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Mon Mar 16 2015 15:47:25

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

By: Ina Steiner

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A website called Save the Post Office posted an article yesterday about the USPS, how it treats workers, and its deals with Amazon.com. And it raises an interesting issue about whether the Postal Service is giving priority to Amazon packages over its own Priority Mail customers.

As we've previously reported, the U.S. Postal Service is working with Amazon on same-day delivery, Sunday delivery and grocery delivery. And it's using low-cost "City Carrier Assistants" rather than union employees to staff the projects.

Save the Post Office writes, "While the details of the Negotiated Service Agreement with Amazon remain secret, it's become clear that the Postal Service's deal to deliver on Sunday involves postal rates that would not be profitable were it not for CCAs, who earn far less than regular career employees. CCAs are the foundation upon which the NSA with Amazon is based."

The article draws heavily from two posts by a former City Carrier Assistant, Paul Barbot, who said the USPS gives Amazon packages priority over Priority Mail packages, even though shippers pay more for Priority Mail while Amazon pays for the lower-cost "Parcel Select," according to Save the Post Office. 

"In the Amazon case, one could argue that some users of the mail - like those who ship Priority - are being discriminated against because they are paying more and getting less than Amazon," it writes.

And, it questions:

"FedEx and UPS also use Parcel Select for their huge contracts with the Postal Service for the last mile of their low-price shipping category. Are these shippers getting second-class treatment compared to Amazon? 

"And what about the small businesses that pay top dollar to use Priority Mail? Just because they don't mail in the volumes that Amazon does, is it really fair for them to pay so much more for slower delivery?"

It's a fascinating read for anyone who follows the USPS. Many small and medium-sized online sellers use USPS Priority Mail. What do you think?




Comments (37) | Permalink

Readers Comments

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Harriet This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 16:26:23 2015

I don't think the Post Office can afford to shortchange any of its customers, but apparently they don't see it that way. In the past, they have been pretty darned haughty about the way they treat the mail. It got them exactly nowhere with customers. They have to treat ALL of their customers with respect and fairness. People DO find these things out, and they don't like it.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Basset

Mon Mar 16 18:35:20 2015

I asked my USPS carrier about the vans I see delivering on Sundays.  He said they send the new people out on Sundays to get experience.  

Don't know if they are union or other, but I see them in the neighborhood every Sunday.  

The Amazon thing may have weight:  I have not had ANY Sunday deliveries, but then I have not ordered anything from Amazon in quite a while - only eBay, Walmart and Staples.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: This a joke, right? This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Mar 16 19:58:28 2015

Just my 2ยข.
Anyone that doesn't like the rate Amazon is getting is free to grow huge like Amazon and negotiate their own deal

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Mon Mar 16 20:28:26 2015

Another example of how big business has great influence over the government in this day and age, even if it is an independent agency of the US Government.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: TomH This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 21:50:46 2015

It's influence, but it's not influence as implied.

I'm a small seller and shipper, without a doubt. But I do understand and realize that if I was shipping 500,000 packages a day, week, month(?) that I would also get better service and rates.

And, if I did not get better service and rates because of my volume I certainly would immediately contact the competition and se what they may offer.

Jeeeez! To think otherwise is just not in the real world of today, tomorrow, yesterday or 100 years ago.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ric

Mon Mar 16 22:56:31 2015

My Priority packages seem to move through the system on schedule the majority of the time.

If USPS is handling Amazon's packages faster, I do not really care. The fact that Amazon packages are handled by non union postal employees does not bother me either.

It appears likely that the Save The Post Office web site is funded by USPS union member dollars which goes a long way to explain the rumors and allegations put forth in the article.

Obviously, the union resents the CCS workers since they do not put money into the unions pockets. This would not be the first time a union has gone out of it's way to spoil the well with their sour grapes mentality.

If USPS came to me and offered a lower cost shipping option which included faster delivery times handled by non union personnel I would jump at the opportunity to sign up and throw the lazy underachieving union employees under the bus in a heartbeat.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Enough Is Enough! This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 16 23:16:44 2015

One question I have is:

When you purchase Priority Mail through ebay Shipping, $100 of insurance is free.

If you sell something for, say, $150 and wish to insure it, ebay and the USPS charges the fee for $150 worth of insurance.

Shouldn't they just charge for $50 of coverage, since the first $100 is supposedly taken care of??

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Guest This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 00:13:38 2015

This has been the case for a long time. Val Pak, Netflix, and IMB mail receive this treatment on the letter side. They get worked first, then first class letters.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: sasikat9 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 06:44:53 2015

Money talks....The rest of the stuff just walks.

The USPS treatment of a business that ships thousands is no different than a business that treats a rich person better than a cheapskate.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Mar 17 08:33:00 2015

My problem is that what do you do with " the lazy underachieving union employees". If they're "thrown under the bus" - they'll go on welfare & we, the taxpayers of AmeriKKKa have to pick up the tab.

Fuzzy logic.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: Al G

Tue Mar 17 08:34:09 2015

Sorry for the last comment, I try to keep politics out of here (along with gun control which was on another topic).

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Watching the Wheels This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 08:54:29 2015

Postal workers all start off as part timers and get the crap shifts. I had worked in a diner eons ago that was across the street from one of my areas larger facilities.

Whatever deal they might have with Amazon, boils down to "volume discounting". Most businesses will work deals like this.

Whether the union workers are lazy or not, the PO is hurting for money and will ultimately need to do what they need to do in order to remain solvent.

I've got a great crew at mine, who have bent over backwards on more than one occasion to help locate packages that had gotten trapped in "automated systems tours around the country".

Personally, I'd like them to set up a paypalesque payment service, and have suggested this more than once. I know that it would make my life a whole lot easier if I could go down to a local office and actually talk to the people who are handling my, and the customer's money.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 09:18:14 2015

I know as of lately , incoming packages have been very slow. I receive 2-5 per week , depending on sales , & im lucky if I get them in 3-4 days , for 2 day priority. This just recently started happening , in the last couple months. Service has been dicey at best.

I am looking for other shipping service. Though with DIM , everything is a crapshoot. Good time to open a shipping service.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 09:22:27 2015

Oh , & good luck with your insurance "Worthless " claims with postal service. Their insurance is virtually worth nothing.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles
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Tue Mar 17 09:33:19 2015

I saw the carriers in some areas in Sundays. At 1rst I was curious until month ago I read here about the Amazon and USPS move.

I will not become crazy about Amazon and USPS business. At least they pay ''Parcel prices'' for domestic mail and they have a big volume. So obviously the USPS want to take down some volume from the hands of UPS and Fedex. Because as far I can tell looking the people I know. Many of the times the Amazon packages are delivery by UPS or Fedex.

I can understand some of the issues of the Union, but if Amazon pay ''parcel'' prices for domestic with a big volume. It is stupid focus in that issue. Your job is deliver shipping. The letters are dying. Now is the age of the packages.

Now about strange business of the USPS. Lets talk about how much we pay to ship International versus how much someone International pay to ship to USA and USA Territories.  

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Moonwishes This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Mar 17 09:44:03 2015

I buy quite a bit on Amazon since it is convenient for me as I am disabled and also get very snowed in each winter. Since I can get most of my purchases into the $35 range for free shipping, I haven't become a Prime member. So you can imagine my surprise when the door bell range one Sunday to find that a package from Amazon was being delivered. Remember I get the so called 'free' shipping so I hadn't paid for Priority, express or Sunday delivery. I actually felt uncomfortable that some guy--not a regular carrier--had to work on Sunday to deliver something that could have waited until the next day. I can almost understand this Sunday delivery nonsense (and to me it is nonsense) if the buyer was paying for one-day delivery, but regular mail, no way!

I consider Sunday delivery nonsense because just how many people really need to receive their goods on a Sunday? Perhaps those buying grocery packs want to be home from work to receive their stuff, otherwise if they aren't working during the week, why aren't they going to the grocery store to get their food, but do books, DVD, a new pillow or whatever, need to be delivered just a few hours quicker? It is a shame to our nation that people just can't wait for anything anymore and the faster they get things the even more faster they want them. Some people have never gotten to experience the joy of anticipation for waiting for a special package to arrive in the mail. Remember when mail order really did take up to 6 weeks to deliver?

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: FREDDY This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 10:27:55 2015

I think that Any business gives disccounts and special treatment to the very large volume buyers.
USPS is still the best rates for most of my items. If USPS went totally private, I think the prices would double within 2 years.
The only thing I can't figure out is how china can ship an item, have it delivered by USPS, for literally a few pennies.   ?????  Who started that crap.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Joanbet This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 10:54:09 2015

"The USPS treatment of a business that ships thousands is no different than a business that treats a rich person better than a cheapskate."

The opposite of "rich person" is not "cheapskate".  And just because something is doesn't make it right.  It is true that money has influence...  but that does not mean that it is right that money has influence.  It is also true that money corrupts... are you going to argue that, therefore, it is right?

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 11:12:19 2015

I definitely agree with "This is a joke, right?"  You are RIGHT ON POINT.  

And the USPS needs to do whatever they can to keep their business going, and if that means special contracts with large companies than that is their prerogative, and their responsibility.  Waa, waa, waaa.  I'm so sick of people complaining about being "discriminated" against.

Also, "union" employees are simply too expensive and too "protected" for the USPS to employ any more of them.  Union pensions are sinking the USPS and costing the taxpayer.  Unions should be abolished. Union execs make ridiculously high salaries and because of tenure bad teachers are kept while good teachers are laid off, therefore unions are directly responsible for our children NOT receiving the best education that they could be.

Unions are just costly, unneeded, and unnecessary middlemen who shuffle paperwork.  Unions protect bad employees and pass them around.  Heck the Teacher's Union keeps pedophiles and passes them on to unknowing districts.

Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?   Is USPS Shortchanging Priority Mail Shippers?

by: Tornad0sRul This user has validated their user name.

Tue Mar 17 11:21:34 2015

It's absolutely ridiculous and shows complete lack of knowledge to complain about a big corporation getting a discount for a large contract.  This is part of business and happens every single day all around you!  How dumb and naive is everyone?  If you want a discount than you should create a business as large as Amazon.  Everyone wants everything for free or cheap.  Get your heads out of your behinds.  Some of you act like this is a surprise?  I would expect those who sell online to at least understand the basics and fundamentals of how business works.  WTH?

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