Four Postal Groups Request Withdrawal of Exigent Rate Case

Four postal associations have asked U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to withdraw the U.S. Postal Service’s request for a $2.3 billion exigent postage increase for 2012.

The four groups — The Direct Marketing Association; the Association for Postal Commerce 9; Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers; and MPA-The Association of Magazine Mediasent a letter today to Donahoe, saying the request for a $2.3 billion exigent (above inflation) postage increase would be above the announced inflation-capped postage increases scheduled for Jan. 22, 2012.

The letter begins with one word: Perplexed.

“In your presentations to the mailing community in recent months, we have heard you say repeatedly that you do not want an exigent price increase; an exigent increase will not occur; and mailers should budget for 2012 price increases at the CPI level, because a larger increase would be self-defeating due to its negative effects on mail volume,” the letter says. “Simultaneously, however, the Postal Service has continued to file pleadings and signed statements with the Postal Regulatory Commission in Docket No. R2010-4 claiming that the Service still seeks a $2.3 billion exigent increase.”

Under the current circumstances, “the only prudent course for mailers is to assume that the Postal Service is still seeking commission approval of an exigent rate increase in this docket, and that an increase approved by the commission may very well be implemented by the Board of Governors.”

“The continuing pendency of this litigation—and the mere possibility that mailers may face an above-CPI rate increase in 2012 or 2013—has cast a pall of uncertainty over the industry’s budgeting and mailing plans,” the letter adds. “This business uncertainty almost certainly will cost the Postal Service mail volume and revenue.”

These harmful consequences can be easily avoided, the letter says.

“If you do not want an exigent increase and you do not want mailers to plan for one, withdraw the case. Actions speak louder than words. Unless and until the Postal Service publicly withdraws its formal request for Commission approval of exigent rate increases, mailers must assume that the Postal Service is serious about seeking them. For the good of the Postal Service and the mailing community, we urge you to pull the exigent request.”

Jim Tierney (jim.tierney@penton.com) is a senior writer for Multichannel Merchant. You can connect with him on Twitter (TierneyMCM) and LinkedIn, or call him at 203-358-4265.