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Blizzard Brings Mail to a Standstill in Northeast

USPS, UPS, and FedEx suspended delivery and pickup in large areas of the Northeast due to “Winter Storm Juno,” aka the Blizzard of 2015, while online marketplaces warned users of the possible impact of the storm on their transactions.

eBay and Amazon Issue Storm Warnings
eBay posted an announcement on Monday asking buyers to be patient, “both throughout the transaction and when providing feedback once your item arrives.” And it had a special message for sellers:

“Don’t forget that eBay will make efforts to protect your seller rating. For example, we adjust buyer expectations for delivery based on current shipping conditions and, when we have tracking information, we automatically remove defects related to shipping delays caused by major storm events.”

Amazon meanwhile advised sellers living in the area impacted by the winter storm to consider temporarily setting their seller-fulfilled listings to inactive. And it advised all sellers to communicate with buyers who live in areas impacted by the winter storm: “For seller-fulfilled orders to be shipped within areas potentially impacted by Winter Storm Juno, contact buyers via the Buyer-Seller Messaging Service about the status of their orders.”

For sellers who use Fulfillment By Amazon, the marketplace said no action was required. “Amazon will handle messaging for all FBA orders impacted by Winter Storm Juno.” And the company warned FBA merchants, “If you have shipments en route to fulfillment centers in the U.S. Northeast, you should expect delays and potential carrier reschedule notifications.”

Shipping Carriers Suspend Service 
The Postal Service suspended delivery and retail operations in several districts in the Northeast on Monday afternoon into Tuesday. “The line of impact includes facilities from the New Jersey shore all the way to Maine’s Downeast region, and includes the cities of New York City, Boston, Providence, Hartford and Portland,” according to the USPS service alert.

Likewise, UPS warned its customers of widespread disruptions to service: “There will be no pickups or deliveries in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, or portions of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York.”

FedEx only got specific about New York, and appears to be playing it by ear, location by location: “Our top priority is the safety and well-being of our team members, as well as providing the highest level of service to our customers,” it said. “Although contingency plans are in place, some service delays and disruptions can be anticipated for inbound and outbound shipments in NY. FedEx is committed to providing service to the best of our ability in areas that can be safely accessed.”

Snow and strong winds will begin tapering off from south to north Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.