What is USPS - Certificate of Mailing?

[This post is written and copyrighted by FIRE Finance (http://firefinance.blogspot.com).]

USPS - Certificate of MailingNov 25, 2009: We all know about USPS - Certified Mail but did you folks know there is something called Certificate of Mailing? We didn't. Recently we had to mail a $10 manufacturer's rebate claim. Many of the rebate processing centers try to disqualify a claim at the slightest opportunity. So keeping photo copies of all submissions and proof that corroborate the fact that we mailed it before the required date are essential. Now, for a $10 rebate how much should we spend for record keeping and proof ? We went online and discovered certificate of mailing.

Certificate of Mailing
  • Fee (in addition to postage) = $0.95.
  • It is a receipt that provides proof of mailing with date and must be purchased at time of mailing. Don’t lose it! It’s the only official record available.
  • Can be used with with First-Class Mail®, Priority Mail®, Package Services, and Standard Mail.

Certified Mail
  • Fee (in addition to postage) = $2.40.
  • Provides the sender a mailing receipt and online access to the delivery status.
  • A delivery record with the recipient’s signature obtained at the time of delivery is maintained by the United States Postal Service. This service is available with First-Class Mail and Priority Mail.
  • For an additional fee, you can request a copy of the signature record before or after delivery with Return Receipt.

We figured that for a $10 rebate spending $2.40 on a certified mail is 24% expense! Instead we opted for the certificate of mailing. The interesting thing to note is that post offices generally do not advertise or display this service. At least, the post office we went to did not have it listed on their banners and posters. When we asked the postal employee about it she replied that most people buy certified mail. We responded that customers have a right to know that they have a choice. Well, she was silent for sometime and then made her intentions clear by wishing "Have a good evening!"

Conclusion: Depending on the amount of rebate and/or the importance of the mail we should choose between the above two options on a case by case basis.

Image Source(s): iStockPhoto

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