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!

PCC Webinar: NCOALINK vs. ACSTM – Which is Best?

NCOALINK vs. ACSTM – Which is Best?

Thursday, May 15 at 2 p.m. ET

Description:
This informative and eye opening presentation will compare the strengths and benefits of the two major Move Update products.   NCOALINK provides change-of-address (COA) information before your Mail is produced.  ACSTM provides COA information after you mail.  Which is better?  Join us and find out when we analyze the results of the two products from live mailings.  Understand the difference and learn how to keep your customer lists up to date with the Postal Service’s Move Update products.

Instructions for participating in the webinar appear below:

Attendee Information:  Pre-registration is required
U.S./Canada Attendee Dial-in: (888) 890-1547
Conference Passcode: 42990853

Attendee Direct URL:  https://usps.webex.com/usps/onstage/g.php?t=a&d=990215075

Postal Service Publishes Revised “Guide to Move Update”

And now for something you’ve all been waiting for… or not.  A revised “Guide to Move Update”.

According to the USPS, “the Move Update standard is a means of reducing the number of mailpieces in a commercial mailing that require forwarding, returning, or treating as waste by periodically matching a mailer’s address records with change-of-address orders maintained by the Postal Service™.”

The new version of the Guide to Move Update is now postaed on the USPS RIBBS website and can be accessed by clicking on this link:  https://ribbs.usps.gov/index.cfm?page=moveupdate.

Some of the updates include the following new subsections:

  • Overview of the Change of Address Process
  • What is a PAF and Why is It Required?
  • Non-US Mailers and NCOALink
  • NCOALink MPE

The Quick Start Guide at the beginning of the Guide has also been reworked to emulate the DMM Quick Service Guide – and the Move Update Questions and Answers section was revised and clarified.

FASTforward License Extension Information

In February 2009, the USPS announced that the FASTforward method for move update processing would be “retired” as of June 30, 2012.  In February 2011, that June 2012 date was extended to October 1, 2012, and licensees were told they would continue to receive weekly data fulfillment through September 28, 2012.

On June 18, 2012, the USPS National Customer Support Center in Memphis, TN sent out a letter to all FASTforward licensees.  In the letter was information about the extension and the License Agreements.  Below is an extract from that letter:

“Current licensees will have their FASTforward License Agreement extended to September 30, 2012, per section 3.0 of the license, which states ‘The term of this shall be one (1) year, which shall begin on the date this agreement is executed by the Postal Service Contracting Officer, plus any extensions made pursuant to this Paragraph 3…’  Therefore, you will NOT be invoiced or charged for an annual renewal of your current FASTforward license.  Your current license will be extended to expire on September 30, 2012 at 11:59 a.m.  Be advised that any mailings processed under this license after the expiration date will not qualify for Move Update compliance.

The letter goes on to provide some information about FASTforward licensees switching to become NCOALink Mail Processing Equipment (MPE) Data User Licensees or using the NCOALink MPE WAN (Wide Area Network) method.

If you are a FASTforward licensee and have questions about the information in the letter – or you did not receive a copy of this letter – you can contact the USPS NCSC Licensing and Certification Department via email at ncoalink@usps.gov or by calling them at 1-800-589-5766.

 

USPS Withdraws Federal Register Changing Move Update Standards

At the recent MTAC meetings, the Postal Service announced they would be withdrawing the proposed changes to Move Update standards published in the July 12, 2011 Federal Register.

According to the formal announcement in a DMM Advisory issued yesterday, 8/29/11, the content of the proposed rule changes will be “significantly revised”.  Also announced was that, based on industry feedback, the Moved Left No Address and PO Box Closed, No Forwarding Order (MLNA/BCNO) portions will be completely removed.  

The Postal Service expects that an entirely new proposed rule will be issued in the future.

If you wish to subscribe to the DMM Advisory, send an e-mail to dmmadvisory@usps.com. Type “subscribe” in the subject line.