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Old November 23, 2020   #1
Greatgardens
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Default The quarter-inch postal rule.

This has bitten me 4 times now (4 different sellers). Basically, if a small "bubble mailer" is thicker than 1/4", then it becomes a package and not an envelope. Each time, I get a "dun" from the USPS that I need to give them $2.50+ postage due. Big sellers seem to be quite aware of this, but smaller ones continue to send "thick" mailers. Each time, I do write the sellers and nicely explain the rules. I have not run across this twice from the same seller. Check it out at usps.com (calculate a price).
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Old November 24, 2020   #2
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Default "FLATS" rate postage for seeds

A second rule that trips up some seed sellers. According to the USPS folks, FLATS rate postage mean the envelope must be FLAT -- it is not "flat rate" like some Priority offerings. It means that the object must be able to go through the machine scanners/processors. A bubble wrap mailer will not do that. I just received a small tomato seed order that violated both rules -- bubble wrap mailer sent FLATS rate and also the 1/4" rule.

Last edited by Greatgardens; November 24, 2020 at 07:36 AM.
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Old November 24, 2020   #3
Tormato
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Envelope is 1/4" max, thin package is 3/4" max.

Do a search for "USPS retail quick tip sheet", for much of the info needed to navigate the maze.
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Old November 26, 2020   #4
brownrexx
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I mailed some okra seeds earlier this year and I have asked the postal clerk to hand stamp the envelope and she said something about non machinable or something like that.

She used a special stamp that would keep it out of the automated system. I may have paid a few cents extra but I don't really remember.

I just googled this and apparently these non machinable letters need to be thin also and there is a 15 cent surcharge so it won't help with thicker envelopes but it may be good if you want to mail some seeds that you consider to be fragile.

Last edited by brownrexx; November 26, 2020 at 09:54 AM.
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Old November 26, 2020   #5
agee12
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I typically add an extra ounce stamp when I am sending lots of small seeds or if there are a few large-ish seeds like okra or cucurbit seeds.


This is a good article:
https://about.usps.com/news/national...5/pr15_035.pdf
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Old November 26, 2020   #6
greenthumbomaha
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Oh my gosh, 1/4 inch, really? A different bubble envelope sitting here empty is thicker than 1/4 inch.
I mailed my seed envelope from the regular mail box outside the post office. It wasn't much more than an inch and a half. I had to squish it down to fit in the slot.
I hope my mailer didn't set off bells and whistles in your mailbox, Tormato. Did you get the "dun" described in Greatgardens post? Fingers crossed not.

- Lisa
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Old November 27, 2020   #7
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Speculation... With the post office always running in the red, some post offices and equipment have different degrees of "slack" for the rules. Older mailers were definitely too thick; the newer ones are slimmer. But it just p.... me off to send in a paid order and then get it with postage due. I've never, ever had an issue with trades that come in regular letter envelopes.
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Old December 1, 2020   #8
Wi-sunflower
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It's stuff like this is why I ALWAYS take my orders in to the post office for them to determine the postage. Problem is some clerks do it differently than others at the same office. But I figure if THEY do it, it shouldn't get dinged for postage due. At least I hope not.

Carol
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Old December 2, 2020   #9
Tormato
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Another thing about the 1/4" max envelope is that it also needs to be flexible enough to bend while going through the high speed rollers. If anyone has ever received a 1/4" envelope from me, I wonder if they've noticed that I tape the seeds onto thin card stock, positioned so they're in the middle of the envelope, to avoid getting crushed in those rollers. Friendly postal workers can be a fountain of useful information.
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Old December 2, 2020   #10
Tormato
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greenthumbomaha View Post
Oh my gosh, 1/4 inch, really? A different bubble envelope sitting here empty is thicker than 1/4 inch.
I mailed my seed envelope from the regular mail box outside the post office. It wasn't much more than an inch and a half. I had to squish it down to fit in the slot.
I hope my mailer didn't set off bells and whistles in your mailbox, Tormato. Did you get the "dun" described in Greatgardens post? Fingers crossed not.

- Lisa
Lisa,

The 1/4" is when mailing seeds in a business or greeting card paper envelope. Rarely do I receive a bubble mailer under the 3/4" package rule. And, my mailing out a bubble mailer under 3/4", that usually happens when I see a unicorn during a blue moon.
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