Intelligent Mail® Non-Compliance Assessments for USPS Full-Service Mailings Postponed Until January 2, 2011
As we informed you in our June 3, 2010 e-Tip, the United States Postal Service® (USPS®) announced earlier this year that, beginning November 7, 2010, they would be assigning negative postage assessments to mailers with non-compliant Intelligent Mail Full-Service (IMFS) mailings, or parts thereof. The USPS reasoned that since the IMFS discounts ($.003/piece for First-Class Mail® and $.001/piece for Periodicals and Standard Mail®) were implemented in November of 2009, it had essentially provided mailers with a one-year “grace period” in which to work out any IM implementation issues. The USPS has now decided to postpone these negative postage assessments until January 2, 2011.
How To Tell If You Are At Risk
Your local post office may be providing you with some feedback on your current IMFS mailings, but the most accurate way for mailers to check their risk of these negative postage assessments is to log on to their PostalOne! account. The USPS uses a system called Seamless Acceptance Service Performance (SASP) to collect and report errors in IMFS mailings. Mailers can access the error data for their mailings, called MicroStrategy Reports, using the Business Customer Gateway. The user interface allows mailers to query their error data to create specific reports, which may be viewed in PDF format or downloaded in Excel or .CSV file formats. Mailers should be accessing this data on a regular basis so that they can analyze the information and take any necessary corrective action.
“Loss of Discount Errors” Loses One Error
In addition to delaying the implementation of the negative postage assessments, the USPS also announced they will NOT be assessing penalties for Full-Service containers not associated with FAST® appointments. The following eDoc errors, however, will be subject to loss of IMFS discounts as of January 2, 2011:
- Invalid mail preparer/mail owner (“By/For”) information
- Errors in Customer/Supplier Agreements (CSA’s)
- Invalid Mailer IDs
- Invalid Service Type Identifiers
- Non-unique mailpiece, handling unit, or container barcodes
It is important to note that the postage assessments:
1) Could be made up to 30 days after the last Postage Statement Mailing Date for mail associated with that unique Job ID and
2) Will be made at the piece level.
For example, if there is an error on the handling unit barcode, all of the pieces inside that handling unit would lose the IMFS discounts. The same applies to a container. If the container tag falls off or cannot be scanned, all the pieces on the container would lose their IMFS discounts.
One item that has been clarified since our original e-Tip on this topic is the issue of assessments for the ACS portions of Intelligent Mail Full-Service. For Periodicals letters and flats, free ACS is available for 60 days from the first notice under Intelligent Mail Full-Service. For Standard Mail letters and flats, this free service under Intelligent Mail Full-Service is available for 95 days from the first notice. After these specified time periods have passed, any address change notices will be charged at the applicable rates listed in the USPS Price List, Notice 123, under “Address Correction Service.” These charges will be assessed to the Mail Owner, as identified by the Mailer Identification (MID) or Customer Registration Identification (CRID) in the electronic documentation. The invoices for these charges will be sent to the Mail Owner, with payment expected within 30 days of the invoice date. It is important to note that if these payments are not made on a timely basis, the account is considered delinquent, and this can impact multiple Mailer ID’s. The reason for this is that the ACS/Nixie information is provisioned by the CRID in the PostalOne! system, so any MID’s associated with a delinquent CRID will find their access to ACS data suspended!
Another important note is that if the Full-Service Service Type Identifier (STID) printed on the barcode on the mailpiece cannot be matched to the eDoc, no address change notice information will be provided. For further details, mailers should reference the PostalOne! Release 25.0.0 Notes.