PRC strongly rejects USPS attempt to circumvent the CPI cap through rules changes

July 26, 2016

With the supporting intervention of the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, the PRC properly rejected on July 20 the latest step in the multi-year USPS attempt to effectively increase customers’ postage costs above the CPI price cap. USPS tried to do so a couple of years ago when it proposed making Full Service Intelligent Mail Barcodes mandatory for mailers to continue to qualify for automation postage. Those mailers who had not implemented the sometimes costly changes would have been forced to pay higher rates than they previously qualified for.

The commonsense standard that the PRC set forth was:

“Under the Commission’s standard, a mail preparation change will be considered a classification change with rate effects under the price cap when the change results in the deletion and/or redefinition of a rate cell…Deletion of a rate cell occurs when the mail preparation change causes the elimination of a rate, or the functional equivalent of an elimination of a rate, e.g., making the rate inaccessible to mailers. Redefinition of a rate cell occurs when the mail preparation change causes a significant change to a basic characteristic of the mailing, effectively changing the nature of the rate cell to such an extent that is more akin to a constructive deletion.”

We expect USPS to file another at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.