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eBay Sellers Finding Solutions to eBay’s Tracking Policy

March 7th, 2012 by Skip McGrath

After my last newsletter I got a ton of mail about the new eBay policy that sellers have to provide tracking on 90% of their shipments.  One group that is most affected by this are those sellers who sell flat items like post cards, sports cards, stamps, or any flat item.  Most of these sellers send their products to buyers in a simple first class envelop for 45-cents.  The problem is the post office (USPS) doesn’t provide tracking for First Class letters.  But they do offer tracking for larger First Class packages.

I had over a dozen readers send me their solutions.  Here are some of the ideas I got:

message: I am an eBay power seller who uses mainly first class shipping in envelopes.  My carrier told me the secret to getting free tracking through USPS is to pad the envelope with lightweight bubble paper to increase the thickness. I fold my wrap into thirds to get the desired thickness.  It doesn’t add to the weight but does cost a little more in supplies.

 ============================

message: Hello, I am an avid reader and have purchased many of your products. I think there are some wires crossed with the issue of tracking on First Class Mail and Media Mail packages.

We ship extensively using both methods and when we purchase postage through either eBay or PayPal they automatically add delivery confirmation. It is free for First Class now and it costs .19 for Media.

This suffices for tracking on eBay. These are both shipped as package slash thick envelope. Get this, even the thin envelopes are shipped this way, but if they are under three quarters thick, we will simply take a black sharpie and mark out the delivery confirmation info on the shipping label and it is good to go. The tracking still goes into the eBay system but the post office will not refuse your First Class envelope because the tracking has been marked out.

Or you can also just add a packing peanut to the envelope to get it over three quarters inch thick. We use the marker method and have not had any refused. Hope this will help your readers.

 =========================

message: When I read the story about the person who ships first class and can’t get tracking, I was very surprised at her problem.  I ship most of my products the same way, but include some cardboard, it doesn’t take much, and write or stamp Do Not Bend on the package.  Since the package is now what the post office deems Rigid, it is now has to ship at first-class package rate with free tracking.

It works the same for any package that is rigid, nonrectangular, or not uniformly thick, this is a direct quote from the USPS website.

If you don’t want to add cardboard, throw a packing peanut into each flat envelope so that it is not uniformly thick.  It works the same way and how much does a packing peanut add to the weight?  The answer is not much!  To sum up, for the price of one packing peanut added to each 9×12 envelope she sends, she can now track her first-class package and be a Top Rated Seller.

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