Domestic shipping disruptions are now a reality for online sellers who have already faced international mail disruptions. The USPS is warning of delivery delays for certain Priority Mail and First-Class packages (FCPS) services. It’s also surprising to learn which international posts are limiting items mailed to the United States.
USPS Warns of Delivery Delays, Including Priority Mail
The USPS advised shippers of delivery delays in its recent “COVID-19 Continuity of Operations Update,” effective today, April l7, 2020.
“U.S. Postal Service Priority Mail products and First-Class packages may require more time to be delivered due to limited transportation availability as a result of the ongoing Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) impacts to the United States,” according to the advisory.
It’s unclear what impact this may have on sellers, especially those on marketplaces such as eBay that display estimated delivery dates. While it uses data provided by the USPS, eBay also relies in part on a seller’s history in computing estimated delivery times, which could result in eBay providing shoppers with unrealistic estimates.
Some of the key changes in USPS delivery times announced today include the following:
- USPS Priority Mail Express service, which guarantees overnight service, will not change.
- Service commitments for local 1-day Priority Mail will not change.
- Priority Mail’s two- and three-day service commitments now will be extended to three and four days respectively.
- First-Class Package Service (FCPS) two and three day service commitments will also be extended to three and four days, respectively.
- Global Express Guaranteed Services also have been altered.
“The Postal Service’s goal continues to be to move packages as expeditiously as possible,” the USPS wrote. “The Postal Service continually reviews its network capacity to provide the American public reliable, efficient, and fast-delivery service. We will continue to keep you abreast of improvements in transportation availability and when we will be able to return to normal service levels.”
Refunds for Packages Impacted by International Suspensions
The USPS has been keeping shippers up-to-date on how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting international mail. It informed shippers that “customers are entitled to a full refund of their postage costs when service to the country of destination is suspended.”
However, it’s not automatic – it appears shippers must request the refund of postage and fees on mail returned due to the suspension of service.
Product Sourcing Problems from Abroad Expand
It’s not surprising to learn it’s more difficult to get products from certain countries, but here’s one that might surprise you: Ireland.
Ireland’s An Post is sending only letters, large envelopes and packets to the United States; no parcels.