USPS Seeks to Extend Repositionable Note Test

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The U.S. Postal Service has asked the Postal Rate Commission for a one-year extension of its experiment with the repositionable note program.


The USPS said the extension is to make sure there is no disruption in service to customers planning spring mailings using RPNs, also known as "yellow stickies." The filing requests an extension through April 3, 2007.


The test, which is set to end April 3, opened up the use of RPNs to new categories of mail while instituting a fee for the program. Direct mailers opposed the added fee, arguing that mail with RPNs doesn't cost more to process and that the USPS is justifying the increased rate solely on the grounds that RPNs raise response rates.


The postal service supported charging for RPNs with a rationale that it calls value pricing, which bases charges for a mail characteristic on the USPS' perception of its value to the mailer, without reference to cost.


RPNs are allowed on all letter- and flat-sized mail sent at discount First-Class, Standard and Periodicals rates. The added rate for RPN-bearing mail is 0.5 cents for First-Class pieces and 1.5 cents for Standard and Periodicals pieces.


In accordance with the PRC decision, the USPS also had to publish a semiannual data report on the test. The USPS said RPNs have proven to be popular with mailers, primarily those who mail catalogs and flats, though some First-Class mailers are using the program, too.


From April 3 to Oct. 3, 867 mailings consisting of 40.86 million mail pieces have been mailed. The postal service said it has collected $574,015: First-Class letter mail, 168 mailings, 3.89 million mail pieces, $19,432; First-Class flats, seven mailings, 3,791 mail pieces, $19; Standard letter, 550 mailings, 35.65 million mail pieces, $534,691; and Standard flats, 142 mailings, 1.32 million mail pieces, $19, 873. No Periodicals mailings were mailed with RPNs in that time period. In addition, the USPS didn't report any processing or delivery problems.


The USPS also requested that the PRC establish settlement procedures in this proceeding. On Jan. 13, the PRC filed a notice saying it would determine by Feb. 8 whether procedures are appropriate. If so, intervenors will have until Feb. 23 to request a hearing. If the PRC decides that hearings are warranted, they will commence on March 1. If no hearing is necessary, a recommended decision will be issued promptly.


Melissa Campanelli covers postal news, CRM and database marketing for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters


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