US Postal Service January 2012 Mailing and Shipping Services Price Changes Q&A

When and Why is USPS Adjusting Mailing and Shipping Prices and Services? When are the prices of Postal Service Mailing and Shipping Services changing?

January 22, 2012. This includes new prices for First-Class Mail®, Standard Mail®, Periodicals, Package Services (Single-Piece Parcel Post, Bound Printed Matter, and Media Mail/Library Mail), First-Class Mail International, and Extra Services — a broad category including many products such as Money Orders and Return Receipt and services such as insurance and Collect on Delivery (COD). The Postal Service announced these new prices and product features on October 18, 2011.

How much are Postal Service prices changing?

Postal Service Mailing Services prices will increase by 2.1 percent, on average, across each class of mail. Because the price cap applies to each class of mail, rather than to each product within a class, some products within a mail class have an increase that is higher or lower than 2.1 percent.

How did the Postal Service come up with 2.1 percent for the Mailing Services price change?

By law, the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, Mailing Services prices can increase by no more than the rate of inflation based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Why is the Postal Service raising prices in January?

We are implementing this price change in January to address the urgency of our current financial challenges and to coincide with the price changes for Shipping Services.

What are Highlights of the Price and Service Changes? What is Changing with First-Class Mail letters and postcards?

Single-piece, one-ounce First-Class Mail letters will increase $0.01, to $0.45 (additional ounces remain at $0.20). The price for mailing a First-Class Mail postcard will increase $0.03 to $0.32 and the cost of stamped postcards will increase $0.03 to $0.35.

What are other changes can I expect?

New mailing standards consisting of classification changes to support the price changes will be implemented. Prices for other mailing services will also change, with price increases in the following categories:

Percentage Changes by Product Category

Product Percent Change

First-Class Mail – overall 2.1

Single-piece letters and cards 2.5

Flats 1.6

Parcels 10.9

Presort letters and cards 1.6

International 4.7

Standard Mail – overall 2.1

Letters 1.9

Flats 2.2

Carrier route letters, flats, and parcels 2.4

High density/saturation letters 2.3

High density/saturation flats and parcels 2.7

Periodicals – overall 2.1

Outside county 2.1

Inside county 2.1

Package Services – overall 2.1

Parcel Post 2.5

Bound Printed Matter (BPM) flats 0.5

BPM Parcels 1.9

Media Mail/Library Mail 2.6

Extra Services – overall -0.7

Certified Mail 3.5

Registered Mail™ 1.4

Insurance 2.6

Return receipt 1.8

Collect on Delivery (COD) 2.8

PO Boxes 2.4

Where can I find documentation of these Price Changes?

Appropriate changes to the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) and Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, International Mail Manual (IMM®) will be updated on the Postal Explorer® website at on January 22, 2012. Updates will also be published in the December 1 and December 15 issues of the Postal Bulletin.

What Specific Changes Will I See with First-Class Mail Service? What will be the new price for a First-Class Mail stamp for letters?

The price of a single-piece, one-ounce, First-Class Mail stamp will increase one cent, to $0.45, the first increase in this price since May 2009.

Will Forever stamps still be available?

Yes. Forever® stamps don't have a denomination and will be valid whenever they are used. After the January 22, 2012, price change, the price of a Forever Stamp will be $0.45. All new First-Class Mail commemorative stamps will be Forever stamps.

Will there be an increase to the price for additional ounces?

No. The additional ounce price for single First Class Mail letters remains $0.20.

Is the nonmachinable surcharge increasing?

No, the nonmachinable surcharge (typically paid by customers who mail square or rigid letter-size pieces) has not changed; it remains $0.20.

Will the price for postcards increase? Yes, the price for mailing a single piece First-Class Mail postcard is going up three cents, to $0.32. Stamped postcards will increase to $0.35.

Is the price for single-piece large envelopes (flats) changing?

Yes, the price for single-piece large envelopes (flats) will increase by $0.02 to $0.90, maintaining a 2-to-1 ratio with single-piece letters and preserving the convenience to consumers of using two letter-price stamps as postage.

How are prices changing for First-Class Mail presort letters?

For First-Class Mail presort letters and cards, most prices increase within the range of $0.006 to $0.014. Presorted and automation letters up to 2 ounces will be charged the 1-ounce price. There is no change to the additional ounce price for letters weighing more than two ounces, which remains $0.125. Prices have been adjusted so that AADC and 3-digit First Class Mail automation prices are the same.

Is there a savings for using the full-service Intelligent Mail Barcode option?

Yes, mailers may subtract $0.003 for each First-Class Mail automation letter, automation postcard, or automation flat that complies with the requirements for the full-service Intelligent Mail barcode option.

How are the prices changing on First-Class Mail parcels?

First-Class Mail commercial parcels have transferred from Mailing Services to Shipping Services and are now called First-Class Package Service. First-Class Mail retail parcels remain in Mailing Services and increase an average of 10.9 percent.

What Specific Changes Will I See with First-Class Mail International Service? Are the First-Class Mail International prices changing?

Yes, this includes First-Class Mail International letters, flats and packages. There is one price for one-ounce letters and postcards to Canada and Mexico ($0.85) and one price for the rest of the world ($1.05).

Can Forever stamps be used for international mail?

Customers can use Forever stamps for international mail, but since all international prices are higher than domestic prices, customers will need to attach additional postage. The value of the Forever stamp is the domestic First-Class Mail one-ounce letter price in effect on the day of use.

How are the prices changing for international mail?

The prices for single-piece First-Class Mail International letters increases approximately 6.6 percent and postcards increase approximately 7 percent. The extra services that are part of Mailing Services increase approximately 2.2 percent.

What other Specific Changes Are Planned for January 2012? Are there any changes to Standard Mail parcels?

Yes, Standard Mail fulfillment parcels (not including Nonprofit Standard Mail) are being transferred to Shipping Services, and will be renamed Parcel Select Lightweight parcels. Their prices will change along with other Shipping Services prices, planned for January 22, 2012.

Are there any classification or price eligibility changes for Periodicals?

Yes, the Postal Service is introducing Mixed ADC pallet prices for Periodicals, which was requested by mailers and aligns with efforts to optimize the Postal Service's operations network.

Are Package Services prices changing?

Yes, there is a 2.1 percent overall average increase. Also, the barcode discount is being discontinued.

Why is the barcode discount being discontinued?

The Postal Service currently gives customers a 3-cent barcode discount on Parcel Select and Package Services parcels (Library Mail, Media Mail, and Bound Printed Matter parcels). Since all parcel mail will be required to have a barcode in the near future, the 3-cent barcode discount is being discontinued for these products.

Will I See Changes in any of the Extra Services Provided by USPS? What are some of the Extra Services?

Extra Services contains many products ranging from Money Orders to Delivery Confirmation™; such services as insurance and Registered Mail; and fees such as Business Reply Mail®, Bulk Parcel Return Service, and presort annual mailing fees.

Are there any changes in Post Office Boxes?

Yes. This year Post Office Box™ prices will increase an average of 2.1 percent. We are moving additional Post Office Box locations to the competitive category. We also introduce a 3-month rental option that allows customers to rent PO Boxes online or at retail for a 3-month period with auto-renewal on a credit card, as opposed to the current 6-month minimum rental period. (Caller services are excluded.)

Are Return Receipt fees changing?

The price for the basic hardcopy return receipt (showing to whom delivered, signature, date of delivery, and addressee's address) requested at the time of mailing and received by mail is increasing by $0.05, to $2.35. The price for a return receipt requested at the time of mailing and received electronically is not increasing; the price for a return receipt requested after mailing and received by fax, mail, or electronically is increasing $0.05 to $4.75.

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