on Intelligent Mail Full-Service Mailings
Effective November 7, 2010, The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) will begin applying negative postage assessments to mailers with non-compliant Intelligent Mail Full-Service (IMFS) mailings, or parts thereof. The Intelligent Mail Full-Service discounts ($.003/piece for First-Class Mail® and $.001/piece for Periodicals and Standard Mail®) were implemented in November of 2009. This has essentially provided mailers with a one-year "grace period" in which to work out any Intelligent Mail implementation issues. Once this grace period is up, however, mailers may be subject to loss of their Intelligent Mail Full Service discounts on any mail not meeting certain Intelligent Mail Full-Service criteria.
The USPS uses a system called Seamless Acceptance Service Performance (SASP) to collect and report errors in Intelligent Mail Full-Service 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. Errors in certain electronic documentation (eDocs) requirements (see below) will result in assessments.
Loss of Discount Errors
The USPS has specified the following eDocs errors as subject to loss of Intelligent Mail Full Service discounts:
- Full-Service containers not associated with FAST® appointments
- Invalid mail owner/mail preparer ("By/For") information
- Errors in Customer/Supplier Agreements (CSA's)
- Invalid Mailer ID
- Invalid Service Type Identifier
- Non-unique mailpiece, handling unit, or container barcodes
It is important to note that the postage assessments:
- Could be made up to 45 days after the last Postage Statement Mailing Date for mail associated with that unique Job ID and
- Will be made on 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 Intelligent Mail Full-Service 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 Intelligent Mail Full-Service discounts.
It is not exactly clear what, if any, assessments will be implemented as far as Address Change Service (ACS) for non-compliant portions of Intelligent Mail Full-Service mailings. Some information would indicate that assessments will be put in place for address changes not made after the designated time period (60 days for Periodicals, 95 days for Standard Mail, no current designated time period for First-Class Mail). Other information indicates that any non-compliant Intelligent Mail Full-Service pieces that lose the Intelligent Mail Full-Service discount would also be subject to full ACS rates on any associated address corrections. We will keep you posted as clarification is provided on the ACS assessments.