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USPS Offers Self-Scanning at over 2,200 Post Offices

USPS Offers Self-Scanning at over 2,200 Post Offices

The USPS offers self-scanning at over 2,200 Post Offices, EcommerceBytes has confirmed. For those online sellers dropping off pre-paid packages, it may help them save time standing in line and give them more confidence their packages were actually scanned in a timely manner.

After a reader tipped us off in a letter to the editor published on Tuesday, we reached out to the USPS. Spokesperson Kim Frum told us the new feature that allows acceptance scans on the SSK Kiosks was added 4 months ago.

“The goal of the Self-Service Kiosk (SSK) program is to provide customers with a convenient self-service alternative to the full-service counter,” she said. “SSKs place simple transactions with debit or credit cards in control of the customers and allow our retail professionals to use their skills to assist customers with more complicated mailing needs.”

There are 2,214 Self-Service Kiosks, Frum said, and the majority are located at Post Office lobbies that are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.

“They are located where they can yield the most benefit for our customers,” she said. And, if the Postal Service finds they are not meeting that requirement, they are removed and deployed to other high traffic locations.

So how can online sellers find out if there’s a Self-Service Kiosk near them? Frum said, “For SSK locations, please visit https://www.usps.com/, under the Quick Tools link, select “Find USPS Locations” then insert your ZIP Code. You may also contact us at 800-275-8777.”

Sellers commenting on the new scanning capability were pleased overall. “Now if they would just make that same scanner be able to scan the scan sheets for bulk drop offs it would be great, it would be impossible to sit there and scan in 700+ packages a day one at a time,” one seller suggested.

One was skeptical and wrote in part, “I was informed by USPS staff that USPS Insurance requires the item to be physically scanned by a clerk (an Acceptance scan) for it to be eligible for a claim. Since there is nothing stopping someone from scanning an item at the APC and NOT putting it the bin, their insurance will not cover items lacking that “hard” Acceptance scan.” (It’s not known when postal staff provided that information to the seller.)

Frum used the term “acceptance scan” in her correspondence with us with no qualifications. The initial scan is important for sellers who need to prove to marketplaces that they mailed their items. As people begin to use the self-scanning feature, we’ll likely hear about the pros and cons and whether it satisfies marketplace requirements for scanning. Keep us posted, pun intended!

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

3 thoughts on “USPS Offers Self-Scanning at over 2,200 Post Offices”

  1. I will never use their Kiosk system, however, I know this will work for many shops who CAN afford to have lost packages; without insurance. I’m a jeweler. I send packages worth $250-$700. I will always walk up to the counter to add “insurance” while obtaining an official receipt. I’ve heard of too many Etsy sellers complain that packages are not always scanned until delivered, when packages are just dropped off without a “time-stamp” from a postal worker.

  2. Q: I understand a scan at the kiosk is not/may no be “binding” for insurance purposes,
    BUT … it DOES show up on the tracking history?? correct?

    I had a chat with one of the employees at my local post office just a bit ago…….

    I had been under the MISIMPRESSION that if I set boxes on the end of the counter
    (without waiting in line for an official “acceptance scan”)
    they WOULD still be scanned before leaving the branch post office.

    I was told today that is NOT true — boxes that are just dropped off
    are NOT not scanned until they hit the first distribution/sorting center.

    Well that kinda stinks….

    I’m thinking well what if my box ends up on the train tracks like in LA???

    I may have rethink my strategy here……………..
    Waiting is line is no fun
    but … even if the kiosk scan does not help with collecting insurance …
    it would still provide buyers with some assurance that the item was in-transit …
    So long as the kiosk scan is logged in the tracking history……………

    Thanks y’all!

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