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444 Postage Payment and Documentation

1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment

1.1 Postage Payment Options

The mailer is responsible for proper postage payment. Postage for Standard Mail must be paid with postage evidencing systems permit imprint, or precanceled stamps as specified in 2.0. Mail manifested using the Electronic Verification System (eVS) under 705.2.9 must be paid with a permit imprint. Postage-affixed pieces must bear the correct numerical value of postage unless excepted by standard. Permit imprint may be used for mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces only if authorized by Business Mailer Support at USPS Headquarters.

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2.0 Additional Postage Payment Standards

2.1 Identical-Weight Pieces

Mailings of identical-weight pieces may have postage affixed to each piece at the exact price for which the piece qualifies, or each piece in the mailing may have postage affixed at the lowest price applicable to pieces in the mailing or mailing job. Alternatively, a USPS precanceled stamp (or stamps precanceled with a mailer's precancel postmark), under 604.3.0, may be affixed to every piece in the mailing or mailing job, or each piece may bear a permit imprint. If exact postage is not affixed, all additional postage and surcharges must be paid at the time of mailing with an advance deposit account or with a meter strip affixed to the required postage statement. If exact postage is not affixed, documentation meeting the standards in 3.0 must be submitted to substantiate the additional postage unless the pieces are identical weight and separated by price when presented for acceptance.

2.2 Nonidentical-Weight Pieces

[1-27-13] Product Samples must be of identical weight within each mailing. Postage for other nonidentical-weight parcels may be paid by precanceled stamps, subject to 4.0 and 604.3.0. Mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces subject to the piece/pound prices may have postage paid by permit imprint (if the mailer is authorized by Business Mailer Support) or by meter (if each piece has the full postage affixed). Alternatively, the mailer may affix the per piece price to each piece and pay the pound price for the mailing through an advance deposit account. Under this option, the mailer must provide a postage statement for each payment method and mark each piece “Pound Price Pd via Permit” in the postage meter indicium. For mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces, “nonidentical” must be shown as the weight of a single piece on the postage statement.

2.3 Combined Price

Meter postage may be used for combined price mailings containing both pieces subject to pound prices and pieces subject to minimum per piece charges. Postage for such mailings may be paid with permit imprint only if authorized by Business Mailer Support.

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3.0 Mailing Documentation

3.1 Completing Postage Statements

Unless manifested using eVS under 705.2.9, any mailing claiming a discount and all permit imprint mailings must be accompanied by a postage statement completed and signed by the mailer (in duplicate if the mailer wants a receipted copy). A change made to any postage statement requires the mailer (agent) to correct the postage statement accordingly and document the correction.

3.2 Basic Documentation Standards

Unless manifested using eVS under 705.2.9, mailings presented to the USPS generally require paper documentation. Supporting documentation of postage is required unless the correct price is affixed to each piece or each piece is of identical weight and the pieces are separated by price when presented for acceptance. Unless full postage is affixed, documentation presented with the postage statement must show the computation of the additional postage due for pieces not bearing full postage at the applicable price. Documentation describes the preparation, price levels, and content of the mailing; details the volume and postage data; reports the result of a process (i.e., presort or barcoding); and, by comparison with the actual mailing it describes, supports the claims contained on the postage statement accompanying the mailing and allows the USPS to verify its accuracy. Documentation must be submitted when specified for the price claimed or postage payment method used.

3.3 Preparing Documentation

As provided by standard, documentation may be presented in abbreviated form or on computer-readable media. Required documentation must be presented with every mailing unless, by standard, it may be provided to support multiple mailings or mailings that are part of the same job or cycle.

3.4 Multiple Standards

If multiple documentation standards apply to the same mailing, only one set of documentation is necessary if it provides enough information to meet all applicable standards. Redundant or duplicate documentation is not required simply to meet individual standards.

3.5 Standard Format for Documentation

Standard Mail documentation must be produced by software certified under the Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE) program or the Manifest Analysis and Certification (MAC) program, appropriate for the accompanying class of mail and price claimed, or the documentation must be prepared as standardized documentation according to this section. Standardized documentation contains the elements described in 708.1.0, as applicable. Documentation produced by PAVE-certified or MAC-certified software is considered standardized documentation.

3.6 Providing Additional Information

The postmaster of the office of mailing may require additional information if the documentation submitted does not allow the corresponding mailing to be verified. Failure to provide information is sufficient reason for the USPS to refuse a mailing. The mailer may appeal any determination to the PCSC under 607.2.0.

3.7 Reporting Multiple Mailings on One Statement

Each group of pieces prepared as a separate mailing must be presented with a postage statement using the correct USPS form for the particular class, price, and postage payment method. A mailer may report more than one mailing from a single job on the same postage statement if the mailings are presented at the same time for verification, the pieces are in the same processing category, each mailing separately meets all applicable eligibility standards, and the number of pieces in each mailing is separately reported on the postage statement.

3.8 Facsimile Postage Statements

Facsimile postage statements must contain data and elements in locations as close as possible to where they appear on the USPS form. Data fields that do not pertain to information and prices claimed in the mailing and other extraneous information that appears on the USPS form do not have to be included. Facsimiles must include all other information pertaining to the mailing, including the class of mail (or subclass as appropriate), postage payment method (e.g., permit imprint), and four-digit form number (hyphen and suffix optional). All parts, and line numbers within each part, must reflect those on the USPS form. In some cases, this can include fields from multiple parts on a single facsimile. For example: Part A, lines A5, A6, and total – Part A from Form 3602-R, and Part F, lines F1, F2, and total – Part F from Form 3602-R, can be consolidated onto a single Form 3602 (Facsimile). Most importantly, the facsimile must fully and exactly reproduce the “Certification” and “USPS Use Only” fields that appear on the USPS form. A facsimile postage statement produced by software certified by the USPS Presort Accuracy Validation and Evaluation (PAVE) or Manifest Analysis and Certification (MAC) program is considered a USPS-approved form for these standards. Others may be approved by the entry office postmaster.

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4.0 Residual Pieces

4.1 Postage Payment for Ineligible Standard Mail

4.1.1 13 Ounces or Less

Mailers who have pieces weighing 13 ounces or less that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail must pay single-piece First-Class Mail postage for such pieces. If mailers do not desire to receive First-Class Mail service for such pieces they may enter the mailpieces “as is” (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), under the following conditions:

a. Additional markings and/or postage must not be added to these pieces.

b. Mail bearing metered or precanceled stamp postage must pay the difference between the postage affixed at the Standard Mail prices and the single-piece First-Class Mail prices by means of an advance deposit account or by affixing a meter stamp for the appropriate amount to Form 3600-R. These pieces are reported in Part C on Form 3600-R under the heading “From Standard Mail mailing.”

c. Mail bearing permit imprints must pay the appropriate single-piece First-Class Mail prices by completing Form 3600-R. These pieces are reported in Part C on Form 3600-R under the heading “From Standard Mail mailing.” For permit imprint mail there must be at least 200 pieces, except when the pieces are part of a larger mailing job and are submitted for acceptance along with the mail and a Standard Mail postage statement for the other pieces in the same mailing job.

4.1.2 Over 13 Ounces

Mailers who have permit imprint pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail must pay Priority Mail postage for such pieces. Mailpieces paid with meters or permit imprints must re-envelope or otherwise prepare the pieces so that when mailed they bear only the appropriate Priority Mail markings, ancillary service endorsements, and ACS codes and do not bear Standard Mail markings, endorsements, or ACS codes. Mailpieces paid with permit imprints for which mailers do not desire to receive Priority Mail service may enter the mailpieces “as is” (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), under the following conditions:

a. Additional markings and/or postage must not be added to these pieces.

b. The appropriate Priority Mail prices must be paid by completing Part E of Form 3600-R on the line titled “Pieces From Standard Mail mailing” in the postage calculation section. For permit imprint mail there must be at least 200 pieces, except when the pieces are part of a larger mailing job and are submitted for acceptance along with the mail and a Standard Mail postage statement for the other pieces in the same mailing job.

4.2 Postage Payment for Barcoded Machinable Parcels

4.2.1 100% Eligible

If 100% of the pieces in a mailing are eligible for the machinable parcel prices under 443.5.0, Additional Eligibility Standards for Presorted Standard Mail Pieces, then the mailing may be paid with meter stamps, permit imprint, or precanceled postage.

4.2.2 Less Than 100% Eligibility

If less than 100% of the parcels in the mailing are eligible for the machinable prices, then the following standards apply:

a. Payment with precanceled stamps is not permitted.

b. Metered postage may be used only if exact postage is affixed to each piece in the mailing.

c. Payment with permit imprint is permitted only under a manifest mailing system in 705.2.0.