USPS Offers Support Ruling for Personal Information, Standard Mail

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The U.S. Postal Service issued a customer support ruling yesterday that said a specific mailing can be sent at Standard mail rates despite the fact that it contained some personal information.


The ruling was designed to assist mailers in understanding revised Domestic Mail Manual standards that go into effect June 1 regarding the use of personal information in Standard mail matter.


The personal information was part of an explicit advertisement in which all of the information was directly related to the ad and the exclusive purpose for including the personal information was in support of the ad.


In question was a mail piece sent by a company that assists notary publics applying to renew their appointments. The mail piece included a letter advising addressees that their notary commissions expire soon and urged them to use the company's services for renewals.


Included as part of the mail piece was a state application that was partially competed with the date of birth of the addressee, expiration date of the commission and the state and county in which the commission is held. The letter also contained the name and address of the notary public and a state commission number, neither of which is generally considered to be "personal information" for mail classification purposes.


The mail piece was examined for compliance with a test under the new standards stating that personal information may not be included in a Standard mail piece unless three conditions are met:


· The mail piece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease, or an explicit solicitation for a donation.


· All of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation.


· The exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mail piece.


· The three conditions were met in this case, and, as a result, the mailing was determined to be eligible to be mailed at the Standard rate, according to the filing.


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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