How to Dispute an Underpaid Package by USPS Automated Package Verification

August 7th, 2017 Comments off

If your package gets flagged for postage due by the new USPS Automated Package Verification (APV) system, what can you do? While this new machinery is state of the art and catches both underpaid and overpaid packages, there are situations where the scanning tool can have a false positive—a package will be flagged for being shortpaid even though the correct postage was applied.

If this happens to you, the USPS has a formal process for you to dispute the APV program:

Step #1: Locate your tracking number from the package that was flagged.

Step #2: Send an email to VerifyPostageHelp@usps.gov. In the email, make sure you include the following info:

  • The USPS tracking number of the package
  • Your contact information
  • The reason for the dispute (please provide as much detail as possible).

If the USPS needs more info from you, they will contact you directly via email.

Expected Response Times from USPS

You should expect to get a response from the USPS regarding your disputed package within 2 to 5 business days, although the maximum time limit for adjudication will be 15 business days.

Other Info Regarding Automated Package Verification

  • The USPS will not be providing partial reversals. A customer dispute will either be approved or denied.
  • Stamps.com customers will get an email when the dispute is opened and a second email when the dispute has been approved or denied.
  • Approved rate adjustments for overpaid packages will be automatically applied to a customer’s Stamps.com account within 24 hours.
  • Coming Soon:  Stamps.com customers will soon see a one-step mechanism within the Reports/Print History to send the appropriate dispute info to the USPS.
Categories: Shipping Tags:

Tips to Keep Your Customer Direct Mail Database Clean

July 7th, 2017 Comments off

Finding out your direct mail advertising items are coming back as undeliverable can be quite a frustrating discovery. You’ve lost money, time and potential customers on each piece that comes back to you. So, what can you do about it? By keeping your customer database current, you can make sure your direct mail is getting to its intended recipients in a timely manner and minimize the number of returned mail because of misspellings and bad data.

Tip #1 – Create One Central Database

It’s possible you’re getting your lists from different sources, so if you haven’t done so already, combine any information you might have for customers and prospects. This will make it much easier when you start planning future mail marketing campaigns.

Tip #2—Designate a Database Manager

You know what they say about too many cooks in the kitchen. Pick one or two people on the team to maintain and update your database in order to minimize the potential for error that may arise when too many people have the ability to access and edit your list.

 

Tip #3—Make Sure Your Addresses Are Clean

You’ll want to run your address list through Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) approved software in order to compare the addresses you have with the USPS database in order to find errors and inconsistencies such as typos, incorrect ZIP codes or non-standard state abbreviations. This address cleansing and verification process helps you to make sure addresses in your database match the preferred USPS specifications, and offers suggested changes for each potential error.

Tip #4—Watch Your Mailbox

If and when you do receive undeliverable mail, you’ll want to look into why your mailpiece didn’t get to its intended recipient and update your database accordingly.

Updating addresses with Stamps.com

You can use Stamps.com to keep your address list current! Stamps.com is a CASS-certified solution and regularly syncs with the USPS Address Matching Service Database, which verifies valid U.S. mailing addresses. If you want to meticulously review questionable addresses, the Automatic Matching System pop-up alerts may come in handy. If you’d prefer to update without review, you can easily turn off the pop-ups.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Free Guide: How to Send Certified Mail

March 3rd, 2017 Comments off

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Do you need to send something important, and need a way to know when it safely arrives at its destination? Using USPS Certified Mail provides both proof of mailing and proof of receipt to help ensure your important mailpieces, including confidential documents, arrive at their intended destinations. Certified Mail comes in handy when you need to send communications containing sensitive information, and is often used for correspondence from law offices, accountants, debtors, creditors, and medical professionals.

If you want to learn the ins and outs of using this special USPS service, check out Stamps.com’s new downloadable eBook, “How to Send Certified Mail.” This comprehensive guide will help you understand how to securely send important items using USPS.

download-PDF

This guide answers the following questions:

  • What is Certified Mail?
  • How much does Certified Mail cost?
  • How long does it take to deliver Certified Mail?
  • What is a Return Receipt and how do I use it?
  • How do I track Certified Mail delivery?
  • How do I use Certified Mail with Stamps.com?
  • Plus much more
Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

The ABCs of SEO

February 17th, 2017 Comments off

Understanding SEO

 

Looking for more online exposure for your ecommerce business? Then you ought to be paying attention to search engine optimization (SEO). By helping search engines understand your site and what you’re selling, SEO in return does a better job of listing your site when certain terms come up in user searches.

Because an A-to-Z review of this topic would fill a book, here’s an abbreviated look at how SEO works, and how it can work for you.

  • A is for Algorithm. Search engines can’t think, but they can generate a list of the sites that they perceive to be the best hits for certain words.
  • C is for Content. Naturally, you’re going to make sure each page of your site takes full advantage of SEO. But what happens when visitors come to your page, and you no longer carry the item they’re looking for or are out of stock? Review every page of your site regularly to make sure shoppers don’t reach dead ends. If you don’t have the products they’re looking for, update listings with the expected date you’ll be able to fulfill orders, or offer alternative products to keep them engaged on your site.
  • K is for Keyword Research. When you understand the terminology your potential customers are plugging into search engines, the better you’re able to plug the same words onto your site. Think of keywords as shortcuts that sum up each page’s content.
  • L is for Longtail. Longtail keywords are SEO phrases that contain three or more words, and they account for 70 percent of searches. Longtails allow shoppers to be specific; for example, instead of searching for “doll,” they can narrow their results to “vintage rag doll.”
  • R is for Rank. Sure, your site may come up in a search, but is it on the first page? Better yet, is at or near the top of the first page? Recent data shows that the first hit on a page garners 32.5 percent of traffic; the second hit is a distant 17.6 percent and the numbers go downhill from there. Your goal is to keep your site ranked high, and that means reviewing your SEO keywords regularly.
  • T is for Technology. Nowadays, third-party apps and tools make it easy to come up with search words with minimal manual input. Use these services, but don’t let them be a substitute for your personal expertise or good old common sense.
  • U is for Unique. Search engines don’t like identical content from different sites. If your products come to you directly from a manufacturer, resist copying the original product information. Rewriting product descriptions and infusing them with your personal touch can help keep your listings unique and your site’s rank high.
  • V is for Volume. This is the data in your stats that measures average monthly searches. This information can help you assess whether the SEO terms you’re using are yielding the best results.
Categories: Small Business Marketing Tags:

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