USPS offers data table file identifying vacant addresses

In order to help mailers identify vacant addresses, the US Postal Service has developed a new data table file to be used with commercial address matching software.

“What the postal service is attempting to do is provide additional tools to help mailers identify mail that can become undeliverable-as-addressed,” said Jim Wilson, manager of address technology for USPS. “We recognize that mail going to vacant addresses was one of the more common reasons why mail was undeliverable.”

According to the USPS, in 2004 more than 9.7 billion mail pieces were sent to undeliverable addresses, of which over 600 million pieces were sent to “vacant” addresses. An address is considered vacant if that house, apartment, office or building has not been occupied in at least 90 days.

The new “vacant” table is available to the mailing industry Coding Accuracy Support System (CASS) address matching software, which incorporates the Delivery Point Validation product, a table of all the valid addresses that the USPS delivers to on a daily basis. By using USPS-approved CASS software, mailers can qualify for automation or postage discounts, Wilson said.

The USPS also offers a “no-stat” table that identifies addresses that are in the process of “being built,” Wilson said. It is typically an address that has been assigned, but the USPS has not yet begun making delivery to it yet, he said.

Mailers should contact their Delivery Point Validation product vendor to find out if the new “vacant” table is incorporated into address matching products they use. 

“We hope that the customers will understand the value of using the product so that they manage their mailing list as efficiently as possible,” Wilson said.

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