The United States Postal Service (USPS) is undergoing another round of modifications for mail services, impacting shipping options, costs, and stamps.
These alterations come as part of the Delivering for America (DFA) plan, introduced in 2021, which aims to revitalize the USPS financially and operationally over the next decade.
Over the past few years, customers have experienced various shifts, including slower delivery standards and increased mail prices. Now, the agency is preparing for additional adjustments in the coming days. Here are the key USPS changes taking place this summer.
The USPS Will No Longer Provide Refunds for Certain Shipments
The postal system has specific regulations regarding mailing hazardous materials (HAZMAT), such as lithium batteries, considered potentially dangerous substances that could harm individuals or cause damage if mishandled.
To ensure compliance, senders must adhere to the USPS guidelines when mailing restricted items, including aerosols, dry ice, firearms, hand sanitizers, matches, nail polish, and paint.
However, the USPS is introducing a new modification to its HAZMAT guidelines this month.
According to the postal bulletin released on June 29, the agency announced adjustments to “refund eligibility for Priority Mail Express products containing hazardous materials.” Starting July 9, refunds for HAZMAT-based Priority Mail Express products will no longer be applicable.
The agency clarified that postage would not be refunded if guaranteed service was not provided due to the delivery or attempted delivery of a shipment containing live animals or hazardous materials within three days of the mailing date.
The Agency Is Also Adding a New Shipping Option
In addition, USPS is introducing a new shipping option called “USPS Ground Advantage.” This enhanced ground solution, set to launch on July 9, will consolidate and replace three existing services: USPS Retail Ground, First-Class Package Service, and Parcel Select Ground services.
USPS Ground Advantage is designed to provide affordable domestic ground shipping to all 50 states and U.S. territories, with a delivery timeframe of two to five days. The agency stated that this option would benefit consumers and commercial customers, as it will be widely adopted across various postage channels.
Furthermore, USPS Ground Advantage will offer lower shipping rates than the current USPS ground shipping, with an average reduction of 1.4 percent.
This reaffirms the Postal Service’s commitment to supporting businesses of all sizes and industries by providing affordable, reliable, straightforward mail and package delivery services at the right price.
But Other Mail Prices Will Increase This Weekend
However, alongside these positive changes, some mail prices will increase starting July 9.
Following a previous mail cost increase in January, the USPS received approval from the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to implement further price adjustments this summer. The new rates will lead to an approximate 5.4 percent increase in First-Class Mail prices.
This includes a three-cent rise in the Forever stamp price, which will increase from 63 cents to 66 cents. The USPS clarified that these price adjustments are necessary to generate much-needed revenue and achieve financial stability as outlined in the Delivering for America 10-year plan.
The agency acknowledges that operating expenses influenced by inflation continue to rise, and the consequences of a previously flawed pricing model persist. Nonetheless, it emphasizes that USPS prices remain among the most affordable globally.
New Stamp Series “Life Magnified” are Coming
For stamp collectors and enthusiasts, the USPS has announced an upcoming stamp series called “Life Magnified” in the June 29 postal bulletin.
This science-based collection, available for nationwide purchase starting August 10, will feature a collective pane of 20 stamps. The “Life Magnified” stamps, created by art director Derry Noyes, feature various images taken using microscopes and specialized photographic techniques to reveal minute details of life that are invisible to the human eye.
Each stamp includes the name of the showcased specimen, providing a unique perspective on life on Earth.
These USPS changes aim to enhance service offerings, adapt to evolving demands, and secure the agency’s financial stability in the long term. As always, USPS remains committed to providing affordable and reliable mail and package delivery services to its customers, both individuals and businesses alike.