Getting Ready for April 17 Price Increases
As mentioned in previous e-tips, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) prices for non-competitive products will increase on April 17, 2011. Prices for competitive products went up earlier this year in January.
Communicate the increases
You have probably already done this step, but if not, make sure you communicate to your clients and/or to internal departments that the prices are going up, by how much and when. The USPS has all the new prices posted on the Postal Explorer web site, along with the new postage statements.
Update your mailing software
If you have not done so already, install the new postal pricing updates to your mailing and shipping software. If you use Window Book's software products, there is no need to wait until the last minute to install these updates. Mailing software that is date-sensitive, such as Window Book's, allows you to install these price change updates in advance. In these cases, if you process mailing jobs with a mail date prior to April 17, the software will correctly populate the statements with the current USPS prices. If you process a mailing job with a mail date on April 17 or after, the software will correctly populate the statements with the new, updated USPS prices.
In fact, if your software is date-sensitive, we highly recommend installing the price increase updates as soon as possible, in order to work through any issues that might pop up before the new prices go into effect.
Don't forget the USPS software! The software used to access PostalOne! will also need updating, so don't forget to visit the Business Customer Gateway to download the new MDR Client software. For mailers in production with PostalOne!, the new release will be made available by the USPS on Sunday, April 17 after 8:00 am CDT. For mailers still doing TEM (Test Environment for Mailers) testing, that new release will not be available until after noon CDT on Monday, April 18.
Account for all the changes
Make sure you review all the price changes carefully, and account for increases in certain areas that you might overlook. This might include such things as Address Change Service (ACS) notifications, covered in our previous e-tip, increases in postal permit application or annual fees, Business Reply Mail or Courtesy Reply Mail, or price increases on infrequently used services.
Timing of Mailings
Large volume mailers often have mailing jobs that span over more than one day. If these mailing jobs happen to be in production during the price increase period, it is very likely that a portion of the mailing may be subject to the current rates, while the remaining portion may have the new prices applied. The timing of the price increase also impacts mail that is drop shipped to additional entry points under the Plant Verified Drop Shipment system (PVDS). For PVDS mailings verified and paid for prior to April 17, this mail will be accepted at the destination facilities through May 7, as long as they are accompanied by appropriate verification and payment certification (Form 8125).
Conversely, for mailers who are producing mail in advance that will not be drop shipped until after April 17, these mailers may do so paying the new rates before April 17, as long as the mail is not deposited at the destination facilities until April 17 or after, and is accompanied by the appropriate verification and payment certification (Form 8125).
Even when there is a price increase, such as the one on April 17, that does not involve a great deal of corresponding mail preparation or other regulatory changes, there are usually some hiccups that are bound to occur. This happens with any major changes, particularly in the digital world we now live in. Expect there to be a few hardware or software glitches, whether internally, at your mail services provider, or at the USPS. Expect possible delays, either in mail preparation, acceptance, verification, or even delivery. There is usually a spike in mail volume shortly before a price increase, and this volume fluctuation can impact many areas of processing, transportation, or mail delivery.
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