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Sellers with Sticker Shock Get Surprise from Stamps.com

Online sellers who ship lightweight items via First Class Package Service got sticker shock when they went to print postage this week. The USPS rate change that took effect on Sunday saw a 27 percent increase in commercial rates for FCPS items weighing up to 3 ounces.

But as we pointed out on Tuesday, the USPS did not change the Retail rate of First Class Package Service, only the Commercial Base rates, resulting in a strange phenomenon where in a few cases, it’s actually cheaper (by 6 cents) to bring your package to the post office.

Stamps.com spokesperson Eric Nash told us on Wednesday that it will provide its customers with Post Office rates ($2.54 for 1, 2 and 3 ounces) instead of the $2.60 Commercial Base rate. “It’s only 6 cents, but every bit helps,” he said. According to its recent blog post about the rate changes, the company advises sellers who wish to receive those rates to download the latest version of the software (Version 13.3).

Since sellers can only get Commercial Base rates through an online postage provider, there’s every reason for most online sellers to avoid using the USPS Click N Ship or going to the Post Office.

Note that online sellers who mail packages over the 3-ounce weight see different percentage changes; incredibly, 8-ounce packages sent via FCPS sees a decrease.

And, we’ve said it before but it bears repeating: the USPS is extending First Class beyond 13 ounces: sellers who ship items weighing between 13 – 15.999 ounces will see a decrease of between 10 – 12%. (This applies to Commercial Base pricing.)

If you haven’t yet, make sure you understand and explore all your options when dealing with this month’s USPS rate changes. We’re continuing to write and blog about the impact on online sellers.

Edited on 1/21/16 to remind readers that First Class Package Service extension to 15.999 ounces is for Commercial Base pricing. And if you use a calculated shipping service, remember to change the mail class to FCPS in order to get the rates.

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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.