USPS Announces 2017 Postage Rate Increase for Mailing Services

October 14th, 2016 Comments off

SDC Blog Image USPS New Rates Jan 2017The United States Postal Service (USPS) has proposed new pricing for its Mailing Services to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC).  If approved by the PRC, these price updates will go into effect in January 2017.

Note:  This proposal DOES NOT include Shipping Services (First Class Package Service, Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express).  2017 rates for USPS Shipping Services should be announced soon.

If these rates are approved by the PRC, the new prices will take effect on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Below is a brief explanation of the proposed changes:

Letters and Postcards

– The rate for First-Class Mail Letters (1 oz.) is increasing from $0.47 to $0.49.
– If using Metered Mail, the rate is decreasing from $0.465 to $0.46, making the Commercial Base (online postage) discount $0.03.
– The rate for First-Class Mail Flats is increasing from $0.94 to $0.98.

Letters and Postcards Table

First-Class Mail Parcels (Retail)

Important:  Retail prices are offered by the Post Office only.  Stamps.com customers will receive Commercial Base (Online Postage) prices.

– First-Class Mail Parcels (Retail) will see an overall price increase of 0.624% and the rate for parcels weighing between 0-4 ounces will be the same at $2.67.
– Also, there will be a 1 cent decrease in the additional ounce price for First-Class Mail Parcels (Retail) from $0.19 to $0.18.
– Adult Signature Service will become available for purchase with First-Class Mail Parcels (Retail).  Post Office prices will start at $2.67 for a 1 ounce parcel.

FCM

Note:  There are no proposed rate changes for First-Class Mail International.

Media Mail

– Media Mail will see an overall price increase of 1.135%.

Media Mail Table

Other Changes

– Standard Mail (commonly referred to as “junk mail”) will be rebranded as USPS Marketing Mail so as to better align the product name with business owners’ use of the mail class.
– Library Mail will see an overall price increase of 1.135%.
– Special services like Certificate of Mailing, Collect on Delivery, Return Receipt, Registered Mail and Signature Confirmation will also see an increase in 2017.

No Action Needed For Stamps.com Customers

Stamps.com will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online).  If you are a Stamps.com customer, no additional actions are needed and you will see the new reduced USPS rates automatically in January 2017.

USPS Holiday Shipping Deadlines

October 7th, 2016 Comments off

Stamps.com Blog USPS Holiday Shipping DeadlinesStamps.com wishes you a prosperous holiday shipping season! A big part of being prepared for this busy time of year is knowing the dates you need to ship in order for packages to arrive on time for the holidays. The United States Postal Service sets holiday shipping cutoff dates for its various mail classes, which we’ve put together in convenient charts so you can plan—and ship—accordingly.

Stamps.com Blog Shipping Deadlines Charts

USPS Updates Standards for Shipping Firearms

September 1st, 2016 Comments off

SDC Firearms Blog PostThe United States Postal Service recently revised their rules regarding “Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.” While most changes were done in order to correct erroneous references and provide greater clarity to existing language, anyone shipping firearms should know that the following language has been added:

“All regulated firearms must be mailed using a USPS product or Extra Service that provides tracking and signature capture at delivery.”

Also worth noting is a change to the requirements for mailing rifles and shotguns (Section 432.3), which now states that these items must include “Signature Confirmation service or insured mail service (for more than $500) requiring a signature at delivery.” That insured mail service amount is up from $200.

While these changes to the firearm requirements are fairly minor, this update serves as a good opportunity to remind shippers about USPS content restrictions.

Here are some resources we think you’ll find helpful:

– USPS to Limit Shipping of Hoverboards—This blog post explains restrictions for shipping “hoverboards,” also known as motorized balance boards. The USPS implemented restrictions due to safety concerns and the risk of fire caused by the lithium batteries used to power hoverboards.

– While on the subject of batteries, this blog post details USPS standards for mailing lithium batteries.

– USPS International Restrictions by Country—Anyone who wants to ship to customers outside of the U.S. will want to take a look.

– Keep up with all USPS News on the Stamps.com blog.

USPS Announces Changes to Certain Rates and Services

August 24th, 2016 Comments off

279384_Postage-Rate-change_blogIf you haven’t already done so, mark your calendar for August 28, 2016, which is when the United States Postal Service® is implementing a handful of changes.  If you have questions, we have answers.

First-Class Mail Parcel Retail Rates Are Rising

What’s changing?

The Retail (Post Office) rate for First-Class Mail® Parcel packages weighing 1-3 ounces is increasing from $2.45 to $2.62.

Note:  Commercial Base rates are not changing and will continue to start at $2.60 for First-Class Mail® Parcel packages.

What’s the new rate going to be for Stamps.com customers?

With this price change, Stamps.com customers will pay the Commercial Base rate of $2.60 for packages weighing 1-3 ounces.  This online price is 2 cents cheaper than the retail rate of $2.62.

USPS changed First-Class Package Service rates back in January, creating a unique situation at the time where the Retail rate for First-Class Package Service ($2.45) was actually lower than the Commercial Base (discounted online) pricing ($2.60) for packages weighing 1-3 ounces.  Stamps.com automatically gave customers the lower Retail rate ($2.45) when this happened.

What do I need to do to get the updated rates?

There’s no action needed for Stamps.com customers.  We will automatically update all USPS rates inside the software and the Stamps.com Online web-based version.  You will see the new rates automatically.

Other changes starting August 28:

Priority Mail Express International service to Cuba will be available for Flat Rate Envelopes up to 4 pounds and parcels up to 22 pounds. Currently, Cuba receives First-Class Mail International®, First-Class Package International Service® and Priority Mail International® items from the Postal Service.  Learn how to use Stamps.com to ship to Cuba.

Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Priced Boxes will move to the air parcel stream with access to tracking and insurance. Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes and Small Flat Rate Boxes, which will still be limited to a maximum weight of 4 pounds, will now also be required to carry a PS Form 2976-A Customs Form.

USPS Changes Customs Form Acceptance

July 14th, 2016 Comments off

Blog_USPS Changes Customs Form AcceptanceUnless you’re dropping a shipment off at the Post Office retail counter, customs declaration forms (AKA customs forms) for packages being sent internationally through USPS must now be completed and submitted online. In other words, no more filling out these forms by hand without making a trip to the Post Office.

According to a recent letter to its customers, USPS has discontinued preprinted, hardcopy customs declaration forms PS Form 2976 (one-page form), PS Form 2976-A (multi-page form) and PS Form 2976-B (Priority Mail Express International form). After June 3, 2016, the Postal Service will return improperly presented items to the sender for proper entry and acceptance.

What does this mean for Stamps.com customers?
Since Stamps.com software auto-completes integrated customs forms and electronically submits customs data to USPS, this means our customers aren’t impacted by this change. Customers can continue to use our software to print their customs forms and include the appropriate forms with international shipments.

Anyone not using a PC Postage provider like Stamps.com or USPS Click-N-Ship has a couple different options during the transition, according to USPS:

– Visit the Post Office—as previously mentioned, customers can visit their local Post Office retail counter to complete the replacement PS Form 2976-R hardcopy form. The customer must give the completed form to a retail associate to complete the transaction.

– Go online—Create an electronic customs form by visiting https://www.usps.com/customsforms and entering the appropriate information. You can then print the form and apply it to your package with your postage. You can then use your current method to induct your packages into the mailstream.

The plastic pouches used to enclose and attach the customs form to the package are still available online – order these envelopes and other USPS supplies for free at the Stamps.com Store!

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.