**Rate Case Implementation Expected Jan. 7

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NEW ORLEANS -- Direct marketers should prepare for new postal rates to kick in on Jan. 7.

Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the Direct Marketing Association, said that after Postmaster General William J. Henderson appeared on a panel here yesterday, he asked Henderson if it is correct "for me to be telling our members to expect the rates to go into effect on Jan. 7, and he said, `That's great advice.' "

Cerasale also said he expects the increase to be considerably lower than what the USPS asked for. The agency asked for an increase of 6.4 percent across the board, with some catalogs, flat-shaped mail and magazines reaching double-digit increases.

Cerasale said the DMA worked hard with postal officials to get the increase for flats and periodicals decreased. Cerasale said the DMA would also receive financial reports from the USPS each quarter that can be analyzed and tracked to see whether there are any high-cost factors that could be improved.

"We don't usually have access to these numbers," he said. "But we believe this will be a great way to help the postal service catch problems early so that the costs will not be out of control for direct marketers."

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