USPS Clarifies Policy on Bills of Lading
In a recent DMM Advisory, the USPS announced it has agreed to sign (upon request) Bills of Lading for drop-shipped mail. Based on their Sarbanes-Oxley requirements, the USPS was originally concerned that signing the bills of lading might imply acceptance of the content of the mail in the shipment, and be mistakenly used as a replacement for the USPS Form 8125. (The 8125 form is the official USPS clearance document, which is completed at the point of postal entry, and indicates that the mail has been verified and paid for.) Representatives from the mailing and logistics industry met with the USPS to discuss the situation and to explain the industry use of the bills of lading as proof of delivery only, not as a replacement for the 8125.
Segregation of 8125's
As part of the new policy, the USPS requests that the 8125 form be segregated and presented to USPS personnel separately from any non-postal documentation, such as delivery receipts or bills of lading. This will help the acceptance unit at the destination post office process the documentation more efficiently. Transportation carriers must make a request to the USPS to sign any delivery receipts or bills of lading, and they will not be signed unless they are presented separately from the 8125 forms.
The new policy makes it clear that the USPS does not consider any non-postal documentation, such as delivery receipts or bills of lading, to represent proof of mailing, acceptance, or the amount of mail tendered. According to officials at the USPS, a signature of a USPS employee or agent on these non-postal documents does not serve any mail acceptance purpose, and in the case of a discrepancy between the 8125 form and any non-postal documentation, the information on the 8125 prevails.
For more details on the new policy, refer to the Federal Register Notice posted on Postal Explorer on May 26, 2010. The final rule will also be published in the July 6, 2010 update to the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).