Subsidized, Imported Annoyance

Thursday, November 30, 2017

If your mail includes piles of small packages from China that are clearly addressed to you -- but which may or may not contain anything -- blame postal subsidies:

Would you, left to your own devices, pay to ship a white elephant to a random person, possibly yourself? (Image courtesy of Pixabay.)
Basically, a "brushing" firm somehow got hold of McGeehan's name and address -- she imagines this happened from placing legitimate orders on AliExpress, the international wing of China's Alibaba -- and then created user profiles for "her" on the e-commerce sites that they wish to have higher sales ratings and favorable reviews on. They then shop for orders via the fake account, compare prices, and mimic everything an actual customer would do, before finally making a purchase from their client's store. When delivery is confirmed, they then leave positive reviews that appear to the e-commerce platform as "verified."

The hair ties that McGeehan receives are more than likely not the actual items the Chinese brushers are leaving reviews for. Basically, they are low cost stand-ins for the real products. It doesn't really matter what is shipped in the packages in this case, as the person receiving it has nothing to do with the exchange. But at least McGeehan is actually receiving packages that contain something. I've also been receiving reports from unsuspecting and often confused people in the U.S. whose mailboxes are being filled with parcels from China which contain nothing.

Due to the unbalanced pricing policies of the United Postal Union and subsidies from the U.S. Postal Service, it costs people in China virtually nothing to ship small packages to the U.S. That, combined with the super cheap price they pay for the junk they ship, makes brushing a quick and cost effective way to move up the sales rankings -- which means everything for e-commerce merchants. [links in original, bold added]
This is annoying, but it -- and probably lots of other junk mail -- wouldn't happen* at all were it not for the government forcing us to deal with and pay for the Post Office.

-- CAV

* Interestingly, it appears that the junk mail we get from American businesses is, at least in part, subsidizing the junk mail we get from overseas.

No comments: