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Sellers Get Sticker Shock with New Postal Rates

Sellers Get Sticker Shock with New Postal Rates

The new USPS postal rates took effect on Sunday, and we’re seeing some reports from sellers who are adjusting to what in some cases are significant increases in costs that are also causing some confusion.

For example, we received a letter from a reader who explained:

“I use the new eBay calculated shipping method on first class since the rates have changed. I listed an Item for 99 cents starting bid and calculated shipping. (I was hoping to sell for more but it sold for 99 Cents.)

“eBay charged the customer $1.70 for shipping, yet I had to pay $2.84 for shipping. So I lost 15 cents plus the eBay and PayPal fees. I called them, and they suggested I do Free Shipping. Sheeesh!”

Eric Nash of Stamps.com told us sellers are definitely experiencing sticker shock with this year’s rate change, especially for anyone who uses First Class Package Service (FCPS). “Besides the regular pricing increase, FCPS also now has zone-based pricing, and I’m sure sellers are surprised at the cost difference for a Zone 2 vs. Zone 8. For example, a 13 ounce package for FCPS for Zone 8 is going up by $1.43.”

He sent us a chart that shows how much more sellers will pay for FCPS with the new rate – you can see it on this page – it’s the 7th chart called “First Class Package Service – 2019 Rates (Commercial Base Pricing) INCREASE PER PACKAGE – 2019 rates vs. 2018 rates.” Sure enough, the chart shows sellers will pay an extra $1.43 for that Zone 8 package weighing 13 ounces!

In reviewing the reader’s letter, Nash said he wasn’t sure how eBay calculated shipping would have determined a $1.70 shipping rate. “The minimum rate in 2018 for First Class Package Service rates was $2.66,” he said. “And if they were using Flats/Large Envelopes, there is no $1.70 rate for 2018 or 2019 (plus there would be no tracking on Flats). The $2.84 looks like it was a Zone 6 up to 4 ounces, so the increase from 2018 rates would be modest at $0.18.”

We asked Nash about another example we saw in a blog post comment: “Just found that a package from Mo. to Ca. now costs $8.70, as opposed to the $4.94 it cost yesterday,” the seller wrote. “Bummer. Must go and finish changing the few free shipping listings I have.”

Nash said it looked like the seller had a package that was over one pound, and so the package got bumped up to Priority Mail. “The highest FCPS price for Zone 8 – 15.999 ounces is $5.53,” he explained, though he couldn’t find any service that would charge $8.70 for a 1-pound package (he checked Priority Mail, PM Regional Rates, Parcel Select Ground and Media Mail). “I’m not sure how that rate was determined,” he said. (Possibly a typo, we wonder.)

Not only are sellers using USPS paying higher shipping costs, they pay higher so-called “commissions” on eBay and Etsy, which charge sellers a percentage of shipping – a built-in fee increase for those marketplaces without having to announce it.

You can commiserate with other sellers on this EcommerceBytes Blog post from Sunday – let us know what you’re seeing and if you have any postal mysteries.

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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

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