USPS seeking input from postal community on how to deal with overweight parcels

10/4/2017 The Postal Service is contemplating amendment of the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), to address the challenges presented by overweight parcels that make their way into the postal network. To aid us in this effort, we are requesting comments from the postal community regarding a variety of suggested actions to resolve or ameliorate this problem. Overweight parcels for the purpose of this notice are defined as anything in excess of 70 pounds or the maximum weight allowed for HAZMAT.


DATES: Submit comments on or before November 2, 2017.


Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, Product Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW., Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. If sending comments by email, include the name and address of the commenter and send to, with a subject line of “Overweight Parcels.” Faxed comments are not accepted.

You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment only, at USPS® Headquarters Library, 475 L’Enfant Plaza SW., 11th Floor North, Washington, DC 20260. These records are available for review on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by calling 202-268-2906.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:Direct questions or comments to Lizbeth J. Dobbins by email at or phone (202) 268-3789.


The Challenge of Overweight Parcels

Overweight parcels should never be accepted for delivery into the postal network. On occasion an item, such as a returns parcel, gets into the Postal network and arrives at a destination plant or post office. It is unsafe to return the item back through the postal network so the receiving office contacts the customer and asks the customer to pick up the package. Sometimes the package is abandoned which creates another safety issue trying to dispose of the overweight item.

Part of the challenge is that we do not want overweight items at any time since these items cause numerous safety issues and we strongly discourage mailers from entering them into the postal system. We do not accept them at postal retail counters either and yet, these items still get into the postal system.

In order to discourage unsafe practices, the Postal Service is seeking input from the mailing community about how to prevent overweight packages from entering the postal system, and if they get into the postal system, the appropriate postage to be paid. The maximum weight for postage payment is 70 pounds.

Suggested Remedies

One partial remedy would be to assess additional postage on overweight parcels discovered in the postal network. Thus, if a package weight is 75 pounds, and it arrives at the destination office, with postage calculated at 70 pounds, an additional 5 pounds worth of postage could be collected (70 plus 5). Or if the item is 80 pounds, postage would be collected on the additional 10 pounds. This would appear to provide the Postal Service with at least some degree of reimbursement for the extra service provided.

As a further deterrent, another possibility would be to charge not only additional postage, but an additional penalty fee (perhaps $20.00). Thus, for an 80 pound parcel the total amount due would include the postage payment for 70 pounds, a postage surcharge for the additional 10 pounds and a $20 penalty.

Since HAZMAT parcels have lower maximum weight limits, and overweight HAZMAT parcels may pose additional safety challenges, it would seem appropriate to provide an additional element of deterrence with regard to the mailing of such items. Thus, for example, if a 65-pound HAZMAT package exceeded the maximum weight limit of 25 pounds, the amount due might include not only the postage on the actual weight of the package, but an additional surcharge of $20.00 for each 10 pounds (or fraction thereof) in excess of the applicable weight limit.

We look forward to feedback on this important safety issue.

Stanley F. Mires,

Attorney, Federal Compliance.

[FR Doc. 2017-21150 Filed 10-2-17; 8:45 am]


Full article: 2017-21150.pdf

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17 thoughts on “USPS seeking input from postal community on how to deal with overweight parcels

  1. How about a simple $20 per pound fee – they have to PICK IT UP at the originating post office because we cannot deliver it (even if returned, it would require delivery). After 15 days if it is unclaimed or they refuse to pay, we can auction the items on ebay. These companies end up paying through the nose and they won’t continue doing it for long.

  2. Anything over 70 lbs should be considered FREIGHT. Hire Postal Freight personnel as a weekly service, not daily. Charge them what freight companies do. Freight charges must be paid before acceptance. It’s a different service than First Class – so make it a separate section of the Postal Service. Stop accepting freight from UPS, FedEx or other delivery services unless USPS opens a freight division.

  3. How about make Amazon follow parcel size requirements and rates? Why does Amazon get special treatment and special rates? You do it for them you’ll end up doing it for everyone!

  4. How about supply carriers with a vehicle large enough to handle hundreds of large parcels, plus suitable to carry mail and to reach mailboxes? Also Mail boxes need to be a lot larger or make it a requirement, that a customer not only has to have a mail box but a Parcel container box. Also a hand truck would be nice! How about parcel routes with box trucks with lift gates that carry 2 people to help with the heavy parcels? This would be a lot safer and make more sense! Oh I forgot, the postal service method is not for it to make sense, and besides it doesn’t make since to anyone but carriers, that we need larger vehicles and more help with all the extra super volume of parcels. DUH!!

  5. I will try to apply common sense to this problem, which is a strategy that I seldom have the opportunity to use any more:

    If we inadvertently accept a package weighing more than 70 pounds maybe we ought to return it and require that it be repackaged into smaller parcels. While that would be a hassle for us, the mailers would be encouraged to avoid doing it in the future. If their error was inadvertent, it would encourage them to be more careful in the future.

    Conversely, if we go ahead and deliver them anyway, what incentive does the mailer have to stop mailing overweight packages. So, even if it is much easier to deliver it than to send it back; sending it back might serve our long term interests.

    Now I have a headache from all that thinking and need to lie down.

  6. Seems the post office loses a lot of money by accepting packages wrapped in paper that is clearly a flat rate box! Instead of asking what to do, collect that postage, you know it’s due! And let the clerks clearly call the shots on a package tgats overweight instead of thinking you can charge the customer via electronic drafts. Trust me if you dipped into my accou t without authorization, we would be having problems! That includes a clerical mistake too!

  7. Require the addressee come to the post office to pick it up and load it in their vehicle themselves. If unclaimed, item is disposed of. Charge them a surcharge of $100 and charge them each pound over 70 pounds. Items overweight get in the system. Whether it’s an untrained window clerk or dropped off in a collection box, it happens. Start hitting the customer in the pocket book and you might see results. Customers using tape to keep a flat rate box closed should not be able to use the flat rate box. That’s how employees get injured, lifting boxes that appear to be “light” and are not.

  8. The DMM is quite clear about this, don’t accept them. How are they getting into the system? Also the DMM says our flat rate boxes and envelopes may only be used with the adhesive on the box or envelope. When we get someone putting 50 lbs into a small box and then putting duct tape all over it to keep it shut they should be charged extra.

  9. If we can’t ship out anything over 70lbs, why should we deliver anything over 70lbs? Kind of contradicting. It would require a “team lift” the only “team lift” we have is in the office and loading up. How could we do a “team lift” when it’s just one person doing a route. God forbid a pedestrian offer to help and us accept.

  10. One if the major problems is Amazon, UPS and Fed ex. These packages arrive on pallets and are accepted as a whole unit on an invoice. Some of these packages are exceptionally heavy. This creates all sorts of safety issues and hazards to the whole USPS system. The clerks distributing and the carrier’s delivering these parcels encounter multiple hazards to their person on a Dailey basis. This is something the USPS needs to address with these vendors first and foremost.

  11. I don’t think USPS should accept parcels over 50 pounds at all! Accepting heavy parcels puts strains on postal carriers that have routes with hard to reach access to their recipients! It means more injuries to the carriers!

    • Return to sender, not as postage due since the parcel exceeds the 70 pound weight limit, but as exceeds the weight limit allowed by USPS

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