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How Do You Do USPS Tracking/Insurance On A Letter? Confusing.

 
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Valued Member
348 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   11:30 am  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add canyoneer to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
When I buy items on eBay, sometimes the items come with tracking/insurance without using priority mail. How does one do this? I notice some people put a few styrofoam peanuts in a larger envelope perhaps qualifying it as a package which can be tracked. What do you use? Thanks in advance!
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United States
74 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   11:36 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Inkmanno1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Anything to stiffen the envelope to make it "rigid" or more than a 1/4" in thickness will bump it to First Class Package in most cases with a price of $4.10 and up from there. Tracking is included. There's also the eBay tracked el cheapo envelope that has tracking but i've not used it as it's supposed to be for cheaper items and those get sent first class mail anyway with no tracking.

Hope that makes sense.
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Valued Member
United States
74 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   11:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Inkmanno1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Oh and for what I use? Simple flats for everything, even the cheapest of the cheapest get sent in flats. One style is bendable and will go thru the sorting machines no problem. Other style I use is stiff as a plank of which those get tracked.
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Valued Member
348 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   12:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add canyoneer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Ah ... yes, makes perfect sense. Thank you!
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New Member
Wallis And Futuna Islands
3 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   2:03 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add registereduser to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You can also Certify a letter to get tracking on it. Not exactly what you were asking, but it is a way to get tracking on a first class envelope / large envelope.
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Pillar Of The Community
4117 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   2:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
I notice some people put a few styrofoam peanuts in a larger envelope perhaps qualifying it as a package


My observation: Since it got mentioned ... The few extra packing peanuts are a VERY BAD idea. I have had several once-flat paper items damaged when they were bent around the peanuts. Yes the peanuts added thickness and qualified the mail piece as a small parcel and maybe less machine handling, but they still get mashed by everything above them in a tub.
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United States
893 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   5:30 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
the items come with tracking/insurance without using priority mail. How does one do this?


One can insure merchandise sent first class, no matter the first class letter weight. Insurance to $50 is an added fee of $2.45 to the $.58, $.78, $.98 or $1.18 (1,2,3 and 3.5 ounce). "LITTLEPERF" or "MLREVENUE" use this method on eBay for example but neither ID has any listings at the moment.
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Valued Member
91 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   5:45 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add tsmatx to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
For extra bonus points, can someone explain how to send first class with tracking, using stamps for postage? Last time I tried to use the post office kiosk for that, seems like the kiosk either didn't allow first class at all, or didn't have the "Use my own stamps" (like it does for Priority Mail). So I had to stand in line, and the first clerk didn't think it was even possible, but the other one did and gave me a preprinted sticker with a tracking number, which did work. Not sure how official this method is and/or how much longer it will work.

Also why is that mail has to be flexible to be machinable? What makes a rigid envelope non-machinable?
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United States
155 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   6:43 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add oldboldandbrash to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I pay for priority mail envelopes and even boxes with stamps since I get them so cheap at shows and whatnot. tsmatx, you're right, unfortunately the kink in the system as of yet does not allow for self applied postage to be run through with the kiosk. The clerk has never made a stink, but they're always confused when adding sums of $3.85 which I agree is a strange denomination nowadays.
If I'm correct, mail has to be plexable (I think that's the word they use) because that puppy is being run through a wavy conveyer belt while upright, so anything that doesn't bend with the curve would clog it. The PO has a list of regulations standardizing what is machineable, specifically quantifying how plexy the envelope should be along any axis. I've had stuff I'm trying to send have the proper postage for machineable, but then the clerk will kind of bend it against the counter and say no-go and I had to buy more. It's tricky.
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Posted 11/26/2021   7:57 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Great video showing the USPS AFCS 200 sorting machine in action. You can see all of the turns where letters must bend around a 4" spindle.

hwN99KLs0jY


Commentary from a USPS AFCS operator:


Quote:
Some Tips and Debunking Myths on Shipping Cards through USPS.
After seeing the post yesterday from a front end postal worker and some misinformation in the comments. I thought I should give you some insight from someone who used to run the machines that process your mail.

Myth - Stamping your mail with "hand sort only", "non-bendable", "do not bend", "non-machinable", or "warning nuclear bomb inside" will cause your mail to be processed differently than normal mail.

Nothing on your envelope is read by a person. Only by going to the post office, paying the non-machinable up charge, and giving them the mail directly will cause your mail to be hand sorted. When the mail arrives at the processing center from the local post offices, the non-machinable mail is in a tote separate from regular mail. It is then put through a relatively slow machine without any bends to cancel and code the mail.

If you don't do this the mail is first run through this machine, AFCS 200. This is the machine I ran. In the back at the start of the video you can see part of the giant purple machine where the letters are first dumped on conveyor belts and staged before being fed into the AFCS.

There is a large eBay card vendor in my area and we get a few hundred letters a day from them. I always dread it when it comes in and hope it goes down one of the other AFSC. They frequently get jammed and torn. As you can see by the video the mail can be bent around 4" spindle. If your letter can't bend around a Chunky soup can, it won't make it through the machine. If it jams it is removed but I've seen it fall out of the belts and get destroyed. Felt bad to see a play set of [[Sunken Ruins]] destroyed from rubbing against a belt for 3 hours.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
893 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   8:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Also why is that mail has to be flexible to be machinable?


There are curves in the tracking of the high speed cancelling and sorting machine.
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Australia
34194 Posts
Posted 11/26/2021   8:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rod222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Wow. Love that video !
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Pillar Of The Community
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United States
3291 Posts
Posted 11/27/2021   06:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
One can easily see how an envelope can get mangled.
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Al
Valued Member
United States
228 Posts
Posted 11/27/2021   5:29 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Rich60 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I saw 7 of my lost orders in that video
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