Twice this Christmas the Post office has made me furious. It's not the long lines, or the late delivery times, it is random and surprising new rules that make me have to pay additional postage. Just so that you all know flat rate boxes must close so that the top flaps touch, if they don't touch you will be charged based on weight.
So annoying. Infact the last box came with the specifics taped on the outside. The box can not be extended in any way, which apparently means a quarter inch gap. The worst part of the whole thing is that the box is physically unable to close because it was glued unevenly. Calling the USPS customer service is a waste of time. Their answer was to check every box before packing it to make sure that it closes. If it doesn't close don't use it. The annoying part is that the definitions are so vague that you really would never know this is going to happen until the postman shows up at your door demanding more money. I think it's all a ploy to get more money. They've gotten an extra $22 out of me this holiday season. I took photos of this box full and empty to prove my point.
My sister Michelle took up the challenge and contacted the originating post office for me. It seems that I am not loosing my mind, they also thought it was beyond reason that this box would be more money. Once I had all that documentation I went back to my post office to find out what is going on. They on the other hand thought it was perfectly appropriate to asses more charges to the box, because the flaps didn't meet. Infact the postman I talked to actually said "we have to watch out for the money." When I confronted the postman with the fact that the comercials don't have fine print saying that "if it fits only applies if the flaps of the box touch the entire length of the box and if the box doesn't close appropriately empty do not use it." also this rule isn't written anywhere so consumers have no way of knowing this. He responded that "even if it isn't written down that is still what is required". I was so angry I left without leaving all my documentation, and feeling as though nothing will ever change. My sister requested a phone call back from the DC office of USPS when she called to lodge the official complaint. DC filtered it down to the Hawaii oversight guy who upheld the local post offices decision saying that they "had to get every 20 cents we are due" It is obvious to me that someone is putting pressure on the Hawaii post office to make more money because flat rate boxes don't make a ton of money going to Hawaii. It seems like it's just one more way that Hawaii is given different rules and expectations by those in charge. I'm ready to fight! Last night I emailed our local news, perhaps a little media pressure will either clarify things or let people know about the mystery rules.