USPS Proposes New Mailing Standards
SEPTEMBER 11, 2018
The United States Postal Service (USPS) is looking to modify regulations for its Merchandise Return Service (MRS), which is used for several mailback products offered by Clean Earth.
USPS released a proposed rule to revise Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) to provide for new procedures of the processing and rating of MRS pieces, and in the future, to transition all current MRS permit holders to use the new procedures. This was published in the Federal Register on July 20, 2018.
As part of its Package Platform initiative, the Postal Service is leveraging the devices that were installed as part of the Automated Verification System to enhance the capability of equipment used for the processing of package-size mailpieces. The upgraded equipment is able to capture near real-time data on mailpiece dimensions, weight, mail class or product, and the presence of Extra Services, and to transmit these data to Postal Service information systems as applicable.
USPS is proposing to use this new technology to streamline its processes for the identification, rating and postage assessment of returns.
Under this process, automated package-sorting equipment will identify return packages as they pass special scanners; determine the weight, dimension and mail class of the packages; use the captured data to determine postage charges associated with each package; and enable account holders to pay the postage for the returns electronically.
This improved functionality will:
- Generally, eliminate the need to manually weigh and rate MRS mailpieces
- Eliminate the scan-based payment process used with USPS Return Services (a current category of MRS)
- Eliminate the need for processes to estimate postage for MRS pieces via sampling under the Postage Due Weight Averaging Program
It is expected that not all return mailpieces will be capable of being processed on Postal Service automated package sorting equipment. Returns containing hazardous materials, such as regulated and sharps medical waste and lithium batteries, sometimes bypass mechanized processing and are instead manually handled in USPS processing plants. The Postal Service proposes to implement an alternative process to capture and rate these mailpieces. In some cases, the Postal Service expects to use an average price generated from the data collected in the prior month and apply the average price to assess the postage for each return. Comments on the rule are due on or before Aug. 22, 2018.
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