Friday, 6 July 2012

10:18 – I got the first kit shipped to Canada yesterday. Per the advice of the woman I spoke to on the USPS toll-free support number, we hauled the kit out to the local post office to have them weigh it and look over the paperwork. I told the guy at the counter not to print postage because I was going to take the kit home and use Click-and-Ship. He said that the paperwork looked fine, but mentioned that Click-and-Ship did all that for me for international shipments.

So I took the kit home, hit the USPS Click-and-Ship web site, and told it I needed to ship a Large Flat Rate Priority Mail box to Canada. Sure enough, rather than the four or so screens that I see for US shipments, there were eight or ten screens, most concerned with customs issues. The only strange part was that when I filled out the manual six-part paper form, per the instructions I’d gotten on the phone earlier, I entered “30.37a” in the EEL field. On the web form for that field, there was a drop-down list, and the only choice was “NOEEI 30.36”. So I did the best I could, and eventually got to the part where I pay and generate the postage label.

I paid (with Barbara’s AmEx because I still don’t have my replacement card) and told it to generate the label. For US shipments, the postage label is a half-sheet. I can choose to print a full sheet with half being the postage label and the other half the receipt, or simply print postage labels two-up if I have multiple kits to mail. I always download the label as a PDF and then print it. In this case, the PDF was three full pages. Two pages of two-up labels and a third page of instructions, which weren’t all that helpful.

I had four half-sheet labels, all of which looked very similar but with minor differences. They all had the same barcode, but one had a second barcode and a “postage paid” line on it. I assumed that was the one I was supposed to stick on the box and the other three were to go into the clear plastic envelope. Just to make sure, I called USPS International Mail support and spoke to a woman who clearly had no idea what to tell me, nor later did the mailman when he picked up the box.

The manual form 2976-A had six parts, with the original being “1 – Manifesting/Scan Copy”, the second and third pages being “Customs Declaration”, the fourth “Dispatch Note”, the fifth “Post Office Copy”, and the sixth “Sender Copy”. The web-fill version had only four parts, “1 – Customs Declaration” (with the postage barcode), the second “Customs Declaration”, the third “Dispatch Note” and the fourth “Sender Copy”. The “Manifesting/Scan Copy” was missing, as was “Post Office Copy”. I assumed that those were taken care of by the Click-and-Ship automation, so I stuck “1 – Customs Declaration” on the box, since it had the postage bar code, and put the other three copies in the 2976-E clear plastic envelope.