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Video Games not Media Mail?


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#1 toymailman OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 12:30 PM

Hey everyone, I was told recently by the post office that Video Games are not valid media mail parcels. That is why I stopped offering it in my auctions. They said they are randomly opening items shipped as media mail to verify that the contents are legit.

Anybody else know the rules or have heard something similar?

#2 holygrailvideogames.com OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 1:10 PM

I personally have received media mail packages that have been opened by the post office and then I have had to pay for the upgraded shipping.

Cartridges cannot be sent media mail.

I know that a lot of people think that cartridges can be sent media mail but they can't. Here is a link from the post office that specifically states that cartridges cannot be sent media mail.

http://www.usps.com/...003/pb22115.pdf

On page 107 under where it says "What is Media Mail Services" it says the following

"video game cartridges, for example, cannot be mailed at Media Mail rates."

#3 Christophero Sly OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 1:54 PM

Here is another P.O. document that states that video game cartridges don't qualify for media mail shipment (under "media mail reminders").

http://www.usps.com/.../mc0304art6.htm

Edited by Christophero Sly, Sun Jul 6, 2008 1:55 PM.


#4 lemoncurry OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:10 PM

Ya, games on "media" i.e. CDs, DVDs and even floppies qualify. Carts are hardware.

When they inspect, sometimes they send it on through postage due, sometimes they return it, sometimes they remove the offending non-media and the recipient gets an empty box or maybe the instructions for the missing cart (oh, joy). None of these scenarios bode well for the seller.

What is so stupid about it is that a big heavy box full of paper can be sent cheaper than a little ol' game.

#5 Zwackery OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:18 PM

My PO always let me send video games via Media Mail, but since I started hearing about other people having problems with it, I have since stopped using MM for video games.

#6 SpendTooMuchOnAtari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:22 PM

I went through this a while ago, I started a big thread about it (it seems like years ago but probably not). I even had a scan of something stating that video games are not media mail.

However, on a side note, I just sent HatNJ a package via Media Mail that contained one PS2 game and one strategy guide. I knew I was taking a chance but he received it no problems. I, of course, would have taken care of it if it got sent back or if they charged the receiver but the guide was heavy and I didn't want to charge or pay a bunch for shipping. Sometimes it gets through, sometimes they pop that baby open and you're screwed.

I'm going to try to find that old thread for nostalgic sake, it would be cool to see what people were saying back then (whenever then is....I'll find out)
;)

#7 Captain Beard OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:24 PM

Ya, games on "media" i.e. CDs, DVDs and even floppies qualify. Carts are hardware.

Golly but they're dopey.
I was told by a clerk that the distinction was games or software had to be "something playable on a computer." :ponder:

What is so stupid about it is that a big heavy box full of paper can be sent cheaper than a little ol' game.

Oh come on now. You can't mail a big heavy box full of anything for $1.51.

Edited by Captain Beard, Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:25 PM.


#8 lemoncurry OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:34 PM

What is so stupid about it is that a big heavy box full of paper can be sent cheaper than a little ol' game.

Oh come on now. You can't mail a big heavy box full of anything for $1.51.

Well, I was exaggerating somewhat, but you can mail 8 lbs of paper (which is media) for less than a 1 lb game in a Priority package...
(technically you'd have to bind the paper to qualify!)

Edited by lemoncurry, Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:35 PM.


#9 SpendTooMuchOnAtari OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 2:41 PM

I think I found the old thread and it was YEARS ago....wow, time flies. Anyway, I believe it did actually show the document in the thread but I don't see it now. Perhaps I used photobucket or something back then and now it's gone. Anyway, here it is:
LINK

#10 Headfamily OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 4:30 PM

Ya, games on "media" i.e. CDs, DVDs and even floppies qualify. Carts are hardware.

Golly but they're dopey.
I was told by a clerk that the distinction was games or software had to be "something playable on a computer." :ponder:



Too bad you can't them to go by that the Atari 2600 was originally called the Atari Video Computer System.

#11 lemoncurry OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 5:19 PM

For that matter, all video game systems are just specialized computer platforms.

(well, except for, like old Pongs)

#12 RickHarrisMaine OFFLINE  

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Posted Sun Jul 6, 2008 7:51 PM

Its a ridiculous rule. I still believe that videogames, as an end product of someone's intellectual property, like a book is, should be considered "media". Now you can send a book that is as thick as a ream of paper at media mail rates, but you can't send a blank ream of paper at media mail rates. Why? Because it's the "ideas on the paper" that is the media. Its the free interchange of ideas that the government is looking for, and I think videogames, especially modern games like GTA IV and the like, qualify for this.

#13 shadow460 OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 1:00 AM

Actually, I had them pull copies of the media mail regulations from their book at out local PO not too long ago. If you go by the rules, cartridges or manuals alone are not media mail. A cartridge and its manual together do in fact, qualify for Media Mail. It doesn't say that specifically, but if you read the regulation, you'll see what I'm talking about.
I'd scan the regs, but I actually tossed my copy the other day. Crud.

#14 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 6:07 AM

I would avoid Media Mail like the plague. I've had several media mail packages on their way to me opened recently, and one package had its contents removed entirely (bad eBay seller who sent an Xbox HD cable via Media Mail!) They also tried to upgrade a heavy package (full of carts) to Priority Mail, but I managed to get the package without paying the huge price difference. So I strongly recommend avoiding Media Mail if you're sending cartridges.

Personally I believe the USPS is taking advantage of the fact that the original Media Mail tariff doesn't mention "cartridges" as a means to retroactively place the "cartridge" ban on media mail, even though it's still quite clearly "computer media" for anyone with a clue. It should not matter that the software is delivered on a circuit board as opposed to a floppy disk or CD. But if they can use this as a means for people to use their overpriced Priority Mail service instead, it's a win for them.

I recommend people use DHL Ground, FedEx Ground or UPS Ground for any domestic packages weighing over a few pounds. Lower rates, more reliable delivery times (especially over Media Mail), and much better tracking. And no worries that your package is going to A) get rejected B) get returned C) get opened and/or D) be delivered "postage due".

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#15 BigO ONLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 6:40 AM

It should not matter that the software is delivered on a circuit board as opposed to a floppy disk or CD.


I agree and just for the heck of it tried to make that case with the USPS (whoever reads whatever you send via the website.) Their reply was to contact some local office to get an answer to that question.

I wonder if they would apply the same logic to an SD or other similar card if it contains a computer program? It's not technically a "video game cartridge", but it's hardware. I know it's not the same issue from a physical size/weight standpoint so probably doesn't matter monetarily, but if they conceded that it's Media Mail-able, I guess somebody could push the issue with cartridges.

Too bad there's nobody at the USPS who'd actually listen to a well reasoned and technically/technologically valid argument.

#16 udisi OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 7:01 AM

A lot of CD based stuff is also disqualified because it contains advertisements. I was informed, that advertisements are also not allowed media mail. Doesn't really effect me, I just ship 1st class or priority.

#17 Christophero Sly OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 11:06 AM

... just for the heck of it tried to make that case with the USPS (whoever reads whatever you send via the website.) Their reply was to contact some local office to get an answer to that question.

I did this same thing a few years back and got the same reply. I even tried to get an answer from their 1-800 number. I was put on hold a couple of times while the representative searched for an answer to my question. After about 20 minutes of that, I realized that they weren't going to be able to give me a reliable answer.

I don't really understand the rationale behind the restrictions placed on media mail. From USPS's perspective, it can't possible make a difference what is in a package (barring anything "liquid, perishable, or hazardous"). It's illogical for USPS to waste time and money policing media mail shipments when the fundamental distinction being made is arbitrary and doesn't affect their bottom line. IMO, package shipments should be based on a simple shipping class hierarchy and weight alone (like it used to be?). Of course, if USPS ever dropped its media mail restrictions, I'm sure they'd just drop media mail in its entirety, so I try to bite my tongue and work around USPS's bureaucratic inconveniences.

Edited by Christophero Sly, Mon Jul 7, 2008 10:30 PM.


#18 Phantom OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 1:03 PM

They always take it at my post office and when i've called USPS to ask when someones says its not allowed, no one gives a straight answer overthere so if they have a policy in place, it must be fairly new.

#19 the.golden.ax OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 1:33 PM

They have been opening my packages and calling cartridges NOT media mail since 2003 in Nashville, TN. Hence my only offering Priority.

AX

#20 SpendTooMuchOnAtari OFFLINE  

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Posted Mon Jul 7, 2008 8:14 PM

They have been opening my packages and calling cartridges NOT media mail since 2003 in Nashville, TN. Hence my only offering Priority.

AX


Ditto, this is not a fairly new policy as Phantom stated. It's been going on for 5 years.

#21 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008 6:08 AM

They have been opening my packages and calling cartridges NOT media mail since 2003 in Nashville, TN. Hence my only offering Priority.

AX


Ditto, this is not a fairly new policy as Phantom stated. It's been going on for 5 years.

True, but I think more recently they have started enforcing it more. Until this year, I've never had the USPS open up Media Mail packages, and I've received quite a few containing cartridges over the years. I believe it also has to do with specific post offices. The first two Media Mail packages I received at a new (to me) post office this year were opened--after that I told people to stop sending me anything via Media Mail.

The USPS really needs to simplify its rules and bureaucratic red tape. But instead they are going the opposite way (for the most part), such as by adding dimensional weighting to Priority Mail and other shipping classes. They did simplify the international classes last year, but domestic shipping is a mess.

..Al

#22 Almost Rice OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008 7:12 AM

The USPS really needs to simplify its rules and bureaucratic red tape. But instead they are going the opposite way (for the most part), such as by adding dimensional weighting to Priority Mail and other shipping classes. They did simplify the international classes last year, but domestic shipping is a mess.


I agree. When they simplified international first class, I started to offer service to international customers. Domestic has been hard for me. I have to make sure my packages less than 4 lbs or 1 cubic foot. It is really annoying having to deal with Fedex ground or UPS in addition to Priority Mail. I would like them to simplify the Domestic side, but I am afraid they would mess it up somehow.

#23 Phantom OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008 8:20 AM

They have been opening my packages and calling cartridges NOT media mail since 2003 in Nashville, TN. Hence my only offering Priority.

AX


Ditto, this is not a fairly new policy as Phantom stated. It's been going on for 5 years.

Well it certainly wasn't WRITTEN out in their guidelines and policy til recently if it is clear now.
That is what I meant and if you called the 1-800 number in the past, they couldn't never give you a straight answer and I called about 5 different times between 2002-2006 and decided its not worth asking anymore. If you ask my post office, they would say it was fine, til this day. That is how their policy was interpreted in the past, pretty much it was left to each individual post office to interpret because their policy was so vague and if it is now more clearly written in a policy, then that is the NEW part. That is what I meant.
Like I said, I called the national number and they never once gave me a straight answer and they would pass me from operator to operator. If media mail is offered, I choose that because I'd rather save the money than get it a few days earlier. My post office obviously hasnt got the memo because I've never had an issue receiving media mail so I will continue to have stuff shipped to me media if given the opportunity. ;)

#24 Captain Beard OFFLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008 9:30 AM

They did simplify the international classes last year, but domestic shipping is a mess.

Sure, by eliminating the cheapest method! :x

I can't tell you how much revenue I've lost in my record store because of this change.
LPs are expensive and overseas customers make up the bulk of my sales.
So when shipping charges TRIPLED for some folks, suddenly my goods weren't as attractive anymore...

#25 Albert ONLINE  

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Posted Tue Jul 8, 2008 9:39 AM

They did simplify the international classes last year, but domestic shipping is a mess.

Sure, by eliminating the cheapest method! :x

I can't tell you how much revenue I've lost in my record store because of this change.
LPs are expensive and overseas customers make up the bulk of my sales.
So when shipping charges TRIPLED for some folks, suddenly my goods weren't as attractive anymore...

Yeah, I was a bit surprised when "Surface mail" went away. But not too surprised, since the USPS has been steadily increasing their prices for years, especially for packages. This is only going to get worse if fuel prices continue to rise, and even at their current levels I would expect large rate increases next year.

..Al




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