When to Use Media Mail
USPS Media Mail is a less expensive way to ship bulk bound books, licensed (not blank) computer diskettes, CD roms, licensed (not blank or bootleg) VHSs & DVDs & CDs; bound magazines, bound manuscripts & licensed (not blank or bootleg) digital video cassettes. Bulk & authentic are the essential words.
If sending one other item besides the packing slip with the media in the same package, the USPS can consider this mail fraud or attempting to circumvent federal shipping fees. Even something like a Birthday card included with the DVD's or bound books is a violation of federal USPS law. The card has to be mailed separate & stamped because it is not Media Mail. Same thing goes for a holiday card with a gift (not a tiny gift tag, however).
USPS routinely inspects packages that are sent via Media Mail because it is less expensive & shippers abuse it or misunderstand what the USPS federal law means by Media Mail. Plain & simple, it means already printed, copyrighted, bound, published Media materials only. An unbound manuscripts, for instance, doesn't count as Media any more than a stack of printed out computer papers stapled together does.
If y/our package is inspected by the USPS, which is quite often done since 9/11, & it isn't ALL Media material, don't count upon it arriving--it will be returned to the sender for postage $ needed. Let's say we try to ship gold, or shoes along with books, we could be looking at charges for violating federal postal laws. Ouch!
Also, Sellers--Whenever a buyer pays you for insurance & you don't buy it, that's federal postal fraud! If the package gets lost, Seller, you are nailed. Buyers, do not risk shipping anything expensive without insuring it; if the item is extremely rare, request that the seller send it so that it must be signed for. All you need is to be a buyer who gets defrauded after buying insurance once when the seller didn't send the antique ring (either at all or insured) & you'll understand the severity of this fair warning.
Some say that Media Mail takes much longer to arrive. Bunk, if you send it insured Media Mail arrives as fast as First Class mail! All of mine has arrived in the same time as First Class Mail (for ten years). Priority Mail (postal rip offs that are not guaranteed 2-3 days as clerks advertise--it's 2-9 days, signs are posted in USPS offices stating as such, just like Parcel Post). First Class insured mail is both the quickest & least costly, unless Media materials only are shipped in bulk & insured.
Example: 1 Bette Davis VHS in a bubble envelop costs .04 cents less via Media Mail than 1st Class Mail. Items can take over two weeks to arrive via uninsured Media Mail; but, uninsured 1st class mail will arrive within a week or sooner~
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