Move Update goes into effect

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A six-month ‘grace period’ is in effect for Move Update compliance
A six-month ‘grace period’ is in effect for Move Update compliance

The US Postal Service's long-awaited Move Update require­ments officially took effect last week; however, mailers will have about six months to become com­pliant with the new requirements before facing any fines.

The new requirements, which became effective November 23, require businesses to update their bulk-mailing lists every 95 days. This applies for both First-Class Mail and Standard Mail.

For example, a mailing entered into the Postal Service network on December 1 must bear addresses that were updated no earlier than August 28.

Previously, only First-Class Mail was subject to Move Update stan­dards, and those lists had to be updated every 185 days.

“First-Class Mail was always held to a higher standard of address quality,” said Tom Day, SVP of Intelligent Mail and Address Quality at the USPS. “Standard mail is now being included.”

The new requirements are intended to reduce costs and waste from undeliverable bulk mail by about half by 2010, the USPS said.

An estimated 9.7 billion pieces of undeliverable-as-addressed (UAA) mail are received every year, costing around $2 billion to process, according to the USPS.

Mailers can comply with Move Update by using a USPS-approved solution that matches address records with official USPS change-of-address orders.

The USPS has established a transition period until May 11 for mailers while they finalize their compliance plans, Day said. The USPS also has modified its postage statement so that mailers can check off which Move Update method was used.

If standard mailers say that they have not used a USPS-approved Move Update method or are not familiar with them, the USPS will use the transition period to ensure that they do comply, he said.

After the transition period, mail­ers who have mailings that are not compliant with Move Update will be fined 7 cents per piece for the entire mailing.

The USPS has not yet determined how many UAA pieces a mailing would have to contain in order to be considered noncom­pliant, and will use the transition period to determine what that threshold will be.

“We will be reviewing lots of live data to determine the appropriate tolerance level,” Day said.

He also added that he wanted to dispel the notion that the USPS instituted a 7 cents per piece assessment in order to serve as a revenue stream.

“Our intent is to improve quality, not to raise revenue,” he explained. “Mailers will have a more than ample opportunity to make any corrections that are needed. The USPS and the mailing industry believe that the revised standard is crucial to the business interests of both.”

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