Expanded parcel return service on hold

Oct 01, 1999 9:30 PM  By

A Postal Rate Commission (PRC) hearing that was scheduled for Sept. 14 could block the U.S. Postal Service’s plan to expand the availability of its Bulk Parcel Return Service (BPRS).

On Aug. 31, the Postal Service had approved the PRC’s recommendation for a classification change to BPRS, a “return to sender” service that allows for the return of properly labeled but undeliverable and unopened machine-sortable Standard A parcels. The cost of the service is $1.75 per returned parcel. The revision would expand the service to also provide for the return of Standard A parcels that were successfully delivered.

That means recipients could open, reseal, and then return the parcels without paying additional postage – nor would the original sender have to pay an additional fee above $1.75 per returned parcel. Mailers participating in the expanded program would need to meet the same requirements that currently apply to BPRS, such as generating return volume of at least 10,000 pieces a year and maintaining an advance deposit account for payment of fees.

But on Sept. 3, the Postal Rate Commission ordered a formal hearing regarding a June challenge to the fee change by the Continuity Shippers Association (CSA). The CSA says that the flat fee is too high for the return of machinable Standard A parcels weighing less than 16 oz. As of press time, the likely outcome was still uncertain, but a Postal Service spokesperson described the hearing as a chance for all the parties involved “to explore settlement.”