The US Postal Service in its Informed Delivery emails it sends to subscribers for the first time added a service impact notice, that says, “[the] USPS is experiencing unprecedented volume increases and limited employee availability due to the impacts to COVID-19. We appreciate your patience and remain committed to delivering the holidays for you.”
USPS Informed Delivery is a free email service by the USPS that allows subscribers to digitally preview their mail and manage packages scheduled to arrive soon.
A similar notice appears a few days ago on the USPS website after numerous media reports claimed postal workers complained about staff shortages, but the postal service denied this was the case.
The National Association of Letter Carriers claims that over 14,000 postal workers are currently quarantined due to potential COVID exposure, which is about 2 percent of the total workforce.
Meanwhile, pictures like the one below have circulated on social media claiming to show the condition inside USPS facilities. eSellerCafe cannot confirm the authenticity of this image (representative of many others like it), but if true, the picture shows how overburdened the USPS system has become.
While UPS and FedEx have also warnings on their sites about possible delays during the holiday season, the two package delivery companies have to date avoided a major collapse of their delivery capacity by holding shippers to strict volume expectations, refusing to pick up excess packages.
Some estimates put the number of stranded packages by all carriers at warehouse docks at around 6 million packages per day, with 2.5 million picked-up packages not arriving on time.
To make the situation even worse, when UPS and FedEx are not picking up packages, they may end up in the USPS system as shippers are scrambling for any delivery service to get them off their docks. The US Postal Service is required to accept all packages and cannot throttle the intake of packages like UPS and FedEx.
Angry customers hit small and micro businesses the most
With many small and micro businesses using the US Postal Service to deliver their orders, the volume of angry customers complaining about late deliveries has dramatically increased.
While more shoppers are becoming more aware of this situation, many are still angry and take it out on the merchant. eBay issued a second notice last night to sellers, indicating they would work with sellers to avoid negative feedback and hits on seller performance ratings due to the chronic delays in shipping. But that still leaves open the possibility of buyers refusing late packages or sending them back, resulting in additional expenses and lost sales for the small business owners.
Ultimately, small businesses and marketplace sellers only ask for patience as this situation is out of control. No one wants late deliveries or have missing holiday gifts. But with all carriers experiencing problems, there is very little small business owners can do to ensure timely delivery. Hopefully, this message being added to the USPS Informed Delivery emails will help a little.
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