Rate hike could mean heavy burden for lightweight-catalog mailers

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Lightweight catalog mailers are concerned about the Postal Regulatory Commission's recent recommendation for lightweight-catalog rates.

In the PRC's recommendation, which was published Feb. 26, the rate for Standard flat - or catalog - mail pieces that weigh less than 3.3 ounces should increase about 20 percent. In some automation categories, rates could increase by 40 or 50 percent.

Other mailers that will be stung with high rate increases are those who mail what are now going to be called "Not Flat Machinables."

Mailers of these types of mailpieces, however, can do something about the increase.

While the rate increase is expected to take effect in May, the PRC's decision is not final until it is approved by the governors of the USPS. Mailers can file letters with the secretary of the board of governors no later than March 8. Letters should be addressed to The Honorable James C. Miller III, Chairman, Board of Governors, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW, RM 10300, Washington, DC 20260-1000.

In an e-mail blast sent to members on March 2, Gene Del Polito, president of Association for Postal Commerce in Arlington, VA, said that faxing a letter to the USPS at 202-268-5472 might get the message there sooner.

In the letters Mr. Del Polito suggested to his members that, instead of telling the governors that they are upset about being asked to pay more postage, they should make clear the effect the rate hike will have on their businesses. They should also explain that since the recommended increases are substantially higher than even the USPS proposed, they are going to take steps to reduce their use of the mail.

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