In July, we told readers you could weigh in on an issue that has many online sellers upset - Terminal Dues, which are the reason why sellers in Asian countries can deliver small packages to US shoppers more cheaply than US sellers can.
Some of you took heed and went to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) website to voice your opinions, explaining how you wished for a more level playing field when it came to shipping costs. And be assured, your voice was heard.
When the PRC submitted its views about Terminal Dues to the State Department, which oversees negotiations on international postal rates with other UN members, PRC Commissioner Mark Acton also submitted his own, separate views.
He wrote in part:
"Participants who commented for the record in the Commission's latest development of views (Docket No. IM2016-1) - spanning from the largest and most sophisticated mailers and shippers in the world to the smallest US business owners - were unanimous in opposing the proposed UPU rates due to their noncompensatory and discriminatory nature."
Acton also wrote, "For me, the notion that today the American consumer can find on Amazon the same item delivered from overseas at a rate significantly less than from, say Dallas, speaks powerfully to this fundamental injustice."
We took a close look at the Commission's views in the October 11th EcommerceBytes 411 newsletter - it told the State Department it did not have sufficient information on whether the proposed Terminal Dues were consistent with US law. But Acting Chairperson Robert Taub, who also submitted separate views along with the PRC's views, said he was "compelled to find the terminal dues proposals inconsistent with the law."
And as we revealed, Acton went much further in his views, writing:
"If a more market-centric resolution cannot be brokered within the UPU, perhaps a coordinated member state initiative without the UPU offers a brighter, longer term prospect toward driving fuller cost coverage and reducing unfair trade distortions."
That may or may not be a good (or viable) idea. But at least small sellers can take satisfaction they made their voices heard, and someone was listening.