Will the USPS reject a letter weighing 1.1 ounces with 1 first class stamp?
February 20, 2007 8:22 PM   Subscribe

Will the USPS reject an envelope weighing 1.1 ounces with 1 first class stamp?

1 first class .39 cent stamp will let you ship 1 ounce. But will they actually reject a letter that's a measily .1 ounce over the limit?

If the USPS rejects the letter, will they send it on Postage Due, or will they return it to the return address?
posted by duncantuna to Law & Government (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
It's pretty much up to the judgment of the individual post office where your mail is processed whether or not to accept the envelope. Some are sticklers, others are more laid back. In my experience, if the post office decides you don't have enough postage you'll get the letter returned to you.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:29 PM on February 20, 2007

As far as I know they return it to the sender. Canada has those adorable 1-cent stamps, in case you have old stamps from a few years ago and the price has been raised since then. What I usually do is stick a few of those on there if my letter's borderline, mostly to placate the postal worker. =\ YMMV
posted by Phire at 8:33 PM on February 20, 2007

Since the price of sending a letter nearly doubles (52 to 93 cents) if you go over the 30g limit for Canada Post, it seems fair to middling unlikely that a couple of extra 1 cent stamps are going to placate them. I'd guess it'd be rather more likely to draw their attention to the fact that your letter is overweight. Most of the time, as long as it's close, no one bothers weighing lettermail.

As an added note related to those stupid 1cent stamps, my mother tells me that when she was a postmaster the policy was to deliver anything that was within 3 cents of proper postage. Unless that's changed, anybody who buys stamps to tide them through a postal increase is wasting their pennies, and my practical experience suggests she's still right--I've never had a letter fail to be delivered for being short a penny on postage.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:43 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

Canada has those adorable 1-cent stamps, in case you have old stamps from a few years ago and the price has been raised since then.

The US has those, too. And two-cent ones. They're also handy for when you're mailing something that's more than 1 oz (because it's .39 for the first ounce and .24 for each ounce over that) and don't have any 24 cent stamps.

Technically I think it gets rounded up to the next whole ounce, so adding one-cent stamps wouldn't be enough if they were going to be sticklers about it (unless you added enough of them to pay for 2 oz).
posted by sleeplessunderwater at 8:43 PM on February 20, 2007

Can you do something to shave off an ounce? Cut the package down, perhaps?

(FWIW, my mom, who works at the Canadian post office, says that they no longer make 1-cent stamps and now instead have amnesty on the preceding year's stamps, effective 2007.)
posted by acoutu at 8:52 PM on February 20, 2007

Best answer: It's up to the post office, croutonsupafreak is exactly right. Chances are high that if the letter is otherwise normal [size, looks, etc] they will never know and your letter will get delivered.

However, if they notice they will do one of two things 1. deliver the letter postage due (this can be either by holding the letter hostage until the 24 cents is paid or delivering it with a sort of IOU attached) 2. return it to you marked "insufficient postage"

Addiing extra one cents stamps will do nothing except possibly draw attention to your lack of proper postage. The US has stamps in lots of denominations. I have 1, 2, and 4 cent stamps in my stamp drawer right now.
posted by jessamyn at 9:12 PM on February 20, 2007

I agree. The chances of them noticing or caring are slim, and adding 1-cent stamps is liable to just piss them off.

Here is a helpful mailing tip FYcollectiveI: 24-cent stamps--the amount you need to add for each additional ounce--are the same as post card stamps. So if you find yourself mailing a lot of envelopes that weigh more than one ounce, try this:

Get first-class (39 cent) stamps and postcard (24 cent) stamps. Weigh your item on a digital scale. The first digit is how many postcard stamps you need to add to one first-class stamp to send the package.

So a package weighing 3.64 ounces = one first-class stamp plus three postcard stamps. 8.28 ounces = one first-class plus eight postcard stamps. E-Z. This works for weights up to a pound.

(If it's a padded envelope, add one postcard stamp, even if the weight is under an ounce, to cover the "nonmachinable surcharge".)

And you're also all set if you need to send a postcard!
posted by bink at 9:25 PM on February 20, 2007

This works for weights up to a pound.

It works for weights up to 13 ounces. The cheapest way to send anything over 13 ounces is Priority Mail.
posted by oaf at 9:34 PM on February 20, 2007

Best answer: I can't see any sane post office worker choosing to generate far more than 24 cents' worth of extra work for a paltry 0.1oz excess. I say they'll just send it, unless it's egregiously thick and obviously warrants weighing or is covered in extra but clearly insufficient stamps.
posted by flabdablet at 10:15 PM on February 20, 2007

Plus, stamps are extra weight.
posted by flabdablet at 10:18 PM on February 20, 2007 [1 favorite]

See previous, related question. Answer, as above: the average USPS worker weighs in his/her mind whether it's worth holding up a letter for the sake of a few pennies and decides against it.
posted by one_bean at 7:23 AM on February 21, 2007

Actually the average postal worker is well aware that he or she gets paid the same whether they put it in the postage due cubby or not. We're also aware that the USPS really wants us to protect our revenue stream.

1.1 oz needs an extra 24 cents. It is up to each individual clerk (not post office) that handles the letterto decide if the letter feels heavy. If the letter is postage due, it will be returned to the return address. If there is no return address, it will be sent on postage due.

Now my job is more to catch these before they get into the mail stream. It is part of my job to charge more if the mail piece is .01 oz over, using OUR scales at the time of entry.
posted by faceonmars at 10:14 AM on February 21, 2007

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