Top 25 Questions About the 2012 USPS Postage Rate Increase
Stamps.com recently presented a webinar on the 2012 USPS Postage Rate Increase that goes into effect on Sunday, January 22, 2012. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below:
During the webinar, we had over 200 questions regarding how the new USPS postage rate increase will be affecting mailing and shipping costs. We’ve answered some of the top questions below:
Question from AJ: Are all Regional Rate Boxes good from coast to coast, it was my understanding they were good for certain areas only – Example: Box A= up to 150 miles, Box B=300 miles
Answer: Don’t let the “regional” name fool you — Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes can be used for destinations throughout the U.S. In fact, Regional Rate Box A is the cheapest method to use Priority Mail (lower cost than Priority Mail Flat Rate and regular Priority Mail) for packages traveling across the U.S. and weighing between 2 and 15 pounds.
The only restrictions that Regional Rate Boxes have are for weight. Box A holds up to 15 pounds, Box B holds up to 20 pounds and then new Regional Rate Box C holds up to 25 pounds
Question from Anita: Did you say Regional Rate Boxes cost more if you pay for them at the post office?
Answer: Yes, starting on January 22, 2012, postage for Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes will be available at the Post Office. However, you will need to pay a $0.75 fee per package on top of the online postage cost — so you can save a lot of money by printing your Regional Rate postage using Stamps.com
Question from Tammy: Am I understanding this correctly? If we ship First Class Mail large envelopes and normally get Delivery Confirmation that we will no longer be charged for the Delivery Confirmation?
Answer: No, free Delivery Confirmation is not available currently for First Class Mail large envelopes. In fact, the USPS does not allow customers to purchase Delivery Confirmation for First Class Mail letters or large envelopes. The new feature that the USPS is introducing for 2012 is free Delivery Confirmation for First Class Package Service (formerly known as First Class Mail Parcels). So if you ship packages using First Class Package Service, you will now be able to save $0.19 when you use the free Delivery Confirmation.
Question from Cynthia: Can Package Intercept service be requested for any type of mail delivery service/package?
Answer: The new Package Intercept service is currently only available for Priority Mail right now. Hopefully, the USPS will add other mail classes in the future.
Question from Dorothy: Can we still use the old rate supplies? Or do you recommend getting the new supplies?
Answer: Yes, all USPS Boxes can still be used. The only thing that is changing on January 22, 2012 is the postage rates. All supplies and boxes will still be good.
Question from Debra: Did you say that we will need to download a new version of the software for Stamps.com before 1/22?
Answer: All versions of Stamps.com will be updated with the new 2012 rates starting on Sunday, January 22, 2012. Stamps.com customers will not need to do anything — the new rates will automatically appear.
However, if you would like to use the new services the USPS is introducing such as the Express Mail Flat Rate Box, Regional Rate Box C or receive free Delivery Confirmation with First Class Package Service, you will need to download the new version of Stamps.com (Version 9.5). You can download Version 9.5 immediately at www.stamps.com/download/
Question from Phil: Do the Regional Rate shipping methods have guaranteed delivery?
Answer: Regional Rate Boxes are part of the Priority Mail program, so delivery time is not guaranteed. But Priority Mail is usually delivered within 2 days to most addresses in the continental U.S.
Question from Lourdes: Is there an increase in the postage amount for a Postcard?
Answer: Yes, postage for postcards is increasing by 3 cents to $0.32 on January 22, 2012.
Question from Karen: Does Stamps.com have the Regional Rate pricing in their program?
Answer: YES! Stamps.com has all the Regional Rate Boxes! They are listed as a separate under the “Mailpiece” drop down menu.
Question from Kieran: Why can’t we order Regional Rate Box C or the new Express Flat Rate Boxes to be ready for Jan 22?
Answer: USPS.com should have the new Regional Rate Box C and Express Mail Flat Rate Box available to order starting Thursday, January 19.
Question from Shannon: Will Certified Mail and Return Receipt rates go up as well?
Answer: Yes, many USPS special services are increasing on January 22, 2012. Certified Mail is increasing by $0.10 to $2.95. Return Receipt (at time of mailing) is increasing by $0.05 to $2.35 at the Post Office, but if you purchase Return Receipt through Stamps.com it will remain $1.15.
Question from Maria: For the Flat Rate Express Mail box, is it guaranteed overnight delivery? if so, do you get a refund if it is not delivered overnight?
Answer: Express Mail offers overnight delivery to most U.S. locations. But in order for you to receive the money-back guarantee, it will depend on the drop-off time for your package (either when the USPS received the package or when you drop it off at the Post Office) and the destination of your package. To get more info, please check the Express Mail Service Commitment web page at: http://webapps.usps.com/expressmailcommitments/landing.jsp
Question from Vanessa: For the new Package Intercept redirect service, you mentioned the $10.95 service fee, is that a one-time fee or is that a monthly price for that service
Answer: The new Package Intercept service has a $10.95 fee for each package — this is in addition to your Priority Mail postage. Package Intercept is available to all Commercial Mailers which is defined as someone who buys postage online.
The service will allow you to change the destination of your package to a new address. The package can be returned to sender, held for pick up at a Post Office, or redirected to an alternate address. Intercepted packages are shipped using Priority Mail. The Package Intercept process will be managed via the USPS Business Customer Gateway. Get more info at: https://gateway.usps.com/bcg/login.htm
Question from Laura: Is there a report where I can see how much I spent in Priority Mail to see if I qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing?
Answer: Yes! You can use the Stamps.com Reporting tool (click on “Reports” on the left navigation). The reporting tool will show you how much postage is being printed on your account by mail class within a specific time period that you choose. You can also see breakdowns on other costs such as supplies, insurance and subscription fees. Get more info at: https://stamps.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1136/kw/reports
Question from Roger: Q: When will there be Stamps.com for Mac?
Answer: Stamps.com Online recently has been introduced that allows Mac customers to use Stamps.com. Customers can print stamps and shipping labels directly from your web browser, no software download needed!
Important Note: Stamps.com web-based version does not work for PowerPC’s or Mac OS 10.4 or earlier. If you need to use Stamps.com Software, Mac customers can use a Windows emulator software to run the Stamps.com software.
Question from Felicia: I notice that 1 oz letter will increase to 45 cents but if you would please explain on the additional oz 20 cents
Answer: The USPS will now charge $0.45 for a 1 ounce letter. But if your letter ways over 1 ounce the USPS will charge an additional 20 cents for each additional ounce.
Example #1 = 2 ounces, First Class Mail letter will cost $0.45 + $0.20 = $0.65.
Example #2 = 3 ounces, First Class Mail letter will cost $0.45 + $0.20 + $0.20 = $0.85
Question from Bob: I use the online version of Stamps.com. The last two updates would not download when checking update availability from the Help menu. I received a message “”no updates available.” Is there a trick to get the download?
Answer: I would suggest going to www.stamps.com/download/ This will allow you to get the latest version of Stamps.com (Version 9.5). If you have any questions, please call our Customer Support team at 1-888-434-0055 (open Mon-Fri, 6am to 6pm PT).
Question from Nicole: Is the online Stamps.com postage discount supposed to be available using the Stamps.com software or only on the website?
Answer: Stamps.com receives Commercial Base pricing from the USPS for Express Mail, Priority Mail and First Class Package Service. These discounted postage rates are applied automatically when you use the “Packages” or “Batch” tab. Also, the discounted rates are automatically included in both our Stamps.com software and our Stamps.com Online website.
Commercial Base (Online Postage) discounted rates are:
– Up to 62% off Express Mail (up from 21% in 2011)
– Up to 15% off Priority Mail
– Up to 15% off First Class Package Service (up from 8% in 2011)
– Up to 8% off Express Mail International
– Up to 5% off Priority Mail International
Question from Cheri: What if we’ve already printed postage ($0.44) stamps — do we have to add postage for all mailings after Jan 22?
Answer: Great question! For any letters that are mailed after January 22, 2012, you will need to affix an additional $0.01 stamp on your letters. Stamps.com allows you to easily print $0.01 stamps from the “Stamps” section in the navigation.
Question from Stephanie: What is the definition of Media Mail?
Answer: Media Mail is a great option to send media specific items such as books, printed music, manuscripts, educational items and many other items. Some of the drawbacks are that Media Mail cannot contain any form of advertising in the package and that your package could be opened by the USPS to make sure the contents do not qualify for the Media Mail rate. You can find the USPS definition of Media Mail at: http://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/173.htm#1113509
Question from Edward: Why doesn’t Stamps.com offer “Forever Stamps” like the Post Office does?
Answer: Unfortunately, the USPS does not allow postage stamps printed online to be classified as a “Forever Stamp.” Postage stamps printed from Stamps.com (and all online postage vendors) contain the denomination value on each stamp, whereas “Forever Stamps” from the USPS do not contain any denomination.
One drawback that “Forever Stamps” have is that they are limited to the one ounce First Class Mail rate. So if you have a letter that ways over 1 ounce, additional postage will need to be affixed. Stamps.com provides you the convenience of printing stamps for any denomination on demand.
Question from Kathy: Will the USPS still honor the “Forever Stamp” for First Class Mail letters?
Answer: Yes, the 2012 Postage Rate Increase will not change how Forever Stamps are used. All “Forever Stamps” will still be good to use on your First Class Mail letters in 2012.
Question from Kathy: Another question, if I print labels with the 2011 rate (say on 01/21/11) and ship them when the new rates are in effect will the package be delivered or returned for insufficient postage?
Answer: Great Question! If you print postage on Saturday, January 21, 2012, as long as that mailpiece is postmarked on January 21 you will be able to use the old rates. But for any mailpiece that is postmarked from Sunday, January 22, 2012 and later, you will need to pay the new 2012 postage rates.
Question from Lisa: You said the stamps.com postage is discounted – is this automatically? is this for all postage or just certain kinds?
Answer: Yes, the online postage discounts (called Commercial Based pricing by the USPS) is automatically included inside Stamps.com. To receive the discounted rates, just print postage from the “Packages” tab and you will receive the discounted rate.
Question from Lisa: How do you apply for Commercial Plus pricing? Is there an amount you have to mail daily to qualify?
Answer: If you think you qualify for Commercial Plus pricing, you should contact Stamps.com Customer Support who will put you in contact with a High Volume Shipping Specialist. They will be able to review your account and coordinate the sign-up process so Commercial Plus rates are added to your Stamps.com account. The package amounts to qualify for Commercial Plus pricing are:
– Express Mail = 5,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (letters, flats & Critical Mail) = 5,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (packages & Padded Flat Rate Envelope) = 75,000 mailpieces
– Priority Mail (Cubic) = 150,000 mailpieces