AS MAIL VOLUME IS PREDICTED TO KEEP PLUMMETING, Postmaster General John E. Potter said in a March 2 address that a modest exigent postal rate increase will be proposed for 2011. But some industry watchers questioned if an exigent price increase early next year would be legal, based on the interpretation of the circumstances needed to qualify for exigency.

“The mention of an exigent price increase, and saying it will happen definitively in early 2011, is very disturbing,” says Joe Schick, director of postal affairs for printer Quad/Graphics. “I’m also not sure an exigent price increase is legal, based on the interpretation of the circumstances needed to qualify for exigency.”

Don Landis, vice president of postal affairs for catalog printer Arandell Corp., says he believes an exigent price increase can be implemented only under unusual circumstances like a natural disaster, not during a downturn in the economy or a decrease in mail volume. “I have heard rumblings about the possibility of challenging the legality of an exigent price increase,” Landis says.

Postal Regulatory Commissioner Ruth Goldway says that the law provides that the U.S. Postal Service may seek a rate increase beyond the rate of inflation “due to either extraordinary or exceptional circumstances.”

It’s no surprise that mailers concerned about higher rates might challenge whether “extraordinary or exceptional” circumstances exist, Goldway says. “Should that issue be raised, the commission will evaluate all parties’ arguments and make a decision.”

The concern that the current situation does not meet the requirements for an exigent rate increase was discussed before the PRC on Feb. 23, says Jerry Cerasale, senior vice president of government affairs for the Direct Marketing Association. “So we will argue that again once USPS files its request, which we expect in September or October,” he says.

Cerasale says several mailer groups would make their case before the PRC against the legality of an exigent price increase, given current circumstances. “Even if not successful, it would lay the groundwork for fighting any future exigent case,” he says.

Partner Content

Hincapie Sportswear Finds Omnichannel Success in the Cloud - Netsuite
For more and more companies, a cloud-based unified data solution is the way to make this happen. Custom cycling apparel maker Hincapie Sportswear has leveraged this capability to gain greater visibility into revenue streams, turning opportunities into sales more quickly while gaining overall operating efficiency. Download this ecommerce special report from Multichannel Merchant to more.
The Gift of Wow: Preparing your store for the holiday season - Netsuite
Being prepared for the holiday rush used to mean stocking shelves and making sure your associates were ready for the long hours. But the digital revolution has changed everything, most importantly, customer expectations. Retailers with a physical store presence should be asking themselves—what am I doing to wow the customer?
3 Critical Components to Achieving the Perfect Order - NetSuite
Explore the 3 critical components to delivering the perfect order.
Streamlining Unified Commerce Complexity - NetSuite
Explore how consolidating multiple systems through a cloud-based commerce platform provides a seamless experience for both you, and your customer.