|Sun Mar 3 2013 16:52:30|
USPS Parcel Post Changes Could Be Costly for Online Sellers
By: Ina Steiner
A reader brought an interesting issue to my attention that's a result of the US Postal Service changes to Parcel Post that went into effect in January.
"As most of your readers know, the USPS has changed the name of Parcel Post to Standard Post if dropped off at the Post Office. If using a service like stamps.com they changed the name to Parcel Select.
"I was looking up a rate for a customer of mine for a 43 pound box going from a zip code in Missouri to a zip code in Maine on the USPS.com website. I looked up the rate for Standard Post and the rate was $34.64. I then went to print the label through stamps.com and the price I was being charged for Parcel Select same service different name was $38.04. Stamps.com was charging me $3.40 more than the Post Office would charge me if I dropped the box off at the counter."
The problem occurs because the USPS doesn't allow online postage providers to offer Standard Post - but they can offer what in many cases is a better alternative, Parcel Select.
However, once you get up to about 27 - 28 pounds, you'll want to start comparing Parcel Post and Standard Post to see which is cheaper, keeping in mind that you'll have to purchase Standard Post at your local post office.
This reader felt the online postage providers are not doing a good job of educating online sellers about this issue: "My point is, before the rate increase I would never spend one dime more printing any label on stamps.com than taking it to the Post Office - it was always cheaper or the same price to print it through stamps.com. That is no longer the case, and I am sure stamps.com has many customers who print many package labels Parcel Select now who think they are paying the same price as the Post Office would charge if they took it directly to the counter."
I'd be interested to know if other readers feel the same way. He feels online-postage customers "should decide for themselves if they want to pay extra on stamps.com or drive their 1 or 100 packages to the Post Office to save money."
I've already written about a related problem at eBay, which offers Parcel Select in its shipping calculator, but doesn't support Parcel Select through its shipping-label program. (It's supposed to become available to eBay sellers sometime this month.)
Are there other quirks you've discovered with the recent USPS changes? Feel free to share your shipping woes along with your tips for coping. And remember to heed this seller's advice about shipping heavier packages - those dollars can really add up!
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