DMA Calls on Direct Marketers to Demand Postal Reform

BOSTON — The Direct Marketing Association urged direct marketers attending a session of its annual catalog conference here yesterday to join it in demanding postal reform.

Until then, the industry will remain a prisoner of the U.S. Postal Service, said Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs at the DMA.

“What we're trying to do is get a grass-roots campaign going,” Cerasale said. “Eventually we're going to ask direct marketers to call, write and visit the U.S. representative in their state and begin pushing for postal reform.”

The session was a last-minute addition to the conference, which comes weeks before the postal service raises rates for the second time this year. Another rate case is expected in the fall, which would mean the next increase would occur in mid- to late 2002.

Cerasale said the postal service could receive an unexpected windfall of $70 million starting in September, when the government begins mailing letters and tax rebate checks resulting from the recently passed $1.3 trillion tax cut.

While the DMA said the added revenue should be an incentive for the USPS to delay any requests for rate increases, Cerasale warned direct marketers attending the session not to hold their breaths.

He also said the DMA will pressure the USPS to delay any rate increase request until January, which would ensure that any rate increases would not happen until after the 2002 holiday shopping season.

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