USPS Discontinuing Priority Mail Regional Rate A & B Boxes
USPS is discontinuing regional rate A & B boxes effective January 22, 2023.
The Postal Service plans to discontinue offering Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes A and B, effective Jan. 22.
The boxes were introduced in 2011 to appeal to commercial customers by combining Priority Mail and Priority Mail International shipping with zone pricing. The boxes come in packages of 10 or 25 at no cost to the customer.
Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes A1 and A2 have a maximum weight of 15 and 10 pounds, respectively, for domestic and international shipping. Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes B1 and B2 have a maximum weight of 20 pounds for both domestic and international shipping.
After a return-on-investment review, it was decided to discontinue the products. Customers may continue to use any of the boxes that remain in their inventory, but they will be treated as weight-and-rate packages.
An alternative to Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes is Priority Mail Cubic, a sub-service of Priority Mail. Customers use their own packaging for shipping, but pricing is based on dimensions rather than weight. Priority Mail Cubic offers a similar cost savings to Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes.
Priority Mail Cubic packages must measure 0.5 cubic feet or less, weigh no more than 20 pounds and should not exceed 18 inches at the longest.
If approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission, Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes A and B will be discontinued Jan. 22, when price changes are scheduled to take effect.
It appears eBay may have jumped the gun on removing these boxes from the shipping options - sellers report regional rate A & B boxes are no longer available when printing labels through the platform.
I know they are going away on 1/23/23.
I had an auction that ended last night and the Regional B box jumped about $4.00 in price!
When I went to add 2 other auctions. (These are oversized magazines and they only fit in the Regional A or B Box - so I'm selling them all in 2 auctions to get rid of them) but that options for A & B are no longer available.
If it's good until 1/23 - why has Ebay removed them from the list of available options? Any help would be appreciated.
I checked a couple of my drafts this morning and indeed the regional boxes are no longer an option when selecting a shipping method. I also checked Pirate Ship which I often use to ship items I sell on eBay since they offer some services eBay does not like Priority mail cubic. The regional boxes are still available as a shipping option on Pirate Ship but I suspect those will go away after 22 January 2023.
Book sellers are particularly unhappy about this change.
Loss of use of USPS Regional Rate Boxes will be costly for book sellers. RRB were a welcome and useful shipping tool for many online sellers, especially book sellers and other shippers of small, compact items.
Today (1/1/2023) I prepared a 7# shipment which will ship in a RRB-A (an 11 by 3 by 13" USPS-provided Priority Box). Today the cost of that shipment is $10.63; at the end of this month (effective January 22, 2023) it will be $20.82, nearly a 100% shipping price increase (especially if you include the increase in sellers' fees from the fee assessment on shipping). The larger "B" RRBs were especially useful for heavy, over-sized books for which using RRB made a competitive alternative to Media Mail.
Did anyone consider the effects of this change on shippers who relied on RR Box options? Is there an easy way to pull specific shipping options from listings?
And as one seller pointed out - when shipping rates go up (either through rate increases or discontinuing cheaper options), so do eBay's profits since final value fees are charged on the total sale including tax and shipping.
The post office was probably losing millions of dollars with these boxes. Bummer. I used them once in a while too. You have no choice but to raise the shipping on the bigger and heavier books. Customers will have to get used to the new, higher rates just like they got used to high fuel prices. No choice. Lord, ebay stockholders must be celebrating this too. When shipping costs go up, Ebay profits go up too.
Of course this discontinuation doesn't just impact ecommerce sellers. Nonprofits that mail care packages to military personnel overseas are feeling the pinch too.
For 20 years Wendy Rocca and her dedicated squad of volunteers at Operation American Soldier have sent care packages to our troops deployed overseas, folks like George Macmasters' son.
"Well, he was just thankful that no one had forgotten him over there," said George MacMasters.
Working out of the basement of the Marine Corps League in Watertown, 1,700 boxes went out last year, comfort items ranging from peanut butter to toilet paper, along with a personal note of thanks for their service. But the non-profit says a change by the postal service threatens it all.
"I can't fathom why they would do this," Rocca said.
That's because next week, the flat rate box that many non-profits have used for years to send military care packages is going away.
The post office is scrapping the regional rate "B" box which costs these volunteers just over $14 to ship overseas. But come Monday, their only fixed rate option will be a slightly bigger box, costing more than $21.
"Now they're going to add six bucks a box because they are taking this away. It doesn't work," Rocca said.
And if they pack their own boxes, they will be charged by weight and size, more expensive and more difficult. They understand the U.S. Postal Service is drowning in red ink, but don't think a hit to non-profits serving our troops makes cost saving sense.
How will this discontinuation impact your shipping costs and processes as a seller? Let us know in the comments below!