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Subject: Using USPS media mail to ship games? rss

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Jeff Michaud
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I'm wondering if anyone has used "media mail" to ship games? I see folks on ebay saying they will ship games via media mail, but from my understanding it's not allowed... per:

http://postcalc.usps.gov/PopUps/pop_up27.htm
Quote:
Media Mail is used for books, film, manuscripts, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, videotapes, and computer-recorded media like CDs and diskettes. Media Mail cannot contain advertising.

The maximum size is 108 inches in combined length and distance around the thickest part.

Maybe the better question to ask is has anyone used it to ship games and had a problem (returned to sender, of recipient was charged postage due via the USPS, etc)?
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Sue Ward
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I used it to send some homeschool books I sold. I put them in one of the priority boxes and covered it with brown paper. They opened it up and found I used the priority box - a big NoNo (unbeknownst to me). Sent it back to me and I had to mail it again. All that to say, I wouldn't take the chance. Some post offices are very strict. My package got all the way to its destination before being opened and returned.
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Diane Close
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JeffyJeff wrote:
I'm wondering if anyone has used "media mail" to ship games? I see folks on ebay saying they will ship games via media mail, but from my understanding it's not allowed...


The definitive answer is it's not allowed, and if you're caught you could be in trouble (fines, I believe, extra postage for your recipient at a minimum). USPS came up with flat rate boxes for things like games, instead.

(And yes, I asked for a definitive answer from the Postmaster General a year or so ago, so this is official post office response.)

That said, I have received one game via media mail, in a math trade. It took almost 3 weeks to arrive on my doorstep and the box was rather beat up. Books/magazines/"media" can take a beating, but games generally can't. So ship this way at your peril.
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Well, you have your answer: No. I've asked my postmaster, as well, and received the same answer. Even decks of cards aren't supposed to be shipped via Media Mail. A good rule of thumb when determining whether or not something can be sent by this method is to ask yourself: Can you sell it on Half.com?

This isn't to say that some sellers won't try to ship this way. They aren't supposed to do so.

Quote:
I used it to send some homeschool books I sold. I put them in one of the priority boxes and covered it with brown paper. They opened it up and found I used the priority box - a big NoNo (unbeknownst to me).


I think one of the reasons they make their Priority Mail boxes that distinctive size is so they can recognize them if you try to use them for another method. The reason they're strict is because those boxes aren't exactly free; their cost is incorporated into the Priority Mail shipping rate.
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I recall a few years back, the USPS was considering getting rid of Media Mail due to the abuse from some shippers. Apparently, they reconsidered - probably due to the large amount of legitimate use - but that also might be why they have become more strict about it. Can't fault them for being strict and trying to crackdown on those who try to abuse the system to save a few bucks.
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Dustin E
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Here comes another "NO" from experience...I had an Ebay seller decide (without me) to ship a game to me via media mail that got opened for examination at the post office. After it was deemed not be be media mailable, the postal carrier brought it to my house asking for the cost of legit postage. That either meant first class or priority, can't remember which. All I had on me was a whole bunch of change so I paid in coinage...while it was raining really hard. It was kind of weird.

So basically I ended up paying a couple times for postage and never got compensated by the ebay seller. In addition, I was made to feel a bit awkward...like I was at fault for trying to scam the post office. Bummer.
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pdclose wrote:
That said, I have received one game via media mail, in a math trade. It took almost 3 weeks to arrive on my doorstep and the box was rather beat up.

That's definitely a reason not to use it! I didn't realize what Drew said, media mail used to be 4th class!
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Peter Loop
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Don't do it.

I recieved a game from the last math trade via media mail here is my horror story

1) It took forever - Shipped on 2007-10-09 recieved 2007-11-01
2) It came with $9 postage due (Priority flat rate would have cost less)
3) The box was inspected/opened/folded/mutilated
- Not all the bits made it (many were lost) I found bit in the packing material
- The box was closed on itself i.e the corners cut though each other.
- Postal service tape on things
....
I can go on but it was too ugly..

4) there is no return shipping on media mail - can't deliver gets dumped.






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apparently UPS and FedEx have no problem shipping Priority Boxes as I have received numerous games, even from online retailers (I won't mention them here) that use Priority boxes to ship their games UPS and FedEx.

 
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Peter Loop wrote:
4) there is no return shipping on media mail - can't deliver gets dumped.

Which probably means delivery confirmation is not an available option for media mail packages... another reason to avoid.
TGov wrote:
apparently UPS and FedEx have no problem shipping Priority Boxes as I have received numerous games, even from online retailers (I won't mention them here) that use Priority boxes to ship their games UPS and FedEx.

It's probably a good way to recycle the used flat rate boxes?

I also figure USPS should have no problem with someone re-using a flat rate box for non-flat rate or priority mail, given the box has already been paid for once.
 
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JeffyJeff wrote:
I also figure USPS should have no problem with someone re-using a flat rate box for non-flat rate or priority mail, given the box has already been paid for once.


I would like it to be this way, but from my experience the person working the USPS desk will not accept a used flat rate box for anything other than the flat rate...even if it is clearly used...and by clearly used I mean completely marked up, mangled, trashed, and stuck up with old crossed out postage. In other words, officially and undeniably used to ship something via USPS flat rate.

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If you're a serious recycler, you can cut the priority boxes diagonally, cover with some contact paper or other decoration if desired, and they make great magazine holders.
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JeffyJeff wrote:
Peter Loop wrote:
4) there is no return shipping on media mail - can't deliver gets dumped.

Which probably means delivery confirmation is not an available option for media mail packages... another reason to avoid.
TGov wrote:
apparently UPS and FedEx have no problem shipping Priority Boxes as I have received numerous games, even from online retailers (I won't mention them here) that use Priority boxes to ship their games UPS and FedEx.

It's probably a good way to recycle the used flat rate boxes?

I also figure USPS should have no problem with someone re-using a flat rate box for non-flat rate or priority mail, given the box has already been paid for once.


These boxes had never been used before....especially the ones from the online retailer.
 
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For what it's worth, I'm using Bound Printed Matter rate to ship comic books I'm selling on eBay; Media Mail is out because the comics contain advertising. The Postal Service almost dropped the BPM option in the last set of rate revisions, but consumer outcry saved it. However, the machines at the post office are no longer able to print postage for BPM, so I have to weigh my packages, calculate the postage, and affix an appropriate number of stamps to pay for them. It isn't too bad, and I believe it makes my auctions more attractive because I can offer a cheap shipping rate. Also, both Media Mail and Bound Printed Matter allow use of Delivery Confirmation. They're just slow (usually a week or so for BPM).
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Peter Loop wrote:
Don't do it.

I recieved a game from the last math trade via media mail here is my horror story

1) It took forever - Shipped on 2007-10-09 recieved 2007-11-01
2) It came with $9 postage due (Priority flat rate would have cost less)
3) The box was inspected/opened/folded/mutilated
- Not all the bits made it (many were lost) I found bit in the packing material
- The box was closed on itself i.e the corners cut though each other.
- Postal service tape on things
....
I can go on but it was too ugly..



Did the sender make good? If not, please publicly identify him or her.
 
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i've never had a problem with turning the priority boxes inside out. i don't send media mail though.
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Peter Loop
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Gilby wrote:

Did the sender make good? If not, please publicly identify him or her.


We are not yet fully done replaceing the missing bits - Rio Grande is great about this (even if lost parts - Thanks Jay) so they are in the mail.

The trader repayed me my postage due, and has replied to every email.

"Real" good traders are found when things go bad - if I do identify them (and I will not) it will be for praise.
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Jeff Michaud
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Peter Loop wrote:
"Real" good traders are found when things go bad - if I do identify them (and I will not) it will be for praise.

In the last MT (Oktoberfest) you received two RGG games in trade so that narrows it down

In any case, looks like even the significant savings in some cases, media mail for games is definitely not worth it.
 
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Peter Loop wrote:
Gilby wrote:

Did the sender make good? If not, please publicly identify him or her.


We are not yet fully done replaceing the missing bits - Rio Grande is great about this (even if lost parts - Thanks Jay) so they are in the mail.

The trader repayed me my postage due, and has replied to every email.

"Real" good traders are found when things go bad - if I do identify them (and I will not) it will be for praise.


I'd call that making good--and a lesson learned.
 
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Even if you can send it that way... Media mail gets destroyed, lost, mangled, carved more than anything else.

Seriously, I mailed out 20 Video game guides once that way and only 2 were received that weren't nearly ripped in half.

It is meant for catalogs that most people wouldn't care if it was lost.
 
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I don't send media mail for games with pieces.

In good conscience, I have removed the dice & then shipped many an unpunched wargame via Media Mail. Just rulebooks and paper.
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Delivery Confirmation IS available on Media Mail.

Still, I wouldn't mail non-media using it - packages from non-commercial mailers are often opened and examined because Media Mail is so subject to abuse.

By the way, if you do use Media Mail for media, be sure to pack the items very well because the package will be a long time in the system, so more subject to damage. Definitely use an oversize box!

Also when shipping via Media Mail, make sure there is an easy-to-open side that does not have the address on it!!!!!!! Protect the addres, protect the address!!!!!

Also, you may NOT enclose a note when using Media Mail. It is for media only!!!!
 
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starspangledgirl wrote:
If you're a serious recycler, you can cut the priority boxes diagonally, cover with some contact paper or other decoration if desired, and they make great magazine holders.



ingenious.
 
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Drew1365 wrote:
The publisher I used to work for would offer Media Mail to customers all the time (books, so no problem), and customers usually took that option because it was very cheap. However, I can confirm that it could sometimes take a month for the package to appear, and I lost count of the number of calls I would field from people asking where their packages were. I would look up their account and politely inform them that they chose the Media Mail option, so if a month hadn't passed, we wouldn't presume it was lost . . . yet.

Hardly anything was ever lost, and I never got reports of packages being opened for inspection. But slow? Yes. This is because (from what I understand) the packages only ship out when there are enough packages heading toward the same zip code so that they can all go together. So the package might go right away, or it might sit around for the better part of a month.


I wonder if this means that this time of year is a BETTER time for media mail, since so many packages are flying everywhere. I hope so, because Time-Life just shipped the complete Man From UNCLE DVD set to me via media mail........
 
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I sell quite a bit on Ebay, and have used Media a few times on items that weren't supposed to be (including games), but media was $5 and the next cheapest was always 2-3 times as much(sometimes more). Every time, it was because the person wanted it that way. I state very clearly it will be going media, and it's up to them if they still want it. I've never had a single complaint.

However, I'm getting to the point where I'm going to stop offering it unless something is genuinely media and not breakable. I've been extremely lucky, but I hear horror stories all the time, and though you can insure media mail, it won't be honored because what was sent doesn't fall under the proper guidelines.

And for those who asked, media ships in 5-9 days, whereas Parcel Post is 3-7.
 
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