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Tag Archive | "U.S. Postal Service"

Holiday Shipping 101


Photo courtesy of Daniel Afzal for U.S. Postal Service

Photo courtesy of Daniel Afzal for U.S. Postal Service

(Family Features)

If one of your holiday tasks is shipping gifts to family and friends across the nation, knowing a few tips and tricks will ensure your packages get to them in time for the festivities.

From shipping deadlines to packaging, there are many factors to consider when sending gifts, especially during a busy time like the holiday season. Fortunately, there are dozens of resources available to help make shipping holiday gifts more convenient than ever.

“Priority Mail is a convenient and affordable shipping option for holiday gifts,” said John Budzynski, consumer advocate at the U.S. Postal Service. “It offers features like package redirect, free package pickup and text update alerts.”

Budzynski offers this advice to help make your holiday shipping simple and stress-free.

Take advantage of services that make shipping more convenient. For example, the U.S. Postal Service lets you order free Priority Mail shipping supplies from usps.com and delivers them right to your door – from boxes to envelopes and stickers.

Be informed about policies for handling fragile gifts or items that may be hazardous, such as perfume, cologne and other liquids.

Always include a return address. It tells the shipper where to return the package if it can’t be delivered.

Pack smart. Pick a strong and sturdy box, cushion contents with packing peanuts, newspaper or bubble wrap, and tape it closed with strong packing tape.

Print postage at home using Click-N-Ship from the U.S. Postal Service at usps.com/clicknship. It not only saves time, but money too; you can receive up to an 11 percent discount by buying postage online.

Don’t get caught in the holiday rush. Schedule a free package pickup from your home or office.

Stay updated on the status of your package. Use Priority Mail to receive tracking to monitor your package’s progress toward its destination. You also can sign up for text and email alerts through my.usps.com to help you track package delivery.

Check key shipping dates to ensure your package arrives in time for the holiday. The U.S. Postal Service provides these deadlines to help you plan ahead for delivery by Dec. 25:

Dec. 2 – International First-Class Mail

Dec. 2 – Priority Mail International

Dec. 10 – Priority Mail Express International

Dec. 15 – Standard Post

Dec. 17 – Global Express Guaranteed

Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail

Dec. 20 – Priority Mail

Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express

Note: Priority Mail Express postage refund eligibility is adjusted for shipments mailed December 22-25.

“The U.S. Postal Service prepares all year for the holidays,” Budzynski said. “This is our season. We are ready to help customers ensure their packages are packed, tracked and delivered with ease.”

For more shipping tips and online tools, visit usps.com.

 

Posted in Featured, Hometown HolidaysComments (0)

Reform Bill an Important Step in Preserving Postal Service


By Sen. Carl Levin

In late April, the Senate approved an important bill to reform the U.S. Postal Service. Though the bill was not perfect, it makes important changes to help the Postal Service adapt and thrive in the 21st century. And it includes an amendment that I helped write that I believe will help protect postal facilities in Michigan and across the nation from unjustified closures.

There is little doubt that change is necessary; the Postal Service faces an extraordinary financial challenge, and it must make changes to take into account a new reality in which physical mail has in many cases been replaced by electronic communication.

But in making these necessary reforms, we must ensure that all the American people can continue to rely on the United States Postal Service to provide universal service, as it has since our nation’s founding. And we must ensure that in making changes, any reduction in facilities and personnel yields real cost savings to the Postal Service that outweigh the loss in service. Many communities in Michigan, large and small, urban and rural, are concerned that closures proposed by the Postal Service will degrade the service on which Michiganians depend.

One of the things we can do to assure that is to require that there be a real, objective way to test and challenge Postal Service proposals to close facilities. In an effort to meet those goals, I joined with Sen. Jon Tester of Montana and Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, among others, to propose an amendment that made important changes to the bill.

Under current law, any interested party can appeal a proposed closure of a community’s main post office to the Postal Regulatory Commission. The postal reform bill extends that opportunity for appeal to branches of a post office. But it did not extend that same appeal right to postal processing facilities—the facilities where mail is sorted, routed and distributed to post offices. Our amendment established a meaningful appeal process for proposed closures of these facilities.

Recent experience showed me the need for a real appeal process. In February, I wrote to Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe about the decision to close six processing facilities in Michigan. I asked questions about what savings the proposal would yield and the impact on service to Michigan customers. But when the Postal Service responded to my letter nearly eight weeks later, the response did not answer any of my questions satisfactorily. The inability to provide basic information indicates to me that a fair opportunity to appeal is crucial.

Our amendment made other important changes. It ensures that any postal facility proposed for closure will remain open during any appeal. It makes clear that the Postal Regulatory Commission, when considering an appeal, has the authority to reverse a proposed closure. It requires the Postal Service to consider whether closing a facility will result in actual cost savings and directs the Postal Regulatory Commission to reject any proposed closure that does not meet that test.

Postal reform is among the most significant issues we will consider this year. It touches every town and village, every person and every business across our nation. The Postal Service’s universal service obligation to ensure that all Americans have access to an affordable, efficient postal system in order to communicate with one another is among the most important obligations any agency or department has. It sets the Postal Service apart from private-sector firms that are under no obligation to serve all markets. The Postal Service’s first obligation is not profit. It is service.

I believe our reform bill will help the Postal Service continue to meet that obligation for decades to come. Now that the Senate has acted, I hope our colleagues in the House of Representatives can act quickly so Americans can continue to get the postal service they need and deserve.

Carl Levin is the senior U.S. senator from Michigan.


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