Boy, a lot of exciting things are going on right now with the U.S. Postal Service. Let me share a few important tidbits that may affect you:
- Recently, the United States opted to stay part of the Universal Postal Union, or UPU, which handles international mail. The decision to possibly leave was based on the feeling that the cost of terminal
dues was not shared equally among all nations. The compromise that was made to keep the U.S. in the union passed unanimously. New rates are expected to take place midyear 2020.
- The U.S. Post Office has a Board of Governors, their function is somewhat comparable to a board of directors. Previously, the USPS had only two. We now have three more sworn in and that represents a quorum. When they get acquainted with the industry, I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of impact it will have on future practices, pricing and promotions.
- Have you heard about the decision made in the D.C. Court of Appeals? Turns out the post office and the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) may have overstepped their bounds in raising the First-Class stamp from 50¢ to 55¢. At this point, neither office has had much to say about the decision, but both offices are structured to make sure that public interest is represented, and accountability is shown in regulating monopolized portions of the post office. It is too early to speculate what this will do to the rate increases for 2020, but it is sure to have a bearing on what happens.
- Speaking of 2020 rates, have you heard that if you are a Marketing Mailer (old Standard price structure) of non-carrier route flats, you could be looking at a 4% price hike. That is not a typo – 4%. The increase is usually capped by the CPI, which is expected to be around 1.98%; however, there was a mandate by the PRC in the annual compliance determination that could tack on an additional 2% to that cap. There still is some question about whether the postal service will propose a higher increase. They can make the case that this additional increase may hurt business. But considering the current outlook on flat mail, the postal service may be required to follow through with the increase.
There have also been some announcements about proposed mailing changes for January 2020.These changes are targeting permit simplification and fee waivers for full-service fees and promotions as well as some changes to detached address labels (DALS). The one I find most interesting is the permit simplification that provides fee waivers for Seamless Mailing. I’m proud to say that Walsworth is a Seamless Mailer, and we can pass that benefit along to our clients who may want to have their own permit account. Attaching permit accounts to an Enterprise Payment System (EPS) will also help in simplifying postage payments. If you have your own permit and are interested in learning more about an EPS account, please reach out to me. I’d be happy to help point you in the right direction!