USPS Automated Package Verification (APV) system, which USPS announced earlier this year is now in effect. APV changes how USPS handles shipments with under- and overpaid postage. This change impacts all SmartShyp customers.
First and foremost, we want to ensure our customers understand this is something you need to take seriously, and pay attention to. The penalties for repeated violations with USPS can be severe.
So what is APV?
Previously, USPS packages with underpaid postage were either rejected and returned to sender, or delivered with a “postage due” notice that the recipient was required to pay. Neither of these is ideal for you or your customers. Now, APV identifies underpaid packages, notifies the sender, and automatically deducts the amount of underpaid postage to ensure prompt delivery and better customer service for all parties.
With APV, as packages go through processing, they will be scanned and weighed to check for correct postage paid based on size, weight, destination, etc. If the amount is underpaid, your SmartShyp meter will be charged to cover the difference. If the amount is overpaid, a credit is issued to your meter.
What if my SmartShyp meter doesn’t have enough in it to cover the underpaid amount?
If there is enough postage in your SmartShyp meter to cover the short-pay, the account will be debited for the exact difference. If there is not enough postage available in your meter, your meter will be topped up by $20 to cover the postage due using the credit or debit card you have on file – any leftover funds will remain in your meter. For example, if you have a $3 postage balance and get a $5 short-pay adjustment, your meter will adjust to -$2, then a postage purchase of $20 will occur leaving a $18 balance which can be used to purchase shipping labels or cover any additional adjustments.
Sellers are responsible for ensuring that the postage paid for a shipment is sufficient to cover the service requested and that the package dimensions and weight provided by sellers matches the physical shipment itself.
What could cause improper postage payment?
Some of the most common reasons improper postage amounts are paid:
- Package weight and/or dimensions entered during label printing are different than the actual shipment
- No package dimensions entered
- Flat Rate label is used with a non-Flat Rate box
- Improper service is used (for example, First Class label on 1lb+ package)
- Packaging isn’t included when entering information (i.e. only the item weight and dimensions are entered)
What if I don’t agree with a charge?
USPS has established its own resolution process for customers who dispute charges billed through APV. To file a dispute, email USPS at VerifyPostageHelp@usps.gov. Ensure your email contains the following:
- IMpb (Tracking) Number.
- Revenue Assurance ID. This is the externalId in the Transaction Reports API response.
- Detailed reason for the dispute.
- Your contact information (name and email).
What should I do now?
- Take a moment to review your current shipping, weights, measurements and packaging settings for each of your items. Be certain that the information you entered matches the actual package being shipped.
- Always be sure to use the proper packaging and shipping methods, be certain to weigh your package with all items and packing material in the package.
- It may be a good idea to set up auto-refill for your SmartShyp meter to prevent going below a set dollar amount
- Measure twice, ship once: rather than guessing your package weight, use a scale.
- Remember that USPS always rounds up to the next ounce or pound, so 3.2oz is considered 4oz (no worries for SmartShyp customers, as our app automatically rounds up for you to make sure your postage is accurate!)
If you have any questions about how this impacts you as a SmartShyp customer, please don’t hesitate to send us an email or pick up the phone and call.
As always, thank you for shipping via SmartShyp.