USPS Postal News That You Need To Know!

The Latest Mailing News For You and Your Business

04

Jun 2014

USPS Price Increase 2014 May Be Delayed

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The U.S. Postal Service is thinking about foregoing its usual January price increase next year.  

It’s not that postal officials have suddenly been afflicted with a case of generosity after jacking up most postal rates by more than 5% earlier this year. They’re merely preparing for what happens when (or, rather, if) the temporary 4.3% “exigent” portion of the recent rate increase expires.

USPS has gone to court in hopes of making the exigent increase permanent. But if that effort fails, the surcharge will expire after bringing additional postal revenue of $3.2 billion, which will take an estimated 18 months. Postal officials apparently want to avoid across-the-board rate cuts when the exigent increase expires.

“The Postal Service could delay the next rate adjustment so as to coincide with the rescission of the exigent surcharge,” USPS noted in a filingyesterday with the Postal Regulatory Commission.

Frustrated Mailers

“If the available percentage of rate authority attributable to inflation were 4.3 percent or greater, then the surcharge could simply be absorbed as part of the scheduled rate change.” In other words, USPS could remove the exigent rate increase without actually changing the rates, by simultaneously imposing a normal (inflation-capped) rate increase.

At current inflation rates, the Postal Service’s authority to implement a normal rate increase would be capped not much above 2% when the exigent increase is slated to expire in mid-2015.

“Even if inflation were less than 4.3 percent, the Postal Service could . . . fold in the exigent surcharge into the basic rate structure of some products, while adjusting the prices of other products so as to come out at the cap.” In other words, some products could see no change in rates while others would get a decrease.

USPS’s Board of Governors could pursue other scenarios as well, the filing noted.

“The Governors of the Postal Service could decide to proceed with a January price adjustment for one class of mail — say, Periodicals — while delaying it for other classes.” USPS has been eager to impose additional price increases on magazines and newspapers because it claims to be losing money on the Periodicals class. Apparently, the recent unprecedented quarterly decrease of 8% in Periodicals volume wasn’t big enough for postal officials. From: http://deadtreeedition.blogspot.com/2014/06/usps-may-delay-next-price-increase.html

14

May 2014

Postcards and The USPS: Rules, Sizes, and Fixes

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Postcard advice and rules.  This is probably the number one outrage our customers declare is that the postcards they are trying to mail are no good.  This often will cause reprints of the material, a need for ugly labels, or a postage penalty.  Accurate Mailing Services wants to make sure you have a easy experience so please review our advice for postcards:

  1. Postcard size is 3.5 x 5 to 4.25 x 6, anything larger is considered to be in the letter category. 
    Go figure! The post office saying that a 6 x9 postcard is not really a postcard, but a letter? Who thinks of these rules?
  2. Paper stock must be a minimum of .007 thick, anything less is not mailable unless you put it in an envelope. 
    In this case, the rule makes sense. When the paper is too thin, the postal machines rip them up. Better to go with a thicker stock that won’t look like someone took a bite out of it before delivery.
  3. Keep your aspect ratio between 1.3 and 2.5. In order to calculate the aspect ratio, you start by looking at the mail panel, then take the length of the postcard and divide it by the height. 
    We are told that the reason for this rule is machine compatibility, when the postcard is short and long, it does not run through the equipment correctly, causing jams and again torn postcards. We don’t want that!
  4. There are two options for addressing a postcard

–  Barcode in the address block—4×2 clear area, no varnish, UV coating, text, or images for the address block. The block needs to be a minimum .5 inches from the right edge and .625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly, the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches. 

 – Barcode clear zone addressing—the barcode clear zone is the bottom 5/8 of the postcard and must be free of all color, text and images. Next the address block must be a minimum 0.5 inches from the right edge and minimum of 0.625 inches from bottom edge. The block can be no higher from the bottom of the mailer than 3.5 inches. Lastly the address must remain at a minimum distance from graphics or text of .125 inches. 
These requirements are meant to keep the address in the OCR (Optical Character Reader) read area of the postal equipment. Honestly, the current equipment has more read area than this, but getting the post office to change rules in our favor does not happen!

Your best bet is to design your postcard and then send a pdf to Accurate Mailing Services, to have them find any problems with the design. They can help to make sure you are automation compliant and save on postage. As you are going through the process, do not let it stop your creativity. It is the unique and creative pieces that get the recipients attention and increase your ROI. Do not let these regulations limit your design. There are plenty of ways to create postcards that standout and get attention! Contact your mail provider for samples and suggestions.

21

Jan 2014

2014 USPS Postal Holidays

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Keep your critical marketing campaigns on schedule in 2014 by paying attention to the days there will be no mail deliveries.

Here are the days that the USPS will be closed in 2014:

  • Wednesday, January 1    New Year’s Day
  • Monday, January 20    Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Monday, February 17    President’s Day/Washington’s Birthday
  • Monday, May 26         Memorial Day
  • Friday, July 4     Independence Day
  • Monday, September 1     Labor Day
  • Monday, October 13     Columbus Day
  • Tuesday, November 11     Veterans Day
  • Thursday, November 27 Thanksgiving Day
  • Thursday, December 25     Christmas Day

Five of the ten days that the U.S. Post Office is closed in 2014 fall on Mondays. This means if you don’t get your campaign mailed by the preceding Friday, you’ll have to wait three days to get it in the mail. If you’re a marketer, you need to be aware of all of these dates; they are essentially black-out days for bulk mail marketing.

What other changes by the USPS will impact bulk mailers in 2014? 

On Monday January 27th, 2014 there is a postal rate increase; stop back soon for details.