|Tue Oct 16 2012 20:03:40|
New 2013 Postage Rates Include Some Whoppers
I reviewed the U.S.P.S. Board of Governors (BOG) PDF file link you included in your recent posting, Merchants to Be Squeezed by Postage Rate Increase in January.
Ebay sellers now revising listings for the Fall and beyond listings etc. again, should take a close, scary, wide-open mouth stare at what shipping products of the USPS have already changed and are now poised to skyrocket in price: Parcel Post (renamed Standard Post) and International First Class International Package.
These services are now in new classifications allowing pricing to be more flexible, and less regulated. The Board of Governors call it competitive. I assume the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) will adopt most of the BOG recommendations. We will likely only hear in the press those domestic price changes (i.e. First Class Mail (letters), and Priority Mail (domestic).)
And with eBay's push to International shipping, this could affect eBay sellers, and those on other venues, negatively.
If I interpret this proposal/document correctly:
Examples: 1 oz - 2 oz International First Class Package: Current $3.00 across all country zones. (Note: the last postal competitive re-classification for these packages last year increased rates from $1.77 to the present $3.00.)
New 2013 prices if adopted: $6.03 - $6.55 for 1 oz - 2 oz packages. Page 86. That is 100% plus increase!
Prices vary based on whether an online service is used for labels, or payment is done at retail location, the latter being the most expensive. This is a huge increase causing sellers to reconsider selling international, especially with the lack of tracking in most International First Class Mail Packages, requirement to stand in line for presenting package to a retail clerk (you cannot drop off), higher PayPal acceptance cost, increased risk of mysterious non-delivery, etc.
And currently, I don't see eBay passing through to TRS any Commercial or Commercial Plus savings, unless, or course these sellers individually qualify for the USPS savings for TRS.
Parcel Post now appears to have to cover costs, and as such a 20%+ increase is required across the weights and zones to achieve this 100% cost coverage requirement.
The 'good news' is that the domestic First Class Mail Pkgs in 1 - 3 oz. appear to have relatively small changes of 5 cents for 1 oz to 3 oz weights for online purchases. Currently it is $1.95 + $0.85 for at retail purchases, and $1.64 in postage (including free Delivery Confirmation) when printed online. The new prices are proposed to be $1.69 as I interpret their recommendations.
And, one entertaining passage in the document from the Governors: (page 3)
"Retail prices will increase an average of 9.0 percent. However, approximately three percent of the increase is for free tracking visibility which will now be included at no charge." They raise prices 9% and state it really isn't 9% since 3% in the increase includes "free delivery confirmation." Sounds like eBay speak.
I do ship 99% of my items 1 oz First Class Pkg for no additional shipping charge both domestically, and to most international Western countries with less mysterious non-delivery issues. My international exposure by eBay (both UK paid), and other organically displayed listings in AU, etc. have been slowly crawling up. I suspect it will come to a stall with these price changes and I start charging full or subsidized shipping rates. Even with the FVF savings for International shipments, this will not cover it.
Colin (eBay seller)
P.S. Separately, a PayPal service rep informed me that PayPal shipping will be folded in to eBay shipping, and will then allow sellers to print labels even for shipments that do not originate on eBay. If sellers are using the limited PayPal shipping options to create and ship directly to create labels, that option may be disappearing soon.