Is it time to get a new scale?

Now I am guessing you are not using something that resembles
the scales of justice or your bathroom scale (which is never right!) to weigh
your packages for the shipping labels but just how accurate is your scale? This
question is about to become even more important next month for online sellers. Starting
August 1st USPS will initiate its automated package verification
system that will determine if proper postage has been paid meaning any
insufficient payments will be billed back via your postage provider (ebay,
stamps.com) as well as credits being issued for overpayments. Now before you
panic there are some definite pluses to this provided you are following the
rules and doing your due diligence weighing and measuring your packages. For
one, if you make a mistake on the weight
or dimensions you don’t have to worry about it being returned to sender insufficient
postage and showing up on your doorstep. It will get delivered and you will
just be billed for the difference. Plus, the promise of a refund for
overpayment seems like a fair tradeoff for the unexpected occasional charge.

Now why is the USPS doing this? Well for starters the USPS
is constantly in the red and eagerly looking for new ways to generate revenue.
In their defense there are a lot of shenanigans going on; sellers rounding down
weights, guesstimating package dimensions and generally just abusing the system
with no regard to how it hurts the honest sellers who end up footing the bill with
increased rates. So what can you do to avoid this problem? Well for starters
make sure your scale is accurate, know the dimensions of your packing materials
and follow the USPS rules. Have an item with a fractional ounce? Always round
up to the next ounce. If you are not already doing this, weigh your item when
listing if possible with the packaging if not run some tests know what your
packaging weighs and how much this adds to the items total weight. Most
importantly understand the USPS guidelines for packages, understand your
shipping options and follow the rules. You may be surprised but a little
research can actually save you some money! For example, are you using priority
regional boxes instead of priority flat rate for those small items shipping
short distances? It’s the same service but cheaper in many cases.

Now you will have recourse in the event of an inaccurate
overcharge you will have the option to appeal the decision and your case will be
reviewed with a simple yay or nay which is expected to take 2 to 5 business
days. Still worried? Well consider this, you have to assume there will be a
limited degree of leeway here after all they want us printing these labels to
save time, effort and money. The last thing they want is for these small
business owners standing back in line at their regional post offices. This
system is targeting the worst of the worst offenders not the honest sellers who
follow the rules already.  

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