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How Often Is Media Mail Inspected

By David Krug 5 minute read

Prior to Media Mail, mailing printed materials were expensive. Packages including books and other printed goods were also priced according to their weight.

The weight of a box full of books is obvious. As a result, USPS launched Media Mail as a way to cut down on the high expense of shipping such things.

There is a caveat to this service: USPS has the right to randomly check any parcel sent through its system. If this worries you, keep reading to find out more about how USPS handles Media Mail!

In 2022, will the USPS conduct a review of media mail?

In 2022, the United States Postal Service (USPS) will inspect Media Mail on occasion. It’s hard to say exactly how many shipments are inspected each week, although the most conservative estimates place the amount at approximately 10,000. In order to verify the contents of a Media Mail package, postal service employees can either X-ray or open it physically. 

A “postage due” warning is given to packages that do not meet Media Mail requirements. Learn more about Media Mail and how the US Postal Service regulates it in the remainder of our post!

Media Mail: What Is It?

It’s helpful to understand what Media Mail is before asking whether or not USPS conducts inspections on it. Using USPS’s Media Mail service, you may send small packages at a cheap cost and with a low priority.

You may use this service to transport media products such as books and sound recordings as well as printed music. If you need to deliver anything like this, this service is a wonderful deal, but it does have a drawback.

Sending a package via Media Mail gives USPS permission to open and examine it. 2 to 10 days is the delivery time for packages shipped using this service. USPS Media Mail items may be monitored in the same way as other USPS delivery options

What Can Be Sent Using Media Mail (and What Cannot Be Sent)?

Books, printed materials, CDs, and DVDs, all of which must have at least eight pages, can be delivered through Media Mail in a padded envelope.

You may also send the following things with Media Mail:

  • 16-millimeter or narrower width films
  • Printed music and test materials
  • Playscripts and manuscripts
  • Printed educational reference charts
  • Medical loose-leaf pages and binders

Any CDs or tapes you use must have content on them. As long as the CD or DVD isn’t blank, you can mail it. Furthermore, advertisements cannot be included in Media Mail articles.

Because of this, magazines are unable to be sent using this method. Media Mail charges do not apply to video games, computer disks, or digital drives.

Is USPS Media Mail X-Rayed?

Some shipments are x-rayed by the United States Postal Service (USPS) regardless of whatever mail service is used. For health and safety reasons, packages are x-rayed before they may be delivered.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) uses x-rays to check packages for forbidden goods including alcohol, narcotics, and guns. There are no precise rules as to what may or cannot be x-rayed, according to the USPS. Mail destined for or passing through a major city is more likely to be subjected to X-ray screening.

Suspect parcels like those that are over-taped, rattle, or have the words “DO NOT RUN” printed on them are more likely to be subjected to x-rays than those that don’t. Although Media Mail parcels can be x-rayed like any other package, the chances of it happening are rather minimal.

How frequently does the USPS check media mail?

For Media Mail shipments, USPS has a “spot check” policy. No one knows precisely how many Media Mail packages the United States Postal Service inspects on a daily basis, although an estimated 10,000 shipments are inspected each week.

It’s safe to assume that the vast majority of them remain uncontrolled and unconfirmed. Rather than laziness or disinterest, this lack of verification is the result of being too busy.

Approximately 173 million pieces of First-Class mail are processed by the USPS every day. This does not include the millions of pieces of mail sent through other services like Media Mail or Priority Mail.

As a result, there are not many places for manual package inspections in the USPS’ automated system. USPS is more interested in being as efficient as possible as it is with milking every last buck out of postage by finding people misusing the Media Mail system.

However, there have been anecdotal allegations that the USPS conducted a one-month screening of every Media Mail to reduce the likelihood of mail fraud.

This reduced the number of companies that were using the service to send non-media things. In the future, if USPS suspects widespread misuse, it may be more vigilant in checking parcels.

Who Is in Charge of Media Mail?

A Media Mail package is often checked by a post office clerk at either the sending or receiving post office.
Media Mail shipments, on the other hand, can be opened by any postal worker.

What Happens If You Use USPS Media Mail to Ship Non-Media Items?

Postal workers will reseal your Media Mail package and attach a “postage due” form if the contents of the package are discovered to be forbidden by the terms of the service.

When calculating postage, the difference between the cost of Priority Mail shipment and what the shipper paid for Media Mail postage is taken into account.

Due to a lack of postage payment, the shipment will not be released until the postage has been collected by USPS. The sender must pay additional postage if the recipient refuses to pay additional postage, and the shipment is rerouted back to the sender.

You may also check out our pages on how quick is USPS Media Mail, how accurate is USPS tracking, and what day USPS delivers to find out more about the service.

Bottom Line

It may be tempting to exploit the Media Mail system, but we don’t endorse it. If you’re detected, the receiver will be charged the postage due fee, or worse, you’ll have to pay the fee and the return postage yourself.