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Tue Jan 9 2018 15:55:36

Is USPS Automated Package Verification on Track?

By: Ina Steiner

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In August, the US Postal Service rolled out a new program called Automated Package Verification (APV) in which it verifies shippers have paid the correct amount for postage purchased online for packages.

It applies to all of the online postage providers including the USPS's own Click-N-Ship as well as PC Postage label providers EasyPost, eBay, Endicia, PayPal, Pitney Bowes, and Stamps.com.

As we reported in July, there are some benefits as explained by Stamps.com's Eric Nash, who said buyers would no longer receive packages with "postage due" notices for underpaid packages, and packages would not get returned to the seller if the USPS detects underpaid postage.

And remember, it works both ways - if you overpay, you should be getting credits to your account.

We heard from a seller who was impacted and thought it was time to check in with readers to see what you've been experiencing. Check out today's Newsflash article, and let us know if you've encountered the program.




Comments (15) | Permalink

Readers Comments

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by: RL15 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 9 16:30:55 2018

I have had no issues with this. This is a good thing.

But usps makes a lot of mistakes, and I'm sure there will be a lot of errors in the verification process.

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by: FeelingFroggy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 9 16:37:20 2018

We ship over 200 packages a day. In the last two weeks nothing with the exception that someone wrote to us claiming the post office charge them 32 cents postage due on a priority mail box.

So is the program on track....Hot air.

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by: futervest This user has validated their user name.

Tue Jan 9 17:44:05 2018

I, as a shipper can see why the post office does this we all know that there are a lot of cheaters out there.  Example if your first class package weights 10.2 oz  Many will put 10 oz  Because to have to pay the extra 23 cents/oz when you're only using  2/10ths of that oz    That can add up fast and with the postoffice jacking up rates every 6 months who can blame them.

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by: thriftyattireandstuff This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 00:00:55 2018

I've gotten a warning, but they did not charge the additional postage required.  I agree this was probably my error. I have no issue with it as long as they are charging me, properly notifying me, and not asking for dollars and change at the door.  I have had issues in the past, usually with rural post offices with nothing better to do being super vigilant weighing items them forwarding the cost to the customer, which ends up being extravagant because they base the difference off of the discounted rate I paid.  Hopefully this will alleviate some of this, but there's always gonna be a Barney Fife of sorts out there.

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by: Chicago48 This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 01:15:21 2018

No problem on my end.  I use a scale and it's been accurate so far.

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 01:22:55 2018

I have not been notified of anything, but I do try really hard to be accurate and we always round up so if anything, they should be giving me some money (but they have not).

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This user has validated their user name. by: Marie

Wed Jan 10 02:34:18 2018

So far I've had no issues with this program that started several months ago.  I sincerely hope it stays that way.

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by: mushroomcathy This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 09:13:56 2018

So, for those that have been “notified”, how?  On your EBAY invoice, by email, ?

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by: DebraD This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 09:35:15 2018

The post office is not verifying postage on packages now, anymore than they were before July. I've spoken to my post master about this issue, he tells me they do not have a means/equipment/manpower to check each package invidually. It is still left primarily up to the individual post offices to monitor for postage. Now procedure may have changed for collecting the postage, in that now the shipper is back charged, rather than the recipient, but again this would depend on whether the error is caught in the first place. Case in point, several weeks ago I shipped two packages. The recipients had similar names, and I accidently switched labels on the two packages. First class mail label went on flat rate envelope, flat rate envelope label went on first class mail package, both were delivered with no repercussions in the form of postage due. I did, however, have a mess straightening out the mistake. So, really all this change means is that you will be back charged IF the error is caught.

One interesting note, some usps facilities are photographing each package that come through. This could be helpful to those of you who have had problems with customer claims, whereby a photo of the actual package and shipping label might help resolve a claim in the sellers favor. I called USPS customer service about a missing package, and low and behold, the agent was able to pull up a photo of it. After she then contacted the facility, It was subsequently delivered a few days later.

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by: epuise This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 09:42:14 2018

how about a system that, IF a Carrier does NOT scan DELIVERED, automatically REIMBURSES the shipper IN FULL so they can reimburse the customer for uninsured parcels ?

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by: Bethofvt This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 09:48:36 2018

I have been refunded twice and I was not entitled to the refund either time. Both were lightweight packages that could have gone first class but I chose to send priority for the speed (Christmas time) and the insurance coverage. I paid postage of $6.30 each was refunded  $3.69 each

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by: Studiolines This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 10:49:17 2018

No issues. I am now and always have been diligent on making sure all is weighed correctly.  

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 10:54:03 2018

One problem with this system is that the USPS is demonstrably unable to maintain the accuracy of their own equipment. Packages may get weighed several times along the way, including initial Acceptance at the front counter, and yet if the scale responsible for flagging underweight postage is out of calibration with the others, none of the preceding ''good'' weights will matter.

I saw this demonstrated for weeks at a main downtown Chicago USPS outlet where the counter scales were consistently weighing packages as about 2½-3 ounces heavier than their actual weight, leading to Priority postage on some packages that really only needed First Class, while their Automated Postal Center machine was off in the other direction, consistently underweighing packages by about the same amount.

An on-line complaint via their website led to a clueless reply (''No problem found''). A few weeks later, they finally got the machines recalibrated. That's something that should be done every day, not once a season.

On another occasion, a piece of scanning equipment was apparently moved from a New York facility to the Chicago ISC, but for weeks after that, it continued to report its location in package tracking histories as New York instead of Chicago, leading to bizarre results where a package would arrive at Chicago ISC and then seem to pass through New York minutes later.

There was also a similar instance we saw in the eBay Shipping and Returns discussion group where another machine was either set to the wrong timezone or had not been corrected for Daylight Savings Time, leading to tracking results where a package seemed to arrive at its destination sort before leaving from its origin.

All the above are routine glitches with various causes, but what they have in common is that they're under the supervision of people who either have no training or simply don't care, and thus I suspect that this new verification program is going to have a very rocky existence, at least until it's quietly abandoned as unworkable later on.

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by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 10 14:36:42 2018

Just wondering if there are any stamps.com users who have received adjustments, and if it is possible to run a report on them to see if you are getting them or not?

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jan 12 00:01:45 2018

@DebraD

who did you call?  whenever i call the 800 number they only recite the tracking info that i can see.  i currently have an international package that has been stuck in NYC for a month.



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