USPS ended its Special Handling – Fragile service this month, a fee-based option that offered preferential treatment of packages but did not include insurance.
There has been some confusion if this means they no longer will accept fragile packages. This information should clear this up.
After a thorough study, the Postal Service proposed this change in April, with an effective date of July 10, 2022. Since the 10th of this month, USPS customers could no longer purchase the Special Handling – Fragile service.
In addition, USPS removed the landing page explaining the Special Handling – Fragile service option from its website.
And the Postal Service no longer offers Label 875, Special Handling – Fragile, which was specific to this service.
But the end of the service does not mean USPS stopped accepting fragile items.
In a statement, USPS said, “Customers should be encouraged to package their items carefully and consider purchasing insurance to cover any packages they are concerned about. Additional insurance is available for all mail classes.”
Shippers can still add words or stickers that say “Fragile” to identify packages with fragile contents but should not rely on these markings to be effective.
Since USPS processing centers increasingly rely on machine automation when handling and sorting packages, shippers should focus on using proper packaging materials and practices to protect the contents.
For fragile items, it’s best to use a box strong enough to withstand impact and wrap the contents in bubble wrap or other cushioned padding.
Package move on belts, slide down ramps, and are loaded in bulk into trucks. All of this means they are getting tossed around a bit.
While mail carriers may pay attention to such markings at delivery, insufficient packaging is more likely to cause damage to the contents during sorting and transit.
That is why good packaging is the first line of defense against breakage.
USPS offers tips on how to best prepare packages for mailing here.
For additional clarification, this change does not affect live animal procedures and processes as outlined in Publication 52, Hazardous, Restricted, and Perishable Mail.
USPS Boosts Domestic Priority Mail Insurance
While USPS ended its special handling of packages option, the Postal Sevice enhanced its domestic Priority Mail service by upgrading the default insurance from $50 to $100.
The improved insurance coverage will not compensate for the loss of the Special Handling – Fragile. Filing insurance claims on fragile items will continue to be challenging with little hope of compensation.
Therefore, shippers should rely on proper packaging to protect the contents of their shipments and understand the risks of sending fragile items with USPS or any other carrier.
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