Pitney Bowes stamps on QL-700 no monthly fee
I recently purchased a Brother QL-700 label printer on sale at Staples for $39.99. A pretty good deal. As I was reading through the promotional material, I discovered that I could sign up for the Pitney Bowes pbSmartPostage service for no monthly subscription fee. I’ve always wanted to be able to print my own stamps, but I could never justify paying a monthly subscription fee. This was my chance. I went to the Pitney Bowes site to sign up. Hmmm, there’s nothing here that lets me sign up without paying a fee. It took a Google search to find the “free” sign-up link. That’s.
I went to the site and was redirected to the sign-up URL. Sign-up was pretty easy, It didn’t ask even me for a credit card. Just enter a few personal details such as name, email address, and physical address (no PO Boxes allowed). I don’t know if I did something wrong, but during the process it said they were going to send me a free welcome kit, then proceeded to display an invoice showing $0.00 for the welcome kit with $10.00+ shipping charge. How are they going to get the shipping charge from me? Didn’t ask me for a credit card. Well, they never charged me but they never sent me the kit either.
Now that I had access to the site, I was able to get an idea about how the plan actually worked. I already knew I had to buy my label rolls from Pitney Bowes. The choices at this time are $17.99 for 200 labels or 39.99 for 1000 labels. Plus tax. Do the math. $17.99/200 + Tax = more than $.09 per stamp. The other options are less expensive but still add quite a bit to the cost of the stamps. The labeler detects the kind of rolls, so the software won’t let you print stamps on “unapproved” rolls. You do get ½ cent discount on postage but the discount does no good when you’re paying such a high price for the supplies.
If you’ve seen pictures of the printed stamps, you may have noticed an orange stripe at the top that says pbSmartPostage.com. The stripe comes pre-printed on the rolls. That’s fine for the stamps, but if you intend to print both stamps and labels on the same roll, then your labels will have the orange stripe too. The alternative is to switch rolls every time you switch between labels and stamps.
I later learned that you can buy stamp sheets for $7.49; 5 sheets, 25 labels per page, 125 labels in all. You can print the stamp sheets on a regular laser printer. The gotcha is the sheets come with serial numbers. In order to print on the stamp sheet, you need to enter the serial number of the sheet.
You end up paying for the “free” service by paying and inflated charge for supplies. If you pay the hefty charge for the fee subscription, then you can print the stamps directly on the envelope and avoid the hefty charge for the stamp rolls and sheets.
Ordering supplies is relatively easy, just enter your credit card number and order. Pitney Bowes didn’t charge me for shipping, but they did add tax. I ordered the $17.99 roll on the weekend and it arrived in the mail on Thursday.
In order to pay for stamps, you need to fund your account. When you click on “Add Postage”, it will tell you have no funds. You can set up a Reserve Account or enter your credit card information. THEN you can fund your account. It gives you several options for funding with specific dollar amounts of $20, $50, or $100 or you can enter your own amount. BUT… the amount needs to be in even dollar amounts and it won’t let you enter an amount less than $10.00. It does maintain your account in ½ cent increments. When I printed a single stamp, it decremented my account by 46 ½ cents.
I was really disappointed when I discovered the available postage classes were very limited. It allows various types of first class mail up to 3 ounces and media mail. That’s it. One of the main reasons I signed up is so I can print Priority Mail stamps. Tech support informed me Priority Mail requires a bar code, and bar codes go on the address label. Since the basic service doesn’t print address labels, no Priority Mail.
If I knew then what I knew now, I probably wouldn’t have signed up for the service. Printed stamps are very expensive, and the types of mail you can send are very limited. The only thing you MIGHT get is the convenience of not having to go to the post office to buy stamps.
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