It's official - online sellers who ship orders through the US Postal Service will pay higher rates during the holidays. But the USPS makes no guarantee those packages will arrive on time.
On Friday, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) approved the USPS's temporary rate adjustments for the 2021 peak holiday season citing extra handling costs due to "heightened peak-season package and shipping demand."
The PRC said the rate adjustment was similar to the one instituted during the 2020 holiday season
(which was in place October 18 through December 27, 2020).
However, holiday shippers experienced unprecedented disruptions in delivery
through the USPS last year, with many holiday shoppers never receiving packages, or receiving them days or weeks after the Christmas holiday.
In its announcement Friday, the PRC said approved peak-season pricing would affect prices on commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels - Priority Mail Express (PME), Priority Mail (PM), First-Class Package Service (FCPS), Parcel Select, USPS Retail Ground, and Parcel Return Service.
International products are unaffected.
The temporary rates run from October 3, 2021, and remain in place through Saturday, December 25, 2021.
"This seasonal adjustment will bring prices for the Postal Service's commercial and retail customers in line with competitive practices," the PRC said.
But, it added, "No structural changes are planned as part of this limited pricing initiative," and it made no demands of the USPS to do better this year in terms of on-time delivery.
It wouldn't be surprising if online sellers were willing to pay a holiday surcharge if it meant their packages would arrive intact and on time. But paying more only to have buyers of late-arriving packages file winning claims is illogical for any businessperson.