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Post Office Proposes Special Rate For Mailing DVDs 176

Posted by timothy
from the let's-get-the-doj-right-on-this-monopoly dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The United States Postal Service is seeking to implement a special postage rate for companies such as Netflix, GameFly and Blockbuster (PDF), which send DVDs to their customers and then receive them back. This proposal for special rates for two-way mailers of optical disks follows a protracted legal complaint from GameFly, which argued that Netflix was receiving special handling by the Postal Service while paying a cheaper postage rate."
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Post Office Proposes Special Rate For Mailing DVDs

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  • Re:How is this news? (Score:2, Informative)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:35PM (#44400641) Journal

    Because unlike every other business on the planet Dubya passed a law that says the USPS has to have the ENTIRE retirement plan, to the very last penny for every single employee, funded for something like 40 years?

    I have to wonder if this law getting passed couldn't be traced back to Fed Ex and UPS wanting the business that USPS was doing so found a way to stick them with a bill that they could never pay while remaining able to compete. After all you don't see Fed Ex and UPS funding 40 years worth of retirement per employee in their retirement accounts do you? It lets them tie a boat anchor to USPS so that USPS ends up in a bind and either has to cut service or raise prices, both of which benefits UPS and Fed Ex.

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mitreya (579078) <mitreya@gmailCHICAGO.com minus city> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:43PM (#44400705)

    I have to wonder if this law getting passed couldn't be traced back to Fed Ex and UPS wanting the business that USPS was doing so found a way to stick them with a bill that they could never pay while remaining able to compete.

    USPS is also not allowed to raise prices beyond some (official/fudged) price index increase.

    It lets them tie a boat anchor to USPS so that USPS ends up in a bind and either has to cut service or raise prices, both of which benefits UPS and Fed Ex.

    UPS/FedEx constantly use USPS on "unprofitable" routes, because USPS is also required to keep prices relatively constant. So if the package is going to the middle of nowhere, UPS and FedEx will gladly outsource it to USPS which will deliver it at a loss. USPS cannot actually raise prices, but if they cut services, that may actually harm their competitors.

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @01:45PM (#44400727)

    > I have to wonder if this law getting passed couldn't be traced back to Fed Ex and UPS wanting the business that USPS was doing

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Starve_the_beast

    Basically, people who want government to fail set them up to fail. Then they say "look look, big government is failing!"

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Informative)

    by Y-Crate (540566) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:11PM (#44400873)

    Because unlike every other business on the planet Dubya passed a law that says the USPS has to have the ENTIRE retirement plan, to the very last penny for every single employee, funded for something like 40 years?

    It's worse than that. The law gives the USPS 10 years to come up with 100% of the money needed to fund all of its pension requirements for the next 75 years.

    It's designed to destroy the USPS so Republican lawmakers can bemoan how government has once again failed to deliver. Except that they're the ones who have failed us.

  • by SeaFox (739806) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @02:24PM (#44400965)

    It's from a government site. NSA paranoia aside, a Postal Regulatory Commission complaint is not going to contain some ridiculous scripts or other executable bits.

    You always have the option of opening it with the built-in PDF reader on Firefox, which would only be able to open the plain document portion of it if there is anything else embedded.

  • Re:dumb (Score:3, Informative)

    by metiscus (1270822) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:07PM (#44401209)

    In the USA, it is illegal to deliver first class mail unless you are the USPS, unless it is delivered at a cost of 6x the current USPS delivery rate.

    http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/postal-history/universal-service-postal-monopoly-history.pdf [usps.com]

    We have laws preventing exercise of free enterprise in the delivery of standard mail. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_Express_Statutes [wikipedia.org]

    Companies in the past have attempted to circumvent these restrictions and have been run out of business by the government through legal means. The competing company was quite successful financially. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Letter_Mail_Company [wikipedia.org]

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:4, Informative)

    by g1powermac (812562) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @03:50PM (#44401527)
    And, as a former rural carrier, I can tell you that arrangement is quite profitable for the post office. The rural carriers have to go their routes anyway, so the extra package load costs quite little. The only costs are some time for the clerks/management to sort the incoming packages in the morning, and the slightly higher evaluations for the routes (which translates to a small bit more money to the carriers).
  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@gm a i l . com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @07:10PM (#44402697) Homepage Journal
    Digital Versatile Disc is a cost-efficient medium for moving 4 to 8 GB packets of data in and out of geographic areas not served by a wired broadband provider. Cellular ISPs in the United States charge on the order of $10 per GB for microwave data transmission; satellite ISPs aren't much cheaper.
  • Re:How is this news? (Score:3, Informative)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@ g m a i l.com> on Saturday July 27, 2013 @08:15PM (#44402999) Journal

    I take it we have some "invisible hand" nutbars with mod points today?

    Like it or not here are some facts, FACT the USPS was doing just fine UNTIL that law was passed that required them to fund a LIFETIME of retirement for each and every person that has worked or will work for them, NO other company has to do this and UPS and Fed Ex sure as fuck don't do this, FACT we have had several activists use the "starve the beast" meme that the AC pointed out, the Tea Party is just the latest, Grover Norquist and his "No new taxes EVAR" pledge being one of the most prominent examples, and FACT we haven't seen a damned thing passed this past 20+ years that wasn't either written by or sponsored by a lobbyist or lobbying group so you know damned good and well such a major change to the USPS had to be wanted by SOMEBODY with money or else it wouldn't have gotten done in the first place!

    But you keep buying the "invisible hand" bullshit which even the libertarians know doesn't even exist in the stock market [youtube.com] much less anywhere else, but I bet my last soon to be inflated to worthless dollar that if you follow the money either Fed Ex or UPS paid for the retirement law or a "starve the beast" true believer like Norquist and his followers paid to have it passed.

  • by MightyYar (622222) on Saturday July 27, 2013 @09:46PM (#44403429)

    The timeline was aggressive and they didn't allow for additional revenue. But let's say that and not pretend that the Post Office wasn't running a scam before. At the very least, those unfunded pensions should have been showing up on the balance sheet like the liabilities that they really were.

  • Re:How is this news? (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 27, 2013 @10:09PM (#44403509)

    It's worse than that. The law gives the USPS 10 years to come up with 100% of the money needed to fund all of its pension requirements for the next 75 years.

    It's designed to destroy the USPS so Republican lawmakers can bemoan how government has once again failed to deliver. Except that they're the ones who have failed us.

    Oh, it's even worse than that. When a veteran from the military gets employment at the USPS, now instead of the military budget being responsible for his/her retirement, the USPS is now responsible for it. Even for the years they were in the military! (Does any money already put in for that person by the military to any funds transfer to the USPS? Of course not, silly.)

    This of course makes the military budgets look better, and the USPS budgets look worse. And veterans are given hiring preference by the USPS of course.

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