New Postal Rates, with New Confusing "Thickness" Rules.

The winner of "let's take something simple and make it as complex as possible" prize goes to ... the US Postal Service:

The postal rate increase that kicks in Monday is shaping up to be a big headache for many businesses.

Many companies say they are confused and frustrated as they try to adjust to the new rules, and some say mailings could be severely curtailed due to higher postage costs.

The new regulations mean larger envelopes and packages will automatically cost more than smaller mail. Currently, postage is determined by weight, unless it's an especially large or odd-shaped package that warrants special handling.

If your solution come Monday is to stuff the same amount of material into a smaller envelope, the Postal Service could get you there, too: There are new thickness restrictions.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/US/05/13/mail.shape.ap/index.html


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This is really surprising - I've run into the "your envelope cannot be thicker than X or you will have to use a higher rate service" restriction several times doing eBay, so I'm not sure where the idea that this is a wholly new development came about. I do recall the cutoff being bigger than 1/4 inch though; maybe that changed? Or maybe it's new to "first-class" mail but already existed for padded mailers (which are bigger than 1/4" thick even empty)?
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Actually the UK system can get confusing, and more expensive. For example, my ageing father forwards on a small amount of mail to me, usually in an A4 envelope. Prior to the change it cost £1 to send; post-change it cost £1, unless the envelope was too thick, in which case it cost £1.11. However, the Post Office themselves can get confused, and charge £1 when deposited, but refuse to deliver it because it's missing postage at the other end. They left a note (which they normally do for free with packages too large for the letterbox) saying it would cost me 11p plus a £1 penalty fee to pick up the letter.
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Oh come on! We've had this system in the UK for some time now and for the most part it costs me *less* to send letters and packages than under the old system. It's really not as complicated as you seem to think.
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