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Tue Aug 4 2015 15:52:55

Are Postal Clerks Required to Scan at Counter?

By: Reader

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Dear Ina,
I was thankful to find the following letter from the USPS. A lot of questions have been answered as I have recently experience a postal employee who refused to scan a package with a postage purchased online. 

I do have a follow-up question that I would love for USPS to clear up. It says in that letter "Every item accepted at the retail counter at a local Post Office that has a USPS Tracking number must be scanned, whether the customer requests it or not."

My question is whether post offices are required to accept a package with a postage printed and paid for online at their retail counters. My post office has a cardboard box in the back (not near the retail counter) that says to drop off packages with prepaid labels.

To summarize, I would like to know whether a post office is required to accept packages with online postage at its retail counter.

Thank you for taking your time to read this email.
Sincerely,
JYC

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Readers Comments

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Aug 5 18:24:11 2015

I asked a NEW NICE PO LADY nicely to scan today, told her of the problems and now my dash scores are back up to 94"- should be over 98% but I think this is it.
The po is TRYING NOT TO SCAN items at the counter for speeds sake- talk REALLY NICELY to usps counter folks and ask them to scan and your score jumps way back up right away.
I know the PO sends in batches.
MH

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by: Redlion This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 00:42:29 2015

Unless something has changed since April 2, 2014, postal employees are required to scan at the counter.  This per a letter posted to Ina by Roy Betts, U.S. Postal Service, Corporate Communications

http://www.ecommercebytes.com/C/letters/blog.pl?
/pl/2014/4/1396456422.html
Dear
Ina,
This is in response to the March 26 letter, "eBay Seller: USPS Tracking Leaves Much to Be Desired."

We regret the inconvenience the customer experienced with USPS Tracking(TM) when attempting to track items recently mailed at an unspecified location within the Postal Service.

If the customer was provided inaccurate or incomplete information by a postal official, we apologize and encourage the customer to contact us so we can ensure that our employees have the correct information.

Unfortunately, there were numerous errors in the customer's letter. To set the record straight, the Postal Service is not charging for items scanned at local Post Offices. If a postal employee is telling the customer something different, we would like to know more information about this discussion so we can take corrective action to avoid miscommunications going forward.

Here is how the process is designed to work.

USPS Tracking is built into the price of the following classes of parcels shipped using online eBay labels: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, Standard Post (formerly Parcel Post) and First-Class Package Services.

There is no charge merely to scan parcels at the retail counter at a local Post Office, for prepaid eBay packages.

Every item accepted at the retail counter at a local Post Office that has a USPS Tracking number must be scanned, whether the customer requests it or not. By the time the items reach the first processing facility, they will have had two scan events.

The customer wrote that "a supervisor told me that there is not tracking on delivery confirmation or signature confirmation until it reaches its destination." Again, this is incorrect information and we would like to correct it.

The Postal Service replaced "Delivery Confirmation" in 2013 with USPS Tracking(TM) as it better reflects our end-to-end tracking, from the acceptance of a package to final destination, including confirmation of delivery.

By the time a package leaves our processing site, it will have had at least two scans. It will receive four more scan events by the time of delivery.

Contrary to what was stated in the letter, Postal Service carriers are required to perform an acceptance scan on all prepaid, barcoded parcels that they pick up from customers.

The letter states that scanning at a mail processing center may not be done if the barcode on the package is not visible. Not true. In some instances, if the barcode is not visible, the package will be re-oriented by hand. However, the majority of package mail volume is processed by mail processing equipment that scans 360 degrees and validates the barcode at the same time.

We recently changed the description for missent events to simply show that packages were processed through or at the location where the event occurred. The events still display on our USPS Tracking external website. "Missent" is no longer used because it was shown to unnecessarily alarm customers who thought their packages were lost and would not be delivered.

The Postal Service is making tremendous progress through its investment in technology innovations to achieve 100 percent visibility in mail and package delivery. Our national performance is averaging higher than 95 percent in scanning all mail and packages we are processing and delivering.

We regret the March 26 letter was posted with so much misinformation and believe this response will help to clarify and educate eCommerceByte viewers and customers of the Postal Service about our scanning practices.
Roy Betts
U.S. Postal Service
Corporate Communications

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by: thebobman This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 01:14:00 2015

I live in a small-medium sized metro area and the new "last call" is 2:15pm. If you have a carrier pick up the package, it will go 2 miles to the post office and sit there until 2:20pm the next day before leaving because the carrier usually doesn't get back that early.

I bring my 7-15 daily packages to the post office at about 2pm. Wait in line 2-6 minutes and then BS with the clerk as they spend about 2-3 minutes scanning my packages. Usually most things get delivered in 42-60 hours.

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by: SparklyEyes7 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 01:51:37 2015

My postal carrier usually does a fine job scanning them in when he picks them up from my door.

However, yesterday he scanned then "delivered on front porch" when he picked them up.  No scans since.  

Frustrating!

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by: Noneya This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 01:56:28 2015

Had a jerky manager at a local post office very loudly tell me and everyone else in line that I get discounted shipping online (says who?) and so I am not entitled to get my packages scanned. The clerks rolled their eyes and mouthed SORRY - more than a few postal managers are willing to tell sellers to take a hike when it comes to getting multiple packages scanned.

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by: tb This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 03:08:42 2015

I leave all my packages on the USPS counter in a box with a SCAN form taped to the box. They seem to like them as they only have to scan one barcode to accept all the items, and I've never not had the form scanned.

If you use Endicia, or Stamps, you've already got the capability to generate the SCAN form.

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by: dll366 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 05:21:30 2015

I use Stamp.com's scan sheet feature whenever I have more than one package to send.  Even if I just have two packages I will print a scan sheet so that the clerk just has to scan one number to get all the packages.  After reading some of the comments, I feel very lucky to have such nice clerks at my post office.  

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by: partsdude68 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 07:13:51 2015

I print labels at the USPS site. I load all labels. When all are loaded and I am read to print there is a box you can check called Scan Form. This form will show all packages. The clerks at the post office love this once they know how to scan it. I often have lots of packages. The scan form gets them all with one scan.  

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by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 07:33:16 2015

Why in the world would you want to drop them off at a post office???  Requests a pickup from USPS.  It is required that they are scanned when picked up.  I used to go to the trouble and after the hassles involved with dealing with postal employees I started asking for free pickup.  Special little truck comes and pickes up my packages and scans as they are loaded!!!  

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by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 07:38:12 2015

Until your mail is scanned, it is not in the "system".  You can drop off all you want, put them in the drop box, what ever system is in place but if it is misplaced in the postal system without being scanned you are up the creek!!!

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by: Chip This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 07:48:23 2015

I don't know why anyone would waste time going to the post office. My local mailman picks up all my packages and scans them at his truck. He says it's part of his job. I put everything in a big box so he can just take the whole thing to his truck.

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by: lindysthings This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 08:32:54 2015

This discussion is just proof that many Post Offices around the country operate differently. Some seem to be unaware of the rules, and some just do things differently due to constraints on the number of employees they are working with, etc.

Some POs scan the package right when you hand it to them, others at the end of the day,(making a huge time difference).

All of that is reason enough that Ebay should never tie in any metric for evaluation of a seller to anything the Post Office does!! Nothing is standard in their procedures. Not even the date of receving a package. Ebay should leave the whole shipping thing off the table for evaluation of a seller.

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This user has validated their user name. by: MainelyVintage

Thu Aug 6 09:08:07 2015

At my modest county-seat PO, the young kids, the postal clerk newbies, are much more cooperative about scanning at the counter. Even after I explained eBay's requirements, the older ladies, including our postmistress, don't feel that it is necessary. Interestingly, I really like the mature gals otherwise, and I feel that they are really good at their jobs.

I truly feel that the younger ones better understand the issue of eBay penalizing you for their not scanning in a timely manner.

Thankfully, we choose not to sell very much on eBay : )

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by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Thu Aug 6 10:07:13 2015

Unbelievable! I put the labels on my packages and stick them in my mailbox and they get scanned. If I'm going into town and have more orders to ship (Yeah!) I take them inside and hand them off to an employee who will scan them. At times I have thrown them in the mailbox outside if they are less than a pound (a require for ALL blue mailboxes)and was kindly asked to bring them inside as they make the mailbox fill up too fast and I am happy to do so. My PO is very well run and I am so grateful when I read about others problems with theirs. I think that because of the way my packages are treated from the beginning is why I have very rarely ever had a package go AWOL. I am blessed.

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by: a_c_green This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 11:14:57 2015

> Had a jerky manager at a local post office very
> loudly tell me and everyone else in line that I get
> discounted shipping online (says who?)

Says the USPS, actually. :-) You do in fact pay slightly less when purchasing postage on-line. If you go to their website and look up the price for shipping your package from A to B (entering dimensions, weight, source & destination ZIP, choice of shipping method, etc.), it will show you the on-line price (via your Click 'n' Ship account) and the over-the-counter price. The OTC price will generally be a little higher. (Some methods such as Regional Rate shipments are only available on-line.)

BUT, having said that, let's continue:

> and so I am not entitled to get my packages scanned.

Here he is completely wrong. The Acceptance scan is the second half of the transaction that was initiated when you bought the postage on-line. It documents that the USPS has now taken possession of the package.

(Even taking his argument at face value, it makes no sense: since you pre-paid on-line, printed your own label and attached it for them, you have saved them significant time at the front desk by not having to go through an entire financial transaction. All they need to do is weigh, point and click. Done.)

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by: Honeydo This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 13:03:31 2015

At the USPS Counter employee refusing to scan, " I need a receipt."

At that point, they are REQUIRED to do so, if not, get the supervisor -- there is NO POLICY number that says they can dictate whether they scan or not.

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by: quirkyantiques This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 13:52:37 2015

My Post Master informed me that they HAD to scan EVERY package on receiving whether or not you prepaid. It is indeed a postal regulation now. The Postal workers that tell you otherwise are ill informed-contact the Consumer advocate for the Post Office and file a complaint against any Post Office that refuses to do their job.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Thu Aug 6 15:09:09 2015


Fortunate to live near a USPS so I drop off my packages and at some point they ''acceptance''  scan them by that evening.  That has been reliable so in most cases I don't join the really long queue waiting to see the 1 or 2 employees at the counter.  

I choose not to do pick-up at my home to free myself from sitting around waiting for USPS.  When there is a sub (at least once a week), the time they come by can change quite a bit.  I have never felt comfortable leaving unattended packages sitting on my front porch waiting for USPS.

Remember the news video a while back of the non-USPS delivery driver leaving THEIR package but looking around and then carrying off the package left for USPS?  


I do remember the couple times I've gone to the counter with a question, they automatically scan the package without being asked.  I agree - it appears USPS is not carrying out their duties in a consistent matter.  

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 23:39:31 2015

True story: I always stand ing line and get my items scanned at counter. On day I'm in line (they know me well) police call. My store is being robbed. I panicked of course and went to counter - handed one single item to the clerk - told her what was happening and asked (begged really) could she just simply scan it in. Ran out of PO.  That night I checked - no she did not scan it so I spent a week hoping the clerk at the other end wasn't an idiot and would actually do their job. Package did get there but never again. I stand in line - watch them scan it and get the receipt.

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by: Whatever This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 6 23:41:14 2015

One more thing - you can go to the pickup mail window and the clerk will also scan it in. At least at my PO.

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