Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Oct 16 2016 21:10:02

Postal Regulatory Commission Listens to Small Sellers

By: Ina Steiner

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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.

Comments (31) | Leave Comment | Permalink
Readers Comments

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by: puppy This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 17 17:30:48 2016

To all the rightfully outraged commenters here, where were you all when it was time to submit comments to the PRC?  Did the difficult to use website scare you away? Or did you even try? What I learned from a bunch of hard work on this issue is that people LOVE to complain but very few will actually take constructive action, even when the instructions are spoon fed to them. Very disappointing and concerning. Also, the people who are pointing out to Carol that epackets COST usps money are 100% correct. I spent considerable time researching this issue so that what I wrote to the PRC would be compelling. There is always some naysayer who tries to discourage those fighting to make positive change, when they barely know the facts themselves. Please read more on this issue Carol.

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Mon Oct 17 22:01:45 2016

Wouldn't it be great if I could ship a 1st class package for .25 cents and the chinese had to pay $2.60

THE WHOLE PRICING SYSTEM IS BACKWARDS!

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 17 22:39:43 2016

OK, one guy in the US bureaucracy has enough of a brain to see an obvious injustice. But don't hold your breath waiting for any justice to be served. As usual, Follow the Money; China will buy off any opposition. And, they'll do it with money stolen from us.

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by: Volvo351 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 17 22:42:09 2016

@ignatz

Short A to your Q: the ChiCom's have bought off Congress.

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by: Frank F This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 17 23:42:23 2016

This is just another way our country is losing and not WINNING like we should be.. Think about it, on every aspect of this America and Americans LOSE!

I don't want to bring politics into this, but I MUST! We need to Start WINNING and this is right up Trumps alley!

And PS: A ton of these Chinese seller as US sellers are illegal aliens in our country. They came here on travel and education visas and when they expire they just never leave. And many are running businesses or warehouses here and they are not paying any US taxes as they report that they are selling overseas. And a lot of them are drop shipping the stuff. And a lot of them are collecting assistance too. Its just ridiculous and needs to STOP!

Sure hope this post isn't censored as its an important message!! AMERICA FIRST!!!

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by: DZT This user has validated their user name.

Mon Oct 17 23:51:35 2016

The USPS is not run like a business....
It is run like a bloated government bureaucracy.

Each new hair-brained policy that they come with does not surprise me.

Lots of highly paid ''supervisors'' wander around the station & they do very little.

The employees that actually do any work are over paid union workers that are poorly educated,unskilled & for the most part are not happy with the menial attributes of moving mail through their system.

The USPS is operating its whole system with obsolete technology.

Walk into any post office & it is like walking back in time to the early 60's

Try calling the USPS with a problem & you will soon find out that there is absolutely no accountability within their system.

The post office has one of the highest rates of theft & union fraud around.........

So much so that they even have a website dedicated to keeping track of all the shenanigans going on.....

http://postalemployeenetwork.com/news/category/usps-new

s/theftandfraud/

We
might hear a lot of lip service from the USPS about how they are going to improve things but, until they get their house in order & control all the rampant internal theft & fraud.... they will always be in a death spiral & they will always be forced to raise their rates.

Fed Ex {a real business} will be there to clean up after the USPS has nothing to deliver but junk mail & pizza coupons.

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by: dll366 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 18 08:17:54 2016

The problems the USPS is facing regarding these too-cheap shipping prices from China is a problem created from the Universal Postal Union, an international organization created in 1874.  Except for the e-packet service, the current treaty was negotiated decades ago.  The USPS itself negotiated the newest e-packet service directly with China in 2010 in the hopes of increasing volume of packages that would generate more money from extra volume and from extra services purchased by the shippers.  That didn't happen.
Please stop blaming people who are not responsible for this imbalance in postal rates as it is not their doing.
As for the pre-funding of retiree health benefits, I can understand the concept, but expecting the USPS to fund 75 years worth of costs is absurd.  While some private companies do pre-funding, it is not for 75 years worth, and the amount of private companies who do this is only a small percentage.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/storyline/wp/2014/09/12/the-postal
-service-is-losing-millions-a-year-to-help-you-buy-cheap-stuff-from-china/
http://dailycaller.com/2015/06/16/international-agreement-forces-usps-to-lose-money-on-foreign-mail/
http://www.upu.int/en/the-upu/the-upu.html
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/10/the-right-wings-assault-on-the-post-office-smashing-the-myth-that-its-in-financial-trouble.html

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This user has validated their user name. by: RKTOYS

Tue Oct 18 09:20:11 2016

puppy, I absolutely did post a comment to the PRC.

[http://www.prc.gov/docs/96/96702/ePacket.pdf]

The reality is, though, that these RFCs are for show and the decision to keep screwing working Americans was already made long ago.

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by: Mongoose This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 18 13:13:45 2016

Tool GUy, ebay negotiated with the Chinese government for access to the Chinese market.  The Chinese would allow ebay into China, but at very strict concessions.  The Chinese pay no listing fees, that's why they can afford to flood the market with thousands of junk items.  Ebay cannot see any  of their IP addresses, so if one Chinese seller is NARU'ed, they can just create a new user name and continue to sell, oh, and with no starting restrictions like US sellers have.

Ebay would rather make 1 cent a million times from the Chinese than to grow their US market place.  So what if all they sell is junk or counterfeits, ebay makes the same money, and with ebay no enforcing return shipping on the Chinese, they rarely have to refund fees to the Chinese.

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by: puppy This user has validated their user name.

Tue Oct 18 14:22:34 2016

Hi RKToys. Yes, I recognize you and sincerely thank you for actually doing the work. I am no stranger to understanding corruption and that most truly effective decisions happy far away from the public's eyes. I just felt that if people had weighed in by the thousands- a closer representation to the strong feelings about this issue, it would have had some impact. When people show they are complacent and willing to accept the status quo- we get continued status quo, its a fact. No one making decisions reads the complaints and comments on this blog or the amazon seller forums. They are forced to notice complaints when they are submitted as part of due process. I just don't understand why people don't complain in the right places to get at least a shot at changing things.

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

Wed Oct 26 07:55:13 2016

Ina,

Great article. Realistically the PRC does not need to alter pricing or how rates are calculated.

All they have to do is turn off the delivery confirmation on this service and all that fulfillment will flow back to the United States. US residents will never order from China without delivery confirmation.

It's a very simple fix. Turn off their tracking because they are not reciprocating for China bound packages from the US. Just my humble opinion. Love the article keep up the great work.

Joe

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