The Postal Service announced a major change in requirements for Standard Mail when it was determined that Standard Mail would be required to comply with Move Update requirements starting November 23, 2008. This notice was made public in Volume 72, Issue 188 of the Federal Register.
According to the Federal Register, "the Move Update standards provide ways for mailers to reduce the number of mailpieces that require forwarding or return by the periodic matching of a mailer's address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders." So, what does this mean? It means that the USPS wants those who mail at a Standard Mail rate to determine whether or not a recipient has moved on its own or pay an additional fee to have the USPS forward the mail.
Along with making Move Update a requirement for Standard Mail, the USPS also increased the frequency requirements for Move Update processing. Instead of the minimum frequency being every 185 days (6 months) the minimum frequency will be every 95 days (approx. 3 months). This change will effect both First Class and Standard Mail for bulk mailers.
"We believe that the revised standards...are crucial to the continued vitality of the postal system as well as the business interests of mailers," the Federal Register explains. Undeliverable-as-Addressed Mail (UAA) is a major expense for the USPS and costs upwards of $1.9 billion dollars each year. Standard Mail accounts for 62.8% of this undeliverable mail.
This change brings up several concerns. Many believe that the requirement will be difficult and expensive for small business mailers and non-profit organizations. The Post Office dismisses this concern and believes that there are methods available for every budget level. Another concern was that this change was being made before the benefits of the recent changes to CASS processing have been realized, but the new requirements do not affect move-related UAA problems, the main source of UAA Mail for Standard Mail.
Summary of Changes
- Move Update, which was previously only a requirement for First Class Mail, will not be a requirement for Standard Mail in order to reduce UAA mail.
- Mailers can comply with the Move Update requirement in three way: (1) NCOALink, (2) FASTforward MLOCR processing, or (3) On-piece ancillary service endorsements (except "Forwarding Service Requested").
- Changes will be effective on November 23, 2008
Mailpieces using an alternative addressing format in Domestic Mail Manual 602.3.0, such as “John Doe or Current Resident,” “Occupant” or “Postal Customer,” are not subject to the Move Update standards. Alternative address formats, however, may not be used on mailpieces with any extra service (for example, Delivery Confirmation) with any ancillary service endorsement or mail addressed to an overseas military post office