Consumers need to be aware that businesses such as the UPS Store, Mailboxes ETC, and other businesses that mail items for customers through the United States Postal Service can charge whatever they wish to for these ‘flat rate’ and other services. These business representatives do not explain that sending the items from the actual US Post Office can cost less than half the prices charged by these businesses. Instead, the business representative gives the consumer the inflated rate to send the items through the US Postal Service and instead sells the customer a ‘less expensive’ rate on the item through another carrier.
For example, the flat rate for an Express Mail Envelope weighing less than .5 pounds is $18.80 maximum, if mailed from a US Post Office. The price Charged for this envelope to be mailed by the UPS Store is $38.00, MORE than DOUBLE the cost charged by the United States Postal Service. Instead of informing the consumer of this ‘fee,’ the representative simply sells the consumer a UPS Next Day Air service for $28.50 instead of explaining that the UPS Store charges about $20.00 to mail this item through the USPS.
When the United States Postal Service was called about this discrepancy, it was explained that this is perfectly legal and these businesses can charge as much as they wish for United States Postal Service items to be mailed. It also seems that these businesses can charge whatever they wish for US Postage Stamps, USPS boxes and mailing items, if they carry these. Somehow this does not seem ethical. The customer service representative assured that this business practice is not one of the reasons that the United States Postal Service is not doing well financially. How could it not be one of the reasons? Customers get the idea that the USPS is more expensive to use than other services because of the unreported charges or fees charged by the businesses, and the items are mailed by UPS or other services rather than the USPS being used because of it being ‘cheaper’ to send the items with the other service, after the customer is told it is cheaper by the store representatives.
Using the United States Postal Service is usually less expensive to mail items than using other services, and in today’s economic situation, customers should be informed of the truth by these representatives. Instead, consumers are lead to believe the United States Postal Service is charging these inflated rates, and begin using the other service to mail items. These mailing services should be required to explain how much of the rate is actual costs charged by the US Postal Service and how much of the cost is the ‘fee’ required by the business for the convenience of being mailed from that business.
Consumers should be aware of convenience fees for using these businesses instead of the United States Postal Service. Since these discrepancies are legal, it will eventually cost the United States tax payers more money to keep the United States Post Service financially afloat and the rates will go up higher to offset these less than honest business practices.
1. Phone interview with UPS Corporate customer service representative, as well as a UPS Store representative from a local office.
2. Phone interview with a United States Postal Service representative in the Office of the Post Master General.
3. Receipts from Sending items with UPS service instead of United States Post Office.
4. Actual costs for sending items from the USPS obtained from: http://www.usps.com/