Underpaid Postage Notice - Final Update

brcdad

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45
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Has anybody received, and had success contesting with USPS, an underpaid postage notice? I received an email notice from PayPal that my shipping account is being frozen due to a claim from USPS that I owe and additional $4.31 for a 3-ounce first class package that contained four baseball cards that I mailed from Nebraska to North Carolina using the PayPal shipping label service. I originally paid $2.84 through the service. The only reason given for the underpayment charge was package type 1231 on the label vs. what they say should have been type 7710. The package shows delivered on 1/4, but I was not sent this notice until 1/8, making it pretty much impossible to get a scan or picture of the envelope from the recipient at this point. I thought it was a scam at first because I have never received anything like this after mailing dozens of packages using this service, but I found out it is legitimate.

After much research, I found a place to send an email to USPS contesting the charge. I asked these questions in the email:

  1. What are package types 1231 and 7710? I have been unable to find a list of these codes, even on the USPS website. I labelled it as a first class package, which is what was intended, and how it was mailed.
  2. If postage was incorrect, why was it not immediately returned to me or rejected by the accepting facility, rather than travelling from Nebraska to California to North Carolina, as tracking shows, and then taking another four days after delivery before notifying me of a perceived discrepancy? This eliminated any chance for me to have the recipient provide information to me on the state of the package when it was received.
  3. Where can I see an image of the supposed incorrect labeling on the package?
  4. There should be no way for a package containing four baseball cards, using first class package service to have resulted in a total charge of $7.15. How and why was this amount determined?
I don't hold out much hope of a response, let alone having the claim overturned. Just wondered if anybody else had experience with this new way for USPS to try to collect supposedly underpaid postage.

Update since I first posted this : The recipient did still have the envelope and was nice enough to send me a picture of it. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the package or way it was labelled. If USPS gives me a hard time regarding my initial protest I will try sending them the picture too.

Final Update
It took just over two months for me to get USPS to admit their claim of underpaid postage was in error and for them to have PayPal unlock my shipping account. Some things I learned from this process if something like it ever happens again:

1) If you want use of your PC postage account during the claim process you have to pay the assessed fee immediately and have it reversed on appeal. I chose not to pay the fee because I knew it was ridiculous for them to try to charge me a Priority Mail rate for a three-ounce package that I had labelled correctly as a First Class Package and I did not want it to look like I was admitting an error on my part. As a result, I wound up paying far more by having to go to the post office for two months and paying retail postage rates. It would not have been worth it if the additional postage was only an ounce or two, and was probably not worth it anyway. I'm just stubborn when I know I am right and was willing to never use my label service provider again if necessary.

2) Immediately file your claim if you believe the charge is in error by sending an email to VerifyPostageHelp@usps.gov
In your claim you must include the following or it will delay your claim and they will not quickly tell you if additional information is required:
- Name
- Phone
- Email
- Revenue Assurance ID of each record to be appealed (This is the underpaid postage ID they assigned on your initial notice from the label provider)
- USPS tracking number on original shipment

3) If the automated acknowledgement of your initial claim gives a standard of service of 2-5 business days for resolution follow up with them immediately at the end of this time. Don't give them additional time to respond or you will hear nothing.

4) Maybe not necessary, but I am going to begin taking pictures of my clearly labelled packages, in groups to save time, to at least prove what they looked like when I mailed them. It will not protect me against USPS claims that my weight was wrong, but it should help with claims like this that just make no sense.

5) USPS claims that their response to your appeal will go through your PC postage provider, in my case PayPal Shipping, who claimed that they knew nothing of the status which is controlled by USPS. Stay on USPS until they provide an answer to your claim and prove that they notified the PC postage provider.

I have not included all of the places I called or emailed, including the USPS claims email, USPS Customer Service, USPS Office of Inspector General, a call from the post office of the package recipient and an email to an executive with USPS who I thought might be over the area involved in addressing the claim. I found out these erroneous claims when third party label providers are used are not that unusual. I just hope I am better prepared to contest the charge if it ever happens again.
 
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David K.

Legend
11,743
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I do tons of mailing ...pwe and bubble envelopes using the USPS.....and most of the time (in the past) they would come to house and request payment if its caught at the delivery point or rejected back to the mailer at the mailing site. First time that I heard about this method. Good Luck! Best regards, David
 

jaxbraves

HOF
4,040
5.00 star(s)
Sounds like a scam to me. I have received e-mails that my PayPal account is frozen etc. Called PayPal
and they did not send the e-mail. Be careful.
 

brcdad

Rookie
45
5.00 star(s)
Sounds like a scam to me. I have received e-mails that my PayPal account is frozen etc. Called PayPal
and they did not send the e-mail. Be careful.
Thanks. First thing I did when I saw the email was independently log into the PayPal site in a different browser window because I always suspect a scam. There was a banner message there saying I could not use the service for shipping until the added fee was cleared. If USPS claims no knowledge of the charge I will go back to PayPal to clear it. PayPal initially directs you to resolve it with USPS and claim they are just the messenger because payment flowed through them for the postage.

During my research I also found ebay shippers in a forum who claimed they had been hit multiple times with these fees. One person was able to get it reversed by initially having dropped the package in person to a postal employee and saving the acceptance receipt. Unfortunately, my only proof now is the picture the recipient provided. I usually just label and drop it in a USPS mail box.

I have no intention of ever paying this. I will go back to handing packages over for metering at my local supermarket postal substation to get receipts if necessary. Just an unnecessary inconvenience.
 

akamikey2001

All-Star
666
5.00 star(s)
Wondering if there's an update to this claim ? I have had packages come as postage due and i would leave the money in the mail box but mailman changed and have had to go down pay and pick up last few times but it's been awhile.
 

brcdad

Rookie
45
5.00 star(s)
Wondering if there's an update to this claim ? I have had packages come as postage due and i would leave the money in the mail box but mailman changed and have had to go down pay and pick up last few times but it's been awhile.
I'm still working my way through the murky USPS claim process. After multiple attempts at using the VerifyPostageHelp@usps.gov email address that is in the instructions for making a claim all I keep receiving are automated notices that say their normal standard for responding is 2-5 business days. That was a total of three weeks ago.

On Friday I attempted to make contact through Customer Service on the USPS website, even though what I am questioning is not offered as an option on any of their menu choices. In the last 48 hours that has produced two email responses that they are investigating, one with a USPS employee name on it. At 7:30 AM this morning (Sunday) I received a phone call that went to voicemail from a USPS employee in North Carolina (the package destination) who said she did not handle the type of claim I am making, but that I could call her back, and that I would also receive further emails from USPS on the matter.

I thought it was odd that my request would be assigned to someone who said in her response she could not help with the type of question I had and that she would bother calling early on a Sunday morning to tell me that, but I figured I had nothing to lose by calling her back. When I called this morning she was very nice but could not tell me the difference between the two package types, 1231 and 7710, that were listed as the only reason given for the additional postage charge. She did say that their automated system takes pictures of supposedly improperly labeled packages, which would be a help in proving my case, but she did not have access to that system either. At this point my claim is still open with Customer Service and has not been approved or rejected yet. Will post more as I hear updates. I'm hoping out of all of this to at least learn a more direct way for resolving incorrect, and unproven, unpaid postage charges in the future.
 

anglinomics

All-Star
756
5.00 star(s)
Thanks for following through with this even at the loss of your shipping capabilities on Paypal. Hopefully this will help all collectors in the long run. It may be an obscure error, but maybe because of your efforts, others won't be bothered by it. It seems like I spend half my life waiting on customer service phone lines listening to music that is broken by poor reception. Dave
 
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