Postal rates are increasing, keep your discounts!
In order to qualify for postal presort discounts after November 23, 2008, the United States Postal Service will require that all Standard, Non-Profit, and presorted First-Class Mail have destination addresses updated and verified using approved USPS software within 95 days of the mail date. At this writing the exact consequences are uncertain, but if you fail to comply with the new Move Update requirements your mailings may be charged as much as the full First-Class single-piece rate. This could mean hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars in added costs for associations.
Whether your association is a direct mailer, a list owner, or both, MGI can help you keep your discounts and save costs that would otherwise be wasted on incorrectly addressed materials and postage. Why the tightening of address rules? The Postal Service’s goal is to reduce undeliverable mailpieces before they enter the mailstream, thereby cutting unnecessary costs and improving delivery service.
With over 40 million Americans changing their addresses each year, the problem is huge. In 2004 alone, the Postal Service handled 9.7 billion pieces of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail at a cost of $1.85 billion, with Standard Mail accounting for more than 62 percent of it.
USPS won’t officially put its Move Update rules into effect until November 23. But that 95-day address-correction window really means that after August 20, all Standard mailings scheduled to drop on or after the November start date must be processed with full Move Update compliance if they are to receive a presort discount. Included are all Standard Mail letters, flats, parcels, and non-flat machinables, as well as automation- and presort-rate First-Class Mail. What this means for association direct mailers and list owners. The impact on associations that rely on direct mail discounts—both Standard and Non-Profit—could be considerable. In order to qualify for discounted or presort rates, the new postal standards require the address records to be matched with customer-filed change-of-address orders no more than 95 days prior to mail drops. If Standard or Non-Profit mail pieces do not comply, penalties as high as First-Class single-piece rates may apply.
For association list owners, the responsibility for compliance with the new rules rests with them and not the mailer. USPS will require written certification of all lists/addresses at the point of mailing. So the list owner will need to provide the mailer with certification that the data has been Move Update processed and is in full compliance. As a result, list owners have to get their mailing lists updated and verified NOW! Methodologies The primary Move Update tools that mailers may use include high-quality addressing, the best possible depth of ZIP+4 Codes, and accurate Intelligent Mail and POSTNET barcodes.
For Standard Mail to qualify the approved methods include:
- NCOALink processing
- FASTforward MLOCR processing (letter mail only)
- OneCode Address Change Service with an Intelligent Mail barcode and a mailer ID
- Address Change Service used with an ACS participant code and on-piece ancillary service endorsement
- Use of an appropriate on-piece ancillary service endorsement without ACS
According to the Postal Service, mailpieces using an alternative addressing format, such as ‘John Doe or Current Resident,’ ‘Occupant,’ or ‘Postal Customer,’ will not be subject to the new Move Update standards. We offer an easy solution. MGI will ensure that the addresses in your next mailing fully comply with the new Move Update standards. MGI clients who are direct mailers will receive the service as part of our routine processing of data prior to mailings. Depending on volume, Move Update processing will be available for fees as low as $3.35 per thousand records. Non-client direct mailers may independently order the service from us.
MGILists clients for whom we manage lists will receive the service at no additional charge as part of our standard list management services. The time to act is NOW! Adhering to the new rules will save you money and aggravation. Making sure that addresses are correct increases successful delivery rates. At the same time, non-deliverable addresses are largely eliminated, saving the cost of producing and sending pieces to bad addresses.
For more about the new Move Update standards and how MGI can help you be sure your mailings and lists comply, contact your Marketing General Incorporated account representative or call Barbara Armentrout with MGILists at 703.706.0337 or email her.