Besides clarifying some of the gray areas of what is defined as First-Class mail in an effort to move more mail into the First-Class category, the U.S. Postal Service is working to track other content or operational mistakes that might change postal rates.
The USPS has clarified standards governing the content and sealing of double postcards, which are mailed at First-Class rates. The change, effective Feb. 5, makes clear that only the top or bottom of a double postcard, once folded, may be sealed, as opposed to the sides. The ruling said double postcards may not be sealed against inspection and are examined to ensure that the reply half does not include an additional message.
Mailers have been informed that if an additional message appears, they will pay full First-Class postage on both cards, sources told DM News.
Also, California's Bay-Valley District postal workers are watching for Media Mail that is being used improperly, according to a recent USPS Newslink item. Media Mail is a cheaper way to mail books, videotapes, printed music, CDs, DVDs and diskettes.
“Many items sent by Media Mail aren't eligible for that lower rate,” Bay-Valley retail specialist Pauline Bellinger was quoted as saying. “Everyone needs to ask customers what's in their Media Mail if it looks suspicious.”
The Newslink item cited a postal employee in Richmond, CA, who inspected a customer's Media Mail package and found it to be First-Class mail. A supervisor sent the parcel back to the customer with a copy of the Domestic Mail Manual page explaining what qualifies as Media Mail, and the station manager gave the customer flat-rate Priority Mail envelopes. Bay-Valley retail offices have been advised that all Media Mail is subject to inspection, the item said.