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Thread: USPS postal rate weirdness.

  1. #1
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    Mar 2006
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    Default USPS postal rate weirdness.

    Anyone got an insight into this?

    I see a seller on eBay quoting 18 bucks to send a 2.2 ounce box of PCB drills to England, so I question this. After all, I just got a 7 ounce package of 1000 zener diodes sent for $6.30.

    The seller of the drills gets irate, as expected. Eventually cites this:

    Dear lostgallifreyan,

    THIS IS WHAT YOUR 2.2 COMES UP TO ON THE USPS CALCULATOR, NOT EBAY





    International Services


    Rate charts and complete
    information for Great Britain and Northern Ireland
    Mailing Services
    (Show Dimensions) Estimated Delivery Time * Post Office Price Online Price

    Global Express Guaranteed®
    See Service Guide Before Mailing
    1 - 3 Days Calculate Calculate
    Express Mail® International 5 Days
    $39.00 $35.88
    Priority Mail® International 6 - 10 Days $28.00
    $26.60
    Priority Mail® Flat Rate Box 6 - 10 Days $37.00 $35.15

    First-Class Mail® International Varies $18.40
    *Designed to be
    delivered in the number of business days specified for each service
    depending on origin and destination.

    MY CUSTOMERS RECEIVE ACTUAL
    COSTS, NOT INFLATED.
    To which I answer this:
    http://pe.usps.com/text/Imm/fh_014.htm#ep3576772

    Near end of page.
    That's real USPS data too. First Class International is 90 cents per once,
    for packages of this kind of weight. As you can see, $6.30 will send SEVEN
    ounces. Your 2 ounce drills box will send for $2.70, probably including the
    weight of the padded envelpoe. Don't take my word for it, go and see. And
    ask yourself how it is that many US people manage to send things at this
    rate. I've seen a few in the last week who know this.
    This isn't the first time I've seen these extreme claims quoted. Where do they get that stuff? What exactly are they getting wrong? Obviously they ARE getting it wrong, the proof comes to me several times a month at 90 cents per ounce!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
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    Pflugerville, TX, USA
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    Default

    You're right about the costs. I think the reason people charge for the higher level shipping is for convenience and liability. If I sell something on Ebay and need to ship as a package I always go with one of the methods that the guy listed so that I can track the package in case the buyer claims I never sent it and tries to get PayPal to take my money back.

  3. #3
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    Mar 2006
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    Default

    That would usually just need a small extra charge though. Here, 'International Signed For' is a £3.50 extra charge (which also covers insurance to at least £34 on weights to 5 kg). I agree it puts the price up significantly on a small packet but the US equivalent surely won't raise the total to 18 bucks for a 2.5 oz packet. None of the sellers who quoted those big prices at me ever said a word about signatures or tracking either, they were all citing these as minimum charges for a basic service. What I can't understand is where they get info that appears to back up their claims. Some of them wouldn't shut up even after I cite the real USPS rates back at them! It didn't take me long to learn to get the discussion over before considering a bid.

  4. #4
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    Default

    His rates seem inflated at first glance. Here is what I found for 2.2 ounce packing from US to England

    Global Express Guaranteed®
    See Service Guide Before Mailing 1 - 3 Days Calculate Calculate
    Express Mail® International 5 Days $25.00 $23.00
    Priority Mail® International 6 - 10 Days $20.00 $19.00
    Priority Mail® Flat Rate Box 6 - 10 Days $37.00 $35.15
    First-Class Mail® International Varies $2.70

    Go here to calculate. I always charge additional handling and do not allow first class due to tracking issues.
    http://ircalc.usps.gov/default.aspx?...ngle&CID=10142



    I did find his exact rates putting in 2lbs 2ounces in the calculator. Check with him on the weight. Also keep in mind if it is 2lbs that include box and packing. Rarely do I have a packing leaving the states with less than a couple pounds of packing material. I think he might not be shafting you

    Global Express Guaranteed®
    See Service Guide Before Mailing 1 - 3 Days Calculate Calculate
    Express Mail® International 5 Days $39.00 $35.88
    Priority Mail® International 6 - 10 Days $28.00 $26.60
    Priority Mail® Flat Rate Box 6 - 10 Days $37.00 $35.15
    First-Class Mail® International Varies $18.40

  5. #5
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    Mar 2006
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    Default

    You'd pack 2 lbs of packing round a tiny plastic box of ten carbide PCB drills too?

    That 2.2 oz box would be secure enough in a little bubblewrap jiffybag. This is airmail we're talking about, not armoured military freight going by sea.

    That seller knew we were dealing with a tiny box of drills. He later conceded that the prices were wrong, but that the USPS page he saw quoted him large prices, and only the real price-per-ounce rates via some small link to another page which he says he'd never have noticed if I hadn't proved the existence of the proper pricing. On the other hand, in his listing he claims the weight is 1 POUND. This is obviously false for the item, as it weighs a small fraction of that. A buyer would have grounds for an eBay dispute on the strength of this as it's a listing breach worth a multiple of the cost of the item.

    Again, there is nothing unrealistic about my expectations. There seems to be a two-tier system of postal guesstimates in the US, one that slaps a BIG charge based on assumptions that the person in another country isn't going to know the difference between price-per-ounce and the more expensive services, and the other who truly does charge at cost on the assumption that the buyer knows well enough what is reasonable.

    The reasonable people charge a few bucks for handling, I've often seen between 2 and 7 dollars added for this, and it doesn't bother me especially if the packet needs a signature when I get it. Their raw postal costs are based on First Class International at 90 cents per ounce, up to about 12 oz, then the flat-rate envelope at $11 or so till you get to 4 lbs, then the flat-rate box up to 20 lbs, for £37. These are current rates, one of which appears in both quotes on this page.

    The unreasonable people will expect a charge for postage of 18 bucks to be met for something as small and light as a few drill bits, or a pack of plotter pens (an example I got into a small fight over a few months back). These people have hidden behind the USPS 'calculator' every time, as if it tells them what to do. I'm not talking about a small error here, but a factor of ten or so. I don't know if they're deliberately feeding bad data to that thing, but in the case of the plotter pens, definitely, the woman wouldn't back down, we agreed to cancel, but she wouldn't accept reality even when I showed it to her on USPS's own pages. This latest seller did concede, but common sense should have told him that a small 2.2 oz box wasn't going to cost the best part of twenty bucks to send. Few eBay sellers are that naive.
    Last edited by The_Doctor; 12-09-2007 at 18:50.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by The_Doctor View Post
    You'd pack 2 lbs of packing round a tiny plastic box of ten carbide PCB drills too?

    That 2.2 oz box would be secure enough in a little bubblewrap jiffybag. This is airmail we're talking about, not armoured military freight going by sea.
    Guess you have never seen what happens at sorting centers. Anyhow, just simply point out the mistake to this seller. Tell him that he must have accidentally put 2.2 lbs because you were able to replicate his figures with those numbers.

  7. #7
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    I've heard the stories. But very few things have gone wrong for me that way. Anyway, why would I pay nearly twenty bucks to guarantee a 7 dollar item arrives? Would be cheaper to buy two at decent rates, sent separately, and lose one. Like I said, there is a lack of basic sense here, and I don't like it when a fool takes everyone else for a fool. I could tell the guy, but I think we said enough. It's not my business to give him excuses to cling to.

  8. #8
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    it's simple

    you don't pay ebay fees on shipping and people don't read the shippng prices enough so they think they get a good deal on the price but get screwed on shipping and handling.

  9. #9
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    Not same thing. This was about an actual USPS over-quote that lets people hide behind it. I think we all know why they do it, that was never in doubt. eBay are clamping on that now, they're about to make it so the worst offenders don't show up high in search results. If a seller's score for postal rates is less than 4.0, they're going to shaft them right down the list so people probably won't see their auctions. Trouble is, if the USPS make it easy for people to justify excesses, then none of that is going to mean anything because not enough people are going to agree on what is reasonable. They could, because everyone who deals with USPS for a while knows that there is a 90 cent per ounce rate for most small stuff, but it's amazing how many people choose to forget that when they're selling. eBay ought to take up this misquote mess with the USPS, if they're serious about stopping it, but I doubt they'll do that.

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