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Mon Jan 28 2013 11:57:37

Most Important USPS Changes Affecting Sellers

By: Julia Wilkinson

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The USPS has changed mail rates again, and as often happens it's sent online sellers into a tizzy as they try to navigate the new rate and mail class changes in the real world of their daily packing and shipping tasks. I've looked over the changes, various sellers' comments, and some article summaries, and here are what I think are the key takeaways for sellers:

- Parcel Post Is Going Bye-Bye but Don't Panic! You Can Buy Parcel Select Online (Just Not Through eBay Until March).

That's right, no more Parcel Post, it's now something called "Standard Post," but some sellers seem to think this means they'll have to use this and stand in line at the P.O., since it's not available online.

But, there's a similar option called "Parcel Select," and thought it won't be available to purchase via eBay's postage printing system 'til March, you can buy it through one of the online service providers such as Stamps.com, Endicia, or Pitney Bowes.

- First Class Mail International (Now "First Class Package International Service"): Prices Going Way Up, But They're Adding Delivery Confirmation.

I and a lot of sellers used First Class Mail International to send lighter-weight items (under 4 lbs). to other countries. The bad news: prices for the new First Class Package International Service" are going up 58.6% (!). The good news: we will finally have delivery confirmation with a first-class international service. Not all right away (of course), but this class will include free delivery confirmation to Canada to start, and additional countries will be added throughout 2013. (Sure, that's vague, but that's an important element FCI was missing).

- Media Mail is still there and the prices have only gone up slightly. Sellers of books, dvd's, cd's and other media can breathe easy; media mail is still there and still cheap. A sample price change is for a 5 lb. package, the price will go up to $4.33 from $4.15, or 18 cents. I don't think these prices will impact anyone too much.

And oh yes, what about the cost of a single USPS first-class mail stamp (does anyone use those anymore? Well, I confess I do!). It's going up just one cent, from $0.45 to $0.46, just enough to make making change annoying.

For more on the USPS changes, see one of the online guides -- a good one is the Stamps.com guide -- and also Ina's article about the new rates.

What do you think are the most (or least) important changes to the USPS services and rates? How will they impact you as a seller? Post a comment here!

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Readers Comments

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This user has validated their user name. by: elpereles

Tue Jan 29 23:27:07 2013

I updated my new S&H prices last Thursday. I have items in multiple sites. So I send to "hold" some places that I never have a sale, but they have International sale options.

@pace306, thanks to remember it. I forget that strange idea of eBay to make sellers ship to a US storage house then their buddies make the ship. Just looking the increases, if implemented it will be with a subscription or something strange fee paid by the sellers.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jan 30 05:15:37 2013

Fedex rates on ground shipping are far better than USPS Priority for items over 3 lbs. I haven't priced it for lesser weight items but will start using Fedex more often. Even though it is ground most items arrive in 2 to 4 days in my experience plus the tracking is more efficient. I have an account with Fedex but ebay also has Fedex shipping at discounted rates.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Wed Jan 30 11:14:37 2013

I don't think the clerks at the post offices have been fully informed of the new changes. Yesterday I was mailing an under-two-pounds package by parcel post (or whatever it's called now), and the clerk was trying to convince me to send it Priority Mail because the tracking would be free. But I had already reviewed the price on usps.com and knew the tracking was free. She seemed really confused when her system printed out the postage label and then immediately printed out a tracking label.

@mastoyshop - I think your clerk was also clueless. I took a First Class Package to the post office yesterday with a label printed from PayPal MultiOrder Shipping and there was no problem scanning it into the system with the tracking number PayPal provided.

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by: timeaftertime This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 30 11:33:08 2013

@mimi51 - Yes, you can print off Parcel Select/Post, Media and First Class labels from USPS online, but you have to register for ''Click-N-Ship For Business'' which is a different, separate program from Click-N-Ship (in which you can register your CC to pay directly)

CNSFB indeed will print any kind of label that you can pay for at the post office; or else to create prepaid labels, you can tie in somehow with your Pitney Bowes or other account (I haven't checked into that).

I use CNSFB all the time, kind of a nuisance to have to pay at the counter, but it gives the discounts  on computer generated shipping labels.

 

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Wed Jan 30 12:46:00 2013

The clerks at my post office were completely unaware of the delivery confirmation on 1st class international being implemented this year. Each country would have to have some kind of a reciprocal agreement between the USPS and their postal system since it differs from country to country. Seems like a vast undertaking and wonder how each country will comply with scanning. Who knows, this may only go as far as Canada and that will be the end of this. Maybe Canada is the test country guinea pig. Definitely seems a lot like ebay putting things out there to see if it will work. After all sellers are continuously being subjected to beta testing, changes and glitches.  

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by: Bloggo This user has validated their user name.

Wed Jan 30 14:33:50 2013


    It was only a few years ago that the USPS was considered not only stable, but thriving. The biggest volume in pieces of mail handled by the Postal Service in its 236-year history was in 2006. The second and third busiest years were in 2005 and 2007, respectively. But it was two events: one crafted during the Bush years and another supervised by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, that would cripple this once great institution.

   Perhaps it was its booming history that first drew Congress' attention to the Postal Service in 2006 when it passed the Postal Accountability Enhancement Act (PAEA), which mandated that the Postal Service would have to fully fund retiree health benefits for future retirees. That's right. Congress was demanding universal health care coverage.

   But it even went beyond that. Congress was mandating coverage for future human beings.

   ''It's almost hard to comprehend what they're talking about, but basically they said that the Postal Service would have to fully fund future retirees' health benefits for the next 75 years and they would have to do it within a ten-year window,'' says Chuck Zlatkin, political director of the New York Metro Area Postal Union.

   It was an impossible order, and strangely, a task unshared by any other government service, agency, corporation or organization within the United States. The act meant that every September 30th, the USPS had to cough up $5.5 billion to the Treasury for the pre-funding of future retirees' health benefits, meaning the Postal Service pays for employees 75 years into the future. The USPS is funding the retirement packages of people who haven't even been born yet. - Allison Kilkenny


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by: 11 year ebay user This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 15:08:59 2013

I have to comment on what I consider fraud and theft by the postal service.  Right now we are (my customers and I) being scammed for a service that we are not getting: Delivery confirmation.  The promise to add more countries during the year?  That would be considered mail fraud if I did that: sell you something on a vague promise which I might get around to doing, or maybe not. But, thanks for paying double for the promise.  I think I will call my state Attorney General.

My second point: We don't need this.  If you are shipping expensive items internationally by First Class Mail, well that's just plain dumb. Most of my international business is for items under $30.  It accounts for about 30% of my business however. With this outrageous increase in rates (remember only two years ago first class international was less than $2.00 for a 3oz package, and it is now $9.45 at the PO) international buyers are not going to be purchasing.  Who is going to pay $10 to ship a $10 item?  With a terrible economy, this massive increase by the Postal Service only means more pain for sellers.

FYI: after shipping thousands of packages around the world, the failure to be delivered rate is the same as domestic shipping. Most of the time it is due to customs and the failure of the customers to pay their country's import taxes.

How can the Postal Service make this increase and justify it?  Well, I am hoping that UPS will offer an alternative, otherwise; there goes 30% of what is left of a fading online business.

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by: 11 year ebay user This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jan 31 15:21:40 2013

XebayX,

Yes the increase is more than 58.6% as stated by the author. When you more than doubled the price that's over 100%, 105% is what I get.  For a "much needed service" to Canada.  Are you freaking kidding?

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 3 16:58:16 2013

Once again, ebay FAILS to remove the bad buyers, and wooks in CAHOOTS with the Post Office to specifically arrange a fee increase SPECIFICALLY to GOUGE ebay sellers!
We were handling the odd non-recieved claims quite well on our own- now ebay has CONSPIRED WITH THE POST OFFICE!
Not only have they found a way to charge us ROYALLY because they have not REMOVED the bad bidders~ they have SIMULTANEOUSLY halted folks who input the tracking number and THEN take their items up to the post office as NOW, WE DO NOT HAVE THE DC # when we package- WE MUST SUBMIT OUR PACKAGES and RACE HOME to input the damn numbers!!!!!!
The rate increase is HORRIBLE, but NOW, we cannot even correctly input our numbers!
John Donahoe- You take a 6 foot long PO reciept and YOU try to figure out how to assign these numbers to the correct packages!
I ask- How are we folks who input our own tracking numbers MANUALLY supposed to so it?
What if we have 2 packages to the same city- how can we make sure we put the RIGHT tracking number in when we do not have the packages to refer to anymore????
Answers ebay?????
So, instead of REMOVING THE BAD BUYERS THAT ARE CAUSING THE PROBLEMS SELLERS PAY AGAIN! and to add insult to injury- ebay set up a ''system'' that makes us poor sellers hurry items out EVEN FASTER as we have to get the package up there and insertt the dc number AFTER THE ITEM SHIPS all within 24 hours- PRETTY SLICK JOHN DONAHOE! We make less and NOW we have the extra work of coming back from the post office and inputting these numbers and making sure they are CORRECT.
It looks to me that ebay is FORCING THE EBAY LABEL PRINTING HARD NOW and I am CERTAIN that that big 50% ibncrease includes a large LARGE cut for guess who- ebay!?!
THIS COMPANY WORKS AGAINST US.
Mass Howler
Ebay makes me Physically ill!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: bitbybit

Mon Feb 4 00:46:28 2013

I think this BIG increase is a way to FORCE sellers into using ebay's Global Shipping Program. A coincidence? I think not. Do you?

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 6 12:50:25 2013

Theft, Mirrors, Smoke, PROFIT.

Here is our fee increase for this quarter folks, ebays smoke and mirrors are now working in CAHOOTS with USPS and Pitney Bowes to ROB small sellers.
Pitney Bowes is DESPERATE TOO- look at their stock- they AND ebay are DESPERATE!
The small sellers who BUILT ebay are absolutely LOST IN THE MIST.
(BIG CORPORATE SELLERS on ebay get HUGE shipping discounts from USPS- like 1/2 of what we pay- or less)!
JD: We small sellers have HELD UP your bottom line long enough JD! Tell us sellers 1 THING you have done to put an ACTUAL DOLLAR into a OUR pockets in the last 5 years??

Ebay began (and was SCREAMINGLY SUCCESSFUL) as a NON-BUSINESS destination- a place where unique and rare things could be found, from everyday PEOPLE. The purpose and success of it (should I CAPP that?- SUCCESS OF IT) was BASED IN THAT IDEA. That was WHY ebay was unique and successful- even a monkey could run it- Meg- right??

JD: You may have the share price and you may have your salary and stocks but you are HATED by every hobbist, collector, antique dealer, everybody in the FRINGE, we people who are in it for the little people, everybody who has ever sold and most people who are forced to use paypal- who is not MY pal, and I think MILLIONS OF PEOPLE AGREE.

This increase is HUGE- my small 1st class items that were $3.15- now Parcel select with tracking $5.45 and priority $5.55- now everything might as well go priority? Small items?

WHY was the PO/ebay allowed to increase ANYTHING now if this international system is not yet in place? Then MOST FOLKS do not complain as they just see a 1 cent first class stamp increase.
My biggest problem last week was doing all my conf. slips and going to the Post Office as usual to ship and having all of my DC labels REMOVED from the PO. I had seen a tread about the PO giving free DC at the counter and I asked my postmaster on Thursday and she said ''I was crazy'' and then th efollowing monday- BAM- all labels removed, TOTAL SYSTEM CHANGE on Monday am- RUSH HOME to SOMEHOW get the right #'s off of the PO reciept for the right package!
And 3 days before, I had asked the postmaster.
Almost as if ebay was HOPING WE SELLERS WOULD SCREW UP.
I know I wasn't the only seller panicking last Monday am!

Mass Howler- this stock market will make a BIG correction in the next 2 weeks I think).

 

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by: Massachusets Howler This user has validated their user name.

Wed Feb 6 12:55:45 2013

It pushes the sellers who do not print labels through ebay into that system for the ''commercial based pricing'' too. Otherwise we small sellers who have resisted will have to RUSH HOME to input these numbers, and not screw it up.
We are forced like lambs- lambs with DEEP POCKETS to be FLEECED (and lied to- constantly).
And we pay THEM- WE are the ''customer''!
MH  

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by: Donkey This user has validated their user name.

Thu Aug 15 11:06:30 2013

Free tracking is only available if you purchase postage online.

If you go to a counter at a post office, it is NOT available.

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