USPS Proposes Premium Forwarding Service

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The U.S. Postal Service filed a proposal with the Postal Rate Commission for a recommended decision on an experimental premium forwarding service.

The experiment would establish a new classification and fee for a new product called Premium Forwarding Service, under which the USPS would reship all the mail of a customer who has temporarily relocated once a week to the customer's temporary address via Priority Mail.

The USPS currently offers Temporary Forwarding, where certain types of mail are forwarded to a temporary address on a piece-by-piece basis. It also offers hold mail, where the mail of an entire household is held at a local post office for up to 30 days.

Unlike these services, PFS would reship all of its customer's mail in a weekly Priority Mail package and provide reshipping service for up to 12 months. It would let customers specify whether to include the mail for the entire household or an individual address.

"Overall, PFS will provide a level of service that complements and expands upon the current options offered by the postal service for customers who relocate temporarily," the USPS filing said.

The USPS proposes that customers be charged a $10 enrollment fee plus a fixed per-shipment charge of $10. The postal service said "this straightforward structure should encourage customer understanding and ease of use, while providing a basic platform on which PFS' vitality can be tested experimentally."

The per-shipment charge represents the sum of a fixed postage rate ($7.15) and a fixed repackaging fee ($2.85), the USPS said.

The USPS proposed that the experimental classification be in effect for two years, "which should allow [customers] sufficient time to determine whether PFS suits them," the filing said.

By designating the request as an experiment, the USPS said that it intends for the PRC to apply its expedited rules of practice and procedure for experimental changes.

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