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Topic: Letter-Sized Swap - DC Required?  (Read 5230 times)
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« on: March 28, 2012 01:32:09 PM »

I'm getting ready to open up a swap for felt badges and I suspect that they will be small enough to fit into a standard envelope and mailed with a first class stamp.

While that sure makes shipping easier/cheaper, I'm not sure that it complies with the swapping rules that state a DC# is required.

If swappers accept the risk of having to remake their item if it gets lost in the mail, is it acceptable to not require a DC#?

I will probably cruise around to some of the ATC and inchie swap details to see how things are done there but thought I'd post the question here as well.

Thanks!!
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« Reply #1 on: March 28, 2012 03:04:08 PM »

The swap rules say only papercraft swaps are exempt and I'm pretty positive we stick to that. Let a swap mod chime in for sure though. Smiley
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2012 03:06:38 PM »

Ohhhh! Good to know. I can submit an official ticket for it too.

I checked out the papercraft swaps and followed that model but I can certainly adjust the swap details. 
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2012 04:50:14 PM »

It is just paper crafts that are exempt to my knowledge, for other flat items we advise that a little padding be used to get them fat enough for a DC#.
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« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2012 08:29:35 AM »

The letter-size swaps I've been in have said "no DC required, but must be willing to re-send" 
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« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2012 01:20:58 PM »

Sorry, but if it's not paper, there has to be a dc.

We tried being lenient with other small objects, but it just got too complicated and people started bending the rules no matter what the size of the swap, so we had to draw the line somewhere, and it was at paper.

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« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2012 05:53:35 PM »

If you ball up a small piece of paper and put it in the envelope with whatever you're sending it puffs the envelope up large enough to where you can have a DC added to it, without adding any real weight.  I do this all the time with envelope packages I used to send through Ebay.
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« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2012 06:31:27 PM »

One styrofoam packing peanut can raise the package to proper DC# width and does not add any weight also.  Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: April 03, 2012 06:47:56 PM »

Thanks for all these great tips!
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« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2012 05:22:22 PM »

Huh

I have been very confused with these rules.  So confused that I have gone to the post office to inquire about certain packages I have gotten through swaps.  According to the post office, if you send a regular letter sized envelope, it CANNOT have a DC, unless you send it priority mail, which is automatically 5.15 (not including the DC).  Its not JUST regular sized envelopes, but any that can fit through their mail slot (they have a template at every counter at every post office I've been to) which is only about 1/8'' thick.  That means even if you put something like a knitted or crochet motif, FELT, even multiple notecards into a padded envelope and it fits through the slot, they don't weigh it.  It is automatically the priority mail envelope fee. 

Yes, you can put some sort of padding in there to make the package thicker, often it is lightweight and with a Dc may only be under 2.00 to ship.  This is what I always do when I'm not involved in a paper swap, because I always pick things that are lightweight to ship. 

This doesn't stop people from sending these small thin things in regular envelopes.  I guess lots of people who live in bigger areas have the do it yourself post system.  I got two teeny tiny crochet bookmarks in a regular envelope that did a DC on it in a swap awhile ago. And I got nailed for extra postage.  Since the person had only paid for the weight of the envelope and DC, it cost them 1.50 or something like that, and I had to pay the rest of the 4 whatever fee.  I have gotten other things packed like this that did get to me without having to pay extra, and that's why I brought 2 items very similar to the post office for them to explain.  They said that anything as thin as a letter that has a DC should have that huge stupid fee attached, and sometimes they slip through.  I think it slips through a lot, but when it doesn't, it leads to problems.  I was organizing a swap where someone had to pay the extra fee and they were very upset.  Even though the sender sent her something extra to make up for it (as per a mod's suggestion) I have noticed the receiver has never done another swap, actually hasn't visited this website again.  And I do admit, I was not happy to pay the fee, but what can you do except make a stink to the person who sent?  I let it go.  However, you see how the postal rules kinda screw up things for smaller swaps like this.  For this swap, how many people who are unfamiliar with postal rules do you think will send a felt badge in a regular envelope and get a DC if they can?  Probably quite a few. 

So, what can you do? 
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« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2012 06:14:39 PM »

Yeah it's tricky!  I just very recently accidentally sent a swap item without a DC# because it was in a normal letter envelope, and it was paper.  I didn't realize the swap wasn't a "papercraft" swap (I guess I didn't know swaps had categories Smiley ), there was never anything in the questionnaire about getting a DC, and I'm used to doing a lot of ATC swaps where I just resend if the post office decides to eat the envelope... so it was just confusing all around!  Also, the little post office here is a bit tricky, and they don't usually offer options, they just put all the info into the system and my mail is off in a blur!  Needless to say, I am ready to resend if my package doesn't make it!
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2012 07:26:23 AM »

I lucked out at the post office the other day - The person at the counter told me my package was actually too thin for a DC but since I had it filled out already she would let me use it.
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meowari
« Reply #12 on: April 10, 2012 05:14:46 AM »

The Post Office says one thing one day, and another on a different day. Here is a link to the USPS Domestic Mail Manual about DC: http://pe.usps.com/archive/html/dmmarchive0810/s918.htm
And here's the info I found when I looked it up in the USPS FAQ: http://faq.usps.com/eCustomer/iq/usps/request.do?session={b23d1c10-8305-11e1-68f3-000000000000}&event=1&view%28%29=c{254f6d60-57e2-11dc-51b6-000000000000}&objectId=&eksObjectId=&objectType=Case&isJumpEnabled=false&isContentJumpEnabled=false&vendorKey=&objTitle=&versionId=8403&searchProperties=type:natural&naturalAdvance=false&allStr=&phraseStr=&anyStr=&noneStr=&keywordStr=&tTitle=&topicFromSub=&topicsORSubUrl=&report%280000%29=p{2f661e40-6973-11dd-e6c4-000000000000}&bcobjectId={409592d0-6974-11dd-e6c4-000000000000}&search=delivery%20confirmation&topicAndSubtopic=Business$ALL

...I'm still confused and I still think it pretty much depends on what kind of mood the Postal workers are in that day, though...  Tongue
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« Reply #13 on: April 10, 2012 07:47:21 AM »

Gosh! It is confusing. Someone in the felt badge swap was told that the package has to be 3/4" thick to be considered a parcel.

I don't know if that's the official rule or if that was just what the PO person required on that particular day Smiley.

I think sending in a padded envelope is probably a safe bet.
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« Reply #14 on: April 10, 2012 11:22:26 AM »


That is really helpful.  I'm going to print that out and bring it with me the next time I try to send something with a DC.  From the wording, it sounds like if something is rigid enough it can be thin and mailed regularly with a DC. 

This is more than the post office has told me.  They left out that 'rigid' part.  And what is REALLY confusing, is that is says in that FAQ that whatever you are trying to mail with a DC should be able to retain its shape if it is over the required 3/4''.  I have been getting away with wrapping things in a piece of tissue paper and stuffing it into the smallest envelope possible.  I doesn't fit through the slot, but you can squash it and it would fit through.  The postal people don't ever try to.  (Thank goodness, cause I might have said something about it before, not knowing that they probably ARE allowed to manhandle your mail to see if the shape can be 'compromised.') 

Thanks for the links!  I have tried to look up this info before and gave up on it, just to go to the post office and ask and be confused.
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« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2012 11:27:43 PM »

I'm a bit late to this party, but as a postal employee, I think I can shed a little light on WHY letters don't get DCs as opposed to parcels. It's very simple; first class letters are processed through high-speed automation machines, and these machines don't scan barcodes like DCs or certified mail or priority mail--in the cases of certified letters, the mail carriers scan the letters when they deliver them. If a first class letter somehow gets a DC label on it and is run through the machines, chances are that label won't ever get scanned.

Priority mail/parcel post/media mail on the other hand is processed on different machines (or, in a smaller facility like the one I work at, these packages are sorted manually). These machines, or the clerks sorting the packages manually, are equipped with a scanner to specifically look for those DC barcodes.

So basically, if you ship something priority mail as opposed to just plain old first class, it's guaranteed to be seen and scanned and trackable since it's handled separately.
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« Reply #16 on: April 20, 2012 05:59:48 AM »

Good to know. Thanks for that info, CraftyOctober!
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« Reply #17 on: April 20, 2012 07:55:19 AM »

That's great info, CraftyOctober! Thank you for shedding some light on this for us.
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« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2012 06:45:37 AM »

This worries me sometimes, because small package surface and air mail in Canada does not always have a tracking number, when sent to the States.  I think it has to be a certain size and weight before they do.  So I often take pics of the receipts and package, before mailing. 

Also, if the package is too small, as I recently found out, there is a pay penalty too, and no tracking Sad
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« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2012 02:45:47 PM »

Only US residents are required to get a dc for sends within the US. Everyone else should save their postal receipt until their partner verifies that the package has arrived.
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« Reply #20 on: May 20, 2012 06:07:37 PM »

That is reassuring, because I want to join more mini swaps to save on postage.
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« Reply #21 on: November 11, 2012 10:25:32 AM »

I've noticed a few swaps recently (not papercraft ones) that require missing packages to be re-sent even if a DC# is used. Some are pretty intensive! I would hate for this to become common.  Sad
I know organizers are volunteers and posting for an angel is one more thing to do, but it can be hard to commit to sending twice and from what I've seen the angel system works really well!
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« Reply #22 on: November 11, 2012 01:36:50 PM »

Small papercraft swaps (like ATC's, inchies ) are the only swaps that require missing packages to be re-sent because they are too thin to send with a DC.  Any other swap should follow the Craftster guidelines of using a DC# or keeping the receipt for international postage-if swappers can provide this proof of sending for a missing package then they are not required to resend unless they choose to (for which they would not be eligible for FOC as they received a package in the swap.  but would get some crafty karma!)   The angel system works quite well, in fact there are often way more people looking to angel than there are opportunities Smiley

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I've noticed a few swaps recently (not papercraft ones) that require missing packages to be re-sent even if a DC# is used
Please let the swap mods know via Help Desk ticket if you do notice this!
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