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The United States Postal Service & The Stamps.com Dilemma
The Truth About Stamps.Com I recently responded to an advertisement from a company offering services to “enhance the US consumer’s experience with the US Postal Service”. Always keen to expand my horizon, I elected to try the service and determine its appropriateness for my small business. I setup an individual account in June and within 60 days determined that the company’s offerings are not only being misrepresented through advertisements, but the business model is targeted at adversely impacting the role and performance of the US Postal Service resulting in capital erosion from the USPS revenue stream.
My Experience with Stamps.com The company advertises that it now carries Free USPS supplies with the following conditions: • Customer must buy a minimum of $50.00 Stamps.com supplies to be eligible for Free USPS supplies. • Service is only available with Basic Shipping. • Cost of required STAMPS.COM labels range from $51.99 – $199.99 depending on selection. • Account holders MUST buy & use their own ink to print STAMPS.COM labels. • Only stamps printed using Stamps.com postage stamps are acceptable for mail-in coupon redemption. The company makes it almost impossible to close an account. It requires multiple phone calls and e-mail exchanges. Some calls exceed 45 minutes with no action to successfully close an account.
My Concerns About Stamps.Com There are over 314,159,265residents in the USA. For each individual/business that uses STAMPS.COM for their postal needs, this is how it breaks down. • Monthly Charge: 1 X $17.99 = $17.99 • Annual Charge: $17.99 X 12 = $ 215.88 Assume that 1 million people use STAMPS.COM out of a population of over 314,159,265residents in the USA. This is the impact that this company is having on the US Postal Service: • Generic Individual STAMPS.COM Account: • Monthly USPS Loss: $17.99 X $1, 000,000.00 = $1,799,000.00 • Annual USPS Loss to STAMPS.COM: $ 1,799,000.00 X 12 = $215,880,000.00 I am concerned that STAMPS.COM is able to claim that it is offering the John Q. Public a meaningful and properly priced service in its capacity as an “approved licensed vendor of the United States Postal Service”.
USPS Statement of Operations (Dollars in Millions)Source: Ernst & Young LLP, McLean, Virginia, November 15, 2011
RECOMMENDATION: I recommend that USPS conduct a full investigation into the nature and scope of the STAMPS.COM offering. In light of future plans for service delivery and other cost-related matters pending review/approval before the United States Congress, this may be one means of reducing operation losses. As a concerned citizen, I look forward to enjoying the invaluable service provided by the United States Postal Service since Benjamin Franklin became the first US Post Master General under Continental Congress in 1775.