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Sat Feb 13 2021 16:06:10

Online Sellers Could See Slower First Class Mail Deliveries

By: Ina Steiner

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A newspaper report indicates the USPS is considering slower mail and higher prices for first-class mail. The Washington Post said on Friday that a key provision of Postmaster General Louis DeJoy's strategy includes "banning air travel for all first-class mail at a time when delivery rates are at historic lows."

While that would impact mail (letters and such), we're guessing it may not include First-Class Package Service, which is a competitive commercial product rather than dominant - but we're not 100% sure if there would be no impact on FCPS under the Postmaster General's forthcoming plans. But it could presumably impact eBay's new Standard Envelope shipping option for trading cards (and soon to be available in the eBay Stamps category).

Any impact on mail is concerning not only to online sellers and the general public, but to members of Congress as well.

On Friday (February 12), Senator Duckworth sent a letter to the President about her concerns over the Postal Service and its leadership, asking him to replace every member of the current USPS Board of Governors to show, "silence in the face of a campaign of sabotage will not be tolerated." 

The Senator was referring to operational changes Postmaster General DeJoy implemented last spring, which he agreed to postpone in August.

Also on Friday, two House Representatives introduced bipartisan legislation to return overnight delivery for first class mail. (Between 2012 and 2015, the USPS closed processing plants as part of the Network Rationalization initiative.) But that is seemingly the opposite of what the Washington Post said Postmaster General DeJoy has planned for first class service.

Representatives may have the chance to hear DeJoy explain his plans in person soon. On Thursday, the House Committee on Oversight and Reform requested the Postmaster General testify at a hearing on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The hearing will examine legislative proposals "to place the Postal Service on a more sustainable financial footing going forward while preserving the delivery performance standards on which the American people rely."

On Tuesday, DeJoy delivered a video message to employees where he laid the groundwork for his plans, explaining the need for taking action. The General did not provide details of his plan, which he said he would announce soon, but he did provide some general information and some commitments.

The underlying commitments of this plan include the following, he said:

1) We remain committed to a six-day-a-week delivery service to every address in the nation. This is not only the law, but is in fact necessary for our future success.

2) We remain committed to stabilizing our workforce, especially for our associates who are not yet in a career position. Every postal employee should have the ambition for a long-term career with the Postal Service. And it's management's job to create an environment for them to do so.

3) We are committed to investing in our infrastructure to prepare us for the new economy, which includes vehicles, technology, and package sortation equipment.

However, he said that alone would not solve all of the USPS's problems. "Our future operating plans intend to address the failures of the network, including all aspects of plant processing, transportation, and unachievable service standards - changes are needed."

That characterization of service standards - "unachievable" - makes it clear DeJoy thinks the standards themselves are part of the problem and need changing.

"The fact of the matter is that we have not met our service standards for the past 8 years," he said.

DeJoy laments the decline in First Class mail, but slowing it down and at the same time making it more expensive could accelerate the decline, a seemingly no-win vicious cycle.

Commercial mailers told the Washington Post it might cause them to pull more volume out of the mail stream. "In the long run, that could force the Postal Service to increase postage rates on the customers left in the system - including small businesses, seniors and people with disabilities - or to further cut service," it wrote.

Those without a Washington Post subscription can read an account on CNN.

Comments (21) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 13 17:16:30 2021

First class mail (including both envelopes and packages) is commonly taking six weeks to be delivered.  Yes, a lot is delivered sooner than that, but five to six weeks is by no means uncommon over these past few months.  So when they talk about it being "slower," how much slower can it get?  Just this past week I got a first class Christmas card that was postmarked about two weeks before Christmas (and it was only going about 10 miles!).  A first class package I sent on December 23 was just delivered on February 9.  If they get any slower, they might as well just keep it!

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Feb 13 19:06:49 2021

Typical bidnessman, increasing prices and reducing service.  It's almost like he has an interest in USPS competitors that would benefit from an inside job...

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Sat Feb 13 19:08:05 2021

DeJoy should be fired.  They could hardly find anybody worse even if they picked a random name from the phone book.

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This user has validated their user name. by: Rexford

Sat Feb 13 19:31:20 2021

eBay will be chomping at the bit over this. This is just what they need to push everyone to Priority Shipping Only, therefore increasing their bottom line again, using USPS to do so.

As others have said, DeJoy needs to be fired.  How he got the job in the first place is beyond me.

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This user has validated their user name. by: iheartjacksparrow

Sat Feb 13 19:54:13 2021

Considering higher prices? Apparently DeJoy has never heard of the internet. I pay all my bills online, do all my banking online, and send all my letters in emails. The only thing I ever mail is the items I've sold from my store. If the rates get much higher the post office is going to price itself out of business.

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

Sat Feb 13 21:28:47 2021

Maybe the new boy JoJo (Biden) can fire this assclown.

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by: Silver Ice King This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 13 23:56:59 2021

All this will do is completely nullify all the time and effort put in by Ebay to create that new tracking for PWE.  I hope he does it just so they can get a taste of their own medicine.  So many times Sellers have put a lot of time and effort into creating something that is unique for their store or listings only to have Ebay come up with some new policy that completely negates all of the time and effort that the Sellers put into this idea.  Ebay wants everybody to be on a level playing field, at least until it starts affecting their bottom line or allowing one Seller to finally start running their own business once again.

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 06:14:59 2021

WOW.  I already THOUGHT I was lucky, but my own experience with mailing 90+ percent of my outbound eBay sales by First Class Package.
FEW caused any heartache and the Very Worst took Barely 14 calendar days from Houston to ANY destination in USA.  Vast majoriy were in the 2 to 5 Business day range.
Strangest comments I've seen on ecommercebytes today are those who seem to think that UPGRADING from FCP to Priority Mail could EVER .... EVER be a "thing". Yes, the TWO flat

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by: angryllama This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 06:22:19 2021

Part 2 ( My laptop keyboard is increasingly making PHANTOM keystroks.... earlier it decided FOR ME that I had hit ENTER to POST.... nope.)
.....Flat Rate USPS Priority mailers are a GREAT idea for many items, but wh.en a 4 ounce package can be shipped Coast to Coast for under $3.50 splurging $7.54-ish for same lightweight item is just pure fantasy.  Ditto the MINISCULE "small" flat rate BOX.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 09:31:56 2021

USPS needs to understand that for FCM letters (bills & general mail) that those items are the horse and buggy in a cars world - today.

LOTS of people now simply pay bills online - to 1) save the hassle of going to the PO 2) save the hassle of buying stamps 3) save time figuring out if TODAY its 49 cents or 50 and what it will be tomorrow - things like this.

My post office (city is 100 square miles) is one of the only ones around unless I go to another town. THEY process mail when they get to it and NO ONE can rush them.

The delivery people are gems, but the office people are jerks - class one. Theres never a nice smiley person to talk to, theres usually never more then 1 person to talk to - and when you finish waiting on the LONG line - they are quite grumpy.

I just dump everything in the bin and leave %99 of the time and hope it gets scanned properly - to meet the OTHER jerks involved aka eBay.

I know that the jerks in San Jose have LOADS of experience shipping things - they surely know best (no im not joking and dont call me Shirely) - MUCH better then I do - especially when Ive been shipping things since before they reinvented the online flea market.

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by: OnlyPollyPocket This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 12:14:06 2021

"eBay will be chomping at the bit over this. This is just what they need to push everyone to Priority Shipping Only, therefore increasing their bottom line again, using USPS to do so."

I think that if ebay went to Priority shipping only it would backfire on them.  Sellers can't absorb that so the cost, of course, would be higher prices for buyers in the products and/or shipping cost.

I would like to believe that ebay knows it isn't the only venue where sellers can sell and buyers can buy...using FCM

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 15:50:00 2021

Another nail in the coffin, each rate increase is one less year I'll be selling, already at half of inventory I could sell 5 yrs ago. Smallies are selling less and less, then whats the USPS gonna do.

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

Sun Feb 14 18:10:41 2021

@ Pace306

"The delivery people are gems, but the office people are jerks - class one. Theres never a nice smiley person to talk to, theres usually never more then 1 person to talk to - and when you finish waiting on the LONG line - they are quite grumpy."

Same experience here.  I really resent the job entitlement attitude of the sourpusses at my nearest post office.  I usually drive an extra mile or two to other locations just to avoid this branch and the "grumpy" and frumpy job-for-life employees.  USPS should do what successful private businesses do.  Hire hot, young women who LIKE to smile.

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by: comments This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 14 22:43:22 2021

It would be interesting to see how USPS could actually deliver slower then the present. I think sellers could actually benefit from that. USPS negotiated a fake 3 day delivery with companies like ebay and amazon. If USPS were to cancel that agreement we might have more accurate handling times.

The reality is though that congress does need to meet and throw DeJoy TF out of there. It has to happen and it is going to happen. May as well do it sooner then later. Glad the Senate finally woke up.

I'm shocked that Tammy Duckworth is leading the charge though. I would have expected it from a small business advocate like Marco Rubio rather then Mrs. Duckworth. Obviously this is one area where the interest of small business and her rich special interest groups align.  

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by: Disgusted This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 01:05:36 2021

Sounds like USPS wants to go out of the mail delivery.   I have to allow 5 business days for my rent to get delivered in the same town.  $50.00 late fee if not rec'd on the 1st.
Flat rate Priority envelope mailed on the 10th is scheduled for delivery on the 16th. That is going to the same state - 210 miles away.
Must be someone wants higher unemployment in this country.
UPS and Fedex are jumping for joy at this.  The only ones happy will be the Chinese with the special service and rates they get from USPS.  

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by: wrslss1222 This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 15 06:26:46 2021

I don't understand why this Postmaster General hasn't been interviewed by the new media and grilled on what he will do to improve the service and timely delivering, not make it worse.  If this brainstorm of an idea only involves first class letters than anyone sending letters should send an email or text instead.  But, slowing down first class letters could impact important documents and this could hurt individuals as well as businesses.  To sum up, first his moron and hire someone who actually has knowledge and cares about giving proper service.

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by: danc This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 06:40:18 2021

Currently the USPS does not offer tracking for registered mail coming from abroad. Once the item leaves the country of origin, in my case Israel, and enters the US, it is no longer trackable. Most other countries do supply tracking info until delivery for registered mail. One expects better from a US government service.

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by: NorthCoast This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 08:17:21 2021

@angryllama   Poshmark ships via Priority Mail only. I’m sure Ebay is salivating over that idea.  

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by: semper fi This user has validated their user name.
Web Site

Mon Feb 15 09:37:29 2021

Check this out.
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/factcheck/2020/08/13/fact-
check-postmaster-general-louis-dejoy-invested-competitors/5550480002/

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by: AMogul This user has validated their user name.

Mon Feb 15 11:42:10 2021

I am seeing things ''normalize'' with the USPS now.  I definitely saw some extreme delays between early November into about the 3rd week of January.  There are still 3 or 4 out of approximately 800 shipments over a 3 month period, that are missing in action. The new normal is definitely not the old normal.  First class used to be as quick as priority mail in most cases, averaging 2 to 3 day delivery in most parts of the country from Colorado.  Now its averaging 4 to 6 days.  I'm okay with that and eBay seems to have managed the customer expectations well on their website.  I only get about 1 out 150 orders contacting me for whereabouts on items.  This new shipping norm has caused me to don a new hat in my business.  I am now the Chief Shipping Analytics Officer every day.  I use shipstation and spend 10 to 15 minutes looking at In Transit shipping data every day, twice a day.  I am an analytical nerd, so I don't mind.  I look for trouble and jump in and start filing missing mail claims where appropriate as well as letting customers know there is a delay that should work itself out.  

I actually closed my eBay store about 8 or 9 days before Christmas this year.  It was a nice break.  No amount of profit was going to be worth the frustration.  It actually paid dividends, because I deal with a couple of nickel and dime competitors that drop prices.  That competition either reset or they were sold out of competing items after Christmas and I was able to come back on and raise a bunch of prices.  I actually close my eBay store for 3 or 4 days every 2 to 3 weeks now and employ that very strategy.  Its helped my bottom line and the breaks are actually pretty nice.

Shipping rates go up.  No need to plan on quitting as I have read in some of the comments.  Just adjust your prices.  Your customers will be just as unhappy as your are about the increases, but they will come around.  After 22 years of selling on eBay and 22 years of seeing the rates go up, they always come back.

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