Return Postage

Discussion in 'Autograph Collecting' started by Corran(Horn, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    I would like to comment on the "return postage" part of "how to request autographs":

    There are many ways to cover the return postage when sending internationally (especially UK). Here are my 2 cents:


    #1: $ - It's easy. sending $ to the united kingdom mostly works, but it's not their national currency. So the actors, especially those that don't travel to the US frequently, have to go to a bank to have all the single $ traded into pounds. It's an extra hustle.

    Even for actors, who do travel to the US, it must be a great joy to explain at customs why they are bringing along hundreds of single dollar bills.


    #2: IRCs - works, and is most likely more polite than $, but it also requires extra work from the actor. He needs to get in line @the post office. We have problems getting IRCs, now don't expect the friendly people @Royalmail to know everything about them...


    #3: british stamps - best way, since it requires no work from the actor, but a little complicated.

    If you send out lots of fan mail, it makes sense to order stamps @ Royalmail. There you can also check how much return postage will be.

    If you only send out a few letters, checking ebay is a great choice. You can always get unused stamps there. It will cost you a little more money, and might take a few minutes to figure out what stamps to use, but it certainly is more polite. The actor will only have to put the letter in the mailbox after signing your requests, and he's done.


    I had the chance to talk to a few actors lately, who were "extras" in the movies, and most of them told me one of the reasons why they charge money now, is the time and money they spent on signing stuff in he past.

    They get requests without return postage, without sase and even without stuff to sign, expecting the actors to provide everything on their own. They were "extras", they didn't make that much money and most of them don't make major money up to today.

    So when sending out requests, try to make it as easy for the actor as possible, so not all get the idea to refuse mail or to only sign for money. Just my thoughts...



     
  2. RYAN-J

    RYAN-J TTM AUTOGRAPH MASTER

    Thanks for the great tips!! I does surprise me still though, how many people expect the celeb to pay for the postage and then get mad when they don't receive a reply. DUH! lol. I always send a SASE and items with every request. I do as much as I can to make it easy on the person I'm sending too. I even make small Q&A cards with specific questions, that way they don't have to feel ike they have to write me a whole letter. I've gotten 21 of these so far and there always exciting to read.

    RYAN-J
     
  3. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Definitely thanks for these tips. I'm about to break down and buy UK stamps but I've just got to figure out the how much, etc. I've always felt bad sending US $ and understood that they still had to go to extra work to use the IRCs. Is there an easy way to tell how much postage would be needed on the Royal Mail site given the weight, etc.?
     
  4. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    OK, so I hopped right out there and have some questions. Hope you don't mind.

    I selected mailing overseas to the USA and that my package would weigh no more than 95 grams (does that sound right for a large envelope and 1-2 8x10 pics?). Do you pick the "Airmail Letters", "Airmail Small Packets", or something else? The Airmail Letters look like 2.8 British pounds or roughly $4.36 US.

    I see the "Buy and Print" option next to that service but is there a way to buy bulk actual stamps that they'll send over to me or do I buy and print for each instance I want to do this? For instance, at the link below I see that I can buy as one option a sheet of 50 Self Adhesive Stamps that are worth £1.50 each. However, I guess I can't just put two of those on a SASE addressed to myself in the US unless I'm OK with it taking up to 56 days if I'm reading the price finder right b/c that looks like it would be considered "Surface Mail".

    http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/..._prdlist&category=cat45940009&gear=shop#link3

    So I guess the real question would be is there a way to buy bulk Airmail Letters stamps or do you have to print them off each time. If there are no additional fees for printing them I guess that doesn't matter but I didn't know if each time you have to print that they charge you additional fees, taxes, etc. Any insight there? My biggest concern with the printing option is that it looks like if I buy and print today (2/18/10) that the recipient would have to receive, sign my items, and send back NO LATER than 2/22/10 (there is a field that specifically says "Send no later than end of: 22.02.10" that I can't edit. That's not possible obviously. Long enough ramble, I greatly appreciate the help...any suggestions to help clear up my understanding? Thanks again!
     
  5. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    Hey star_wars_fan,

    I'm glad more people are intersted in making this less work for the actor. We all benefit from it in the long run.

    Sadly I send small envelopes from within europe (trading cards) so my very easy way won't work for you =p . my letters usually are 56p. I nevertheless send 81p or more to be on the save side (rate changes/ actor wants to include additional stuff etc).

    Here's what I found:

    Weight
    not over LettersSmall packets and printed papersEuropeRest of worldEurope
    Rest of world​
    Postcards
    62p

    10g56p62p£1.21
    £1.68​
    20g56p90p£1.21
    £1.68​
    40g81p£1.35£1.21
    £1.68​
    60g£1.05£1.82£1.21
    £1.68​
    80g£1.28£2.31£1.21
    £1.68​
    100g£1.52£2.80£1.21
    £1.68​
    120g£1.77£3.26£1.31
    £1.93​
    140g£2.02£3.75£1.45
    £2.19​
    160g£2.26£4.23£1.57
    £2.44​
    180g£2.51£4.71£1.70
    £2.70​
    200g£2.73£5.19£1.82
    £2.94​
    220g£2.96£5.65£1.95
    £3.18​
    240g£3.19£6.09£2.06
    £3.41​
    260g£3.43£6.55£2.18
    £3.64​
    280g£3.65£6.98£2.31
    £3.88​
    300g£3.89£7.44£2.44
    £4.11​

    So you would be @ 168p (small packets/ printed papers - as in books, magazines, newspapers, leaflets and pamphlets to Rest of The World)

    When I send out my requests, I include letter, trading cards and return envelope. That's around 22grams. So a huge envelope with 2 pictures should be around 50grams if even.

    The prices for printout seem to be pretty high if I get it right, so you might just want to buy stamps.

    I would suggest buying 1pound stamps from the store:

    http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/...CategoryId=cat45940009&categoryId=cat45940038

    using 2 1pound stamps on a letter should cover the cost even if prizes go up in the future.

    To be sure, wait for a few people from the US to reply. Hope this helps nevertheless.
     
  6. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Thanks! Here's a pic of the postage that Mr. Baker used in sending over to me. Any idea what the large "A" represents? Wasn't sure if that was for Air or something else. This looks like it cost him 1.68 pounds. From the day it left my door to the day it returned signed took 40 days which is pretty speedy all things considered (I sent it to him for it to take 5-7 business days) so it couldn't taken more than a couple of weeks to get back to me with his postage. So the question of the day would be what is the equivalent postage I could use going forward? Is this Air or just regular stamp equivalent that he used? Any idea? Thanks again and again!
     

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  7. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    There is no other thing than air mail really xD It used to be that you could even send letters via ship. this would take ages, but i think they stopped doing that in the 70s or 80s. Only big boxes can still be sent via ship.

    I figure the A on the "stamp" is just like the airmail sticker that's used still. I asked the people in my local post office why they still use those stickers and they told me it's really useless, but it helps to seperate oversees mail from local mail.

    Mr. Baker was the speedy one your case. usually letters take around 5 workdays. In your case, with the big envelope it took 12 days (feb06-feb18), which is still reasonable. That's about as fast as it gets if you don't wanna pay a fortune.

    1.68pounds seems indeed to be the rate at the moment, still you should consider sending slightly more in stamps (at least 1.90pounds, better 2pounds). For some actors it takes ages to replies and in this time the royal mail might as well consider rate changes once again.
     
  8. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Cool, this is REALLY helpful. Thanks for the exchange. Hopefully I'm almost done bugging you on this. So if I go to the link below and buy a sheet of 50 Self Adhesive Stamps that are worth £2.00 each, it looks like all I would have to do is put one of those stamps on my return envelope and I would be good to go for mailing back from the UK to the US. Is that right? Here's a pic of the stamp sheet I was thinking of buying.

    http://www.royalmail.com/portal/rm/...Id=shp_prdlist&category=cat45940009&gear=shop

    Dude, you rock....thanks! :D
     

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  9. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    it's not bugging at all. I got some much help, I'm glad I can give back for once^^

    As I said I had the chance to talk to a few actors lately and all of them have been very nice to me. I think we should not abuse the fact that they sacrifice a lot of time for us. The easier we make it for the actors the more likely they won't stop signing for us or only sign via private signing for 20pound and up...

    and Yes, this should work. don't forget to write "do not bend" on it xD. other than that you're set.
     
  10. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    I cannot agree with you more. It amazes me that people send a letter saying essentially "give me your autograph for free and while you are at it why don't you pay for the picture and pay for the postage as well"...mind boggling. Well, at least the crew that takes part in these boards all seem to be a good group....let's keep it up!

    Thanks for all the help, I'm going to give it a shot and order a few of these stamps. I really appreciate all of your help and will keep everybody posted.
     
  11. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Done! I ended up ordering 20 of the £1.00 stamps. I figure if I send a small 4x6 picture (which I frequently do) then I'll use one stamp for the return envelope but if I send an 8x10 in the bigger envelope I'll include two stamps. I'm going to try a few of each once I receive the stamps and will keep everybody posted on how it works. I'm excited, I have sent very little to the UK in the past b/c I felt bad about sending US $$$ and having them go to the work. This is going to be great, thanks Corran(Horn!!!!!

    :) :) :)
     
  12. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator


    Bummer, this didn't work. I received the following reply to my order:

    "Dear Customer, Thank you for your recent internet order. Royal Mail Direct is a delivery service for customers based within the United Kingdom, for delivery in the U.K only. All orders must be paid by a card registered in the UK, ie an address in the UK.,all other cards are deemed invalid. Your recent order cannot be sent for this reason. Payment has been taken from your card, and a full refund has been paid into your credit/debit card.
    The refund should show on your statement at the end of the month. Stamps for delivery worldwide can be purchased and paid for, by debit/credit card,by phoning +44 131 316 7483. Any further enquiries can be sent to philatelic.enquiries@royalmail.com. I apologise for any inconvenience caused."

    I emailed the group above to ask next steps and will keep everybody posted.
     
  13. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    ugh this sucks. darn RoyalMail.
     
  14. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Still no word back. I may experiment with the 'print online' option if I don't hear back this week.
     
  15. E-N

    E-N New Recruit

    What would be the best option for me in the UK, to post and get stuff returned from the US, or Oz?
     
  16. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    I would get dollars bills at the bank. Usually they have at least 20 dollars in single dollar bills flying around. It's pretty easy. A regular letter is 98cents from the US, so including everything from 3-5 dollars should work. It's not as polite as sending stamps, but it should work. maybe a little sticky on the bills, apologizing for sending dollar bills instead of stamps should show the actor that you thought of it...
     
  17. star_wars_fan

    star_wars_fan Infiltrator

    Good idea from our side as well, anybody in the US know what kind of fees you pay if you go to a currency exchange and say change $50 US into British pounds?
     
  18. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    try http://www.xe.com/ucc/

    50.00 USD = 33.35 GBP keep in mind, the smallest bill is 5 GBP, which is around 7.5 USD...
     
  19. Capt. Khurgee

    Capt. Khurgee New Recruit

    Hey Guys,

    First, may I thank you all on behalf of the UK actors and all for the effort that you are putting into trying to ease our return of your items and autographs. We know that it's a bit of a problem for those of you in the States to work out return postage. I have had some International Postage coupons from China and Japan and they have worked out fine when I went to post the items back to the fans. I also get some US fans who send 2 or 3 dollars which usually covers the postage. There is a travel company here called Cooks, which will exchange as little as 1 dollar at a time for British Currency with no charge so exchange isn't really a problem, just the exchange rate! When you are calculating how much to send, it's better to err on the generous side as the rates on the internet don't always reflect the rate we would get at the desk. I do try to send back everything that's sent to me, even when there is no SAE or attempt at return postage, but as was mentioned, those of us who were in the OT are all retired by now (those still alive!) and most are just living on our pensions. For me, as a fan and someone lucky enough to have actually been a part of it, I will always try my best to haelp fellow fans, but it's always nice to have a bit of help.

    Thanks again for all your efforts.

    Chris

    The only Captain of the Line Khurgee



     
  20. Corran(Horn

    Corran(Horn Red Squadron

    Thank you for getting involved in the topic, Mr. Muncke!

    "When you are calculating how much to send, it's better to err on the generous side as the rates on the internet don't always reflect the rate we would get at the desk." Very good point indeed. I forgot to mention that.

    I don't know if Cooks is a nationwide company, but when sending dollars or euros, we should keep in mind not only the extra hustle for the actor to go to a bank to exchange the money, but also that banks usually charge money when money is exchanged.

    I'm pretty sure it's not a problem to rather send a little bit more, than to have to pay alot more later on when the actor is fed up with paying money out of his/her own pocket to cover postage and turns to private signings and likewise events only. Or even worse, the actor stops signing entirely. All that's left then is to pay huge sums on the internet from sources we dont know for autographs of actors we turned off...
     

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