(Click photo to enlarge.)

I bought these “forever stamps” from the post office about a year ago. I don’t mail much so I’m only half way through my only roll. So I use one to send in my tax return check to the IRS and they returned my envelope indicating that I’m one cent short on my postage. But these stamps are supposed to be good for first class mail regardless of the postage rate. That’s why they don’t have a price on them.

So how is it that they decide the stamp has any specific price and that I’m short. I think the post office owes America an explanation because their whole forever stamp program looks like a scam to me. It’s not like this is a trivial letter either. This is my 2008 tax payment and they took my letter and rather than delivering it to the IRS, they sent it all the way back to my house which is more expensive… and at a time when the post office is crying that they need more money. I suppose they thought it was funny to screw me on my IRS payment letter.




  1. MRN says:

    One day you will look back on this and see it as a learning experience.

    At least now you understand what those who bought Vista-capable machines expecting the full Vista Premium experience felt. You’re not alone in getting snookered by sellers due to a lack of expertise in a particular field (ex. ‘lemon’ vehicles, buggy software, defective appliances from the factory, overpriced real estate, and so on). It can happen to anyone.

  2. deepysix says:

    Marc, I am solidly in your camp. Is it up to the customer to go online or (god forbid) to the post office to figure out when the stamp was issued, what it’s worth etc? It’s indefensible.

    What if we had money with no denomination and had to go to a bank or a store to find out if we could afford a loaf of bread that day?

    “I’m sorry sir, but you’re a penny shy. That banknote was issued between March and June of 2007. If you weren’t so clueless you would know. It’s right there on the website. Now drive home and get a penny. And make sure it says ‘Liberty’ and ‘1/100th Dollar’ on it because the ones minted from May 2004 through September 2005 only say ‘Liberty’ and they’re only worth .73 cents now.”

  3. tilly4 says:

    I too was sold a roll of these stamps by the post office when I asked for the Forever Stamps. Thanks to those of you who offered a way to check out the actual value of the stamps we have. I have quite a few with no number value on them.

    Shame on the Post Office– but, can’t say I am surprised that a postal worker would give out misinformation. Some of them are wonderful, but too many have that “I could care less” attitude.

  4. Isha says:

    Funny that this blog is now forever linked with these stamps. I stumbled upon it because today my boss, who still has a roll of these “Frist Class Stamps,” wanted to use one to mail a payment. Since it didn’t say “forever” on it we suspected it wasn’t a 42 cent stamp. I had to search online and I got THIS post with a link to the USPS site after fruitlessly trying to search on the USPS site. iGo figure.

    But really, what do we expect? The USPS is geared towards big business and us little people are simply a waste of their time and energy. The central (and quite large) post office in my area tends to have one or two people at the counter (there’s 6 stations) and the self serve machine is broken half the time. The USPS is a sad, miserable thing but it’s still better than Polands or Pakistans postal service. ;)

  5. Let There Be Light says:

    It might be annoying, but it’s an absolute fact that non-denominated stamps without the word “Forever” on them have fixed values, set at the time they were issued. In effect, anyone who bought a stamp at that fixed price from the post office agreed to an implicit contract that such stamp would be worth that much postage.

    Both the “Forever” and letter value stamps are examples of NVI (“no value indicated”) postage, which began to be widely used internationally by around 1995.

    Interestingly enough, most countries adopted the intuitive approach to NVI initially, which is that the “contract” was for a level of service (e.g., first class) and not a specific value. The exceptions were the United States and Canada, both of which adopted the “Forever” (or “Permanent” in Canada) usage only in 2006.

    (As an interesting side observation, both the US and Canada seem to be pretty much in lock step when in comes to postal policy. Rates and break points are similar. For example, a first class stamp is good for a letter up to 1 oz in the US, and in Canada, up to the essentially identical weight of 30 g.)

  6. Dan says:

    Arg. I just got burned by the same stamp. I figured a stamp with no price on it was for the sole purpose of mailing a standard envelope with a check in it.

    I’ve been mailing letters with these stamps for a year with no problem, but today it gets sent back asking for 3 more cents.

    Now my payment for a speeding ticket won’t go through in time and I’m in huge trouble. These stamps have officially ruined my year.

  7. James says:

    It is not up to the government to babysit you. Just because you did not pay attention when purchasing your stamps does not mean the post office is at fault. It is your fault for not paying attention.

    The post office is going broke not because of their practices. If congress would give them a fair deal and treat them like every other business and government agency in the nation they would be profitable. But no, congress seems to hate the post office and slapped extreme regulations on them that no other agency has to follow. The one agency that could have paid for itself is now going broke because of politics. Shameful.

  8. James says:

    @ Dan.
    Stop blaming the post office for your negligence. You were the one breaking the law. You were the one that did not mail your fine until the last minute. Your ignorance is not the fault of the post office.

  9. V says:

    You are just a fucking idiot. That is NOT a forever stamp the forever ones say forever. That was just a normal first class stamp for the first class rate at that time you purchased it.

  10. eden says:

    Did you weigh your letter before you mailed it? Forever stamp does not cover for all letters – depends on shape and/or weight.