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USPS Envelopes for documents only?
Tonearm




msg:4525697
 10:08 pm on Dec 6, 2012 (gmt 0)

I've shipped thousands of small garments in USPS Flat-Rate Envelopes, but a customer contacted us today to tell us that their post office is charging them extra postage due to the fact that we "mis-used the envelope". Is anyone aware of a USPS rule that forbids putting anything other than documents in a USPS envelope?

 

HRoth




msg:4525743
 1:54 am on Dec 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I was told by post office employees that as long as you don't have to tape the envelope closed, whatever fits in the envelope is fine. That said, if you are trying to ship garments using the media mail rate, then yes, your customers will get charged the regular mail rate if the post office finds out. The media mail rate is for media mail only.

raijen




msg:4525756
 2:58 am on Dec 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

USPS flat rate envelopes are NOT documents only. Here's what the DMM rules are:

Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes

Any amount of material (up to 70 pounds) may be mailed in a USPS-produced Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box. When sealing a Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container, provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way.

(http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/123.htm#1071589)

As long as you aren't cutting the envelope up and retaping it to fit your item, you can use the flat rate envelopes. You (or your customer) might need to print this out and ask to speak to a supervisor if a counter employee gives you a hard time.

Bewenched




msg:4525846
 10:20 am on Dec 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

Like Raijen says

It's not true.. you can put anything as long as the envelope is not modified. On heavier items we generally tape over their sticky flap to make sure it doesn't come open.

jwolthuis




msg:4525873
 12:01 pm on Dec 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

As long as the envelope flap is able to close within the normal fold, you are within regulations.

If the envelope flap can't fold on its "normal fold", e.g., you're using the flap as a "side", then adding your own tape to seal it, you may run afoul of the DMM.

I don't think your post office cares what's inside the envelope. You just can't use the envelope as a cheap box. That flap has to fold down as designed.

Tonearm




msg:4526001
 8:39 pm on Dec 7, 2012 (gmt 0)

I just called the post office where the package is being held and they claim the flap was pulled "halfway across the opening" thereby making it "into a box". The part that left me with nowhere to go was she claimed it wasn't using the normal folds. I'm sure she was exaggerating. She said the height of the package was about 2 inches. Isn't the flap about 2 inches? The flap being halfway across the opening should make the height 1 inch. Anyway, she seemed to be on a crusade against this sort of thing.

Realbrisk




msg:4526257
 9:06 am on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

In the Future use flat rate padded envelope will cost you 20 cents more

jwolthuis




msg:4526317
 3:29 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

In the Future use flat rate padded envelope


Great advice. Plus, they've begun making these out of Tyvek, making them almost impossible to tear.

Tonearm




msg:4526374
 7:58 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

The lady at the post office told me the same thing. Does anyone know how their capacity compares to the flat-rate envelope and legal flat-rate envelope?

raijen




msg:4526385
 9:00 pm on Dec 9, 2012 (gmt 0)

They're more flexible than the regular flat rate env, so I think they actually hold a bit more. Legal flat rate is longer, so you'd lose that benefit if that's what you need.

jwolthuis




msg:4526578
 11:25 am on Dec 10, 2012 (gmt 0)

The lady at the post office told me the same thing


Are you referring to the padded envelope? The padded envelope doesn't have a "fold" like the cardboard envelopes do. they are made from Tyvek, and both short ends are "continuous", with no fold. The long sides are sealed together, but again don't form a "fold", more like a seam.

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