PRC Ruling Defines 'Postal Service'

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The Postal Rate Commission issued a final rule Jan. 4 that amends its Rules of Practice and Procedure by defining the term "postal service."


According to the filing, "postal service means the receipt, transmission, or delivery by the postal service of correspondence, including, but not limited to, letters, printed matter, and like materials; mailable packages; or other services incidental thereto."


The amendment is effective 30 days after publication in the Federal Register. The amendment has not been filed there yet.


The filing said the proceeding was precipitated by Consumer Action, an advocacy group that focuses on defending consumer rights, which requested the PRC to commence proceedings on 14 services offered by the USPS without prior PRC approval. These ranged from electronic services such as online payment services and electronic postmark to miscellaneous services such as retail merchandise.


It also was precipitated by other recent proceedings where the "postal" character of a new service was at issue, according to the filing.


The filing said mailers, UPS and consumers support the new rule.


The U.S. Postal Service, however, did not support the ruling, according to the filing. And while the PRC expresses hope that the USPS will support the new rule, some insiders suspect that the agency likely will appeal the ruling to the courts.


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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