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  #1  
Old 07-09-2007, 02:59 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Penalties for Abusing USPS Media Mail by Shipping Non-Media Items

I heard a USPS clerk mention that 15% of USPS Media Mail shipments contain non-Media items.
This, of course, violates the USPS requirements that such items contain books, CDs, etc.
Is this a violation of policy or statute?
Are there any chances of criminal prosection?
Are there fines?

I know that enforcement is apparently lax. I'm asking about the law, not the de facto situastion.
For those playing at home that don't know what the hey USPS Media Mail is, here's a link:
http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm
also,
http://www.usps.com/send/waystosendm.../mediamail.htm

On edit:
Standard disclaimer, I've never violated this law, never intend to, don't know anyone who cops to having broken it.
This isn't a request for advice; rather, it is a request for information on the presence of pertinent regulations or statutes.

Last edited by Mr. Slant; 07-09-2007 at 03:00 PM..
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  #2  
Old 07-09-2007, 05:26 PM
Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor Bosda Di'Chi of Tricor is offline
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I'm wondering too.
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  #3  
Old 07-09-2007, 08:25 PM
dbygawdcapn dbygawdcapn is offline
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The key provision in the Domestic Mail Manual is that Media Mail is not sealed against postal inspection. This means that any window clerk that is suspicious that the contents of your parcel may not qualify for Media Mail rates can open and inspect the contents before accepting your parcel into the mail stream. If it turns out that you were trying to slip something by, your parcel would be returned to you for repackaging and you would have to remail it at a higher rate. There are no fines and an extremely minute chance of criminal prosecution. The Postal Inspection service would have to build a case against you, proving that you were systemically mailing non-eligible items, with the intent of defrauding the USPS.
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  #4  
Old 07-10-2007, 08:52 AM
chaoticbear chaoticbear is offline
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Once upon a time, I was trying to mail books I'd sold on eBay to a few different people, but I had a non-media trinket (an armband from the book signing) to go with them. The people at the UPS Store told me that because of that, I'd have to go with a more expensive route.
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  #5  
Old 07-10-2007, 10:15 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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You should have taken the packing slip and secured it to the book by means of the armband.....
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  #6  
Old 07-10-2007, 03:23 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is offline
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But what happens of the contents get lost or damaged while shipping? Just try to explain to the PO then that what you labeled "books" was really Hummel figurines.
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  #7  
Old 07-10-2007, 07:11 PM
Johnny Hildo Johnny Hildo is offline
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I was told by a postal employee that you can't even include a note that says, "Here is your media" because it would be a violation. I wonder if the same holds true for invoice slips?
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  #8  
Old 07-10-2007, 07:17 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Hildo
I was told by a postal employee that you can't even include a note that says, "Here is your media" because it would be a violation. I wonder if the same holds true for invoice slips?
Your postal employee may in fact interpret it that way, but their conclusion is hard to reach if you are a layman attempting to decipher postal regulations.
Note this element of the link I posted in my OP:

"4.4 Invoice
An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Media Mail piece or in an envelope marked "Invoice Enclosed" and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:

a. Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.

b. Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).

c. Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.

4.5 Incidental First-Class Attachments and Enclosures
Incidental First-Class matter may be enclosed in or attached to any Media Mail piece without payment of First-Class postage. An incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared so as not to interfere with postal processing. An incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Package Services rate for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure. "
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Old 07-10-2007, 09:24 PM
TheLoadedDog TheLoadedDog is offline
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I am an Australian postal employee, and as such I am in regular contact with foreign postal administrations. Because of the Universal Postal Union, and because of the simple fact of managers the world over trying to steal "best practice" ideas from one another, the postal systems in various countries are remarkably generic these days. The USPS is included in this, but only as far as the nuts and bolts of mail processing goes.

Then the USPS starts to strike out on its own, with a strange sort of "Secret Police" vibe with the dreaded "Postal Inspectors" and strictly-enforced federal raps for Joe Average who ignores By-law 37G paragraph A regarding the use of adhesive tape whens sending a card to his great-aunt in Maine.


The USPS is scary...
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  #10  
Old 07-10-2007, 09:46 PM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Just an aside, Blank CDs and DVDs are not considered media. I had to repack and pay the higher rate for 50 blank DVD-Rs I was sending to a friend, after telling the clerk what they were. According to her, only educational printed or recorded material qualify for media rate.
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  #11  
Old 07-11-2007, 01:26 AM
Johnny Hildo Johnny Hildo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Slant
Your postal employee may in fact interpret it that way, but their conclusion is hard to reach if you are a layman attempting to decipher postal regulations.
Note this element of the link I posted in my OP:

"4.4 Invoice
An invoice, whether it also serves as a bill, may be placed either inside a Media Mail piece or in an envelope marked "Invoice Enclosed" and attached to the outside of the piece if the invoice relates solely to the matter with which it is mailed. The invoice may show this information:

a. Names and addresses of the sender and addressee.

b. Names and quantities of the articles enclosed, descriptions of each (e.g., price, tax, style, stock number, size, and quality, and, if defective, nature of defects).

c. Order or file number, date of order, date and manner of shipment, shipping weight, postage paid, and initials or name of packer or checker.

4.5 Incidental First-Class Attachments and Enclosures
Incidental First-Class matter may be enclosed in or attached to any Media Mail piece without payment of First-Class postage. An incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure must be matter that, if mailed separately, would require First-Class postage, is closely associated with but secondary to the host piece, and is prepared so as not to interfere with postal processing. An incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure may be a bill for the product or publication, a statement of account for past products or publications, or a personal message or greeting included with a product, publication, or parcel. Postage at the Package Services rate for the host piece is based on the combined weight of the host piece and the incidental First-Class attachment or enclosure. "
As long as we don't write "Bill says 'Hi!'" anywhere on the form. Got it.
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  #12  
Old 07-11-2007, 03:34 AM
t-bonham@scc.net t-bonham@scc.net is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Hildo
As long as we don't write "Bill says 'Hi!'" anywhere on the form. Got it.
Why not?
Surely that is covered by the regulation reading:
Quote:
or a personal message or greeting included with a product
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  #13  
Old 07-11-2007, 06:36 AM
Morelin Morelin is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picunurse
Just an aside, Blank CDs and DVDs are not considered media. I had to repack and pay the higher rate for 50 blank DVD-Rs I was sending to a friend, after telling the clerk what they were. According to her, only educational printed or recorded material qualify for media rate.
Huh. I'm always quite clear that I've either got a book or a CD(and no written communication) to go as Media and the workers have never questioned me further or told me they didn't qualify.
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  #14  
Old 07-11-2007, 07:27 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Morelin
Huh. I'm always quite clear that I've either got a book or a CD(and no written communication) to go as Media and the workers have never questioned me further or told me they didn't qualify.
"Yeah, gotta' send these 50 blank DVDs to grandma........."
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  #15  
Old 07-11-2007, 01:29 PM
Johnny Hildo Johnny Hildo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by picunurse
Just an aside, Blank CDs and DVDs are not considered media. I had to repack and pay the higher rate for 50 blank DVD-Rs I was sending to a friend, after telling the clerk what they were. According to her, only educational printed or recorded material qualify for media rate.
Further, magazines that contain no advertising are cheaper to ship than ones that have advertisements.
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  #16  
Old 07-11-2007, 01:40 PM
picunurse picunurse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Johnny Hildo
Further, magazines that contain no advertising are cheaper to ship than ones that have advertisements.
Well, the postal lady is very officious and often downright mean. Maybe she was making it up as she went.
When she saw that I had labeled the box media rate, she asked what exactly was in the box. Silly me, I told her.

Mr. Slant, I was sending them to a friend who lives in the woods, near Lilliwaup. He's been ill for a long time and can't drive the 60 miles to Wallyworld.
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