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Mailing & Fulfillment — ‘Move Update’ Moves Forward

May 2008 By Mary Ann Bennett
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IN RECENT months, many have seen articles and announcements that the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is implementing new strategies to control operational costs. Most of us have heard a great deal about the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB) and the struggles over its implementation. Additionally, we have been distracted by the postage rate increase of May 2007 and the impending increase of May 2008.

Unnoticed by most is an approaching issue that will have a much greater impact on the direct mail industry than either rate increase or the IMB.

USPS requirements for Move Updating of address lists for First Class Mail claiming presort rates will be expanded to include Standard Mail effective November 23, 2008. Also, the Postal Service is increasing the minimum frequency of Move Update processing from 185 calendar days to 95 days prior to the date of mailing.

Why Enforce Move Update Requirements?

Today, if you mail at First Class rates to a non-current address, your mail will be determined as undeliverable as addressed (UAA) and:

o USPS regulations state that every piece of UAA mail must be processed until a final disposition is made.

o In fiscal year 2004, the Postal Service handled 9.7 billion pieces of UAA mail at a cost of $1.85 billion.

In simpler terms, the USPS is happy to let you claim presort discounts on your First Class mailings--they just want to make sure that you're mailing to the recipient's current address. If they have moved, you have updated your database with the new information. This saves the USPS from incurring the significant expense associated with forwarding the mail, or returning it to the sender. Your claiming of postage discounts goes hand-in-hand with proving to the USPS you have done the work to meet its requirement.

Following are key steps to take.

Step 1: Know the Requirement

Currently, addresses on all Presorted First Class Mail must be updated within 185 days before the mailing date with a Postal Service-approved method:

o Address Change Service (ACS);

o National Change of Address Linkage System (NCOALink);

o FASTforward MLOCR processes if used each time before mail entry;

o Mailer Move Update Process Certification and USPS-approved alternative methods for mailers with legitimate restrictions on incorporating USPS-supplied change-of-address information into their mailing lists (see section on 99 Percent Accuracy); or

o Appropriate ancillary service endorsement.

Step 2: Identify Your Level of Exposure

You and your staff know your clients. You know whether or not they mail claiming First Class Presort discounts and how frequently.


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