Automated Package Verification (APV) is a parcel scanning program by the USPS designed to verify if a package is using the correct postage amount by checking package weight, box size, and other critical information. If a package is found to be underpaid, the USPS will automatically deduct the postage due from your USPS account. For overpaid packages, a refund will be issued in your Stamps.com account. As a result, packages that may previously have been returned to sender, treated as “dead” mail with no return address, or delivered to the addressee with a postage‑due notice will have address and postage discrepancies detected at point of drop‑off to ensure they make it to their destination.
If you ship packages for your e‑commerce business, Automated Package Verification can save you the hassle of troubleshooting issues with delivery on your end. Here’s a look at how APV works for you.
Simply put, APV eliminates the historical uncertainty of how packages misaddressed and/or charged the wrong amount for postage ultimately arrive at their destination, plus the logistical and billing headaches for both shipper and receiver.
Previously, overcharges were eaten by the shipper – you! – and in the case of underpaid packages, customers were faced with the annoyance of postage-due shipments. With this extra measure of ensuring correctly calculated postage at the point of origin, you and your customers benefit from a smoother delivery process, cleaner accounting and higher levels of customer service.
USPS processing centers now feature state‑of‑the‑art scanning equipment that automatically check packages for:
If the USPS equipment detects incorrect postage, USPS issues a debit or credit to your postal account balance. Most adjustments occur within 10 days of shipment. However, the USPS could adjust postage for a previous shipment at any time if a pricing error is discovered.
Stamps.com detects and automatically reports the details of any APV adjustments.
Resolving discrepancies couldn’t be simpler. If you feel an APV adjustment was made in error, just email VerifyPostageHelp@usps.gov with the package tracking number and an explanation of your dispute. Be sure to be specific; if USPS needs to know more information, they will contact you via email. Once USPS reaches a decision, Stamps.com will let you know the verdict.
APV streamlines the process for detecting and correcting inaccurate postage amounts, but you can take steps as well to ensure you don’t run into problems. Here are a few tips: