Fwd: PIS mail services situation

Lee Poulsen wpoulsen@pacbell.net
Fri, 20 Oct 2006 17:00:20 PDT
Since I was so bothered by the response Richard Wagner got from the 
USDA/APHIS/PPQ officer about having to send additional postage to the 
Plant Inspection Station to get a seed shipment delivered to the final 
address (namely us), I sent a (nice) letter of complaint wherein I 
detailed my efforts early on to find out from the US Postal Service 
(USPS) how I might be able to set up an account that the USDA could 
charge to so I could get my imported seeds delivered on the final leg 
of its journey to me. After sending the USPS all the information and 
Federal Register text describing the new seed importation method, as 
they requested, a USPS official actually called me to tell me basically 
that there was no method for a private individual, but he gave me some 
(not very good) work-around solutions. I was relieved to hear later 
that there wouldn't be a need to provide the extra postage and 
successfully and easily imported some seeds from South Africa this past 
summer. Anyway, I finally, just now, received the following in response 
to my complaint and it sounds much more promising than what Richard was 
told. I don't belong to all the lists Richard originally sent his email 
to (except I do know Rachel via email), so he is free to forward this 
to them as well if he wants to.

--Lee Poulsen
Pasadena, California, USDA Zone 10a

Begin forwarded message:

> From: "Jose.R.Ceballos@usda.gov" <Jose.R.Ceballos@usda.gov>
> Date: October 20, 2006 3:12:45 PM PDT
> To: "wpoulsen@pacbell.net" <wpoulsen@pacbell.net>
> Cc: "Bud.Petitdemange@usda.gov" <Bud.Petitdemange@usda.gov>
> Subject: Re: PIS mail services situation
> I am pleased to hear your shipment from South Africa was received 
> without any problems, but also want to acknowledge that there have 
> been incidents in which the importer was charged additional postage 
> after clearance by USDA. Because the USPS policy appears to be unclear 
> in this area, PPQ has been working with the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) 
> officials seeking a solution to the postage issue.
> We hope to obtain a written USPS national policy that allows our plant 
> inspection stations to forward cleared packages to the importers 
> without incurring additional postage fees.  If we are able to obtain 
> that policy, we plan to distribute it to all of our plant inspection 
> stations so it can be presented to any local Post Office that has 
> issues with forwarding packages under the same international postage 
> after clearance by USDA.
> As soon as we get a final response from the USPS headquarters, we will 
>  make it available to you and other customers. We recognize that there 
> have been inconsistent interpretations of USPS policies in different 
> locations and we are sorry for any inconvenience to our customers.  We 
> will continue to strive to provide the service that our importers 
> expect from the USDA.
> Should you have further questions, please do not hesitate to call or 
> e-mail me or Bud Petit de Mange.
> Jose Ceballos
> Acting Plant inspection Station Coordinator
> Plant Safeguarding and Pest Identification
> Riverdale - Beltsville, MD
> Tels. 301/504 - 8141  Ext. 1
> Fax 301/504 - 8539

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