PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - There's still time to mail out Christmas packages, but don't sit on them too long. A lot of online sellers say there are big shipping delays right now. It's been a common theme among eBay sellers lately, and now it's causing a Phoenix woman to lose a lot of money.
Since Black Friday, Diane Jensen says shipping with USPS has been at a standstill.
"This is the worst," she said. "This is the worst I've ever seen it. This is the worst-case scenario."
She runs Pennypackers, an eBay store that sells mostly designer clothes and collectibles. Jensen mails about 25 packages a week, but this month has been a shipping nightmare.
"I've been getting emails from buyers saying, 'I haven't received my items,'" she said. "I go back and it still says it's in Phoenix and it's been eight days."
After complaining to the Postal Service, Jensen's gotten several identical letters saying packages may temporarily experience delays due to the pandemic. Rod Spurgeon, a spokesman for the USPS in Arizona, says there are no widespread delays in the network. However, because record numbers of people are making online orders sorting machines are sometimes overwhelmed. Extra staff often has to process packages by hand.
"Sometimes when they do get processed manually, it may not receive that scan that it is on transportation and moving towards its destination," Spurgeon said.
So it's very possible Jensen's shipments are on their way, but not updated in the system. Transportation limits could also be playing a role.
"A lot of the airline capacity is at its maximum limits," Spurgeon said. "There are fewer flights going to destinations and limited cargo capacity."
Jensen's not just worried about delays – it's about her hard-earned money.
"I'm starting to stress out a lot because financially, I'm gonna end up having to pay people back what they've already paid me."
She fears customers will get refunds, then still eventually receive their item in the mail for free. eBay's rules don't allow Jensen to recoup the money if that happens.
"I will probably have to write that off as a loss," she said.
"The longer you wait to ship something, the fewer shipping options you'll have available. With fewer shipping options, it might cost more to ship."
Meanwhile, Facebook groups of eBay sellers are chatting about similar experiences all around the country during the most profitable quarter of the year for them.
The Postal Service reminds customers to mail packages by the following dates in order to ensure delivery by Christmas:
- Dec. 18 is the deadline for First Class mail
- Dec. 19 is the deadline for Priority Mail
- Dec. 23 is the last day to mail anything in time for Christmas if you use Priority Mail Express