AuctionBytes Blog
Covering auctions, collectibles and marketplace selling.

AuctionBytes Blog The AuctionBytes Blog has been giving a voice to online merchants since its launch in 2005. Named one of the world's top 30 blogs in 2008 by "Blogging Heroes." Weigh in with your thoughts on the joys and pitfalls of selling online.
Wed July 22 2020 10:19:56

USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

By: Ina Steiner

Sponsored Link

The USPS acknowledged directives outlined in leaked USPS documents that we wrote about last week and were also picked up by the Washington Post. The documents described practices that would almost certainly result in mail delivery delays, drawing the ire of some lawmakers.

Government Executive dug into the story and reported yesterday that the some of the controversial directives are part of a pilot program the USPS is running to try to reduce costs. The pilot, Expedited to Street/Afternoon Sortation, will run for 30-60 days at nearly 200 sites around the country and, for now, affect only city carriers.

Other controversial policies were actually "existing plans that have been designed to provide prompt and reliable service within current service standards," a Postal Service spokesperson told Gov Exec magazine.

That's a reference to other recent memos that "instructed employees to leave for each phase of their deliveries according to a set schedule, meaning some mail will likely be delayed. The memos also announced that late trips and overtime would no longer be authorized. "

The article reported on lawmakers' concerns and published an excerpt of a letter some members of the House and Senate had written to Postmaster General Louis DeJoy asking for an explanation for the changes:

"While we share the goal of ensuring the Postal Service's solvency, the rhetoric used in the document compares the Postal Service to a private company concerned only with the bottom line, rather than the constitutionally mandated public service that it is," the letter stated.

For online sellers, any delay in mail delivery spells disaster thanks to impatient buyers quick to file Item Not Received claims, compounded by marketplaces that fuel buyers' unreasonable expectations and penalize sellers for delays outside their control. 

But one seller pointed out another problem that is just as serious: the impact of the directives on mail pickup.

A postal carrier warned one EcommerceBytes reader that the packages she picked up from his home would be delayed thanks to a new directive from the recently installed Postmaster General.

"You might wanna take your mail to the post office for now because it's probably not going to be sent out the day I pick it up," the carrier told the online seller. She said there was "a lot of shady shit" going on that carriers are not supposed to talk about.

The reader told us, "She confirmed the elimination of overtime, delay in mailing packages AND letter mail (she specifically mentioned unemployment checks). She confirmed that this was handed down by the new postmaster general. She even went as far to say as "they are trying to get rid of us."" 

It's unclear if the possible delays the carrier referred to come into play only after the mail has been picked up, or if the restrictions on overtime and other practices will also delay the mail pickups themselves.

The people most impacted by mail pickup delays are the smallest sellers who rely on USPS and may be unable to leave their homes and whose numbers during the pandemic have likely grown.

Sellers concerned about delivery delays can write to their elected officials and can report problems to the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Comments (39) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 09:33:57 2020

@purpleiris

It's not the local post office where I drop the packages off (I tried different post offices). Its the sort facility. I have a few first class packages that I sent out on Tuesday that are still not scanned at the local sort facility. It is possible that they sent them trough without scanning them (witch did happen on some in the past 3 weeks). But most likely they did not get to them yet.

The clerks in the post offices here will not individually scan packages. They will only take them and send them to the sort facility. A use a scan sheet that checks in all of the packages with one scan. But this is what it says on tracking:

"Shipment Received, Package Acceptance Pending "

and when it stays like this for several days, buyers flip out. Most common comment from buyers is "why havent you sent my package out yet"...and if I tell them I did I get the "your lying, it doesnt say you sent it on tracking"

I drove out to new jersey yesterday, and dropped off my packages there. It was slow to get scanned at the sort facility out there but it did at 8:30 am this morning.
Meanwhile the packages sent out tuesday are still not scanned in New York City.
I guess for the meantime I will have to drive out to NJ everyday to drop off my stuff.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Shanna This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 11:49:00 2020

Can we please stop perpetuating the myths of the USPS pension fund. They were required by Congress to catch up, over a 10 year period from 2006 to 2016, on payments into their pension fund that they had not made the previous 30 years. Their union started the myth of funding employees not even born yet. They should be thankful the money is there now and will be there when they retire.

To complain they aren't making a profit now, over 4 years since the funding ended, is laughable.


https://www.forbes.com/sites/ebauer/2020/04/14/p
ost-office-pensions--some-key-myths-and-facts/

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: mjr55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Jul 24 19:44:32 2020

Yeah, there are definitely sort centers who will send the mail out without scanning them....so you don't see a scan after initial package acceptance until it's at the sort facility for the buyer. VERY ANNOYING.

Ebay needs to extend safeguards....because shipping is no way normal right now still and won't be for awhile.  

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: COVID-19 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 00:44:41 2020

Use UPS, FedEx and DHL instead.  Their workers are not lazy and don't fake illnesses.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 04:30:46 2020

"Can we please stop perpetuating the myths of the USPS pension fund."

At Shanna, the fact that they did what they did in the manner that they did was an intentional move to hurt the USPS. That's why I brought it up as just one of those other bad decisions being made for the USPS (The People's service) while The People are seemingly helpless to stop it. At least that's how they're making themselves look by letting Congress pull its mess.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 04:54:48 2020

OOPS! My mention of it was under a different article. In this one, I was just questioning about some money they received. Anywho, I'm only referring to what I have personally read from trusted sources, including the horse's mouth (on their site). However, the article you cite is from a few months ago, so, I'll check it out to see what sort of misinformation we were being fed. Thanks!

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 05:16:35 2020

@Shanna...Wow! Even members of Congress (or a candidate) were spreading the misinformation -- and on social media, no less!

So, this begs the question...where is all that money going? A nearly $9 billion loss? That's the kind of thing that requires an investigation -- a deep one. Somebody has to be dipping into the coffers somehow to create those kinds of losses. They are definitely getting the business, so there's no excuse for that.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: purpleiris This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 05:24:55 2020

By the way, one way you could help out your USPS is to continue receiving your bills via snail mail. I'm one of those who must have my paper copies in my files and it's cheaper for me to let THEM print their own bills.

As it is, I print the payment confirmation page when I pay all those bills online. So, either way, there aren't any tree savings there. LOL But at least the USPS is still handling the first part of that and I DO recycle all paper rather than just trashing it. I have a separate bin for it under my desk. =)

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 08:20:17 2020

These pension funds are no longer self sustaining they way they traditionally were in this day and age. One of the biggest problems is the interest rates being so low. Most all pension funds never invested in risky assets. They bought blue chip stocks, and when there was a bear market they bought t-bills at 8%, or something similar along those lines. Now, most of those blue chips are very stable companies, and are far from risky, but they have no growth because of everyone rushing in to buy the high growth riskier stocks. T-bils and the likes offer no interest any more.

Couple that with the fact that med insurance premiums are ridiculously high, and you have a disaster on your hand for traditional pension funds.

There are those out there that would love to see it privatized for their own monetary interests. Thats a fact. It's been going on for 50 years.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 08:35:56 2020

@mjr55

It seems my trip to New Jersey fared a lot better. My packages were scanned at the New Jersey sort facility about 18 hrs after drop off (still slow, but better than 2-3 days later). And all of them were updated. None MIA, or ???

Of the 5 test packages I sent out in New York city on Tuesday. 4 of them were scanned last night at about 6pm , but still as of right now (8am) have not left the sort facility (unless they did unscanned). One of the five still has the "package received....." This is basically the same as it has been for 3 weeks. About 20% lags way behind. And of that 20%, 20% of those ultimately are lost.

Guess I will just have to drive to New Jersey every day for a while...3 weeks tells me it isnt going to get better any time soon. Good thing it is only a 10 mi drive, and an $8 toll. Better than dishing out $50 back to buyers and having a bunch pissed off on a daily basis.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: I Must be Crazy This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 15:48:46 2020

I am not lost on the fact this disruption in USPS handling is just in time to be major news right in time for mail in balloting. Let's face it, if the mail is unreliable, people will decide they might stand in line to vote. Election day arrives, for any myriad of reasons, not the least being avoidance of Covid19, voters decide to heck with it and don't bother to vote at all. Sounds like a pretty good plan if you are a politician at risk due to high voter turnout.

That aside, I don't care what the post office decides to do or how long a package takes. As long as my buyers receive an accurate estimate of the expected arrival time. That is not happening right now. My orders all go out same or next day; 50 percent or better same day. The packages are picked up late in the afternoon and are not being scanned at the time of pickup. First class packages are sitting at my post office being scanned received 2 days after pickup. Packages are being delayed up to one week cross country.

Up to now, my handling is the same as always. in the last 10 days, I have one negative, numerous messages from buyers looking for their items, late handling counts against my profile. EVERY one of them due to delays at the post office.

I WANT TO KNOW, WHAT IS EBAY GOING TO DO ABOUT THIS??? I know I can't be the only one.

Not only for the buyers, but what is the plan to protect sellers? Not just in feedback protection and metrics reporting, but also Cassini's analysis of packages that appear to not be shipped and the impact that has on seller placement in search results.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Sat Jul 25 21:52:00 2020

@ I Must be Crazy

Your not crazy, because it's happening to me too. Ebay is taking care of it in some ways. If you go into your seller level in the seller hub you will see they delete all of the late shipments on your account every few days. They said they were going to do this when the outbreak started. Now, my metrics did take a slight hit it seems like, but not what it would be if they had not deleted the late's.

  Now, dealing with irate unreasonable customers is another story. I dont think theres much they can do about that. They could do one thing, temporarily....get rid of the damn guaranteed delivery, and there delivery estimates. That would be real nice. I doubt any one over there knows how to turn that crap off without having the whole system short circuit. I mean why are they goin in every few days and manually deleting late's?

  I was ok, up until about 2 months ago, then I had what was going on now but to a lesser extent. It got better a week after that. But now for the past 3 weeks it has been horrible. I have closed down since Thursday. I may open back up tomorrow and just bring my shipments to the next state over where it seems to be better.

 Just think though. I ordered some led lights for a photo box this morning. Bought them on ebay. Then said to myself wait, it will take a year and a day to get it. So I ordered it on Amazon and am getting it delivered tomorrow on Sunday. BY THE USPS. Thats scary for ebay!

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: LarryMoe This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 26 12:15:07 2020

The Mail Carriers are supposed to scan the packages when they pick them up, as verified with one of their supervisors.  It's necessary for transfer of ownership.

USPS supervision doesn't enforce this.  

On the table I set up for the Carrier in front of my house, I put a note on the table asking them to scan before taking packages.  All of the Carriers now scan the packages.

Before that, I had a package that didn't receive a scan for 2 weeks.  There was nothing wrong with the label either.  When it surfaced across the country, it started getting regular scans.  It was a one of a kind item, and if they lost it - I would not have been able to file a claim.  

If your packages are not getting scanned - you definitely should pursue the matter.  There is a way to file a complaint against the carrier, which supervisors need to investigate and provide a response.  

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: laweez65 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 26 13:07:35 2020

I'm just saying...
Louis DeJoy was a top donor to trump.
trump has been screaming about the 2020 election voting by mail being a fraud.
Ballots will be printed overseas and distributed to mailboxes.

hmmmmmmm
And he appoints a top fund raiser Louis DeJoy to Postmaster General.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: laweez65 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 26 13:10:57 2020

I just want to know what the USPS charges for different services. And when they will deliver for that price.
So we can tell our customers.
Honesty.
Why is this happening and no acknowledgement of it?
LaJoy has told his employees to change delivery length of time.
Shouldn't the consumer know what they are paying for? Why the secrecy?
Start tracking your packages to double check if this is true.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: laweez65 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Jul 26 13:16:25 2020

Oh. About the packages not getting scanned. I've called the local post office about their carriers. Asked why they are now doing this practice.
For 24 years. It was a firm rule. You hand a package to a postal worker. It's scanned. Period. Never had one issue in 24 years. It was like clockwork.
You could go on line a few hours later and see your package. You can track it yourself of ebay or on USPS.com
No longer.
They don't show up.
This isn't one package. I have found this with almost all my submitted packages now.
And I've called the 1-800-ASK-USPS and filed complaints with them.
They contact the local post office. Local post office gives you some razzle dazzle about working on it and that's the end of it.
It's not Covid-19 now. It's a directive to save money from the new Postmaster General.  

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Geetar This user has validated their user name.

Mon Jul 27 11:05:10 2020

For years I would drop off my packages around 12 noon. Hand them a scan sheet, 1 scan for all packages. But in the last year or so it says "shipment received, package acceptance pending" on tracking. Witch even that was no big deal. Usually I would get a scan at around 7:30-8:30 pm that day from the sort facility.

For the past 2 months that has been turned upside down and now it seems we are in the times of the pony express. I though it was my local post office. But it's not. I thought it was because I bought postage online, it was not. I brought my packages to New Jersey from new York because I knew it went to a different sorting facility. So it turns out it is the sorting facilities here in New York city. NJ went fine.

When they went thru New York, they weren't scanned until about 2 days later (first sorting facility)on average. Of that about 20% were not scanned. About 20 % of the ones that were not scanned were ultimately lost. The rest were not scanned until they reached their destination state.

Thru New Jersey I had none of these problems. Instead of scans at 7:30-8:30 pm like I used to get in NY, they were scanned at about 4:30 am. ALL of them.

The biggest part I do not like is not knowing what to say when a customer asks what going on. Because I dont know myself. I cant even tell them just be patient, it will be there with some delay.  

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Vigilant Eye On eBay This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 16:50:38 2020

According to an article posted in Business Insider earlier today, ''the US Postal Service will reportedly reduce post office hours to save money.''

Some post office locations will reduce their normal eight to nine hour workday schedules to under four hours per day, while others will close during lunchtime.

The reductions in operating hours will certainly impact anyone who is not purchasing postage online, or needs services that can only be obtained at a physical USPS location.

Perminate Link for USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail   USPS Acknowledges Leaked Directives that Could Slow Mail

by: Vigilant Eye On eBay This user has validated their user name.

Thu Jul 30 16:53:13 2020

https://www.businessinsider.com/usps-to-reduce-post-office-hours-to-sa
ve-money-report-2020-7

Business
Insider 'The US Postal Service will reportedly reduce post office hours to save money.'' article link.

Click to view more comments
1 2 


Login is required to post comments.
To sign in to leave a comment, fill in the form below. If you have not yet signed up for AB Verify, or if you'd like more information, go to the Registration Page
.

Login for AB Verify
Be sure and use your email address and password to log in.

 
Email:
Password:
 
 Forgot Your Password?
 Even though you are signed in with the AuctionBytes Blog, you will have to sign in to the EcommerceBytes blog. But you can sign in with your existing AB Verify info.