Deadline Nears for Comment on Move Update

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Mailers have until Aug. 29 to comment on a Federal Register notice that would require them to update mailing lists every 90 days rather than the current 180 days.


The process, called Move Update, began in 1997 to reduce the volume of undelivered as addressed mail. The postal service says UAA mail costs it $1.8 billion a year.


Along with doubling the number of times yearly that mailers would have to update their lists, the proposal also would expand the program beyond the current First-Class mail to include Periodicals, Standard Mail and Package Services. These groups use the service -- especially Standard mailers -- but are not required to do so to get discounts.


Also being considered are requirements for more frequent use of address-matching software and for that software to use more current address-matching directories.


Mailers use National Change of Address, Address Change Service and other USPS services purchased through USPS vendors to update their lists. The services vary in cost. NCOA users, for example, pay from 50 cents to $3 per thousand based on mail volume.


Some mailers, especially smaller ones, have expressed concern that a 90-day Move Update period would double their costs to keep addresses current. But others think the move ultimately will lower mailing costs by eliminating UAA mail.


The USPS and its licensees -- such as Acxiom Corp., Anchor Computer, Experian, Firstlogic Inc., Group 1, Harte-Hanks and Time Customer Service Inc. -- also say the new process would reduce UAA mail, lower postage and materials expense and improve response rates.


The USPS had received 12 comments as of last week.


"Some were very positive, others were positive but with concern and others were not so positive," USPS program manager Charles B. Hunt said. "This is a very important ruling. It has far-reaching implications for the mailing community since their processing costs are going to double. It's not too late for mailers to offer their comments. In fact, the last two weeks are when you really see activity."


Mailers looking to review the notice should go to www.access.gpo.gov/su_docs/aces/aces140.html and search for notices filed May 31.


Henry C. Cleffi, director of postal affairs for the Mailing and Fulfillment Service Association, Alexandria, VA, said, "This could be a major change, so we've reached out to our membership on a couple of occasions and explained to them the importance of commenting on this notice."


The USPS will review comments after the deadline and likely post a final ruling with the Federal Register within four weeks. That ruling would take effect in July 2004.


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