We noticed several posts on social media over the last few days by people wondering what has happened to USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes.
The prepaid envelopes have disappeared from The Postal Store (USPS operated postage and supplies website) which has created some confusion about what happened to them and if they will come back.
In August last year, the US Postal Service revealed on its Link website that the Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes are being phased out and would remain available only until January or while supplies last.
USPS said it was discontinuing the pre-paid envelope because their use had declined over the years while production and fulfillment costs increased.
However, it is not all bad news as USPS offers other prepaid mailer options that shippers can use.
Customers can pick from six currently available Priority Mail Forever Prepaid flat-rate mailers, which include two envelope-style mailers, on the official USPS Postal Store website to replace the now discontinued USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes.
The benefit of the new mailers is the Forever Stamp feature as the old mailer’s stamp value was tied to the specific value of the stamp at the time of purchaser. With the new mailers, the Forever postage enables shippers to use the mailers regardless of future rate adjustments.
Are USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes Sold on Amazon Legit?
Unfortunately, this confusion has now led to some flat rate mailers being sold at ridiculous prices on Amazon and eBay.
To make matters worse, this particular listing on Amazon is for the 2016 version of the USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes with a postage rate value of $6.45.
Assuming this is a legitimate product being sold on Amazon, senders would still have to add $2.50 in postage to mail these envelopes today! This is certainly no bargain by any stretch of the imagination, especially when alternatives can be ordered through USPS.
In addition, just last month we reported on a surge of counterfeit stamps being sold on eBay and Facebook. While it seems unlikely there is a lot of money to be made in creating fake USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes, people should be careful when purchasing any kind of postage products online.
The Postal Store is the official online retail webstore by the US Postal Service and the only guaranteed online shopping portal that offers authentic retail USPS postage products such as USPS issued stamps and prepaid mailers.
Clarification Note: USPS authorized shipping solution providers (including some online marketplaces that enable users to print shipping labels) offer business services that print USPS postage on shipping labels. They do not offer the retail postage products as sold in The Postal Store and their business postage products should not be confused with the retail products offered directly by the US Postal Service.
While USPS may have seen a declining use of these mailers, marketplace sellers on eBay and Etsy often used them. But the Priority Mail Forever Flat Rate mailers are the replacement with future proof postage for the next time USPS raises its rates.
We hope this will clear up the “questions” around the USPS Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes and why this one specific envelope has disappeared from The Postal Store.
However, there is one another mystery…
Question About Availability of Padded Flat Rate Priority Mail Envelopes
In addition to the USPS Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelope being discontinued, there was a mystery around the USPS Padded Flat Rate Envelope (SKU: EP14PE).
The padded mailer disappeared from The Postal Store in mid-January with the link to order the mailer on The Postal Store resulting in a “File or Page Request Not Found” page.
The good news is that as of January 13, the mailer is back under a new SKU, which is EP14PE_X.
It doesn’t seem there are any changes to the size of the product, so it is unclear why USPS removed the mailer and replaced it with a new SKU. One possibility is that the Postal Service changed vendors and that resulted in a SKU update.
USPS Priority Mail Gift Card Flat Rate Envelopes
As a side note, Priority Mail Gift Card Flat Rate Envelopes were also discontinued last year and like the Priority Mail Prepaid Flat Rate Stamped Envelopes are no longer available on The Postal Store.
Note: This post was updated to include the question about the future availability of the flat rate padded envelopes. It was again updated on 1/13 to include the information that the padded mailer is back on The Postal Store under a new SKU.
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