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Julia Wilkinson AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

Julia Wilkinson is Editor of the AuctionBytes Blog and is author of the "eBay Price Guide," "eBay Top 100 Simplified Tips and Tricks," "My Life at AOL" and numerous ebooks about selling online. You can also find her writing on Yard Salers.
Mon Jan 28 2013 11:57:37

Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers

By: Julia Wilkinson
Sponsored Link
The USPS has changed mail rates again, and as often happens it's sent online sellers into a tizzy as they try to navigate the new rate and mail class changes in the real world of their daily packing and shipping tasks. I've looked over the changes, various sellers' comments, and some article summaries, and here are what I think are the key takeaways for sellers:


- Parcel Post Is Going Bye-Bye but Don't Panic! You Can Buy Parcel Select Online (Just Not Through eBay Until March).

That's right, no more Parcel Post, it's now something called "Standard Post," but some sellers seem to think this means they'll have to use this and stand in line at the P.O., since it's not available online.

But, there's a similar option called "Parcel Select," and thought it won't be available to purchase via eBay's postage printing system 'til March, you can buy it through one of the online service providers such as Stamps.com, Endicia, or Pitney Bowes.

- First Class Mail International (Now "First Class Package International Service"): Prices Going Way Up, But They're Adding Delivery Confirmation.

I and a lot of sellers used First Class Mail International to send lighter-weight items (under 4 lbs). to other countries. The bad news: prices for the new First Class Package International Service" are going up 58.6% (!). The good news: we will finally have delivery confirmation with a first-class international service. Not all right away (of course), but this class will include free delivery confirmation to Canada to start, and additional countries will be added throughout 2013. (Sure, that's vague, but that's an important element FCI was missing).

- Media Mail is still there and the prices have only gone up slightly. Sellers of books, dvd's, cd's and other media can breathe easy; media mail is still there and still cheap. A sample price change is for a 5 lb. package, the price will go up to $4.33 from $4.15, or 18 cents. I don't think these prices will impact anyone too much.

And oh yes, what about the cost of a single USPS first-class mail stamp (does anyone use those anymore? Well, I confess I do!). It's going up just one cent, from $0.45 to $0.46, just enough to make making change annoying.

For more on the USPS changes, see one of the online guides -- a good one is the Stamps.com guide -- and also Ina's article about the new rates.

What do you think are the most (or least) important changes to the USPS services and rates? How will they impact you as a seller? Post a comment here!



Comments (53) | Permalink
Readers Comments

Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jan 28 13:40:27 2013
Ina ... has eBay commented to you on "confirmation with a first-class international service" .. .does that mean if its a light weight item we can now ship FCM parcel (or what ever they call it now) instead of priority ... so that we can get the all important "DELIVERED" on USPS.com?

Will eBay/Paypal accept it as enough?
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Mon Jan 28 15:24:02 2013
It infuriates me that when the news media comments on the rate increases by USPS the only think that they talk about is the 1 cents stamp increase.  They never mention the huge increases in packaging costs.  I think the packaging increases this year, particularly with international, are unprescedented.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: juliawww
       Web Site
Mon Jan 28 15:53:32 2013
Hi Pace,

Good question. That is my understanding, yes; the "First Class Package International" will include free delivery confirmation, at first just for Canada, and later in 2013 additional countries outside the US. I should think this would be sufficient for eBay but I can double-check with them. :) Thanks! - Julia
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jan 28 16:29:24 2013
POST OFFICE .... brilliant, boost a failing business model by RAISING PRICES !
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless
       
Mon Jan 28 17:22:09 2013
International shipments do not and will not have "free" delivery confirmation to Canada or to anywhere else.

USPS took a page out of the Official Ebafia Scam Handbook, raised the rate 58.6%, and then folded in "free" delivery confirmation into an already outrageous price increase that intentionally targeted ebafia and Amazero sellers.  
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: permacrisis
       
Mon Jan 28 18:35:09 2013
The post office should SUE ebay's Donahoe for shutting off the faucet that flowed MILLIONS of packages from The Little People.

Of course, now that they've got their OWN Donahoe, you know that's not gonna happen.

(Besides, they probably forgot to opt out of arbitration.)
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.
       
Mon Jan 28 21:50:30 2013
Absolutely a joke....screw USPS. They are bigger crooks than Ebay any day of the week.

They've been raising prices for years for no other reason than not knowing how to run a damn business. The international rates are a friggin joke at this point.

The postal service sure as hell has cost me a lot more money than Ebay or Amazon changes over the years.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Sales Smith
       
Mon Jan 28 23:31:26 2013
On Friday we went though our ebay listings and removed all the international shipping options.

Considering the increased cost and risk of selling international, we decided to ''opt out'' completely.

We also removed international shipping from our website.

Since the USPS has degraded their express mail international flat rate envelopes weight down to 4 Lbs, we will no longer use it.

If you look back only 13 months ago, the cost to send an express flat rate envelope to Europe was $27.55 for up to 20Lbs. Now it's $44.95 for up to 4Lbs. Talking about degrading the service- seriously down hill!

Undoubtedly there will be hell to pay, the USPS will certainly suffer more lost revenue from this years ''gouge'' of a rate increase.

With all the rape and pillage going on, there is little doubt more small mom and pops will fail to generate enough profit to survive 2013. After all, at what point does the slice of pie become too small?
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
       Web Site
Tue Jan 29 00:33:08 2013
@Rexford, agree with you. The media focus only in the cent in a stamp.  
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 00:40:16 2013
The bigger focus should be that package revenues last year on USPS were at an all-time high. The sole issue here is the fact that all these pensions have to be paid out on retiring workers. Horrible.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford
       
Tue Jan 29 07:36:24 2013
We are updating our listings and increasing the international shipping rates by a hefty amount.  I hate doing that, but it is called survival.

So who is falling off of that free shipping bandwagon?  Be sure not to get run over by a USPS truck when you fall off of the wagon.  LOL
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 07:48:57 2013
USPS just priced themselves out of the international shipping market. The HUGE increases mean that no sane indidual can afford to pay those prices and order goods from the USA.

I sell headphones - most are around 1 pound. 1 pound to the EU went up %58! It went up even MORE for Express Mail, which is what I was using for Russia etc.

There goes all my international business ... !

I hope eBay is happy ... they colluded with USPS to remove options from the mailing label purchase flow - so USPS could get a bigger piece of the pie, they colluded with Chinese sellers for almost free China to US postage with free tracking .... and now small sellers like me who provided eBay with a good amount of international sales ..... wont be able to make those sales. Great eBay! You just shot yourself in the foot with your greed and USPS's greed!
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Al G
       
Tue Jan 29 09:27:06 2013
It is unfortunate that the international rates went up so much. They are still less expensive than Fedex or UPS.

That does not bode well when you want to ship a 2lb book to Australia.

I'm assuming part of my international business will evaporate.

Also thank Congress for making the USPS over-vest their pension fund, unlike Korporate Amerikkka.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: XebayX This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 10:05:01 2013
It seems to me that going from $3.00 to $6.16 for a one ounce international package is ALOT more than a 58.6% increase, more like 116%.
One ounce 1st class international packages account for nearly 20% of my business, which I will probably never match with a $6.16 postage charge.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: WhoKnewIt This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 10:08:43 2013
As of Sunday I have removed all the "International" shipping options from my Etsy store.  It is no longer cost effective to ship overseas OR Canada.  Once again the Postal Service has shot itself in the foot.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: Overlandgadgets This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 10:08:55 2013
This is pathetic.  I shipped two "parcel post" packages today.  Both of them shipped Fed Ex.  I have never used Fed ex before today.  Bottom line.  Fed Ex gained a customer and USPS lost out on about $30.00 in  revenue.  This is really going to help them get out of their self created jam.   The first thing that needs to happen is to get the government out of the post office.  Make the USPS a for profit company and see how much less it will cost to ship and how much better the service will be.  MHO.
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: mcfiver
       
Tue Jan 29 10:28:10 2013
Like others, we've removed international shipping options from our sales. Yet eBay is now touting the glory of international shipping expansion, as if our international friends will embrace the insane new shipping price increases. And guess who'll appear to be the greedy bastards? And guess who'll be the ones to explain why a large flat rate Priority box is now almost $80? Yep, the sellers. Absolute madness.  
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: LadyElizabeth This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 10:28:11 2013
Overlandgadgets, was the cost to ship the two "parcel post" packages via FedEx higher or lower than shipping via USPS Standard or Parcel Select?
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
This user has validated their user name. by: Marie
       
Tue Jan 29 10:29:52 2013
Honestly these increases by USPS on international rates should be criminal.  They are saying the huge increases are due to adding tracking on First Class packages.  Well then why are they charging us for a service in which by their own admission they can't provide right now.  Canada is the only country they say they currently can provide tracking on.

So on all the other countries we are paying a fee, a HUGE fee, for a service in which they can't provide right now.  They certainly have taken a page out of Ebay's playbook!!!  

If we must have the huge increases, then they should be phased in as the service is available.  But to charge us for a service the CAN'T provide at this time just should not be allowed.    
Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers   Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers
by: Cloud This user has validated their user name.
       
Tue Jan 29 10:38:58 2013
The PIA is having to edit all my listings to include the humongous international price increases. As of now I'm losing money or just barely eking out a profit from those listings not updated. Time to check out some alternative carriers and compare prices.  
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