USPS Issues Expected Ruling on Personalization

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The U.S. Postal Service issued a customer service ruling yesterday that clears up questions from nonprofit groups involving the implementation of mailing standards that would require some personalized mail to be sent at First-Class rates.


Nonprofits had anticipated the official release of the ruling after more than a week of meeting with USPS officials over the issue. The ruling resolves the complaints of nonprofit mailing groups that worried they no longer could send mail using common types of personalization at the cheaper Standard rate.


Scheduled to take effect June 1, the new mailing standards require that mail including personalization for any purpose other than a solicitation be sent at the First-Class rate. Nonprofits were concerned that "solicitations" would include requests for donations only.


The ruling issued yesterday clarifies that solicitations can include numerous other calls to action -- such as requests for volunteers or to read educational materials -- besides a request for donations. It also provides a four-step process for determining whether mail qualifies for the Standard rate and clarifies how the rule will be applied.


The ruling is designated PS-323. The USPS said it would post the full ruling at pe.usps.com/dmmAdvisory.asp.


Scott Hovanyetz covers telemarketing, production and printing and direct response TV 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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