USPS Customers Threaten Boycott Over Price Hikes Coming Jan. 21
The agency is facing backlash as costs continue to climb for customers.
The new year always brings about new changes, and over the past few years, that has certainly held true for the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). The agency is currently in the midst of a decade-long overhaul in order to fix its financial and operational challenges, and a major part of that transformation has been price hikes. But with constant cost adjustments and the next one on the horizon, the USPS is facing new backlash and boycott calls.
Back in March 2021, when Postmaster General Louis DeJoy released his Delivering for America (DFA) plan, the 10-year overhaul was intended to take the Postal Service "from an organization in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high performing," according to the agency's website.
One of the DFA's initiatives is to create a "more rational pricing strategy" for the USPS. But achieving that has meant repeatedly raising costs for customers. The first price hike happened in Aug. 2021, bringing the Forever stamp to 58 cents. Prices were pushed up again in 2022 and then twice in 2023. Now, customers are about to see their fifth postal rate increase under DeJoy.
On Oct. 6, the USPS filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) to propose new prices for 2024. According to the Federal Register, the PRC has since approved the changes, which will raise mailing services product prices by approximately 2 percent.
The new rates are set to take effect Jan. 21 and will "include a 2-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail Forever stamp, from 66 cents to 68 cents," the USPS stated in its original announcement.
As the USPS gets ready to raise costs for customers once again, many are now speaking out against this initiative.
"These unprecedented postage hikes are giving Americans rate whiplash and compromising the Postal Service's ability to deliver for America," Kevin Yoder, a former congressman and the executive director of Keep US Posted, a nonprofit advocacy group that represents consumers and businesses like newspapers and publishers that rely on the USPS, told CBS News in an emailed statement.
Several customers have also taken to social media to share their frustrations ahead of the newest price hike.
"Why is the @USPS pricing the average person out of using them for communications? It seems to me if you lower the price of stamps more people would purchase stamps from you. More volume, more money—stop chasing everyone away," one X user posted on Dec. 31.
Another wrote on Dec. 27, "Ya'll. When I say I am so tired of USPS raising their rates."
Some are so outraged over the repeated price hikes that they're calling for a boycott against the agency in their posts. "First Class mail stamp goes to .68 cents in 2024. It's time to put the USPS out to pasture an bury this dead horse. #boycott," an X user wrote on Dec. 23.
It's not just talk either: Yoder told CBS News that the rate hikes are actually driving consumers and businesses away from relying on the USPS.
"Mail volume is currently down nearly 9 percent year-over-year, after rate hikes took effect in January and July, and the proposed increase next January will only perpetuate these losses," he said. "Paper mail business keeps USPS afloat, and with every postage hike, more mail leaves the system forever."
Nevertheless, the Postal Service has maintained that increasing costs is necessary for its ongoing transformation.
"As inflationary pressures on operating expenses continue and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt, these price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan," the USPS said. "The prices of the Postal Service remain among the most affordable in the world."