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New Nonstandard Fees Will Not Apply to USPS Priority Mail Boxes

New Nonstandard Fees Will Not Apply to USPS Priority Mail Boxes

Sellers will not face nonstandard fees for using older flat-rate USPS Priority Mail boxes, a spokesperson told EcommerceBytes.

After the US Postal Service announced new “nonstandard” fees going into effect in January, sellers had questions about whether it would impact their use of older flat-rate Priority Mail boxes that the USPS provides to shippers at no charge. A USPS spokesperson told EcommerceBytes it would not.

The USPS announced the new nonstandard fees as part of its rate hike for USPS Shipping services taking effect on January 9, 2022:

“A new series of nonstandard fees, applicable to certain competitive products, will be assessed on packages that cause the Postal Service to incur manual handling costs when the dimensions of the package exceed sortation requirements.”

A reader asked, “Does this mean that USPS Priority boxes that are larger than the new boxes that USPS has changed to will incur an additional charge because of “Exceeded Sortation Size”?”

The reader was referring to the recent decision to slightly reduce the size of the USPS Priority Mail boxes in part to “reduce the need for manual package sortation” – but allow sellers to continue using the older USPS Priority Mail boxes.

USPS spokesperson David P. Coleman responded to EcommerceBytes’ inquiry about the new nonstandard fees, and said, “All flat rate packaging (regardless of length) is exempt from the fees.”

Coleman confirmed that the nonstandard fees going into effect in January would apply only packages that are longer than 22 inches. On the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) website, the fees are outlined on the 29th page of the PDF file. Specifically, it states the following new fees for packages exceeding 22 inches:

  • Length greater than 22 inches: $4
  • Length greater than 30 inches: $15
  • Cube greater than 2 cubic feet: $15

Coleman said the amount if the surcharge fees were different for packages entered at destination facilities, but that the list was comprehensive all of the fees.

The bottom line is that merchants who are used to numerous types of surcharges from other shipping carriers should remain vigilant no matter which carrier they select – including the USPS.

Update 12/6/2021: The USPS will go forward with its regular Shipping rate hike on January 9th, but it will delay the $1.50 Dimension Noncompliance Fee and the $4 and $15 Nonstandard Fees until April, see more in this December 5th AuctionBytes Blog post.

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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). 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/.

4 thoughts on “New Nonstandard Fees Will Not Apply to USPS Priority Mail Boxes”

  1. Okay, who determines the extra fees? Clerk, Post Master or at the sort hub? If the package accrues extra fees, when and how is the fee paid? At the receiving Post Office or added to the package as additional postage that must be paid by the receiver? I ask these questions because I am currently involved with a Clerk at my Post Office, while the Post Master allows and approves that the Clerk to do what she pleases. Said Clerk has stated “The Postal System needs more money and I will inspect every package I can to determine if the proper fees were paid”.

    This problem has gone very high up into management and still the Clerk is determined to interpret the Postal Regulations as she sees fit, even after being told by the Consumer Unit to stop it. So, with this rule being very vague as announced, Clerks all over the system will go hog wild, just watch. This can be mostly stopped by upper management issuing strict guidelines as to how to enforce the new rules.

    1. You must be in a very rural low volume area. I know the clerks at our office don’t have time to check every package little along some of them. Most times they just throw them in the bins to let the computer systems do the checking

  2. sounds like the same reason I left UPS years ago. Dim-Weight pricing can get VERY expensive particularly to zip codes far away from seller. The dilemma is the farther away a buyer lives the more the package theoretically needs to be protected.

  3. @reefcreators – Yes, it is a small P.O. Approximately 5 – 7 years ago the Postal Service put out a memo to all the P.O.’s that effective the date of the memo, all inspections and additional fees would be would be evaluated by the Sort Centers, no more moving the package to the receiver Postage Due. If the package was wrong in any way, it was returned to sender for correction. The memo explained this would move the mail faster due to the fact that individual Clerks were misinterpreting postal regulations and causing many delay to packages.

    This Clerk has taken it upon herself to be a “Postal Inspector” and go over every parcel for defects. She has her own tape measure and even measures packages after the packages have been accepted by the Post Office to make sure they comply – you drop the package off at say 9 AM and she comes on shift at 1 PM and then goes through all the packages taken in that day to insure they comply.

    If she “believes” she finds any problems, she upgrades the package to the next level of service and sends it along as postage due. I am in the Post Office almost everyday and I am never told there is a problem with a package – even though I could take care of it before it leaves the Post Office. The Consumer Unit over our area has told the Post Master and the Clerk to stop and let the system take care of it but both still continue. All the packages the Clerk has taken exception too have not violated any Postal Regulations as determined by the Consumer Unit over my area Post Office and most of the receiving Post Master’s.

    The real problem is that a lot of Postal Regulations are vague and leave it open to interpretation by Clerks and some Post Masters. This is the reason for the Memo and inspections now done by the Sort Centers – to stop rogue employees from mis-interpreting the Regulations. This Clerk has even complained that I ship items in a Flat Rate Padded Envelope cheaper than in a box and states I am causing a loss to the Postal System.

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