Guide to Postage Assessments

If you’ve been paying attention to previous e-Tips, our newsletters and webinars, you are likely well aware that the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) plans to implement assessments for non-compliance with the requirements for a number of USPS initiatives such as Intelligent Mail® Full-Service, eInduction, Seamless Acceptance and more. Luckily, the USPS has postponed implementation of these assessments until later this year, but many mailers still have questions on just exactly how this assessment process is going to work. Well, you are in luck, because the USPS has just issued a new Guide to Postage Assessment on the RIBBS web site.

What mailings will be impacted?

There are four areas of USPS validation that will be impacted by the implementation of these postage assessments:
• Intelligent Mail Full-Service
• Move Update
• eInduction
• Seamless Acceptance

Any mailings that are evaluated by the USPS in these areas have the potential to be subject to additional postage assessments if mailings exceed the designated error thresholds. These thresholds vary for the individual validations performed by PostalOne!®, the results of which are available to mailers on the Mailer Scorecard. The evaluation results data are collected on a calendar-month basis, and it is the error threshold data for each calendar month that is subject to assessments. For example, the full-service program uses the submitted eDoc to verify the Mailer ID (MID) in a piece’s barcode. A MID error is logged for each piece in the mailing that fails this verification. When the number of MID errors exceeds the established threshold, the eDoc submitter will be assessed on those errors over the threshold for the calendar month. If the percentage of error is below the established threshold or if the additional postage due is less than $50, then no additional postage is assessed. If the percentage of error is above the established threshold, the additional postage due (the assessment) is calculated using the number of mailing pieces represented by the error percentage over the threshold for the calendar month. For example, if the error threshold is 2% and your error percentage is 3%, the assessment would apply to 1% of the mailpieces submitted during the calendar month of the evaluation. The amount of the assessment is based on the type of error, e.g., for Full-Service errors, it is loss of the Full-Service discounts. Using the same example as above, there would be a loss of the Full-Service discounts on 1% of the mailpieces for the calendar month.

Assessment Process
When there are errors above the established thresholds for a calendar month, the USPS will issue an Invoice Report via email notification for the assessment. This invoice report will be sent to the Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) designated for the PostalOne! account. That VAE is then responsible to review the invoice report and either make arrangements for payment of the assessment, or request a review by the USPS if the assessment is in dispute. The payment or the request for review must be made within 10 days of receipt of the email notification.

Preparing for Assessment
Mailers should be monitoring their Mailer Scorecard data NOW so that any problem areas can be addressed prior to the implementation date of the assessments. Also, mailers should be working on developing their procedures for handling the invoice reports, assessment payment and USPS review requests so that when this is all implemented, mailers will be able to handle these in a timely manner.

Resources

Window Book has many utilities available to assist mailers with Mailer Scorecard errors, such as our DAT-MAIL™ software, which allows users to make edits to the Mail.dat files to either prevent or correct errors. Also, our automated PostalOne! transmission utility, EDM10X™, which not only automates the transmissions, but its QuickFix capability allows for quick, easy correction of errors. And, we offer tailored consulting services, including on-site services, to help mailers better understand their Mailer Scorecard data and how to improve their scores.

Window Book’s newest smart postal solution, PostalWeb™, completes the PostalOne! automation circle by providing easy downloading of finalized PostalOne! postage statements directly to your servers, and includes options for email notifications and even emailing of these finalized postage statements! And now available: automatically download your barcoded confirmation pages!