PRC offers temporary rate relief

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The Postal Regulatory Commission on May 25 offered interim rate relief for Standard Regular flats and catalog mailers in response to the U.S. Postal Service Governors' request to reconsider the recommended rates in March.

The PRC's decision grants a temporary rate reduction of 3 cents for all Standard Mail regular flats and 2 cents for Standard Regular nonprofit flats. The temporary transitional rate relief for Standard Regular flats mailers would end Sept. 29.

"We believe this option responds to the concerns expressed by the Governors and all of the many participants who submitted comments," PRC Chairman Dan G. Blair said in a statement. "It leaves Standard letter rates untouched, protects the Postal Service's financial standing, allows USPS projected revenues to meet expected costs and does not reduce the contingency fund."

The agency said the Governors' acceptance of this recommendation would require minimal administrative or transaction costs since the savings can be measured at the end of the transition period or at the time of mailing. Also, additional computer hardware or software will not be needed to accommodate this temporary change. The PRC said mailers simply multiply the number of flats mailed by either 3 cents or 2 cents, depending on mail type.

The Direct Marketing Association disagreed.

"Over the past several months, postal officials have heard a loud-and-clear message from the mailing community that these outrageous rate-increases will force catalog and nonprofit mailers to make significant-cuts in mailing volumes," DMA president/CEO John A. Greco Jr. said in a statement. "Giving mailers a 'summer break' doesn't change that fact."

The DMA is asking the USPS Governors to approve the rate reduction without the deadline, leaving it in effect until the next postal rate change, which is likely in 2008.

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