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MMD > Archives > January 2001 > 2001.01.14 > 03Prev  Next

Shipping Rate Comparisons, UPS vs. USPS
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  Karl Ellison's posting yesterday caused me to have an
immediate flash-back concerning two orders that were sent to non-US
customers during the recent holiday season.

In both cases, the rolls were sent via the US Postal Service (USPS)
using Parcel Post - Airmail.  One was sent to Canada, and the other to
England.  In both cases, the rolls took an inordinately long time to
get to the customer.  It took 38 days for the rolls to get to Canada,
and 43 days for the rolls to get to England.  Needless to say, both
customers were dissatisfied with the service, which they had requested
in order to "save some money".

As Karl stated in his posting, and as he has stated before, the US
Postal Service _will not_ insure M-bags.  Also, they don't offer any
form of tracking once a parcel leaves the US, regardless of which
shipping method you use, or how much money you pay.

As a result of these sad facts, I stopped sending rolls via the US
Postal Service to non-US customers on 01-01-01, unless the customer
specifically requests that I utilize their services.  And then, if they
do insist, I make it known that I will not assume responsibility for
shipments that never show up.

So what's my alternative?  UPS Worldwide Express.  Admittedly, their
rates are significantly higher (per pound) than the USPS.  However,
there are also significant advantages that cannot be overlooked.

First, every parcel is traceable from the time it gets dropped off
(or picked up) until the time it reaches its destination.  Two, every
parcel is insurable.  And three, the parcels almost always arrive
within the time frame advertised by UPS, or sooner.

It might also interest some of you to know that UPS is not an inflexible
company.  QRS recently negotiated a deal with UPS, and the rate they
now pay for UPS Worldwide Express is significantly lower than the rate
listed at the UPS website.  Exactly how much business you must 'throw
their way' in order to get the lower rate is unknown to me, but to
date, QRS's special rate has been within a couple of dollars of the
USPS rate.

For me, it's a no-brainer -- tracking, insurance, fast or on-time
delivery!  My advice: save the worry and go UPS Worldwide Express!

In closing, I too got a bit of 'sticker-shock' when I recently sent
some catalogs and reference materials out-of-country.  Fortunately,
my regular postal clerk informed me that the USPS now has a Priority
envelope that _isn't_ a flat rate.  And when sending materials that
weigh less than two pounds, you can save some money if you use the
non-flat-rate envelope.


John A. Tuttle

(Message sent Sun 14 Jan 2001, 22:09:58 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Comparisons, Rate, Shipping, UPS, USPS, vs

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