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In Transit Arriving Late

USPS Late Shipment

Are you still waiting on your package from USPS to arrive and wondering what’s going on?  You are not alone.

When you check the tracking information on your order, you are more likely than ever to see something like this:

December 1, 2020
In Transit, Arriving Late
Your package will arrive later than expected, but is still on its way. It is currently in transit to the next facility.

Many online shoppers have expressed frustration over why their package or packages have yet to arrive. 

Over this past year, many shipments have been arriving much later than expected. 

So what’s been causing so many delivery delays with USPS? 

Aside from the usual winter storm or two which can understandably create havoc, USPS claims it’s experiencing staffing issues related to Covid.  

USPS currently has the following disclaimer posted on its website:

ALERT: USPS IS EXPERIENCING UNPRECEDENTED VOLUME INCREASES AND LIMITED EMPLOYEE AVAILABILITY DUE TO THE IMPACTS OF COVID-19. WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE. 

In addition to the normal USPS annual rate hikes, on October 18th, 2020, USPS announced it would also be implementing a temporary holiday rate increase due to growing expenses and heightened demand for online shopping package volume due to the coronavirus pandemic and expected holiday demand. 

As anticipated, the online holiday shopping demand did increase, however, the timeliness of deliveries did not improve in our experience.  In fact, it got worse, much, much worse. 

The fact that USPS raised prices in anticipation of these staffing shortages only causes one to wonder what efforts were actually taken to either circumvent or possibly improve these conditions. 

Customers are frustrated in many cases and often, downright angry to learn the item(s) they’ve ordered as a Christmas gift in late Nov or early Dec wouldn’t be arriving till January or as late as February, or even worse yet, it may never arrive at all.

In an effort to provide customers with a good shopping experience, it’s the vendors who most often take the incoming flack for these delays and end up providing the customer with a refund or a replacement shipment. 

To make matters worse, when a replacement shipment is sent, it’s not at all uncommon for it to experience similar delays just like the first shipment.

So why aren’t more vendors shipping through UPS or FedEx you might ask? 

In many cases, it’s just an economics issue for both the vendor as well as the customer.

The biggest percentage of the USPS rate increases are targeted toward First Class smaller packages, specifically in the 4 oz range.  The items being shipped at this weight class are often sold at a price that does not make it feasible to ship through alternative methods like UPS Ground, or FedEx Ground, which are proving historically to be much more timely and reliable.

Consumers are also often not willing to pay the additional expense for these more timely methods. 

For example, if you sell a $10 wall decal online for example, with a shipping weight of 4 ounces, and ship it via USPS First Class Mail, it will cost approximately between $3.06 and $3.49 depending on the part of the country you’re shipping to. 

This same item shipped through UPS Ground in comparison would run approximately between $17.65 and $21.17 and between $14.88 and $17.12 through FedEx Ground.

This leaves the vendor and customer with very limited options through USPS other than keeping your fingers crossed and hope the order arrives in a timely manner, waiting patiently, sometimes for months or pay nearly double the price for shipping than the price paid for the item for a timely, reliable delivery service.

We hope the free market, through supply and demand will provide a better solution in the future for both vendor and customer but until that day arrives, we must adopt a similar slogan and as USPS says, “WE APPRECIATE YOUR PATIENCE.”


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