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423 Prices and Eligibility

1.0 Prices and Fees

1.1 Price Application

The following price applications apply:

a. Priority Mail mailpieces are charged per pound; any fraction of a pound is rounded up to the next whole pound. For example, if a piece weighs 1.25 pounds, the weight (postage) increment is 2 pounds. See exceptions in 1.1c, 1.1d, and 1.1e below.

b. Flat-rate prices are not based on weight and zone, but are charged a flat rate regardless of actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece and domestic destination.

c. The minimum postage amount per addressed piece is the 1-pound price. Except for:

1. Items mailed in flat-rate packaging.

2. Items eligible for commercial plus cubic pricing.

3. Regional Rate Boxes.

4. Commercial plus items weighing up to 1/2-pound (charge the 1/2-pound price for commercial plus items up to 1/2-pound. Items over 1/2-pound are rounded up to the next whole pound).

d. Commercial plus cubic prices are not based on weight, but are charged per cubic measurement of the mailpiece and zone and any fraction of a measurement is rounded down to the nearest 0.25 inch. For example, if a dimension of a commercial plus cubic piece measures 12.375 inches, it is rounded down to 12.25 inches.

e. Regional Rate Box prices are not based on weight but are priced based on the particular USPS-produced Box A or Box B and the zone to which it is sent.

f. Priority Mail items mailed under a specific customer agreement are charged according to the individual agreement.

1.2 Commercial Base Prices

1.2.1 Commercial Base Price Eligibility

The commercial base prices are available for:

a. Click-N-Ship customers.

b. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products when using a qualifying shipping label managed by the PC Postage system used.

c. Customers using permit imprint.

d. Priority Mail Open and Distribute customers using permit imprint when a Service barcode containing a unique service type code 55 is on the address label under 705.17.5.7. Priority Mail Open and Distribute is not available for customers using Regional Rate Boxes.

e. Customers using USPS-approved IBI postage meters that print the IBI with the appropriate price marking (see 402.2.1) and electronically transmit transactional data to USPS.

f. Permit holders using Merchandise Return Service (MRS) for Priority Mail mailpieces when all MRS requirements are met (507.11.0).

1.2.2 Regional Rate Box Prices

Regional Rate Box prices are available to Priority Mail commercial base and commercial plus customers who use USPS-produced Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes and meet the requirements in 1.2.1. Prices are based on USPS-produced Box A or Box B and zone. Regional Rate Boxes exceeding the maximum weight per Box A or Box B (identified below) will be assessed Priority Mail commercial base or commercial plus (volume thresholds apply) prices based on weight and zone. Regional Rate Box options are:

a. Box A: (Side loading or top loading box) has a maximum weight limit of 15 pounds.

b. Box B: (Side loading or top loading box) has a maximum weight limit of 20 pounds.

1.3 Commercial Plus Prices

1.3.1 Existing Priority Mail Customers

[4-17-11] Commercial plus prices are available to Priority Mail (including Critical Mail) customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose cumulative account volume exceeds a combined total of 5,000 letter-size and flat-size pieces (including Flat Rate Envelopes, but not the Padded Flat Rate Envelope) or 75,000 total pieces in the previous calendar year (except Priority Mail Open and Distribute) or who have a customer commitment agreement with USPS, and are:

a. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products.

b. Permit imprint customers.

c. Priority Mail Open and Distribute (PMOD) customers whose account volume exceeds 600 PMOD containers (see 705.17.5.1).

d. Permit holders using MRS for Priority Mail items.

e. Customers using USPS-approved IBI postage meters that print the IBI with the appropriate price marking (see 402.2.1) and electronically transmit transactional data daily to USPS for all mailpieces and mail categories.

1.3.2 New Priority Mail Customers

[4-17-11] Commercial plus prices are available for new Priority Mail customers who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS. Shippers must contact their account manager or the manager, Shipping Support, Shipping Services (see 608.8.0 for address) for additional information.

1.4 Commercial Plus Cubic

1.4.1 Commercial Plus Cubic Eligibility

Commercial plus cubic prices are available to Priority Mail customers whose account volumes exceed 250,000 pieces in the previous calendar year or who have a customer commitment agreement with USPS. Each mailpiece must measure .50 cubic foot or less, weigh 20 pounds or less, and the longest dimension may not exceed 18 inches. Cubic-priced mailpieces may not be rolls or tubes. The commercial plus cubic prices are available for:

a. Registered end-users of USPS-approved PC Postage products.

b. Permit imprint customers. Customers are required to use the Electronic Verification System (eVS) program or submit an electronic postage statement with a computerized manifest under 705.2.0. Mailings must contain at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. Mailpieces are not required to be identical in weight.

c. Permit holders using Merchandise Return Service for parcels returned at Priority Mail prices.

1.4.2 Commercial Plus Cubic Tiers

Cubic prices consist of the following five tiers:

a. Tier 1 - mailpieces measuring up to .10 cubic foot

b. Tier 2 - mailpieces measuring more than .10 up to .20 cubic foot

c. Tier 3 - mailpieces measuring more than .20 up to .30 cubic foot

d. Tier 4 - mailpieces measuring more than .30 up to .40 cubic foot

e. Tier 5 - mailpieces measuring more than .40 up to .50 cubic foot

1.4.3 Determining Cubic Tier Measurements for Rectangular and Nonrectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the cubic tier measurement for rectangular and nonrectangular parcels:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round down (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest 1/4 inch. For example, 6-1/8" x 5-7/8" x 6-3/8" is rounded down to 6" x 5-3/4" x 6-1/4".

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height and divide by 1728. For example: 6" x 5-3/4" x 6-1/4" = 215.6 divided by 1728 = 0.125 (This piece exceeds 0.10 - Tier 1 threshold). It is calculated at Tier 2 - 0.101 to 0.20.

1.4.4 New Priority Mail Customers

Commercial plus cubic prices are available for new Priority Mail customers who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS. Shippers must contact their account manager or the manager, Sales and Communication, Expedited Shipping (see 608.8.0 for address) for additional information.

1.5 Balloon Price

Parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-4 (including Local) that weigh less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches (but not more than 108 inches) in combined length and girth are charged the applicable zone price for a 20-pound parcel (balloon price).

1.6 Dimensional Weight Price for Low-Density Parcels to Zones 5-8

Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 5-8 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight (as calculated in 1.6.1 or 1.6.2), whichever is greater.

1.6.1 Determining Dimensional Weight for Rectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a rectangular parcel:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

c. If the result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 194 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

1.6.2 Determining Dimensional Weight for Nonrectangular Parcels

Follow these steps to determine the dimensional weight for a nonrectangular parcel:

a. Measure the length, width, and height in inches at their extreme dimensions. Round off (see 604.7.0) each measurement to the nearest whole inch.

b. Multiply the length by the width by the height.

c. Multiply the result by an adjustment factor of 0.785.

d. If the final result exceeds 1,728 cubic inches, divide the result by 194 and round up (see 604.7.0) to the next whole number to determine the dimensional weight in pounds.

e. If the dimensional weight exceeds 70 pounds, the customer pays the 70-pound price.

1.7 Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes

Any amount of material may be mailed in a USPS-produced Priority Mail Flat Rate Box or Flat Rate Envelope. When sealing a Flat Rate Box or Flat Rate Envelope, the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container; provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way.

1.7.1 Flat Rate Envelopes—Price and Eligibility

USPS-produced Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelopes are priced at a flat rate regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. See Notice 123—Price List for applicable prices.

1.7.2 Flat Rate Boxes—Price and Eligibility

For shipping convenience, there are multiple Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes as follows: Small Flat Rate Box to domestic, APO/FPO, and DPO destinations; Medium Flat Rate Boxes (FRB-1) or (FRB-2) to domestic, APO/FPO, and DPO destinations; Large Flat Rate Box or “special version of this box” to APO/FPO and DPO destinations; and large Flat Rate Box to domestic destinations only. The large Flat Rate Box to APO/FPO and DPO destinations or “special version of this box” is priced less than the conventional domestic large Flat Rate Box. Items sent to APO/FPO and DPO destination addresses may be shipped in the Priority Mail large Flat Rate Box or in a special version of the box identified with the additional logo: "Americasupportsyou.mil." If the special version of the APO/FPO Flat Rate Box is used for non-APO/FPO and DPO destination addresses, the domestic or International large Flat Rate Box prices will apply. Only USPS-produced Flat Rate Boxes are eligible for the Flat Rate Box prices. Each USPS-produced Priority Mail Flat Rate Box is charged a flat rate regardless of the actual weight (up to 70 pounds) of the mailpiece or domestic destination. See Notice 123—Price List for applicable prices.

1.8 Pickup on Demand Fee

The Pickup on Demand fee is charged per occurrence. This service may be combined with Express Mail, Package Services, and international mail pickups (see 507.6.0). See Notice 123—Price List.

1.9 Hold For Pickup

Under Hold For Pickup service, Priority Mail items are held at a designated Post Office location for pick up by a specified addressee or designee (see 508.7.0).

1.10 Determining Single-Piece Weight

To determine single-piece weight in any mailing of nonidentical-weight pieces, weigh each piece individually. To determine single-piece weight in a mailing of identical-weight pieces, weigh a sample group of at least 10 randomly selected pieces and divide the total sample weight by the number of pieces in the sample. Express all single-piece weights in decimal pounds rounded off to two decimal places except mailers using eVS. Mailers using eVS may round off to four decimals, and eVS will automatically round to the appropriate decimal place. If a customer is using a manifest mailing system, the manifest weight field must be properly completed by adhering to the rules relative to the specific manifest.

1.11 Computing Postage

Determine weight increment for each piece and pay postage under 424.1.0, Basic Standards for Postage Payment. For permit imprint mailings, multiply the number of addressed pieces at each weight increment by the corresponding postage price.

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2.0 Content Standards for Priority Mail

2.1 General

All mailable matter may be sent as Priority Mail, except matter prohibited by standards (e.g., certain hazardous materials).

2.2 Matter Required to be Mailed as First-Class Mail

Unless Express Mail is used, Priority Mail prices are required for a mailpiece that weighs more than 13 ounces when the mailpiece contains matter that must be mailed as First-Class Mail. Complete descriptions of matter requiring the use of First-Class Mail are provided in 133.3.0.

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3.0 Basic Standards for Priority Mail

3.1 Definition

Priority Mail is is an expedited service and may contain any mailable matter weighing no more than 70 pounds. Lower weight limits apply to commercial plus cubic (see 1.4); Regional Rate Boxes (see 1.2.2); Critical Mail (see 223.1.4 and 323.1.4); APO/FPO mail subject to 703.2.0 and 703.4.0; and Department of State mail subject to 703.3.0.

3.2 Service Objectives

All Priority Mail receives expeditious handling and transportation. The USPS follows uniform guidelines for distributing and delivering mail but does not guarantee delivery within the specified time. Local postmasters can provide more information.

3.3 Matter Closed Against Postal Inspection

Matter closed against postal inspection includes First-Class Mail, Priority Mail (including Critical Mail), and Express Mail. USPS may open mail other than First-Class Mail, Priority Mail (including Critical Mail), or Express Mail to determine whether the proper postage is paid. Material wrapped or packaged so that it cannot be examined easily or examined without destruction or serious damage is closed against postal inspection and is charged the appropriate First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail price.