USPS Publishes New Prices and Statements for April 2016

The United States Postal Service® (USPS)® recently published new prices and postage statements for the market dominant product lines, including First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Periodicals, Library Mail, Media Mail, Bound Printed Matter, Other and Extra Services and Qualified Business Reply Mail.

Before you get into a panic about postal prices going up again – relax! – this is actually a price DECREASE!

Read more:
http://www.windowbook.com/Learning/Postal-Concierge-E-tips

By/For Errors in eDoc

Mailers submitting mailing jobs electronically to PostalOne!® need to identify the various entities involved in the mailing job – specifically, the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. This information is sometimes referred to as the “By/For” relationship for mailings. In other words, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) is asking that electronic documentation identify who is preparing the mail and who is submitting the eDoc (the “By” portion) and who is responsible for the content of the mailpiece and ultimately pays the postage for the mailings (the “For) portion.

For the most part, these entities may be identified in the eDoc using their Mailing Identification number (MID) or their Customer Registration Identification number (CRID). However, in the case of the Mail Owner identification, there are a number of places in the eDoc where this needs to be identified, and in some cases a Local Permit number is also needed for identification purposes. For mail service providers, getting all of this straight can be a challenge and it can be challenging to collect all of these critical pieces of information for their clients too.

Uses of Mail Owner information
The USPS uses the Mail Owner data in eDoc for three main purposes:
1. To identify the Mail Owner for Full-Service compliance (this is the “For” part of the “By/For” relationship identification).
2. To validate nonprofit price eligibility when nonprofit prices are claimed.
3. To display the Mail Owners on postage statements.

Means of Identification
By/For Relationship: Currently, the Mail Owner MID, CRID or Mail Owner permit data may be used to identify the Mail Owner for this purpose. The Mail Owner is required to be identified when the owner represents 5,000 or more pieces in a mailing.

Nonprofit Price validation: For each nonprofit mailing, all mail owners must be identified and must have a valid nonprofit authorization number, regardless of the number of pieces per owner in the mailing. For mailings consisting of multiple mail owners, at least one mail owner must be identified in the eDoc; the remaining mail owners may be identified in a hard copy spreadsheet presented to the mail clerk at the time of mailing. Currently, the Mail Owner Permit may be used to identify the Mail Owner if the mail owner is paying their own postage using their own permit. For Mail Owners using a Mail Service Provider permit to pay postage, what is called a “Ghost Permit” is required. These ghost permits are established by request at the post office where the mailing is verified and paid for. These are non-paying postal permits, used for identification purposes only. This will be changing in November of this year, when the Mail Owner MID or CRID may be used for identification rather than the ghost permit.

Display Owner on Postage Statements: On the first page of postage statements, there are three blocks for Mailer information. The first block is the Permit Holder, and the data displayed in this block is that of the owner of the permit used to pay for the mailing, identified using that permit number. The second block is the Mailing Agent or Mail Preparer. This is identified by the CRID or MID of the Mail Preparer in the eDoc. The third block is the name and address of the organization for which the mailing is prepared, i.e. Mail Owner. This block is populated using the data in the Local Permit. If the Mail Owner uses their own permit to pay the postage, this data should be identical to the data in the first block. However, if the Mail Owner uses the postal permit of the Mail Preparer, a Ghost Permit is needed to correctly display the Mail Owner in this block. That ghost permit number should be populated in the Local Permit field of the Mailer Postage Account file (MPA) in the Mail.dat file. Ghost permits should be identified as “V” for Virtual in the Permit Type field. This is also scheduled to change in November 2014, when it will be populated using the Mail Owner MID or CRID if the Local Permit is not available.

Mail Service Provider Challenges
If you are a Mail Service Provider, you need to obtain not only the CRID’s and MID’s of your clients, but also the Local Permit Numbers, which may actually be a ghost permit number if the mail owner is not paying postage through their own permit account.

This can become a bit of a challenge for mail preparers, who may have hundreds of clients using hundreds of postal permits to pay for their postage. Associating each of the clients and permits with the appropriate MID’s can be a daunting task to say the least.

Mail Service Providers often ask, which piece of information should I get from my clients, their MID or their CRID? Currently, either piece of data may be used in eDoc, but that may change in the future. For that reason, we encourage Mail Service Providers to obtain both pieces of data for all their clients so that they are prepared should the USPS change the identification requirements in the future.

Add to that the fact that PostalOne! has to be aware of all of this MID, CRID, and permit information and also have them all appropriately linked! If the appropriate linkage has not been made, this can result in errors when uploading files to PostalOne!. These types of errors can only be rectified by contacting the PostalOne! Help Desk to request that the appropriate MIDs, CRIDs and permits be linked. Another error that can occur is when the same MID/CRID information is populated in the eDoc for both the Mail Owner and the Mail Preparer. If your company is indeed both the owner of the mail and the preparer of the mail, PostalOne! needs to know that and verify that this is indeed the case. If you receive this type of error, again you need to contact the PostalOne! Help Desk for resolution.

If you receive validation errors when submitting files to PostalOne! that refer to permits, postage payment methods, MIDs or CRIDs, or if you are seeing excessive By/For errors on your Mailer Scorecard, you should use this check list:
1. Verify that the postage payment permit information you entered in your eDoc is correct for the client, the location, and the postage payment method.
2. Verify that the MID/CRID information you entered in your eDocs is correct for the Mail Owner, Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. The MID/CRID information for the Mail Owner should not be the same as for the Mail Preparer, unless your company actually does own the mail and also physically prepares the mail. If you are a Mail Service Provider, this means that you need to obtain the MID/CRID data for all of your clients, either directly from your clients or by submitting a request through the Business Customer Gateway.
3. Understand the difference between the Permit information and the Local Permit information in the Mailer Postage Account (MPA) file and verify that the correct permit information is being populated in each. The Permit information should be populated with the permit information that is being used to pay the postage for the mailing. The Local Permit information should be populated with the identical information as the Permit fields ONLY if the mail owner’s postal permit is being used to pay the postage. If the postage is paid from a Mail Service Provider’s permit, then the Local Permit information must be populated with Ghost Permit information as discussed above.
4. Verify with PostalOne! the MID/CRID information for your company and for the clients for which you prepare mail, and also verify that the postal permits have been properly linked.

Resources

So, how do you try to make sense of all of this? The best resources are the Business Customer Gateway and PostalOne! A Mail Service Provider (MSP) may also verify or gather the MID and CRID data for their clients using the Business Customer Gateway. These requests may be submitted in bulk by submitting an Excel spreadsheet with the client company name and location information. Likewise, MSP’s may actually apply for MID’s on behalf of their clients, again through the use of an Excel spreadsheet submission. In this case, MSP’s must also provide documentation that the mail owners have given their permission for the MSP to apply for the MIDs on their behalf. The USPS RIBBS web site also has some helpful information to clarify MIDs and CRIDs. The USPS recently published an excellent Guide to Mail Owners in eDoc.

Getting Help From the Experts

Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ software allows you to easily manage MID and CRID information as well as see all the By/For relationships in the Mail.dat files using the Navigator View. This also allows you to quickly edit this information if necessary. Mail Service Providers can maintain the MID, CRID and Local Permit data in master client and permit files within DAT-MAIL. And, if you are a Bell and Howell BCC Mail Manager user, there is an interface available that allows you to import your client data from BCC Mail Manager into DAT-MAIL.

Window Book offers a FREE educational webinars on the topic of Identifying Mail Owners in eDoc and Common PostalOne! Errors, as well as our Mailing Optimization Analysis. Call us at 1-800-524-0380 for more details or to sign up for your FREE Mailing Optimization Analysis!

Don’t miss out on our educational mailing webinars! Log on to our webinar registration site to sign up.

Reminder of Mandatory PostalOne! Update

Just a friendly reminder to make sure you download and install the new PostalOne! software update once it becomes available this Sunday, July 14!

If you submit mailing jobs to PostalOne!, you will need to update this software in order to submit your jobs starting on Monday, July 15.

This is a mandatory software update from PostalOne! which will support the new postage statements which take effect on July 28, 2013.

These updates may be downloaded from the Business Customer Gateway. Keep in mind that if you use PostalOne! for both testing and production, you will need to download both the Test Environment for Mailers (TEM) software and the Production software. The TEM software update will not be available for downloading until after 3:00 pm CT on Monday, July 15.

Once you have downloaded and installed these updates, make sure that any other software applications that may interface with PostalOne!, such as Window Book’s eDocs Manager, also get updated and any configuration changes made so that they can communicate successfully with the new PostalOne! software.

Also keep in mind that PostalOne! will not be available for a period of time while the USPS performs this update, so you may need to alter your mailing processes to work around this planned outage. The USPS provides notifications about these updates and PostalOne! outages via their DMM Advisory, so if you do not already receive these email notices, you should sign up by sending an email to dmmadvisory@usps.com.

Please refer to our June 27, 2013 Postal Concierge eTip for more details about this mandatory software update.

PostalOne! Contingency Plan Due to Hurricane Sandy

Attention PostalOne!® Mailers and Users

Hurricane Sandy is expected to hit the East Coast on Monday, October 29, 2012.  There may be major flooding, high winds and power outages throughout the East Coast.  If PostalOne!® is unavailable in hurricane impacted areas, or mailers are unable to produce their mailing documentation, the BMEUs, DMUs and Post Offices will operate under the PostalOne!® Contingency Plan. 

This plan will allow mailings to continue to be accepted with as little impact to mailer as possible and ensure all fees and postage is collect during this period.

Below is a brief summary of the PostalOne! Contingency Plan:

  • Acceptance units will move to a manual process when necessary to record all mailings presented  if the PostalOne!®  system is unavailable.
  • A Record of Mailings log will be created for each permit holder that presents a mailing if the PostalOne!® system is unavailable.
  • Each mailing accepted will be recorded on the Record of Mailings log .
  • Each postage statement, will be retained with, and numerically assigned to, the Records of Mailing Log.
  • Mailers who normally submit their postage statements electronically, either through the Postal Wizard or through Mail.dat or Mail.XML,  may submit hardcopy postage statements or provide a hardcopy Daily Log of Mailings (if you need a copy, please call me at 617-395-4569 or email at wvingelis@windowbook.com)  or facsimile. 
  • If a mailer is unable to upload files and PostalOne! is operational, the Full-service discount will be allowed pending outcome of problem.
  • Mailers will need to submit their Full-Service electronic documentation once the systems are restored.

Mailers who are entering Plant Verified Drop Shipment (PVDS) mailings and cannot reach the intended destinating facility may deposit the mailings at the nearest open Postal facility that can accommodate the mailing(s).  Mailers will be required to submit the appropriate PS Form 8125 with the mailing to show postage has been paid.

If you have any questions please call the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085. You can also call Window Book at 1-800-524-0380.

The Final Goodbye to the Red Round Stamp

As we’ve discussed previously in this blog, the red round date stamp from the United States Postal Service® (USPS®), which mailers have used for years as proof of mailing, is no longer available for electronically submitted postage statements. The USPS recently announced that the red round date stamp will also be discontinued for hard copy statements, effective March 15, 2010. This change will be effective for postal facilities that are equipped with PostalOne! Facilities without access to PostalOne! will continue to round stamp hard copy postage statements.

 

In lieu of the red round stamp, the USPS is asking mailers to obtain their receipts using the Business Customer Gateway to access PostalOne! Upon request, mailers may also obtain a hard copy receipt (Form 3607) from the USPS. The 3607 form, currently called the Weighing and Dispatch Certificate, will be reformatted and renamed in March to Mailing Transaction Receipt, Form 3607-R.

 

The mail verification and acceptance processes will not change, only the transaction receipt process. The acceptance clerk will verify the mailing as usual; however they will no longer complete the “USPS Only” section of the postage statements. In the past, the clerk would record the results of the verification process and manually apply the red round date stamp in this area. In the future, the clerks will enter this verification information into PostalOne! The wording on the postage statement form will change from “USPS Use Only” to “USPS Use Only—To Be Completed at Non-PostalOne! sites ONLY.” PostalOne! is the system of record and can be accessed to view postage statement details and print hard copies, if needed.

 

The Postal Service will modify the DMM® (Domestic Mail Manual) language regarding the return of a duplicate postage statement to the mailer, differentiating between PostalOne! and non-PostalOne! sites.

 

Here are the key changes:

 

  • If not submitting postage statements electronically, the customer must provide an original postage statement with the mailing.
  • Acceptance personnel will no longer complete the “USPS Use Only” section of hard copy postage statements for offices that enter postage statements into the PostalOne! system.
  • Acceptance personnel will no longer complete and return a “duplicate” postage statement (as defined in sections 244.4.1, 334.4.1, of the DMM).
  • Acceptance personnel will no longer round-date stamp hard copy postage statements.
  • Acceptance personnel will retain the original copy of the postage statement and attach the USPS Form 3607 (Statement of Mailing/Weighing and Dispatch Certificate)* to it on file, as prescribed by the Administrative Support Manual.
  • Upon a customer’s request, the acceptance personnel will print the USPS Form 3607 and provide it to the customer along with any duplicate copies of postage statements provided.
  • The only acceptable means of proof of postage payment for mailings will be an electronic version of a finalized postage statement, or the USPS Form 3607, generated from the Postal Service’s PostalOne! system.

 

*In the March 15 upgrade to the PostalOne! system, PS Form 3607 will be replaced with PS Form 3607-R (Mailing Transaction Receipt).

 

Mailers may obtain more information regarding electronic postage statements by referencing the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information and Reports Guide: Business Customer Gateway Information, On-line Services, and Full-Service Tools. In this document, Appendix B, Access to Hard Copy Postage Statements, provides information on how to access the Business Customer Gateway and retrieve postage statements.

 

For more information about the Business Customer Gateway and how to access it, visit ribbs.usps.gov.