Online Store offers a variety of digital scales that meet various mailing and shipping needs.
  • Remember that fractional ounces are always rounded up to the next ounce. For example, if your mailpiece’s weight is 3.2 ounces, enter the weight as 4 ounces in the Stamps.com software.
  • If you’re sending non-Flat Rate mail, you will be asked to enter dimensions for your packages for certain Priority Mail zones. Make sure to measure your mailpiece accurately. For further tips, please see: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/03/30/how-to-measure-irregularly-shaped-items/

 

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