February 27, 2009, 12:00 AM

U.S. Postal Service and UPS team up on package returns service

Over the next several months, the U.S. Postal Service and rival UPS will cooperate in a test of a new service that picks up packages from consumers’ addresses and ships them back to retailers.

Internet Retailer

If all goes well, the U.S. Postal Service and rival delivery services company UPS will make permanent a few months from now UPS Returns Flexible Access as a service that picks up packages from consumers’ addresses and ships them back to retailers.

The service started last month as a test that will run through late spring or early summer. It covers the continental U.S.

Terry Rowinski, vice president of operations at online retailer BuySeasons Inc., one of several retailers participating in the test, says the returns program is a way to enhance his company’s product offerings and improve customer service. BuySeasons operates the costumes and party supplies retail site BuyCostumes.com.

To use the service, customers of participating retailers will affix to their packages return shipping labels received with every order. Packages affixed with the labels, which display bar codes for both UPS and the U.S. Postal Service, can be left in a home mail box, in a UPS or U.S. Postal Service drop box, or taken to any UPS or U.S. Postal Service facility. UPS then will pick up the package and return it directly to the retailer, expediting shipment by eliminating the need to transfer the package to multiple U.S. Postal Service mail-handling facilities. A fee schedule has yet to be worked out.

The Postal Service also provides a returns service in conjunction with Newgistics Inc., which picks up packages at consumers’ addresses and takes them to a U.S. Postal Service mail facility for delivery to retailers. That service will continue separately from the UPS program.



Sign In to Make a Comment

Comments are moderated by Internet Retailer and can be removed.

Not a member? Signup for free today!




Relevant Commentary


Jason Squardo / Mobile Commerce

Five tips for achieving high mobile search rankings

Searches on mobile devices will soon exceed those on computers, Google says. Retailers that keep ...


Sergio Pereira / B2B E-Commerce

Quill turns to its B2B customers for new ideas

Coming in April is a new section of Quill.com that will let customers and Quill ...