DMA to Host Feb. 29 Virtual Seminar on US Postal Service's 2008 Rate Increases
February 12, 2008 — The United States Postal Service (USPS) yesterday announced that it will adjust prices for mailing services — First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services, and Special Services — on Monday, May 12, 2008.
While the average increase by mail class is at or below the rate of inflation as measured by the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the USPS plans to lower the pound rate for Standard Mail saturation and high-density flats.
To fully brief Direct Marketing Association (DMA) members on today’s postal rate news and its implications for all direct mailers, the Association will host a virtual seminar on Friday, February 29 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. (EST).
During the virtual seminar, which will be free for DMA members ($199 for non-DMA members), DMA’s government affairs team — along with key US Postal Service and Postal Regulatory Commission staff — will be on hand to answer members’ questions. Registration and additional information about the February 29 virtual seminar will be announced soon.
Commenting on today’s news, DMA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Jerry Cerasale said, “DMA is pleased that these postal rate changes do not portend the time-consuming and costly litigation of an old-style rate case. Under the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act that was signed into law in December 2006, the 2008 rates for market-dominant classes, which includes Standard Mail rates, must be at or below the rate of inflation on average at the class level. So, we’ll quickly be analyzing the Postal Service’s proposal. However, based upon our preliminary review, the average rate increase for Standard Mail is slightly less than 2.9 percent, which is equal to the rate of inflation over the last 12 months.”
“The Postal Service now has the flexibility within the overall inflation cap to charge rates based upon market factors,” Cerasale continued. “With the significant drop in mail volume for flat-shaped Standard Mail in the first quarter of its 2008 fiscal year — a reported 13-percent drop compared to the same quarter in its FY 2007 — the Postal Service has chosen to keep the new rates for this type of mail generally below the rate of inflation in order to try to stem future decline in that mail volume.”
In response to the USPS’s filing, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) this afternoon said it had established Docket R2008-1 to receive comments on these market-dominant rate changes. “Today’s filing for market-dominant products marks the first rate adjustment employing regulations issued by the Commission last October,” the PRC pointed out.
Under the new regulations, the PRC now has 45 days during which to review the rates that the USPS announced today to ensure their compliance with the 2006 law. The public may submit comments during the first 20 days of this review period. Within 14 days of the end of the public comment period, the PRC will determine whether the planned rate adjustments are lawful and issue an order announcing its findings.
To access the Postal Service’s 2008 postal rates, click here.
To access a DMA chart that shows the percent change between the current (2007) rates and 2008 rates, click here.
DMA will continue to keep members informed via 3D–DMA Daily Digest as well as its website’s postal page at www.the-dma.org/postal.
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