Acceptance Procedures for Bulk Mailings:

Postal Initiatives Show Promise

GGD-82-72: Published: Jun 28, 1982. Publicly Released: Jun 28, 1982.

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GAO conducted a review to determine whether the Postal Service has been accepting bulk mailings which are not prepared as required to qualify for applicable rates.

The Postal Service has been accepting a significant number of improperly prepared bulk rate mailings. Bulk rate mailings are volume mailings which receive a lower postage rate because they are presorted and prepared in a manner which reduces processing costs. Lower rates for bulk mail also reflect the level of service provided to mailers. However, such savings are lost when improperly prepared mailings are accepted, because post offices must rework the mail. Added processing costs resulting from poorly prepared mailings are ultimately reflected in higher bulk rates, which unfairly penalize mailers who properly prepare their bulk mailings. In recent years, bulk rate mail volume has grown faster than mail volume as a whole, largely because of the available discounts. In fiscal year 1981, about 49 percent of the mail was paid for at bulk or presorted rates. For years, the Postal Service has been aware that some mailers are not preparing mail properly. The GAO finding concerning bulk mailings was confirmed by two separate Postal Service studies. A recently issued management instruction provides policies and procedures which should, if properly implemented, preclude the recurrence of permissive practices which allowed poorly prepared mailings to be accepted and increase postal operating costs. The verification program will be explained to all bulk mailers, and they will be given the opportunity to rework their mail or pay the appropriate single piece rate.

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