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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How to Ship Cremated Remains

June 16th, 2017 Comments off

There may be different reasons why you would need to ship cremated remains: you’re a relative entrusted with transporting or distributing the remains of a loved one; you need to ensure that a pet cremation urn is safely sent back home; or you’re in the death care business and your funeral home needs to transport cremated remains frequently. Whatever the reason may be, Stamps.com can help you make the process as painless as possible.

The first thing to know is that you can only use the USPS to ship cremated remains. Courier services like FedEx and UPS do not allow this. Therefore, you can use your powerful Stamps.com platform to ship cremated remains.

Preparing your package

The USPS allows for shipping cremated remains by Priority Mail Express service only.  Keep in mind that there are packaging requirements—USPS requires that the inner container be stable, shock-proof, and sift-proof (i.e. sealed against leakage during transit). Since the USPS requires full return and delivery addresses be included on the outside of the package, we recommend using the Stamps.com Shipping Label feature to meet this guideline and also receive free tracking. Under our “Packages” section, you can select one of our “Shipping Label” options. You can easily print a trackable label on plain paper or on one of our self-adhesive labels, such as the 4 1/4″ x 6 3/4″ shipping labels (SDC-1200).

Identifying your package

Remember also to declare the Special Contents when you print your Shipping Label. After selecting the Priority Mail Express mail class and entering all of the appropriate criteria (addresses, weight, etc.), click on the “Select” button next to “Add’l Options.” Click on “Special Contents” and select “Cremated Remains.”

For peace of mind and to ensure respectful handling, we also highly recommend using the additional marking provided by Label 139, a postal label indicating “Cremated Remains,” which can be ordered for free here: https://store.usps.com/store/browse/productDetailSingleSku.jsp?productId=P_LABEL139

International Mailing

For international mail, you may only use Priority Mail Express International to ship cremated remains.  Cremated remains must also be shipped in a funeral urn. Remember to double-check whether the country to which you are mailing allows this type of shipment. Some countries, such as Belgium, Ireland, Kyrgyzstan, Portugal and the United Kingdom do not allow entry of cremated remains. Some countries also do not support Priority Mail Express International. We recommend researching this prior to mailing by accessing the Individual Country Listings here: https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immctry.htm

Remember to fully and clearly identify the contents on your customs form. Stamps.com makes the process easy and efficient by combining postage and the Customs Declaration Forms into the same documentation/international shipping label. In the Customs Information window, under “Type of Contents,” select “Other” and type in a detailed description under “More Info.” In the itemized package content details, please also enter a detailed description to remain compliant with USPS guidelines.

Since you are using Priority Mail Express, you can schedule a free pickup to avoid going to the Post Office.  Learn how to schedule a pickup here: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/04/21/usps-package-pickups-and-drop-offs/

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What is Air Mail?

June 9th, 2017 Comments off

Sometimes your boxes and shipments will soar 39,000 feet in the air. From the time the USPS first experimented with mail flight in 1911 to the present day, letters and parcels have been carried through the air to ensure speedy delivery for your recipients. What constitutes “air mail”? What scenarios cause the USPS to send something by air instead of by surface transportation?

Generally, Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and First-Class Mail pieces will be shipped by air.  However, these mail classes may also be shipped by ground depending on the originating and destination points—for example, if a destination is within driving distance. Postal trucks on the highway generally transport pieces that have to be shipped 500 miles away or less. For longer distances, your mail may be transported by freight railroad.

Sometimes your mailpiece may travel by a combination of air and ground. The USPS will always strive to get a mailpiece to your recipients by the fastest way possible. Parcel Select and Media Mail, which receive special discounted rates, will generally ship by surface transportation.

How does the USPS ship mailpieces by air? Rather than maintaining an expensive fleet of postal planes, your mail will generally “hitch a ride” on the airplane of a private carrier. The USPS negotiates contracts with commercial carriers to transport its mail, something it began to do in 1925. Airlines such as United Airlines and TWA (which became part of American Airlines in 2001) actually began as transporters of air mail. USPS mail is carried on both passenger and cargo planes. FedEx also provides air transportation for USPS domestic First-Class Mail, Priority Mail and Priority Express Mail, as well as some international mail.

Shipping with Stamps.com

It’s always important to remain compliant with current USPS statutes and regulations. Remember that certain hazardous items (such as aerosol cans, spray paint, rubbing alcohol or paint) cannot be shipped by air. For international mail, always fully and clearly identify the contents on your customs form. Items will also need to meet USPS packaging and marking requirements. Please also keep in mind that an individual pilot may decide to refuse mailpieces that present a potential danger to the aircraft. Refused pieces may also include unidentifiable items or shipments of live animals whose safety is threatened by temperature conditions in the air.

A detailed guide on shipping via USPS air transportation can be found here: https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c7_001.htm

You can combine the speed of a jumbo jet with the convenience of requesting a free USPS pickup by using the powerful Stamps.com platform! 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.  Mailpieces with non-qualifying mail classes (such as First Class Mail) can be picked up as long as your pickup request includes at least one qualifying class.

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Receiving Mail at a Brand-New Address

May 19th, 2017 Comments off

A brand-new housing development is going up. Houses have sprung up in once-vacant lots. A line of trees has been planted along unused avenues. Parks and playgrounds have been created. Water, phone, gas, and electric services have been installed. You’re almost ready to move in. Wondering how you will get your mail?

Even before construction is completed, postal representatives have already met with builders, developers or construction site managers. For example, the USPS has veto power over a new street name proposed by developers. A new name has to facilitate access for the USPS, as well as for public services such as police and fire. A new “Sunshine Avenue” may cause confusion and misdeliveries for the USPS if a Sunshine Avenue already exists in the same city.

Postal representatives meet with developers and review site plans. Important issues under consideration include:

  • How far is the new neighborhood from older, well-developed areas?
  • How close is the nearest Post Office?
  • How big are the lot sizes?
  • How close are the lots to the roads?

The postal representatives’ goal is to provide mailing services that comply with USPS standards and regulations. And before mail can even be picked up and delivered, the USPS needs to understand the entire infrastructure that goes into the essential functioning of a new neighborhood, including street signs, house numbers, completed walkways, and finalized rights-of-way and turnouts.

Developers are tasked with installing USPS-approved mail receptacles or door slots. Based on the local characteristics of a new development, the USPS has sole discretion in determining which delivery method is the most appropriate for the new subdivision:

  • door-to-door delivery
  • curbside delivery
  • sidewalk delivery
  • central delivery (i.e. delivery to a cluster box unit or outdoor parcel locker)

After the dust of construction settles, the USPS begins serving the new community, with the goal of providing consistent, timely and safe service.

Updating your address with Stamps.com

Have you moved in and set up your laptop? Great! If you have a Stamps.com account, you can easily update your mailing addresses.

The Postal Meter Address is the address registered with the USPS and is used for determining your postage rates.

To update it:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Postal Meter Address.”
  3. Edit your address and click “Save” to finalize the change.
  4. Just a heads-up: you will also need to update your information in both the Meter Contact Information section (under “PC Postage Account”) and under the My Profile section (under “My Information”).

To change your Shipping Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left side of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Shipping Addresses.”
  3. Edit an existing address or add a new one, and click “Save” to finalize the change.

To change your Billing Address:

  1. Log in to the Stamps.com software and click on “My Account” on the left hand of the screen.
  2. Go to “PC Postage Account” and select “Default Payment Methods.”
  3. Edit this address, and click “Save” to finalize the change.
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