Pandemic Shipping Updates: USPS Delays, October shipping cost increases, DHL and more


Dear friends, 

I know how excitng it is to receive packages. Maybe we're not as emphatic as Scott Pilgrim here, but still. Whenever those magical cardboard vessels magically appear at our doors, a little tinge of joyful dopamine hits our brains. It's inevitable! 

Scott pilgrim anxiously awaiting his online order package at the door

Well, the not-so-great news is that these days with the pandemic still in full roar here in the US, there may be some delays with shipping that are a bit out of our control.

USPS (US Postal service) is having intermittent problems due to internal problems with funding and management.

We currently recommend DHL for international shipments. 

It can take an additional day to sort the paperwork necessary to ship by DHL, but DHL is continues to be reliable during the pandemic.

We are currently shipping same and next day whenever possible. Our USPS office is one of the best on the west coast, but sometimes shipped packages do not show in the mail stream until delivery. 

Here are two plain language articles describing problems with USPS recently:

Vice: Why Your Post Office Packages Are Delayed

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/3az7qb/why-your-usps-packages-are-delayed

Wall Street Journal: Postal Package Deliveries ‘Bogged Down’ With Delays, Backlogs

https://www.wsj.com/articles/postal-package-deliveries-bogged-down-with-delays-backlogs-11590836400

On the receiving end, some locations have more problems than others. News reports that certain rural areas are having extra problems, but we see them in urban areas, too. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere “exempt” from spotty service.

In our experience, while some packages see normal 1 to 3 day delivery, average deliveries have gone to 2 to 6 days, while some packages just get “stuck” at mail processing facilities and seemingly vanish. 

The USPS has made the strange choice to remove many of the computerized sorting machines, so there’s no rhyme nor reason to this. We’ve tried to identify a pattern we can work with or work around, but there’s none we can see.

More expensive forms of shipping do not seem to completely cure this problem. Priority Express usually works best, but we’ve seen some delays with this, too. 

Alternate carriers

We’re currently researching alternative carriers, including UPS, FedEx and OnTrac. 

Keep in mind, however, these services cost almost 3x as much as USPS for what is typically slower service. The difference is that they tend to hit their promised delivery dates, while USPS has taken on a more random nature. 

There are no easy solutions right now to domestic (American) shipping problems.

Good news on the horizon with USPS?

Normally merchants and consumers get upset when they hear that the US Postal service has announced a price increase.

However, this year they’ve promised to increase reliability of service in exchange for a relatively minor increase in fees.

This applies to packages shipped between October 18 to December 27. We sincerely hope service improves during these days, as there as no other fast & thrifty services available for US delivery. USPS is extremely important, especially for a country increasingly reliant on ecommerce.

Don’t worry... we’ve got you covered no matter what!

In the US, if you do not see your package (or tracking info) within 10 days of purchase, let us know, and we’ll reship on us. For packages that show tracking, please allow 5 to 7 days after the last tracking scan to report a package lost.

In Europe, Singapore, Australia, Canada and most other international locations, if you do not see your package (or positive tracking information) within 25 days, we’ll reship on us. For packages that show tracking in your country, please give it another 1 to 2 weeks to make it to your door. 

You can also elect to pay the difference between standard shipping and DHL. 

Most e-commerce companies do not cover international packages, as though it’s your fault when the mail services don’t work. We understand how crazy this is, that’s why we do the opposite.

We mostly ship to high trust countries, which is why we’re happy to back you. Just remain honest (and keep encouraging your fellow countrymen to remain honest), and we’ll be happy to retain this policy.

DHL considerations

 

Although it may take us an additional business day or two to prepare the paperwork and in person inspections necessary for DHL, DHL never takes more than a week, anywhere on the planet. They are and continue to be one of the world’s most reliable shipping carriers.

Unfortunately, DHL does not allow US to US shipments.

 

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