NewsPinellas County


Tampa Bay area businesses worry about USPS price hikes, shipping delays

Posted at 5:46 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 02:30:33-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — The US Postmaster General will testify Monday, August 24 about mail delays and price hikes to the U.S. Postal Service as part of a house oversite committee hearing.

From mail-in ballots to medications to small business shipments, the United States Postal Service delays are concerning for several Tampa Bay USPS customers, including small businesses that rely on the service.

At Outspoken Bicycles in Clearwater, business has never been better, according to 9-year employee Lisa Taylor.

“It has been unbelievably busy,” Taylor said while explaining that they can barely keep bicycles stocked which is making every new shipment crucial.

“We do rely on things to be shipped to us so if we don’t have those shipments we can’t sell products, and if we don’t have the shipments for the people in the back, we can’t fix products either. It has a huge impact on us,” she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, USPS says more people are relying on packages rather than shopping at stores for crucial items. Yet, soon those packages may cost you more.

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Starting in October, shipping costs could spike between 24 cents and $1.50 per package through December 27.

Jeana Hemela, who sells several items on the website Poshmark, worries that will impact her sales.

“The shipping price is always a major factor of whether a customer does want to order so it is going to hurt us,” she explained.

It’s a cost many small business owners say they’ll be forced to pass on to customers.

Nick DiCeglie owns a small garbage and recycling company and worries about having to hike costs if shipping costs increase.

“So it’s not just business owners that will suffer but each and every one of us,” he said.

The United States Postal Service reported 9 billion dollars in losses in 2019, yet some house democrats are urging USPS to push off any service cuts until after the election and pandemic end.

“The issue is going to have to be addressed. Unfortunately, it’s political so they’re playing the cat and mouse game right now. Hopefully, they’ll come together soon because at the end of the day small businesses rely on this service,” DiCeglie added.

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The Postmaster General plans to testify Monday in front of the U.S. House Oversite Committee about the new price hikes and questions about delays in the mailing process and Pinellas County small business owners hope lawmakers on both sides can come up with a solution.

“It’s affecting everybody for sure. Not just us but everybody in every facet of life really,” Taylor added.