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Would I Get In Trouble For Playing With The USPS?

 
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Posted 04/29/2021   11:45 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Funny way to state the question but I'm curious about something. If I were to want some interesting covers for a collection, what are some legal things I could do, philatelically of course? I mean, would I get in trouble for using non-US stamps? Insufficient Postage? I don't mean just once, but let's say I want 5 covers with foreign stamps with US postmarks. Would I be noted in some system? If noticed would they find me at the return address, or if I left that blank would they find me at the sent to address? Would they simply throw it away when noticing the wrong stamp?

For the sake of art and stamp beauty, tell me what I can do!

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United States
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Posted 04/29/2021   12:04 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wkusau to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You should make friends with your local postal clerk. He/She would probably cancel anything that you want for handback service.
Putting only non-US stamps on a cover and sending it through the USPS would be frowned upon as theft of service.
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Posted 04/29/2021   12:05 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add danstamps54 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I don't think it would go on your "permanent record." The cover would probably be returned for insufficient postage - assuming they catch it.

Back when the Elvis stamp came our, I know some people sent a letter to a bogus address so it was returned with a handstamp "Returned to sender address unknown."

Dan
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Experienced stamps need a home too. I'd rather have an example that is imperfect than no example.
I collect for enjoyment, not investment.
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Valued Member
United States
97 Posts
Posted 04/29/2021   12:14 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@wkusau I wish my local clerks were friendly. They're too busy talking on their phones half the time to even have a conversation with customers.

I think it would be funny to have a cover where it's been postmarked but then some postal savior notices the error and pens it out. Couldn't hurt to mail out a few feelers? I'll send them to friends without a return address— untraceable
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Posted 04/29/2021   12:22 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add bookbndrbob to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wkusau offers the best advice, IMO.

As long as you apply the correct US postage, putting labels or foreign stamps elsewhere on the cover shouldn't be a problem. Being "up front" with a short, friendly explanation to the clerk (one whom you know isn't grumpy/stressed) always helps.
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United Kingdom
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Posted 04/29/2021   1:24 pm  Show Profile Check GeoffHa's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add GeoffHa to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
If you aren't going to cover the postage with legitimate stamps, presumably your friends are going to be hit with postage due charges, however they're collected these days (here it means a trip to the sorting office - not good).
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Posted 04/29/2021   1:39 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
With the high degree of mechanization, a letter dropped in a blue box will not be seen by human eyes until your carrier puts it in your mailbox. If the facing machine "sees" something tagged enough to "face" the mail, then there is little care how much postage is on the letter or from what country. The USPS generally assumes people are honest and pay the current rate. Far easier to send something squirrelly through the mails today than before the days of tagging when letters were manually faced, sorted, etc.
If you try to mail underpaid mail over the counter they can't accept it.
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Posted 04/29/2021   3:31 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add hy-brasil to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The other thing is that if the machinery doesn't detect tagging (and all tagging is not what the USPS uses), it's kicked out and your letter will be delayed in any case for checking.
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Posted 04/29/2021   3:49 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
first be aware of this thread: http://goscf.com/t/3853

Short paid or under paid US mail should be returned to sender for the postage need if noted before reaching the office of Delivery, otherwise once there the mail can be held for postage from the recipient and only delivered if postage due is paid. If addressee refuses, then it is back to the sender, likely postage due.

Now if you want foreign stamps with US postmarks off cover, just put the foreign stamps up in the right corner and place the US postage off to the left somewhere.

Want it to go through and not back, just use your address as addressee and leave no return address. If you do that some foreign stamps only you may get a couple cancelled. However, once your carrier notice they will be on the lookout for such goodies to collect postage due.

So, have fun, don't count on anything in particular and post images of what you eventually got.
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Posted 04/29/2021   5:07 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Parcelpostguy,
Current letter mail just isn't examined on a piece-by-piece basis for rate compliance, and postage due when detected is rarely collected. It isn't worth the carrier's time to collect a few pennies here and there.
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United States
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Posted 04/29/2021   6:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
What are some of the most interestingly marked covers you all have gotten? Give me a goal to set.
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United States
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Posted 04/29/2021   9:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
@John Becker; I receive about one postage due item per month with appropriate postage collected. Now where I am there is no carrier service, rather we are given free P.O. Boxes. They see to it that all incoming stamped matter is also cancelled.

I have also picked up an occasional postage due item in my other two P.O. Box addresses. When I had carrier service, it was the same with the carriers who were long term career employee unwilling to give up their choice small town routes.

When a family member delivered to the house they were quite careful to show no favoritism.
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Edited by Parcelpostguy - 04/29/2021 9:33 pm
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Posted 04/29/2021   9:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have not had a due piece collected from me in many years, and have received quite a few underpaid pieces in that time which were unmarked. Also I have also seen many thousands of current business mail covers in the last decade ... it just doesn't get caught or collected. The machine can't tell the franking and the clerks/carriers aren't familiar with all the designs, but apparently they have your number.
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