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Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
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.

13 thoughts on “The Online Seller’s Guide to USPS Shipping Rates for 2019”

  1. Those who pay the shipping for buyers to try on their clothes will be forced to rethink what they are doing. You are not Amazon. Amazon does it to grab market share while the side benefit is driving ebay sellers who try to copy them, into financial doom.
    As for the USPS, I wonder if they are charging Fedex and UPS more to finsh the delivery of their packages?
    As for the rate changes for 1st class packages, you can’t say it doesn’t make sense to price things according to your costs. This is the way they do it for Priority, so what’s the problem? eBay making more for doing nothing more? True, but they have to charge their fees based on total amount of money spent by the buyer. If you don’t know why, you weren’t paying attention to the 1st 10 years of eBay. eBay could reduce their fees a little but it would be a small fraction of 1%. They could throw us a bone some other way.

  2. I use the padded envelope a lot, but when possible, I slip the padded envelope and its contents into a regular flat-rate envelope.
    I also use a small flat-rate box, this too fits into a regular flat-rate envelope to save on shipping cost.

  3. I can see local marketplace selling like Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist getting more popular now. It may make more sense to drive to pick up an item then paying the shipping (also depends on how badly you want the item). I wonder how this is going to impact holiday shopping? Are mom and dad willing to ship all those gifts to their kids and grandkids living on the other side of the country? I live in PA. My kid will be living in WA later this year. Next year when Christmas rolls around, do I really want to ship my gifts out to him? Yeah, he’s my kid but lets think about this. I don’t work, my husband is retired….I’m on a tight budget.

    I’m wondering how this is going to impact buyers. Are they willing to pay these exorbitant prices? It’s already gotten to the point that shipping is more than what the item was paid for! Commercial rate or not, it’s still a lot. I know I’m going to think twice about buying something online when I see that shipping rate. Do I REALLY need it?

    I hope buyers can appreciate the fact that sellers are going to have to raise their prices to compensate for fees.

    This just sucks on all levels.

  4. Thank you for running this story, Ina. While it’s not information I want to hear, it’s better to know it in advance (USPS certainly never makes an effort to make such information known to me).

    However, I do take issue with one suggestion you make, and I want to warn sellers against doing it (at least in some cases). That suggestion is to always buy postage online. Yes, the cost is cheaper. Of course, you need to figure in the extra cost of printer ink and other similar expenses, but still, most services would still be cheaper. However, as sellers likely know, as important as price is, it is rarely the only factor to consider. Several years ago, I printed a paid postage label online. I forget what service it was (first class, priority, etc.) but I remember that I paid extra to insure it. Everything was clearly detailed on my screen: the service, the insured value, the price I would pay, etc. However, as soon as I submitted payment and got my label, I had absolutely NO record that the package was insured, much less the value it was insured for. I immediately called USPS and was told that there is no record on my end but that USPS knows what the package was insured for. I asked how I prove it in the event of a dispute, and the USPS representative insisted that there would be no dispute – if the package was lost or damaged, I would be paid out. NOT SO FAST! I have had valid claims denied countless times. I appeal and have the appeal denied. I cannot count the number of times I have had to go to my congressional representative, Brendan Boyle, in order to facilitate the payment of a valid insurance claim that had been denied multiple times. When I explained this to the USPS representative, he seemed genuinely surprised, as though he had never heard of a claim being denied. I told him that when I go to congress and ask for assistance, they want documentation – not just my word. So what documentation do I have when I print online? NONE! Luckily, that package was delivered without issue, but since then, I have NEVER paid for an insured package online, and I would warn others against it. If you’re taking your chances shipping uninsured (which I sometimes do for items with a lower value), then weigh your options and if the price is less, by all means, print online. However, if you’re purchasing insurance, be aware that you will have NO RECORD of the insurance and will rely on the “good faith” of the USPS, which in many cases is non-existent.

  5. @lessthanthreerecords I have definitely heard of USPS denying claims. Typically I’d suggest getting in touch with the Postal Regulatory Commission, glad you are having good luck with your Congressional Rep!

    Re receipt – if you use a third-party vendor, I would think they could help you out. But if you print labels through an online marketplace, I could see how that could be problematic, though it shouldn’t be.

    Feel free to email me at ina@ecommercebytes.com if you want to share more details privately, I’m happy to ask the vendor from whom you purchased shipping labels why there’s no documentation or receipt.

    1. @Ina Steiner
      @lessthanthreerecords

      When I ship directly from the USPS website, my online records, under my “Shipping History”, shows the amount paid for insurance on each package.

      On items shipped from within eBay, I can locate the insurance amount in my PayPal record, but not in the place you would expect. It is not under the “Your Payment” breakouts, but found above that, under the “Order Details” section.

      It looks like this:

      Order Details
      ShipSvc:USPS Priority Mail,
      Trk#:00000000000000
      Postage:$7.35, Ins:$11.75

      They don’t make it easy, but it’s there.

        1. Thanks, Ina, I really should explore whether I can export my USPS address book to a cheaper shipper — it’s really for that convenience that I am still there. . . .

  6. These shipping costs are knocking out more and more small sellers. Long ago I gave up international shipping because it often cost more than the item I’m sending out….buyers don’t like to see that. The last thing I shipped internationally (and only because it was to a friend in Australia) cost her $40 for the item and $23.50 in shipping (for a little over a pound)! Makes no sense at all! Now, its happening with domestic shipping. Soon…I won’t be able to sell at all 🙁

    (but in the meantime China still ships its junk literally free)….I just don’t get it!

  7. Time to bulk edit again. Shipping in our stores will go up 2.00. People don’t like it they are free to buy elsewhere. WE NO LONGER CATER TO THE BUYERS.

  8. Good ole USPS Just LOST one of my most Special Creations.
    The client is LIVID.
    USPS crackdown on internal SABOTAGE is in order.
    Albany hub is NOTORIOUS for “losing” stuff now.
    I’m suspecting disgruntled political morons.

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