January 21st 2018 – Postage Rate Increase

As I alluded to in the previous post, the US Postal Service has implemented a rate increase of approximately 3.9% effective January 21st 2018.  In many cases, the “first ounce” rate went up, the “each additional” did not, so the effective rate is much less than advertised.

For our U.S. customers:

The cost to mail a single decal (a 5 ounce “Flat”) by “First Class Mail Large Flat” has gone from $1.82 to $1.84.  Each additional ounce (typically 2 decals) remains an additional $0.21 per ounce.  The USPS “rule” for what qualifies as a “Flat” centers around package “flexibility”.  I am finding that 7 decals (8 ounces) is about the limit, anything more than this becomes too inflexible, and must be mailed as a “First Class Package”.  Over 1 pound, the best “decals only” option is “Priority Post Flat Rate Envelope”, which comes with tracking and “Signature Delivery” at $9.10 and up.

We recommend “Priority Post” wherever possible for mailing kits within the U.S., except where the size of the box required exceeds a cubic foot.  Then we find UPS Ground to be a cheaper alternative.  For Priority Post (and for that matter UPS Ground), rates depend on the distance the package has to travel.   Rates go up in 1 pound increments, so often an order for a kit can add quite a lot of decals for no additional postage.   Again, the rate increase appears to be modest.

For our International customers: 

The rates for First Class International Packages went up only slightly (e.g. about 20 cents for a 1 pound shipment).  This service must be used for all orders containing bulky items such as kits, diecast models or resin parts, and for larger and less flexible (8 or more) decals.

The nasty surprise is that the USPS has announced that the “First Class International Flat” rate, which we have been using to ship smaller “Decals Only” orders, can no longer contain “Merchandise”, in accordance with International Postal Union regulations.  This service can only contain documents (and sorry, decals are not documents).   Now, ALL decal orders should be mailed this way.

Good News, however, is that our online label service has a way around this otherwise significant increase.  Customers placing smaller (7 or less) decal orders will now see a new label format, whereby the package first goes to a “Postal Processing Facility” in Torrance California, from where it is then sent to its destination.  Yes, there are TWO addresses on the label (well, actually three if you include my return address).  Yours, and the “Postal Processing Facility”.  Price for this is about mid way between the old “First Class Mail International Flat” and current “First Class Mail International Package” rates.  The last problem is that this is not an official USPS rate, so when my site goes to the USPS to get your postage option, this “special” rate will not appear.  So, you should select the available “First Class Mail International” rate, and I will adjust it (if I can, based on what you order), and refund excess payment.  Note that Customs information is not displayed on this new label, but is sent electronically to your country’s customs service.

One last comment for International customers:  The First Class Mail International Package rates go up in one ounce increments 1 – 8 ounces.  Then anything 8.001 to 32 ounces (1/2lb to 2lb) is the same price.  So, if you find a rate quoted around $22.60, you can probably add more decals (and possibly a LOT more) for the same shipping cost.  The next rate applies to 32.001 to 48 ounces ( 2lbs – 3 lbs), then 48.001 to 64 ounces.  Above 64 ounces ( 4 lbs) “Priority Post International” must be used.

I look forward to continuing to serve your airliner modelling needs for many years !

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