Saturday, May 16, 2009

eBay Sellers - Be Careful Using Media Mail


Here we go again. eBay sellers on a message board trying to outsmart the system. USPS has a class of mail called Media Mail. The rates are very low, but, you must follow the guidelines if you use this mail class. From USPS.com, "Media Mail® service is a cost efficient way to mail books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes). Media Mail can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books. The maximum weight for Media Mail is 70 lbs."

Misuing Media Mail is not only fraud punishable by fines and imprisonment, it makes you look unprofessional and tacky as a seller. Read this excerpt from the eBay Packaging and Shipping Discussion Board: (The original poster is Postmaster in a post office)

"I'm sure this has been discussed in the past but I want to remind sellers that media rate is to be used only for books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer-readable media (such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes).

I recently had a transaction with a seller who mails everything he sells at media rates. When the parcel arrived at my post office it was inspected. Being the PMR in that post office I charged myself the $3.55 postage due for the amount the seller short paid the USPS. I warned him about the fraud he commits and he threatened to report me to eBay! So, FYI eBay sellers and buyers, please help stop this misuse of media mail and read the following:

Although the USPS Inspection Service cannot resolve routine business disputes between companies and their customers, it can act against a company or individual if there is a pattern of activity suggesting a potential scheme to defraud.

Media Mail can take several weeks to arrive. You are doing your buyer a disservice by extending the delivery time on their purchases and are also committing fraud when you do not use Media Mail according to regulations. Additionally, the USPS Inspection Service as the right to open any mail that is marked 'Media Mail' to check the contents.

The opened mail is then forwarded to the addressee, and a cautionary letter is sent to the sender. With as little as two infractions of the Media Mail regulations by any sender, a substantial fine is levied and, in some cases, the ability to print shipping labels online is suspended.

When it is discovered that a there is flagrant abuse, you are also opening yourself for possible fines and imprisonment. The US Postal Inspector Service does not take falsifying documents and 'cheating' the postal service lightly."

The bottom line is all USPS mail is subject to inspection with cause. The increased volume of Media Mail packages caused by online, catalogue or over the phone sales has caused the USPS Postal Inspector Service to step up investigations as the revenue lost by misappropriation is huge."

So, be careful what lengths you to go in order to save a buck. It may not be worth it in the end. Stay above board and stay honest. You won't have anything to worry about!

Click here for the USPS Media Mail Quick Service Guide.

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