The holidays bring many things, from gifts to family gatherings to decorating and other festivities. For 2022, they also bring a few updates from the United States Postal Service for shipping deadlines and temporary pricing changes. They are also announcing new package regulations.
“There are several new holiday and seasonal stamps available for your greeting cards and letters,” Paul F. Smith of the Eastern Area Office in Philadelphia, said. “They can be found online at the Postal Store or at any of our more than 34,000 Post Office locations. As a reminder, as of July 10, the cost of a First-Class Forever stamp increased from 58 cents to 60 cents.”
If you want to be sure your packages arrive before December 25, USPS recommends mailing by retail ground service to APO/FPO/DPO addresses by November 5 and by Priority or First-Class mailed by December 9 to those post offices. If you plan to mail a package to someone in the military overseas or who has a diplomatic post office by USPS Priority Express, the deadline is December 16.
For other addresses, packages mailed using retail ground service or first class, whether packages up to 15.99 ounces or greeting cards, the deadline is December 17. Priority mail packages have a deadline of December 19 and Priority Mail Express by December 23. Packages shipped to Alaska that are mailed retail ground should be sent by December 2, first-class or priority by December 17 and Priority Mail Express by December 21. Packages mailed to Hawaii using first-class or Priority should be sent by December 17 and Priority Mail Express by December 21.
“Keep in mind that unless otherwise noted, delivery dates are not guaranteed,” Smith said. “Dates are for estimated delivery before December 25. Actual delivery date may vary depending on origin, destination, Post Office acceptance date and time along with other conditions. Some restrictions apply. For Priority Mail Express shipments mailed December 22 through December 25, the money-back guarantee only applies if the shipment was not delivered, or delivery was not attempted within two business days.”
New hazardous shipping restrictions are also in place, Smith explained. Effective June 6, packages containing hazardous materials, including lithium-ion batteries, must now be mailed by surface transportation using Parcel Select Ground, USPS Retail Ground, Parcel Return Service or Ground Return Service. USPS issued new requirements for shipping used electronics and other hazardous materials because items of this nature can cause fires and other dangers to mailers, air carriers, aircraft passengers and others.
In addition, there are some temporary pricing adjustments which will go into place through January 22, 2023. The changes include popular shipping products including Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground. This includes military shipping but not other types of international shipping. The temporary rates will help keep USPS competitive and are similar to those used in prior years to help cover additional handling costs. The temporary adjustments are part of Delivering for America, a 10-year plan for achieving financial sustainability and service excellence, which calls for appropriate pricing initiatives. Even with the temporary increases, USPS has some fo the lowest mail postage rates in the industrialized world and continues to offer great values in shipping.
“Other tips for a successful holiday mailing and shipping season are to use free Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes which are available at the Post Office or online,” Smith said. “Make it easy with Click-N-Ship. You can create labels and pay for postage online. Schedule a free package pickup when the carrier delivers your mail. It’s free regardless of the number of packages. Pickups can be scheduled online. Mail and packages that weigh more than 10 ounces and/or are more than a half inch thick using stamps as postage cannot be dropped into a collection box or left for a carrier to pick up. Instead, take them to a window clerk at a postal service location.”
For more information, visit https://www.usps.com.
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