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I sell mostly items that weigh only a few ounces but they're collectable items and I offer insurance.

My question is: Does anybody know if there's any way to buy insurance/postage online if the package isn't heavy enough to require Priority Mail shipping?

As best as I can figure out, the automated postage machines at some post offices won't do it either (or, perhaps they will do it but only for heavier packages).

I suppose I could simply make the shipping Priority to begin with but many of my listings' starting bids are less than five dollars (and, obviously, $4.00 would be outrageous for First Class shipping of a two-ounce package).

I'm also curious about international mail. I'd love to be able to ship a three-ounce package to France with Customs form attached without having to go stand in line at the post office.

Any suggestions? Anything I don't seem to know?

Thanks in advance!

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Well, it figures that once I make a public query I'd suddenly figure it out. Well, sort of.

I suddenly realized yesterday that if you take care of your shipping through PayPal ("print shipping label") that you can send First Class mail. They call it First Class Parcel (and regular Parcel is also an option) but it accepted a weight of 2 ounces (and cost the normal 63¢) so it must be okay. You can also take care of insurance this way (up to $500).

The only drawback is they automatically charge you 14¢ for Delivery Confirmation (the USPS site charges nothing) but it's worth it to me to not have to stand it line at the post office.

If anybody else has any other suggestions or advice, I'm all ears, though!
Have you looked into I recently signed up, they have a 4 week trial. I am hooked. I will be signing up for a $16/month service after the trial, but I'm willing to pay $16 a month for the convenience.

I do 1st Class packages, Priority, and International Air Letter & Air Parcel. I have the carrier pick up all the domestic packages at my house. I take the international packages to the post office (customs forms completed and attached) and just hand them to someone, I don't stand in line.
Hey, thanks much for the suggestion. I took a look around the site and it seems interesting. I'd like to ask you a couple of questions, if you don't mind.

So, you pay $16.00 a month. Is any USPS postage/services then paid for with your credit card?

Also, for Air Letter, how do they handle the customs form? Is it provided for you to print out? It seems that Air Letter is the only reason now that I have to stand in line at the post office...

Thanks much!
I pay the postage with my credit card, I'm not sure if they have other options. You have to keep a balance with them, but I don't think there is a minimum balance. You can add postage in any amount. The whole process of adding postage takes about 2 minutes, so it is no trouble to essentially pay as you use it.

You can do customs forms online, there is a link that takes you right to them.

I've been using it for 10 days, and I'm hooked. Some other awesome features... Delivery confirmation is free on Priority shipping, they will email the customer with their tracking number, they will email you each day to tell you which packages were delievered, you can arrange for carrier pickup through the site and it is very easy, they check each address for errors, you can copy and paste the address from your paypal emails right into the address box...

The only negative is that you have to pay for a whole year up front. (Well, that may not be true for all levels of membership.) But I have no reservations about that after using the free trial.
In regards to the customs forms:

Go to, set-up an account if you don't already have one, and you can go to the postal store and order Customs forms, boxes, the works, for FREE!

In regards to First Class shipping:

I've looked at before, but don't use them. Think about this. Yes, through PayPal you pay the additional 14 cents for delivery confirmation, pay $16.00 at is a matter of how much you sell, and which one saves you money.

My strong recommendation...I sell mostly software, and my average shipment is around 3 ounces. I use PayPal's USPS 1st Class Parcel, and pay the extra .14 cents. Think of this; you're customer says thay never received the item. You think they are full of crap. BUT, you can't prove it. Now they file a complaint with PayPal and eBay, plus leave you BAD feedback. PayPal will freeze you account if you don't refund them. POINT: take the extra .14 cents----it's PEACE OF MIND!!! Now, if someone complains, you can look it up, and see where it was delivered, and act accordingly.

This has never happened to me, BUT, if you check out the eBay Seller's Forums, you'll see that it is a major issue among sellers.

I say, screw the $16.00, go with PayPal's USPS option.
I us the USPS "click n ship". You set up the account on a CC - not required to keep a balance. The customs forms are filled out on line - the prioirty mail supplies are free - and they don't charge for delivery confirmation which I won't ship without. If I need Parcel Post or Media Mail, I just go to PayPal. He's right - 14 cents is worth the Peace of Mind.
Good luck in your selling.
I believe I've finally settled on eBay/PayPal's shipping set-up. I also use the USPS' Click 'n Ship but PayPal's advantage is that you can send First Class mail for lighter items (whereas Click 'n Ship only allows for Priorty and up).

The only thing left that would really make me happy is to be able to print postage for Airmail Letter online (again, lighter stuff), but I don't want to pay much for the privelege (

One question: Can you ship through eBay/PayPal if the customer paid by some means other than PayPal? Maybe that's a dumb question since it seems like I should already know the answer...

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