The Postal Service’s recent price cuts for big businesses that ship packages are already trickling down to the small fry, like eBay seller Joe Strader. And based on Strader’s reaction to the rates that took effect on Sunday (Sept. 7), a lot of other small shippers will be switching their business to the U.S. Postal Service as well.
The proprietor of the eBay store Joe’s Surplus and Salvage noted a change he made this week on an item he ships frequently.
“In the past this would have been all FedEx but Priority Mail beats
them with the discount. In addition, it gets there on Saturday rather
than Monday. For small items, I get free boxes, not an insignificant
"Yes, that is a 49% discount off of retail,”
Strader says of the USPS shipping quote of $9.14 for sending a 20-pound
package.FedEx would have charged $10.86 for the same shipment, and United Parcel Service would have been even higher, he adds.
Before the rate change, Strader used the Postal Service almost solely for items
weighing less than 6 pounds.
“This is going to get ugly,” he says of the heightened parcel competition among the Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS. The new Priority Mail rates are slightly higher for retail customers who drop off a package at a post office but up to 55% lower for medium-weight packages sent by large business mailers.
Extra bonus for eBay merchants
EBay sellers have an additional reason to like the new Priority Mail discounts: “When a customer of eBay calculates shipping, it gives the rate before the discount. The seller gets the difference,” explains Strader, who offers most of his eBay merchandise with free shipping. “For those that charge shipping on transactions based on calculated rather than flat rate, it is a significant difference” (and additional profit).
He even finds the much-maligned Postal Service often beating its private-sector competitors on customer service. He described what happened with a recent USPS shipment that was supposed to be next-day service but took two days:
“I filled out the simple form, took my receipt and paperwork to the post office and handed it over. After a few strokes on the computer, I had a cash refund, that day, no waiting. I was shocked that I did not have to wait a few weeks like FedEx or UPS only to find out it was my fault for some reason. I asked and the agent said that since it was delivered and obviously the wrong date, the refund is automatically processed.”
“Admittedly, mine is a small town post office and much more convenient than most. However, the service is great, they have picked up as many as a dozen small packages at my door (UPS and FedEx Ground charge by the package), and a lot of stuff I just put in the mailbox with the flag up.
They have a few goofy employees, they are often slow at the window, and there are occasional lines (don't go at 8:30 or 3:30). But, I ship 90% of my items USPS.”