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

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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

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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.

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Can I Ship Beer or Wine Using the USPS?

August 18th, 2017 Comments off

You’ve just tasted a great selection of Belgian beers. You want your friend in the next city or state to enjoy them too. Can you mail a case of amber ale, Oud Bruin, and dubbels to him using the USPS? What if you own a vineyard and you want to ship a bottle of red wine to a customer?

Shipping Alcoholic Beverages using the USPS is Prohibited

Intoxicating liquors, defined by the USPS as “drinkable beverages that have 0.5 percent or more alcoholic content by weight,” unfortunately cannot be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service. This includes beer, wine and liquor.

What if, instead of mailing a case of beer, you just want to send a catalog that advertises new products offered by your microbrewery or wine club? Promotional material associated with intoxicating liquors is also not allowed.

Items that cannot be shipped with the USPS:

·Beer

·Wine

·Liquor

·Advertising, promotional or sales matter (catalogs) containing sales offers for beer, wine or liquor

·Boxes with alcoholic beverage markings

·Wooden containers (wine crates) with alcoholic beverage markings
What if you’re using an empty wine crate or box branded with a beer label to mail documents or some other item that isn’t liquor? Reusing old boxes can be risky if the markings or labels are associated with prohibited and non-mailable items. We recommend removing or completely obliterating any alcohol-related markings, labels and descriptors, so that your mailpiece is not deemed nonmailable. In other words, don’t just cross out “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “American Lager.” Completely black out or cover the wording on the old box.

Are Consumer Products that Contain Alcohol Prohibited?

You can send products that may have some alcoholic content, such as cold remedies, mouthwash, and cooking wine, as long as it meets the applicable requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, if you work for a federal or state agency, such as an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or Liquor Enforcement Division, the mailing of liquor is allowed for official purposes.

Can I Ship Alcohol to an International Address?

Unfortunately, you cannot ship alcohol to an international address. The USPS applies its domestic shipping policy to all international addresses as well. Keep in mind that mailing liquors internationally may also violate a country’s import policy.

For further USPS details on these policies, please see https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_005.htm.

 

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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.
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