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USPS Makes Argument for Exclusive Mailbox Access

Only the Postal Service can access your mailbox, and last week, we wrote about an essay written by a UPS executive who’d like to see that change. The USPS has responded, making an argument for why it made sense for the USPS to have exclusive access.

“The fact is that exclusive mailbox access isn’t some kind of gratuitous privilege,” USPS spokesperson David Partenheimer wrote. “Rather, it reflects commonsense ways of helping the Postal Service shoulder its enormous and unique responsibility: namely, delivering mail and packages to every home and business in America at affordable prices, and not just delivering packages to the most profitable addresses or with hefty surcharges.”

Partenheimer cited three main reasons for exclusive mailbox access: security (“it would increase criminals’ opportunities for mail theft, identity theft, and explosive attacks”); efficient delivery of mail (mail carriers would not be able to fit letters, catalogs, and magazines in mailboxes and would be unable to distinguish between outgoing mail and privately delivered items, he said); and universal service at affordable and uniform prices.

In making the third point, the USPS spokesperson wrote, “open mailbox access would make it easier for competing delivery services to strip certain profitable types of mail away from the Postal Service, such as catalogs and certain types of advertising mail. The Postal Service would be left delivering less profitable types of mail to less profitable areas, and yet it would have less of the more profitable types of mail with which to support those deliveries.”

Partenheimer said, “This sort of “cream-skimming” competition would gut the Postal Service’s ability to support universal service and to keep it affordable.”

Interestingly many readers posting comments on the EcommerceBytes Blog about mailbox access disagreed with the UPS argument and offered a number of reasons why they were in favor of exclusive access. Not surprisingly, other readers agreed with UPS.

You can take a look at the comments and leave your own on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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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.