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Bad News About USPS International Shipping!

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Bad News About USPS International Shipping!

by Sean Mal

in Shipping


Update: USPS removed the ban and once again will accept lithium batteries to be shipped around the world!

If you’re selling products online and those products are electronics, I’m sorry to have bad news for you!

Up until now, US sellers who were selling electronics online and ship them globally could take advantage of the ability to have the customer pay for custom fees when shipping by USPS.

Other international carriers like FedEx would deliver the goods then notify the buyer to pay custom fees.

However, if the buyer won’t pay custom fees, the carrier would debit the shipper account for the fees.

Looks like US electronics sellers, like myself, have another hoop to jump through now!

Bad News

The bad news is, effective today May 16, 2012, US Postal Service banned shipping lithium batteries (rechargeable or non-rechargeable) to international destinations including APO, FPO, and DPO!!

In plain English, you cannot ship iPods, iPhones, laptops, tablets, cameras, camcorders, GPSs, and many other electronics to international destinations by any US Postal Service shipping service!

That means your international shipping costs will be higher because you have to use another international delivery service and pay higher international shipping charges AND potentially pay for custom fees yourself.

The funny part is that USPS is absolutely fine if you ship tens of MP3 players with lithium batteries domestically including US territories.

So it would be fine to ship batteries or devices with batteries from Seattle to Puerto Rico via Airmail but it’s not ok to ship the same thing from New York to Montreal (shorter distance) with any USPS shipping service.

Is This a Good Decision?

Honestly, they’re making trouble for themselves and for people.

It’s trouble for them because USPS recently reported $3.2 Billion loss just in the first quarter of 2012 so they need to generate more business but they are cutting a lot of business!

USPS is actually transferring their business to other global carriers like FedEx, UPS, DHL or others.

It’s trouble for people because not only sellers will have to find a way to cope with this new policy but even people who want to send gifts to their loved ones overseas (including military and diplomatic destinations) would have to turn to other global carriers and pay even more than before.

The reason USPS made this move cannot be based on danger of shipping batteries as some domestic shipments go a longer distance than some international shipments.

I’m not sure what was the real reason behind this decision but from outside it seems like a bad decision for eveyone.

Hopefully, USPS will explain more details about why they made this move.

You can read USPS announcement here.

How Can US Online Sellers Cope With The New USPS Policy?

Well, when shipping laptops, I can remove the battery, ship the laptop with USPS and ship the battery with another international delivery service but that doesn’t work when shipping other electronics like iPods.

Another solution is to forget about “United States Postal Service” and ship my electronic items globally by another international delivery service.

Both of these remedies increase my overall international shipping costs. So I have to increase my prices or increase my international shipping charges.

Will it mean reduced business for me? How will buyers react to that? I don’t know yet.

How About You?

Do you sell electronics online? How do you plan to cope with this USPS new policy? What’s your opinion?

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr. Vaughan Dabbs May 18, 2012

Hello! I have saw your link posted. Your post are very informative, and can add to my blogging and internet journey. God bless.


Sean Mal May 18, 2012

Thank you for stopping by.
Sean Mal recently posted..Sell eBooks on eBay ProperlyMy Profile


harrison May 23, 2012

I dont know that how this news will effect the persons who are into the business of the batteries and all.THere must any other option too if this is not possible.


Sean Mal May 23, 2012

Shipping batteries from US just got pricier. It surely affects online sellers business as their cost went higher. Thanks for visiting.
Sean Mal recently posted..Do This So Your Buyers Love You and You Get RewardedMy Profile


L June 30, 2012

So why is the post office so worried about this issue when all the passenger airlines allows passengers to have a laptop/camera/ipad etc etc. in their carryon and on their laps during the flight?


Sean Mal June 30, 2012

Heh, I know, right? Also USPS never minds if you ship 100 iPods overnight from Seattle to Puerto Rico. That HAS TO go by air.
The reason (according to them) was that ICAO required them to stop shipping lithium-ion batteries. Now why ICAO didn’t required FedEx or UPS the same?!
This policy change does not make sense in any way I think about it. And it hurts US commerce so much as international costumers certainly don’t want to pay high fees of FedEx or UPS. I hope they repeal this policy very soon.
Thanks for visiting.
Sean Mal recently posted..Make The Most Out of High eBay FeesMy Profile


T November 4, 2012

I’m sure one of the reasons is that USPS often ships on regular passenger airline flights. There have been numerous regulatory restrictions imposed on cargo on passenger flights over the years; this is just the latest. UPS and FedEx almost exclusively use cargo-only flights for their operations, hence fewer restrictions on what is and is not allowed to be on the plane.


Sean Mal November 4, 2012

Good point. However, as another reader mentioned above, passengers in international flights are allowed to have electronics with Li batteries in their bag or with them in their seats. USPS said the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) made them do this. I’m wondering if postal service of other countries are doing the same thing?
This policy affects international ecommerce very much as mentioned in above post.
Thanks for visiting.
Sean Mal recently posted..Keep Your eBay Top-rated Seller Status. Here’s HowMy Profile


Moohseen November 23, 2012

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