Members of the American Catalog Mailers Association have launched a letter-writing campaign that they hope will convince the U.S. Postal Service to roll back catalog postage to its pre-2007 rates.
Chris Bradley, president of bedding merchant Cuddledown and a member of the ACMA board, says getting rid the postage increase, which took effect in May 2007, would be a win-win for both catalog merchants and the USPS.
“What we heard last fall was that the postal increase meant catalog volume was off by double digits, based on what merchants had been printing and mailing,” says Bradley. “That has caused the number of available names to decline, and when the universe of names goes down, it’s hard to grow your business.”
If the postal increase was to be rolled back, Bradley says it was stimulate the economy because catalogers would be able to print and mail more books, sell more goods and services, and employ more workers.
“All we’re asking for is talk in Washington,” Bradley says. “When we’re talking about stimulating the economy, what can be a faster and more effective way than to change the mailing cost structure to catalogers?”
Bradley has penned a form letter for catalogers to send to their congressmen. The letter requests Congress reconsider the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA) requirement and suspend it for a few years, which put $5 billion a year in a federal fund for retiree health care benefits.
If that USPS money was not used for the health care benefits, Bradley says it could be used to aid catalogers by lowering their postage rates. “We can’t afford to have the government continue to do this,” he says about the step hikes in postage. “It’s continuing to put the catalog industry in a death spiral.”
For a template of Bradley’s letter, click here.