USPS FAQs

Subtopics:

What are the cutoff times for USPS® shipments and manifests?

To include the current day’s date on a USPS label, you must issue the Create Shipment request before 8 p.m. local time. After 8 p.m., the label gets the next day’s date. At any time, if you want to create a shipment with a label that displays a future date, use the FUTURE_SHIPMENT_DATE option.

To include a eligible shipment on the current day’s SCAN form, you must issue the Create Manifest request before 8 p.m. local time. If you create the manifest after 8 p.m., you must set the manifest’s submissionDate to the next day or later. A shipment is eligible for addition to a SCAN form if the shipment’s ADD_TO_MANIFEST option is set to true.

For both the Create Shipment and Create Manifest API requests, local time is based on the induction postal code if present and otherwise on the state specified in the sender’s address. For states with two time zones, local time is determined by the part of the state with the larger population. For more information, see How is the local time zone determined for USPS shipments and manifests?

Note: Transaction Reports do not use local time for transactions but instead use UTC/GMT.

If a eligible shipment has not been added to a SCAN form by 6 a.m. UTC/GMT the next calendar day, Pitney Bowes auto-manifests the shipment.

The following table shows the cutoff time and auto-manifest time for each domestic time zone:

Time Zone Cutoff Time for
Labels and Manifests
Auto-Manifest
Occurs At
Eastern 8 p.m. ET   1 a.m. EST / 2 a.m. EDT
Central 8 p.m. CT 12 a.m. CST / 1 a.m. CDT
Mountain 8 p.m. MT 11 p.m. MST / 12 a.m. MDT
Pacific 8 p.m. PT 10 p.m. PST / 11 p.m. PDT
Alaska 8 p.m. AKT   9 p.m. AKST / 10 p.m. AKDT
Hawaii-Aleutian 8 p.m. HAST   8 p.m. HAST

For military-origin addresses (APO/FPO/DPO), the cut off times are in UTC/GMT:

Origin Cutoff Time for
Labels and Manifests
Auto-Manifest
Occurs At
Armed Forces in Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Canada (AE) 8:00 p.m. UTC   6 a.m. UTC the next calendar day
Armed Forces in the Pacific (AP) 8:00 p.m. UTC   6 a.m. UTC the next calendar day

How do I insure a USPS shipment?

You can insure a USPS shipment against damage or loss while in transit by selecting one of the following options. You can select only one option:

  • PB Parcel Protection

    To insure a shipment through PB Parcel Protection, see Parcel Protection.

  • USPS Insurance

    To insure a shipment through USPS, include the Ins special service in the in the rates.specialServices array when creating the shipment and specify the insured value. For example:

    {
        "specialServiceId": "Ins",
        "inputParameters": [ {
            "name": "INPUT_VALUE",
            "value": "50"
        } ]
    }
    

    For domestic shipments, see the domestic fees section of the USPS price list.

    For international shipments, USPS insurance is available for Priority Mail International (PMI) and Priority Mail Express International (EMI). For more information, see this section of the USPS Price List and see the USPS Priority Mail International Insurance page.

How do I file an insurance claim for a USPS shipment?

To file an insurance claim for a shipment, please visit the USPS Claims site. You must provide the following:

  • Tracking number
  • Proof of insurance
  • Proof of value (receipt, paid invoice). Note: You can print the shipment receipt at the time of print by using the SHIPPING_LABEL_RECEIPT shipment option when creating a label.

How do I file a Delivery Guarantee claim?

See Pitney Bowes Delivery Guarantee.

How do I know the input parameters for a USPS special service?

The response returned by the Carrier Rules API lists the parameters for a special service. In the response, locate the service type and parcel type you are using and then locate the special service. The special service’s inputParameterRules array lists the available parameters and indicates if a parameter is required.

Note: The response returned by the Carrier Rules API is large. It is recommended that you make the API call only once a day and cache the returned data.

Specify the parameters when you create a shipment or rate a parcel. The following illustration shows how the response returned by the Carrier Rules API maps to the elements in a shipment or rate request. Only the relevant fields are shown:

Setting Special Service Input Parameters

Which USPS transactions require a trackable special service?

The PB Shipping APIs require almost all USPS shipments (with very few exceptions) be trackable. While some services are automatically trackable, others are not and require the addition of a trackable special service. For the latter group, you can add a no-charge special service, such as Delivery Confirmation (DelCon).

To determine if a service-and-parcel-type combination will require the addition of a trackable special service, use the Carrier Rules API.

Do the APIs support E-DELCON?

Yes. The APIs automatically add E-DELCON to eligible shipments. Do not try to add E-DELCON. A shipment is eligible if it uses the First-Class Package International Service (FCPIS) and if the destination country participates. For a list of participating countries, see the Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International Service.

E-DELCON (also called E-USPS DELCON INTL) provides door-to-door international tracking at no charge. To see if your shipment includes E-DELCON, view the tracking number, as shown in the Shipment Object’s parcelTrackingNumber field. If the shipment includes in E-DELCON, the tracking number starts with LZ. If the shipment does not include E-DELCON, the tracking number starts with the letters “UA”.

To check delivery status for an international shipment, use either the Get Tracking API or the USPS tracking page.

Do all USPS services return transit times?

The PB Shipping APIs return transit times for USPS services if the includeDeliveryCommitment query parameter is set to true. The APIs return transit times for all USPS services, including all domestic and international services.

See also: Pitney Bowes Delivery Guarantee

Note the following:

  • Delivery transit time information is based on information provided by USPS. Domestic transit times are updated quarterly. International transit times are not updated on any particular schedule.
  • Delivery transit time information is based on the Origin and Destination Postal Codes, as well as the time of day the label is printed. Please keep in mind that one-day delivery commitments assume the package will be at the Post Office by a certain time.
  • As of this writing, USPS Priority Mail Express (a.k.a. Express Mail) is the only USPS Service that guarantees a particular delivery date and/or time, such as “10:30AM”, “12:00 Noon”, “3:00PM”, etc.

The following is an example of returned transit times for a domestic shipment:

{
    "minEstimatedNumberOfDays": "2",
    "maxEstimatedNumberOfDays": "2",
    "estimatedDeliveryDateTime": "2016-06-25",
    "guarantee": "NONE",
    "additionalDetails": "By end of Day"
}

The following is an example of returned transit times for an international shipment:

{
    "minEstimatedNumberOfDays": "6",
    "maxEstimatedNumberOfDays": "14",
    "estimatedDeliveryDateTime": "",
    "guarantee": "NONE",
    "additionalDetails": "6 - 14 business days to many major markets"
}