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back to article Amazon probed by US Mail

Amazon is under investigation by the US Postal Service for "compliance with Postal Service rules," according to a one-sentence statement in the company's annual 10-K filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. amazon_SM "In January 2009, we learned that the United States Postal Service, including the Postal Service …

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Flame

USPS should be thankful about the gas $$

My Gosh, WTF?? Why cant USPS just be happy about the gas prices that have went down by at least 60% within a few months from September at $4.00 to $1.50 in December? Remember, USPS has already jacked up shipping prices due to the increase in gas prices, and now USPS should be in heaven..

Rather, USPS is still acting like as if they're burning in hell right now.

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Anonymous Coward

USPS and Airlines Handshake

It isn't absolutely free because the airlines do charge, but it does save the overload that the USPS could be experiencing if they had to actually man the airplanes to fly the mailings. It's practically free. Next time on a plane, look for that blue and white bag says "USPS HERE" that goes below you in the baggage compartment.

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USPS

I believe that the USPS has been slowly disassembled over the last 8 years in a effort by the NeoCons at privatizing the US Postal Service. There's now a push to do-away with Saturday deliveries. Recent (the past two weeks) USPS shipments from Amazon have been delayed, with the USPS 'tracking' being WORTHLESS. I recommend opting for UPS.

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Boffin

The Mafia by any other name

is the US. Government, or it's "independent" monopolies such as the US Postal Service.

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Thumb Down

Bah

The USPS should thank their lucky stars for online retailers such as Amazon. Were it not for so many consumers resorting to buying media online I question if there still would be a Postal Service.

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Tim

odd company

USPS lost a lot of business (well I stopped using them..) when they dropped offering surface mail, which used to be a well priced alternative for non-urgent items as well as being more environmentally sound than airmail.

@ Bo, would you kindly not remind us Brits of those gas prices. Diesel here has dropped from £1.25 a litre all the way to 99p, which is not quiet 60%, and our govt and oil companies are keeping the rest. The British public will not complain about this however.

Finally, may I congratulate somebody on the headline, that shoudl be awarded the Littleton Prize.

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Advertising?

Amazon's book and CD deliveries should all qualify for Media Mail rates - but the rules say these "can not contain advertising except for incidental announcements of books". My last few Amazon parcels in the UK have contained several little slips promoting business card printing and similar services, which would seem to violate this rule: it wouldn't surprise me if someone in the US spotted this and complained.

Now, quite how USPS can justify charging different prices depending on whether or not there's a promotional piece of paper inside the package, I don't know: it's not as if it costs them more!

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Paris Hilton

Amazon probed by US Mail

Amazon will be just the first large mailer reviewed. Given the number of mailers who play fast and loose with the Media Mail classification, ANY mailer who sends large quantities of Media Mail packages is going to be checked.

I can remember, as a window clerk, having people claim Media Mail rates for such diverse things as toys, clothing, and even mag wheels. Many of the people were eBay sellers. The "mistakes" were discovered when the packages were examined later, which the USPS has the legal authority to do for anything mailed at Parcel Post or Media Mail rates. One person mailed more than two dozen boxes to himself in another city, where he was moving... not one of the boxes qualified as Media Mail, and he was required to pay the correct postage when he picked them up... several hundred dollars in additional postage.

Amazon might be as pure as new driven snow, but not every mailer is... Personally, I would prefer to see the Media Mail rate eliminated because of the cheating.

Paris, because she doesn't need to cheat the Postal Service

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@Darling Petunia

Not just the USPS. Its happened in the UK, France and other euro entities.

The govenments have been selling off the profitable parts of mail delivery (parcels and large stuff) and the rest it cant sell. The arseholes have missed the entire point of a universal postal service, which the victorians did so well. The point is that the profitable parts sunsidize the not so profitable parts so that everyone gets the same service at the same price. Its not socialism, its just sensible. Competition is great in many markets, but it will NEVER EVER be more efficient to send 2 vans to every door instead of 1. Same goes for water and the bloody trains. Either re-nationalise, abolish or accept that subsidies are needed.

P.S. I am not a socialist.

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Stop

RE: Advertising?

There are (were?) many weird and wonderful regulations with Royal Mail, so I wouldn't be surprised if the situation was similar in the US.

For example, a few years ago I used to regularly send small parcels from the UK to the US. They always asked at the Post Office if there was a letter inside. You see if there wasn't, you qualified for small packet rate, which was pretty cheap. However, if you dared to include a letter, well then it was no longer a parcel, instead it counted as being a really big letter and that attracted a premium.

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Bronze badge
Alert

USPS

Is truly a joke, their tracking system is hilarious, invariably they report that your number is either not recognized by the system or that it has not been picked up yet. This continues until you have the package at which point the tracking can still report that the package is yet to be picked up.

Shipping costs in the US are really not helped by the retailer scalping the buyer on the handling charges. Small items like DDR2 sticks can cost you $10 shipping, laughable.

Efros

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Anonymous Coward

End of Universal Post

I always thought the Americans pretty much excelled at things like mail delivery, so I was surprised when I read that Saturday deliveries might disappear. I think it shines a light on modern economies when our postal services are poorer than it was a hundred years ago. I can remember reading somewhere that in Victorian times there was as many as 11 deliveries A DAY in London!!! I don't expect that level of service & I'm quite happy with deliveries as they are now (except there seems to be a big leap in price between say a standard letter & something a little bigger). However, I'm very pessimistic about the future of universal post. I can see a day coming when instead of doorstep deliveries we will have to travel to the local distribution centre to pick up our daily or weekly post (particularly in rural areas).

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Coat

It's a harsh world

If they're under investigation "for compliance with Postal Service Rules" - you have to wonder what happens when you're non-compliant!

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RW
Boffin

Re: End of Universal Post and 11 deliveries a day

But in Victorian times, the post was used for messages that are telephoned, emailed, or faxed today. "We're having roast sea urchin for dinner tonight, whyncha join us?" for example.

Postal services are facing seriously falling demand for letter mail. The time was when my daily mail delivery was quite a thick wad of envelopes, but these days there's nothing most days. It's no wonder that the price keeps going up: good ol' law of supply and demand at work.

Given the explosion in online sales over the last 10-15 years, parcel delivery is where the action is.

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Paris Hilton

Junk mailers

If the USPS wanted to make up the deficit they find themselves in they could (and I expect other postal services could as well):

- STOP charging reduced rates for bulk (aka Junk) mail.

this would have the following benefits:

1 - less junk mail

2 - less paper etc in everyone's post box

3 - even at a reduced level of junk mail the postal service would still net more $ since ive seen bulk mail priced as low as $0.08 rather than the $0.43 for a first class letters I send.

even Paris can see the benefit of this - she already has enough credit cards

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Silver badge

Bah

I would have thought the post office would have more luck if it just persuaded HP to send more pens, DIMMs and sheets of paper to its customers.

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