Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Postage and Shipping Changes

We pride ourselves on having the lowest postage in the industry.  At one point our postage was so low it was ridiculous, but then the USPS went and introduced the rigid sorting policy.  This basically meant that any package that couldn't be machine sorted based on width or non-uniform rigidy (think top loaders or stacks of cards in an envelope) would not be sortable and would carry a surcharge.

At first we thought the sky was falling, but people have seemed to adjusted to the new postal rates fairly well in the last few years.  We used to encourage two sets of packaging policies.  The first is for the power sellers that can try to sneak by the system if they know what they are doing most of the time and shave a few cents off the total.  The other is the more conservative model for everyone else.  We had to adjust our prices for the more conservative model obviously.

With the new site launch our official shipping policies will be set to enforce the more conservative shipping model.  This would include shipping in padded envelopes if appropriate or possibly bigger envelopes with top loaders or cardboard. We encourage people to package their item more as a parcel and not as an envelope since they are being paid for it anyway.  They are still free to use envelopes if they know what they are doing.

We may do a Postal Service Tips series on this blog in the future for the hard core, but our standard shipping guidelines will no longer recommend or suggest any thing like this.  Ultimately it is always up to the seller and they will be responsible for extra postage or possibly replacing damaged items if they try to cut corners.

Delivery Confirmation:  Some think it's the bee's knees.  Others hate it.  It costs more and is harder for the average seller to get on their packages. Sadly CardShark.com is held to a higher power. Our e-commerce provider requires us to provide delivery confirmation sometimes and if the seller wasn't cautious enough to buy it, we get  stuck holding the bag. Insurance is a poor substitute to prove that something was shipped and actually arrived.  Delivery confirmation can actually be a great thing because it can prove an item was shipped, delivered or in limbo.  This makes it much easier to figure out who gets a refund and who has to take responsibility for the loss.

With the launch of the new site we now offer the ability for buyers to purchase delivery confirmation. It is .70 which is the highest delivery confirmation charge at the post office.  Power sellers can glean .15 extra
by using electronic delivery confirmation.  We believe a large package is also required to support this.  It cannot be purchased on envelopes probably.  The buyer that purchases delivery confirmation will most likely receive a full refund at the sellers expense if the item isn't delivered or lost by the postal service.  In the case that the seller shipped it, we will work with both parties for an equitable solution.  If the buyer doesn't buy delivery confirmation, the seller isn't off the hook though.  They are still responsible for delivering the promised product, but we will be more balanced in our resolution of any customer service complaints.

Check out CardShark.com for more information about packaging, shipping, and extra postal services.

Priority Mail: The USPS has created some good Priority Mail plans lately. They offer a fixed price plan for a reasonable price that let's you ship up to 4 lbs.  This should cover just about any order and if the order is over 4lbs, you should be happy as a seller and pay the extra postage if any.  You also get free packaging.  Our new system will only provide sellers with the flat rate priority mail amount and expects them to use the free packaging (it's in your favor anyways) to qualify for the flat rates.

New Shipping Prices: We have simplified and revamped our shipping prices.  We have fewer categories now (1-3, 4-16, etc) and have (slightly higher in some cases, and slightly lower in other cases) shipping charges.  Our goal was to maintain overall similar shipping while giving sellers that extra boost in key areas where the previous shipping was inadequate or had changed over time. Check out our site for more information:

Seller Shipping Allowances

International shipping: We have revamped our internationl shipping prices.  We have mostly added extra padding for sellers in this area and the buyers will be paying a bit more.  This is to help defer the larger customer service expenses, shipping costs and ecommerce fees for overseas purchases.  International Flat rate mail will be required at certain levels and the necessary (free) packaging from the USPS will also be needed, but once again it's in your favor.  Check out the following pages for more information:

International Shipping Information

International Shipping Prices

Please let us know if you feel any changes are required to the shipping costs before we go live.

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