Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Thu Nov 18 2021 21:42:03

Mailing Long Skinny Items Like Posters Is a No-Go in 2022

By: Ina Steiner

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Sellers, beware. Beginning in January, you will pay a steep price if you ship long skinny items. And sellers of items like movie posters may not know what hits them when January 9, 2022 comes around. 

When the USPS announced a rate hike last week, it didn't point out the new nonstandard charges going into effect. As we reported in our coverage, those fees apply to packages that are longer than 22 inches.

When we pointed out the nonstandard fees, sellers asked, does that include mailing tubes? USPS spokesperson David P. Coleman told us, yes, the fee will apply to tubes.

He added, "If the tube dimensions qualify it for dim weight, then the fee will be on top of the dim weight price."

That means sellers of movie posters will pay the new $4 nonstandard fee for a tube greater than 22" and the new $15 nonstandard fee for a tube greater than 30" - to be clear, that is in addition to the cost of postage.

We checked in with a seller of movie posters for a reality check - he found it hard to believe. "To me, this is insanity, and just one more way the USPS is imploding," he said.

One theory: the USPS doesn't want to deal with mailing tubes. In July, we had written about reports from sellers who said the post office was failing to deliver mailing tubes intact and on time, including this letter from a reader.

He was probably correct when he wrote, "This probably points to a change in the USPS sorting processes and needs to be called put and fixed." It seems possible that mailing tubes may have been gumming up the works. The response from the USPS to the problem: charge exorbitant fees.

But it's not fair for the USPS to sneak the new fees into a filing in a PDF file on the PRC website where sellers won't see it. 

If anyone responsible for shipping at online marketplaces where posters are sold is reading this, you may wish to inform your sellers immediately.

We predict many shippers will be surprised come January 9, 2022, when they go to print a shipping label for long skinny items. Don't let that be you!

Update 12/6/2021: The USPS will go forward with its regular Shipping rate hike on January 9th, but it will delay the $1.50 Dimension Noncompliance Fee and the $4 and $15 Nonstandard Fees until April, see more in this December 5th AuctionBytes Blog post.

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Readers Comments

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

Fri Nov 19 00:52:28 2021

Once again USPS shows us that they really do not want to stay in business as DeJoy appears to want to privatize it.  They keep alienating more and more small online sellers and buyers who want to shop online.  DeJoy has been the biggest joke that USPS has ever had running them.  

While First Class mail continues to decline as more and more people do everything online, DeJoy decides to once again increase prices while slowing the mail down.  The rate increases that USPS continues to push through now twice a year plus another temporary increase for the holidays only pushes more and more sellers away from using their services. Eventually this will make USPS more expensive than either of the other shipping services and they will have no business left to support them.

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 09:16:06 2021

I'm still confused about this fee, I ship long tubes but still fall below a cubic foot, 74" x 3" 3". So are they changing the dimension rates or are they just charging if you go over 22" no matter what. I also use alot of their own triangle boxes which measure 38" long.
I mean they've wiped out about half my 1st class smallies, 200%+ rate increase in the last 6 yrs.  

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by: ebayout This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 11:24:42 2021

Ditto terry55...put the tube in a 38x6x6 FREE USPS carton.
Sleeve 2 together if the tube is longer...can go to 48" and still be at 1 cubic foot.  

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 16:31:47 2021

ebayout
I can go up to 58" using the triangle boxes, the 74x3x3 boxes are less then one cubic foot(666") that's what I'm trying to find out, are these charges for over dimensional weight or if its for all packages over 30".  

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by: ThebigR This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 18:31:07 2021

terry55 USPS priority box number 1098 and 1098s are both over a cubic foot and will be shipped as oversized 38-6-4 and 25-6-5...  

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Nov 19 19:33:11 2021

ThebigR--
38x6x4=912 and other is 750
a cubic ft is 1728

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by: P&S This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 20 01:57:53 2021

This also would affect me. Ebay needs to start making deals with the USPS as well as all other marketplaces ASAP, also shopify. UPS just needs to take over the mail and price it reasonably. I already use UPS for anything over a pound now because UPS rates are better than USPS.  

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Sat Nov 20 16:41:17 2021

"If the tube dimensions qualify it for dim weight, then the fee will be on top of the dim weight price"
So does this means the tube would have to be over dim weight

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by: ZZ This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 08:36:01 2021

Please tell us more about the triangular long priority boxes that USPS provides free of charge. In a previous article, you said those would be exempt from the added fees. In this one, it was mentioned about splicing these boxes together to make them longer which is common for shipping a single golf club. Only putters and wedges will fit what the USPS called the 'medium' length box without splicing.
BTW, there is a large size triangular box. I got a club mailed to me from a manufacturer in one. My guess is they are not for 'us'. Anyways, they are also wider and weigh a lot more too, so are not economical. They put the weight of sending a single golf club from 2 lbs. to 3 lbs.

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by: sellerchick This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 09:24:33 2021

As we know, anything 22" or longer automatically gets bumped to priority mail under commercial base pricing/click and ship/Ebay stamps.com etc.

Are the $4 and $15 fees ON TOP of this rate as of Jan 9th?

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by: Disgruntled_Seller This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 09:45:09 2021

And even if the DIM part is good, one has to worry about the usual aspect of some postal employee knowing how things work, or not, and charging regardless.  

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by: up74 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 09:55:01 2021

I have started shipping my golf clubs UPS lately do to many being broke by USPS. It has become impossible to collect on damage since USPS now requires the item to be taken to a USPS location for verification, in addition to photos.
I have found that with the discount I get at
Shipstation UPS is actually less expensive on these items than USPS.

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 10:25:43 2021

I mail old swords, baseball bats, fishing poles and other long items and this will kill the price for certain. I assume this surcharge applies to the USPS long tube mailers.  

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by: TiredJustTired This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 10:55:46 2021

If you think that USPS is bad, UPS's rates are even worse for posters.  For a 24x2x7 tube weighing only 1 lb., USPS currently charges $10.30.  That is without the postal increase and standard tube charge on January 9, 2022.  UPS already charges $18.59 for the same sized and weight tube right now.  Guess I'm no longer selling movie posters online anymore.

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by: lessthanthreerecords This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 11:08:29 2021

I ship a lot of posters. Thankfully, many/most are fairly small and won't get hit by either surcharge, but some will.  I've always found that 24" tubes and 30" tubes are easy to find, but not anything in between.  Those measurements are the usable internal measurements, so you need to add about 1" for the end caps.  I realized that a standard 24" x 36" poster would fit just as well in a 28" tube (which would come to roughly 29" externally) as it would a 30" tube (which I've always used in the past).  So, you'll still need to pay the extra $4, but at least not $15.  I had a bit of a tough time finding 28" tubes, but I eventually did, and they're not too badly priced (link below).  I have still not been successful in finding 28" kraft paper, but I can always cut my 30" kraft paper down to size.

https://www.uline.com/Product/Detail/S-12038/Kraft-Mailin
g-Tubes/Kraft-Mailing-Tubes-with-End-Caps-3-x-28-080-thick

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by: Gumball This user has validated their user name.

Mon Nov 22 11:13:53 2021

And more items bite the dust due to shipping costs. As a seller of collectibles, I have dealt with this for years. I quit selling board games years back when the cost got almost twice as high as you could get for the item. Also quit selling overseas when Post Office rasied their fees to $15. Anything that won't fit in a flat rate box, is out. No longer buy dishes or glass to resell because the Post Office no longers pays for broken items, and the cost of shipping is almost always over $18 due to size and  weight of many of the items, i.e., serving pieces. Shipping companies, including the Post Office, will slowly erode the small seller out of business. The higher shipping costs will stop many from actually complieting the sale that is in their cart.  Every year the window of what you can sell online grows smaller. Amazon will probably do best as they have created their own delivery service, but I noticed they are now not going to be offering free shipping on larger items beginning the first part of next year. So the raise in shipping costs will surely affect sales in that area.  

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by: terry55 This user has validated their user name.

Fri Dec 3 17:56:12 2021

I just received a email from a contact at USPS that the increase won't happen until April 3, 2022. I'll post it when I can verify the date change.  Still trying to verify if its for packages dimensional size or if its for all packages over 30''

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by: RMA49311 This user has validated their user name.

Mon Dec 6 08:13:35 2021

So what about square tubes? I frequently use 4x4x48 and 6x6x48 boxes to ship auto parts... neither of which are round, both of which at at/under a cubic foot, but obviously are over 22/30 inches... Am I going to have to start custom building my own boxes from the USPS triangle tubes? Even though they are bigger and bulkier and not as strong for heavy items? THIS IS SO CONFUSING. Hopefully they walk this one back into the bushes never to be seen again.



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