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Forum: U.S. Postage

USPS Media Mail service to be discontinued?

I went to the post office today to send a mooched book. To send it first class it would've cost $2.90, so I asked to send it via Media Mail which cost $2.41.

The worker rung it up incorrectly and when I pointed it out, he corrected it but without giving me a lecture about how they will soon be getting rid of Media Mail. "Everything's going to be First Class now. I don't know when, but it's all going to First Class and everyone's going to have to pay higher rates." I don't know if he was annoyed that I had pointed out his mistake or that I wanted to go the cheaper route but he also lectured me that I shouldn't have written a return address if I was going to send it via Media Mail and on and on about the disadvantages of Media Mail.

Anyone else heard that the Media Mail option will soon be discontinued?

3 years ago


You know, I have heard rumors to this effect over the years about that all of Parcel Post is going to be eliminated, not just Media Mail, as the Post Office doesn't make much money off it (if any) but don't know if it'll ever happen...It's sort of like losing Saturday may happen but who knows? I do know that we once had surface rate international mail, not just air mail, and they got rid of that....Hopefully it'll never happen!!
Melanie C.
3 years ago
I doubt it will be discontinued any time soon, since the rates just went up yesterday and Media Mail is included in the rate increases. It also includes delivery confirmation now when you use printable postage, which is nice. As for the part about no return address, that is just stupid. Media mail is not usually forwarded outside of the local area, so if the person you mailed the book to had moved and not updated their address on BM, the book would probably be returned to you. You would be charged for return service, so he may have been trying to avoid them returning the book to you? I'd rather know what happened to the book than have it just disappear. His comments were inappropriate partly because it doesn't matter at all if MM goes away at some unknown date in the future, you asked for it that day when it was still in effect.

I would be interested to know if the USPS is "losing" money on Media mail and other parcel services and if they are if it at a higher rate than First Class. Also, I found the Wikipedia article about the crisis interesting.
3 years ago
Lordy, ignorant postal clerks are the worst. Don't get me wrong, some are lovely, but there seem to be many that just make stuff up as they go. I have heard all kinds of "theories" from USPS clerks that have later been flatly rejected by people who work for the postal service but actually know what's going on. I've never heard the "don't put on a return address" nonsense; in fact, I've had a clerk take me to task when I didn't put down my name as well as my street address as a return address.

I know that the USPS has had problems with people using media mail for things that aren't media - like ebay auctions for clothes, say - and so have stepped up inspections. I'm sure they are losing a certain amount of money with people who do that, because the cost savings for heavy items is significant.

There definitely seems to be a push to priority mail services and flat-rate choices; on the USPS site when you look up the cost of postage, rates that are lower than priority aren't even visible unless you click some hard-to-find button. And I've never had a clerk suggest media mail to me - they have to go through the usual spiel about priority and faster-than-priority choices as a rule, I would guess.

When you think about it, there's no particular reason why media mail (i.e. book rate) exists for us average folks; there's already a library rate that libraries and schools can use if they want. Why can books be sent so much cheaper than anything else? I wouldn't be surprised if the USPS would like to eliminate media mail, but I haven't heard any specific plans for it. I will say that if they eliminate media mail, I will understand but I will have to stop book swapping - it'd just be too expensive. It'd be like when the USPS got rid of international surface mail and so many of the US Bookmoochers stopped mailing overseas entirely.

3 years ago
As a postal employee, I have not heard about discontinuing Media Mail. We are told not to offer Media rate but the customer can request it. An act of congress started Media Mail so that people could afford to send books (educational items) at an affordable rate. Any changes to Postal policy or rates has to be voted on by Congress.

A return address is required otherwise it is considered suspicious. Mail that does not have a return address and is not deliverable is sent to/disposed of by the Mail recovery unit.

Media mail and parcel post classes are only returned or forwarded for a fee. If your package is returned or forwarded on,the mailer or the recipient has to pay the postage fee again. So, sometimes it is not the best value. That class of mail postage only covers one trip.

Postal policy is packages are kept 10 days. first day notice, second notice 5 days later with return date posted. Except for POBox addresses, they are kept until box is closed. If customer doesn't pick up package it is returned postage due to mailer.

2 years ago

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