Don't panic if you print your shipping labels online, but sellers who purchase postage for First Class Packages at the Post Office should be aware of a change in rates that goes into effect on Sunday.
We admit it, this one snuck by us. It was a reader who alerted us this afternoon.
"Have you heard anything about parcel post rates going up next Tuesday," he asked. "My postmaster told me they were and even gave me a chart of the increases. 1-4 ounces increase from $2.67 to $3.00 and so forth."
USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer confirmed that there was a change going into effect on September 3, 2017, telling us the Postal Service had sent reminders to mailers:
Reminder: First-Class Mail Parcels transfer to the Competitive Price Listing
On August 9, 2017, the Postal Regulatory Commission ("PRC") approved the transfer of the First-Class Mail Parcels ("FCMP") product from the market-dominant product list to the competitive product list. The approved new rates (13 rate cells in total) can be viewed on the Postal Explorer website at pe.usps.com and will go into effect on September 3, 2017.
After implementation, the FCMP product will become a new "Retail" rate category within the existing First-Class Package Service ("FCPS") product. The new "Retail" price category will be called "First-Class Package Service - Retail" while the existing FCPS price category will be renamed "First-Class Package Service - Commercial." The new FCPS-Retail product has the same characteristics as the former First-Class Mail Parcels product.
Partenheimer also sent us a link to the PRC approval
of the change, which was issued on August 9th.
spokesperson Eric Nash told EcommerceBytes there is no
change in the rates for online sellers printing postage online. Previously First Class Mail Parcels was Market Dominant and could be purchased at the Post Office. First Class Package Service, which is Competitive, can only be purchased online, he explained.
"Now they are making these one mail class (in the competitive schedule), with "First Class Mail Parcels" being changed to "First Class Package Service - Retail" (purchased at the Post Office) and "First Class Package Service - Commercial" (purchased online)," Nash said. "The rates at the Post Office for First Class Package Service - Retail" will be higher than online rates."
The significance of Market Dominant versus Competitive is that the USPS has limits on raising Market Dominant rates, whereas it has more leeway in raising Competitive rates.
Nash also pointed out another change that is coming:
"First Class Package International Service is having tracking (known as EDelCon internally with USPS - formally titled "Electronic USPS Delivery Confirmation International service") added to four new countries. As of 8/31, Cyprus, Greece, Japan, and Russia will receive tracking. This tracking service will also now be available to customers purchasing First Package International Service at the Post Office (this will start on 9/22/17)."