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Mailing Matters : What Move Update Means

August 2010 By Harry Stephens

When the Move Update initiative was initially introduced by the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) in 1997, the regulations only applied to First Class mail and no penalties were assessed. At the end of 2008, the regulations were extended to all Standard mail. The final phase of the Move Update rollout was completed in January, and the USPS is now assessing penalties on all mail that does not comply with the Move Update standards.

The Move Update examines whether mailers are appropriately and effectively updating their members' addresses in accordance to the National Change of Address (NCOA) database. Mail must have been processed using an accepted Move Update method within 95 days of the change of address form being filed.

Accepted Methods

Let's examine the various accepted methods and go into further detail on what these new standards mean to your business.

While there are four approved methods that can be used to comply with the Move Update standards, the most common among printers that are also involved in mailing is the NCOALink. This software makes change-of-address information available to all mailers in an effort to eliminate undeliverable mail prior to entering the mail stream.

The Ancillary Service Endorsement (ASE) method is also utilized by many printers, and refers to the wording added on the front of a mail piece telling the USPS how to handle the mail if deemed undeliverable as addressed at the time of mailing.

The penalties associated with the Move Update can be substantial to your customers' businesses. Non-compliant mail is assessed at $0.07 per piece, applied to the entire mailing for Standard mail and at a single-piece rate for the entire mailing for First Class mail.

The USPS offers some leniency, not assessing penalties if fewer than five errors are found during verification, or if 70 percent or more of the addresses with change of address forms filed have been updated.

The time to worry is if more than 30 percent of the addresses that should have been updated were not, as the mail now becomes non-compliant. For example, someone with a 1,000-piece mailing with 100 moves on file must update at least 70 of the pieces with the new addresses. If they only update 60 of the 100 pieces, then they fall below the 70 percent threshold by 10 percent and, therefore, 10 percent of the entire mailing will be assessed with the $0.07 per piece charge.

 

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