eBay PowerSeller Nick Sevino (a pseudonym) answers questions about buying and selling on eBay.
I know UPS offers call tags but I ship fairly light items through the Mail.
Endicia, a service that lets you print USPS postage labels from your computer, offers a solution (http://www.endicia.com). Basically, you want to print a return label postage and get it into the hands of the customer asap.
Endicia's Premium plan (Flat $15.95 per month + postage) has a return postage option that allows you to print a Call Tag (Prepaid return Postage) label.
If you already have Endicia, it's found in the Address Book Window under Postage > Options > Premium service options. Check the box "print as reply postage." When you print the postage label, it'll show postage coming from your customer to you.
I integrate the process with a program called PDF factory. Basically, the label is printed into a PDF (Portable Document Format). Then I email the PDF file to the customer with instructions to print it out and tape to the package.
PDF format makes a document look the same on any computer so anyone can read the document using any operating system. (Normally one can create a document in Word 95 and it won't look the same if opened in Word 98 or office 2000.) Adobe's Acrobat Reader is a universal document standard. Anyone can download the reader for free, but if you want to create documents or edit them, than you have to buy the Adobe Acrobat.
Less expensive freeware, shareware and third party utilities are out there. I suggest Fineprint PDF factory (http://www.fineprint.com). If you can put up with a little advertising, it's free. They add a little caption at the bottom of the page "created with FinePrint PDF Factory" but for $50 to register, you can have that removed.
Nick Seal of approval:
PDF Factory is rock solid stable in Windows 98 and XP. Basically it installs a printer driver that allows whatever you print to be converted to an Adobe PDF format. It has an added benefit: PDF is much faster to email and takes less time to print.
Editor's Note: Adobe Acrobat is now available on a subscription basis for $9.99/month or US$99.99/year http://www.adobe.com. You can sign up for a free trial and receive five free files. Also note there are other online postage services, including Stamps.com, which probably also offer call tags.
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