How higher postal prices affect you
Even people who don't use the mail much might feel the impact of increased shipping costs for companies.
The Postal Service is boosting stamp prices again, and no amount of texting, instant messaging, online bill paying or e-mailing will spare you the results.
Starting Jan. 27, the price of a first-class stamp goes up by a penny to 46 cents, and the price to mail a postcard rises by the same amount to 33 cents. International letters will now cost $1.10 to send, up from 85 cents to Canada and Mexico and $1.05 to other destinations.
But even a public that has switched from the printed word to Skype, FaceTime and other technologies should be concerned about the 4% overall boost in mailing and shipping prices and 6.3% hike in priority mail fees. Why? One simple reason: Overhead.
If consumers still have Netlix (NFLX) discs delivered, despite that company's best efforts to shake DVD customers loose, or turn their homes into mazes of Amazon (AMZN) packages around the holiday season, the Postal Service's price increases could take a toll. Those hikes in shipping rates cut into companies' bottom lines. That cost inevitably gets passed on to the consumer, be it through increased shipping rates, increased fees or changes to shipping policy.
Netflix, already trying to reduce its dependence on the USPS by luring customers to its digital streaming service, still has more than 10 million DVD-by-mail customers. Amazon, meanwhile, has attempted to cut the Postal Service out of its price model by using third-party logistics firms like same-day shipping service LaserShip to complete orders. Online consumer reaction to that service has been decidedly mixed.
Now Wal-Mart (WMT) is getting into the mix with plans for its own Wal-Mart To Go same-day delivery service that relies largely on shipments from its existing retail facilities and could bypass the Postal Service altogether if the price isn't right. USPS could use the business after a 2006 law drained its resources by ordering the Postal Service to put money aside for future retiree benefits. It has since borrowed $12 billion from Congress just to stay afloat and started closing mail processing plants to cut costs.
Americans may have less coming in and out of their mailboxes than they did a decade or two ago, but what's there requires the Postal Service to make it work. Threats last year to increase delivery times for First Class mail to two to three days sent ripples through Netflix's share price, while calls to cut $20 billion from USPS operating costs by 2015 were heard by everyone from eBay (EBAY) sellers to Zappos-addicted clotheshorses.
With Congress vowing to forego any further Postal Service assistance until after Election Day, more cuts and price hikes could be coming to a mailbox near you... even if you haven't bought a stamp or licked an envelope since the last Bush Administration.
Pissed Off By The PO ....
The way the PO keeps raising the first class postal rate by a penny or so almost every year it is starting to become a giant pain in the ****. What the Hell, here's another totally insane idea ... Why don't they just stop dicking around and raise the rate to an even $1.00 and leave it completely unchanged for the next decade or so? This way the PO can make the money that they really seem to need to operate profitably and the public will not have to be continously aggravated with these seemingly annual little price hikes that don't solve the problem. Additionally, if we don't happen to have that fancy new $1.00 stamp handy ....we can simply glue or tape a one dollar bill straight onto the envelope and then just f o r g e t a b o u t i t ......
Three years ago A person We have never known used are address to get a state I D, all solicitors took them off are address but Comcast has refused, now this year the postal service is refusing to take the Comcast mail back even though it has the Wrong name We have had alot of wrong mail and missing mail this year anyway . I finally gave up and have changed everything I can to electronic billing and electronic statements hopefully the post office can deliver more junk mail to make up for it, then they can change their name to THE UNITED STATES JUNK MAIL AND JUNK I D SPONSOR.
MORE ON MSN MONEY
Copyright © 2013 Microsoft. All rights reserved.
Quotes are real-time for NASDAQ, NYSE and AMEX. See delay times for other exchanges.
VIDEO ON MSN MONEY
Top Stocks provides analysis about the most noteworthy stocks in the market each day, combining some of the best content from around the MSN Money site and the rest of the Web.
Contributors include professional investors and journalists affiliated with MSN Money.
Follow us on Twitter @topstocksmsn.