Sunday, February 21, 2021

Shipping Rates Increase for 2021

 If you haven't ordered something online or shipped a package lately, you may be surprised at how much shipping fees have increased. At the end of January 2021 every shipping option has increased in price. 

FedEx Ground, FedEx 2Day®, FedEx Home Delivery®, and FedEx SmartPost® services increased approximately 4.9%

USPS shipping services: Priority Mail—3.5% increase, Priority Mail Express—1.2% increase, First Class Package—6.5% increase, Parcel Select—4.9% increase

UPS published rates increased by an average of 4.9% effective December 27, 2020

I had someone on Ebay ask me why shipping cost so much on a $4.50 item that they wanted to buy. The person was located about a 1000 miles from me. The package weight was over 1 pound, so it needs to be shipped with Priority Mail or FedEx/UPS ground. The lowest rate was $11.10 using Priority Mail. It is unlikely that someone is going to spend 2.5X the value of an item for shipping. I think this is going to have a severe impact on online retail. No one is going to pay more in shipping than an item is worth, unless they have no other option. When I look for items to resell, I include the cost of shipping to determine if the resale value of an item will result in a profit. If I find an item for $20 and shipping is $10, I have to be able to sell it for $40, in order to make a profit, or it just isn't worth my time. This eliminates many items, and is making it even more difficult for online resellers to make money in 2021. My sales have dropped off 75% compared to the same time period in 2020. Online sellers will be placing more local pickup only listings, or using platforms like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace to find local buyers and avoid high shipping fees. People will be going back to shopping at local stores instead of buying online.

Friday, February 05, 2021

Xfinity Unlimited Data

 Xfinity (Comcast) announced a new unlimited home Internet data option today. They must have heard us complaining about the 1.2 TB data limit that they have in place. If you get their xFi Complete package, it is an additional $25 per month. If you already rent their xFi gateway, you can upgrade to xFi Complete and get unlimited data for $11/mo more. The upgrade is available for an additional $30 per month if you use your own equipment. It seems like they are trying to push people into using Xfinity's equipment by making the price $5 more if you use your own equipment. The main reason for owning your own equipment is to eliminate the monthly rental fee. Unlimited should be less expensive if you own your own equipment, not $5 more. It is their way of collecting a rental fee on your equipment!

I think it is a step in the right direction, but the additional $30 is only worth it if you exceed 1.35 TB each month. Currently, Xfinity charges $10 for each block of 50 GB over the 1.2 TB limit. It should cost less for unlimited if you own your own equipment because they don't have to provide you with equipment. I think $20 per month for unlimited would be the right price if you own your own equipment. But, Xfinity has a history of offering confusing plans that make people feel like they are being taken advantage of. They often come up with new plans that are a better deal than the one you have and don't tell you about it until you see it on their website months or years later.

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Xfinity Data Cap

In an earlier post, I complained about the amount of data that the newer Xbox games needed to download before the game would install and play. This week, I received a warning email from Xfinity (Comcast) saying that I was getting close to my data limit. This is because of the half dozen games I loaded on the Xbox One X in the past week. 

You can log into your account on Xfinity and see how much data you use every month. Typically, our household (2 people) uses between 600 and 700 GB of data. That is mostly used for streaming video and browsing the web. But now, the Xbox has added 300 GB in the last 7 days on top of that. That's just downloading a few games. I haven't even tried online multiplayer games yet.

I took a look at the Xfinity Internet service plans and they all have a 1.2TB limit. My plan is the 100 Mbps download speed. Plans go all the way up to 1000 Mbps in my area. I don't need faster speed. That would just cause me to reach the data cap quicker, especially with a newer game console on our home network. I have about 275 GB left with 5 days to go before the end of the month. Our normal data usage is about 24 GB per day. So we will consume another 120 GB of data, if we don't install any more games on the Xbox this month. 

Can you imagine how much data all of the Xbox and PlayStation consoles are downloading every day. Newer games like Cyberpunk 2077 take up 70GB, Red Dead Redemption 2 (105GB), GTA 5 (94GB), and The Last of Us Part 2 (78.3GB) of HDD space. You often have to download updates to these games several times before all of the bugs are worked out. If you're on a 25Mbps connection ,the median broadband speed in the US, each game could take over 6 hours to download. And, if your Internet service has a data cap, you are most likely going to run into problems there too. 

Xfinity does give you a waiver on the overage fee for the first month that you exceed your limit. But now I will have to keep an eye on how much data we are using. It reminds me of the early days of cell phones when you had to keep track of your minutes to make sure you didn't exceed your plan. With all of the new connected devices they are coming out with, data usage is going to keep going up. 1.2TB is going to look like a small number in the not to distant future.