PRC Dismisses Mailer Complaint on Post-It Rate Test

The Postal Rate Commission (PRC) on Aug. 27 rejected a formal request made by a coalition of mailer groups to throw out a rate case for a year-long market test of the use of repositionable notes. Under the market test, mailers that use RPNs–more commonly known as Post-It notes, 3M’s brand name–on the outside of catalogs, magazines, and other flats for promotional purposes will have to pay more postage.

The mailer group contends that the USPS has no business seeking a $0.015 surcharge for mailpieces that use RPNs. “We didn’t think it was legal, but the PRC overruled us,” says Gene Del Polito, president of Arlington, VA-based Association for Postal Commerce, which along with the Direct Marketing Association and the Mailing & Fulfillment Service Association filed the dismissal motion on Aug. 11.

Del Polito and the mailers group contend that such a surcharge will set a dangerous precedent. For instance, if the USPS will be able to charge for RPNs to be placed on catalog covers, “then it could evolve to being any outserts [outer wraps], and we don’t want to go down that road,” he says. The PRC is expected to rule on the RPN test request in October.

Despite the mailer group’s setback in attempting to get the case thrown out, Del Polito says that assuming the PRC approves of the test, after the year is up, the USPS will have greater difficulty getting the surcharge approved permanently. Del Polito’s and other mailer groups plan to protest the classification after the test is over. “So we’ll see how this experiment flies, and after it’s run, we’ll be back.”

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