Auctioneers selling coins on Proxibid often charge a handling fee for shipping supplies, in addition to postage. But using (or reusing) free USPS mailing boxes and envelopes as packing material is a violation of federal law.
Proxiblog recently received a shipment of coins sent by United Parcel Service rather than the US Postal Service. The UPS box contained as packing material four small empty USPS flat rate shipping boxes, two on the bottom and two on top of the coins in bubble wrap.
When you use free USPS shipping, you are agreeing to its terms of service:
“I understand that Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International packaging is the property of the United States Postal Service and is provided solely for sending Express Mail, Priority Mail, Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International and Priority Mail International. Misuse may be a violation of federal law.”
So strict are these terms of agreement that a Colorado man, who turned inside out one of those USPS flat-rate boxes, to reuse as a mailer, was warned officially by the Postal Service about violation of federal law, as this news story documents.
Other Proxibid auctioneers are creative when it comes to shipping supplies, using old newspapers–shredded or not–grocery bags, recycled bubble wrap and packing peanuts. Click here for other legal methods to get free shipping supplies.
Several Proxibid coin auctioneers have lowered their shipping rates to $10, primarily because they are using an incredibly effective shipping method provided by the US Government: if it fits, it ships® You’ll notice that the phrase is a registered trademark of the Postal Service.
Too often we complain about postage costs. In this case, the Postal Service is providing a service, and we shouldn’t take advantage of it by illegally misusing free supplies.
Proxiblog is an independent entity with no connection to the auction portal Proxibid. Our intent is to uphold basic numismatic standards as established by the American Numismatic Association and the National Auctioneer Association and to ensure a pleasurable bidding experience not only on Proxibid but also on similar portals such as iCollector and AuctionZip.