Postal Service Regulations on Forwarding Mail to Boxholders

GGD-82-84: Published: Jul 9, 1982. Publicly Released: Jul 15, 1982.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Postal Service's recent changes to its regulations on the indefinite forwarding of mail to boxholders and the relationship between these new regulations and the expanded ZIP Code program.

Due to negative public reaction, the Service modified its new regulations which made them more confusing and led to inconsistent applications by local post offices. As a result of discussions between GAO and Service officials, new clarifying instructions are being developed. GAO believes that the Service should be liberal in granting exemptions from the new forwarding regulations until it makes a decision on the forwarding-for-a-fee proposal. Due to confusion and inconsistent implementation, it is doubtful whether actual savings figures could be calculated. In addition, the Service has made no calculation with regard to the impact of the regulation change on businesses. GAO is conducting a major review of the Service's expanded ZIP Code program which will include an assessment of the impact of the program on mailers. It would be premature at this time to speculate about the outcome of the overall GAO review effort.

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