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  DMM TOC > 300 Commercial Flats > 330 First-Class Mail

333 Prices and Eligibility

1.0 Prices and Fees for First-Class Mail

1.1 Price Application

Postage is based on the flat-size price that applies to the weight of each addressed piece.

1.2 Price Computation for First-Class Mail Flats

First-Class Mail prices are charged per ounce or fraction thereof; any fraction of an ounce is considered a whole ounce. For example, if a piece weighs 1.2 ounces, the weight (postage) increment is 2 ounces.

1.3 Presorted and Automation Prices for Flats

For prices, see Notice 123–Price List.

1.4 Presort Mailing Fee

Presort mailing fee, per 12-month period, per office of mailing.

1.5 Computing Postage for First-Class Mail

Determine single-piece weight and weight (postage) increment for each addressed piece as prescribed in 1.6 and 1.2. For First-Class Mail, affix postage to each piece under 334.2.2, or, for permit imprint mailings, multiply the number of addressed pieces at each price increment (and in each price category, if applicable) by the corresponding postage price, add the unrounded products, and round off the total postage to the nearest whole cent.

1.6 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 four decimal places.

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2.0 Content Standards for First-Class Mail Flats

2.1 General

With the exception of restricted material as described in 601.8.0, any mailable item may be mailed as First-Class Mail.

2.2 Bills and Statements of Account

Bills and statements of account must be mailed as First-Class Mail (or Priority Mail Express) and are defined as follows:

a. Bills and statements of account assert a debt in a definite amount owed by the addressee to the sender or a third party. In addition, bills include a demand for payment; statements of account do not include a demand for payment. The debt does not have to be due immediately but may become due at a later time or on demand. The debt asserted need not be legally collectible or owed.

b. Bills and statements of account do not need to state the precise amount due if they contain information that would enable the debtor to determine that amount.

2.3 Personal Information

Mail containing personal information must be mailed as First-Class Mail (or Priority Mail Express). Personal information is any information specific to the addressee.

2.4 Handwritten and Typewritten Material

Mail containing handwritten or typewritten material must be mailed as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express.

2.5 Matter Not Required to be Mailed as First-Class Mail

Matter eligible for Standard Mail or Package Services prices or authorized as Periodicals is not required to be mailed as First-Class Mail or Priority Mail Express.

2.6 Prohibited Air Transportation

All First-Class Mail is subject to limitations for air transportation. Generally, all mailable matter may be transported by aircraft, unless restricted in 601.10.0, Hazardous Materials.

2.7 Round-Trip Mailings with One Optical Disc

When a flat-size mailpiece weighing no more than 2 ounces in round-trip mailings includes one standard optical disc no larger than 12 centimeters in diameter per mailpiece, the mailpiece will be subject to the applicable price for a one-ounce First-Class Mail flat as long as the disc is not put in a rigid container and the envelope itself is not rigid and all other standards in 2.7 are met. The disc itself is not considered to be rigid for purposes of the flexibility test in 301.1.3. BRM or PRM pieces that meet the standards will be charged the applicable 1-ounce First-Class Mail flats price for pieces that weigh no more than 2 ounces. For the purpose of this standard, round-trip mailings are mailings entered under these conditions:

a. The mailing is presented at a BMEU or other acceptance facility as a single-piece mailing using a permit imprint or as a presort mailing at presort or automation First-Class Mail flats prices.

b. The mailpieces are addressed to subscribers and include either a BRM (under 505.1.0) or PRM (under 505.2.0) envelope designed for return of the disc to the permit holder.

c. A sample of the return envelope is provided to the acceptance employee at the time of mailing for verification that the mailing is designed for round-trip purposes.

d. BRM or PRM pieces must be picked up by the mailer at designated postal facilities, upon payment of all applicable postage and fees.

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3.0 Eligibility Standards for First-Class Mail Flats

3.1 Description of Service

3.1.1 Service Objectives

First-Class Mail receives expeditious handling and transportation. Service objectives for delivery are 1 to 3 days; however, delivery time is not guaranteed.

3.1.2 Price Options

First-Class Mail offers the flexibility of single-piece prices (133.1.0), and commercial prices (1.0) for presorted mailings of 500 or more pieces that weigh 13 ounces or less.

3.2 Defining Characteristics

3.2.1 Inspection of Contents

First-Class Mail is closed against postal inspection. Federal law and USPS regulations restrict both opening and reviewing the contents of First-Class Mail by anyone other than the addressee.

3.2.2 Forwarding Service

The price of First-Class Mail includes forwarding service to a new address for up to 12 months.

3.2.3 Return Service

The price of First-Class Mail includes return service if the mailpiece is undeliverable.

3.2.4 Extra Services Exclusive to First-Class Mail

First-Class Mail is the only class of mail eligible to receive the following extra services: Registered Mail service and Certified Mail service.

3.2.5 Additional Extra Services

Additional extra services available with First-Class Mail are certificate of mailing service, COD service, USPS Tracking service (parcels only), insured mail service (merchandise only), return receipt service, restricted delivery service, Signature Confirmation service (parcels only), and special handling. See information regarding extra services in 503.

3.3 Additional Basic Standards for First-Class Mail

All pieces of presorted First-Class Mail must:

a. Meet the basic content standards for First-Class Mail in 2.0.

b. Weigh 13 ounces or less.

c. Meet the applicable standards in 333, Prices and Eligibility, 334, Postage Payment and Documentation, and 604.7.0, Computing Postage.

d. Be part of a single mailing of at least 500 pieces of Presorted First-Class Mail.

e. Meet the applicable physical standards in 301.2.0.

f. Bear a delivery address formatted according to 302.2.4 that includes the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The Move Update standard in 3.5.

2. The ZIP Code accuracy standard in 3.6.

3. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

3.4 Presort Mailing Fee

A First-Class Mail presort mailing fee must be paid once each 12-month period at each office of mailing by any person or organization entering mailings at automation or Presorted First-Class Mail prices. Effective February 12, 2012, payment of this fee is waived for mailers who present only full-service automation mailings (under 705.24.0) containing 90% or more pieces qualifying for full-service prices. Payment of one fee allows a mailer to enter mail at all those prices. Persons or organizations paying this fee may enter mail of their clients as well as their own mail. The fee may be paid in advance only for the next 12 months and only during the last 60 days of the current service period. The fee charged is that which is in effect on the date of payment.

3.5 Move Update Standards

3.5.1 Basic Standards

The Move Update standard requires the periodic matching of a mailer's address records with customer-filed change-of-address orders maintained by the USPS. For this standard, address is a specific address associated with a specific occupant name. Each address in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail flats prices must meet the requirements in 602.5.0.

3.5.2 Basis for Move Update Assessment Charge

Mailings are subject to a Move Update assessment charge if more than 30 percent of addresses with a change-of-address (COA) are not updated, based on the error rate found in USPS sampling at acceptance during Performance-Based Verification. Specifically, mailings for which the sample contains greater than 30 percent failed COAs out of the total COAs in the sample are subject to additional postage charges as follows:

a. The percentage of the mailing paying the charge is based on the percentage of failed pieces above 30 percent.

b. Each of the assessed pieces is subject to the $0.07 per piece charge.

c. As an example, if 40% of COAs in the sample are not updated, then the charge is applied to 10% (=40% - 30%) of the total mailing.

d. Mailings for which the sample has five or fewer pieces that were not updated for COA are not subject to the assessment, regardless of the failure percentage.

3.6 ZIP Code Accuracy

The ZIP Code accuracy standard is a means of ensuring that the 5-digit ZIP Code in the delivery address correctly matches the delivery address information. For the purposes of this standard, address means a specific address associated with a specific 5-digit ZIP Code. Each address in a mailing at commercial First-Class Mail flats prices must meet the ZIP Code accuracy requirements in 602.6.0.

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4.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Nonautomation First-Class Mail Flats

4.1 Basic Standards for Nonautomation First-Class Mail

In addition to the standards in 3.0, Eligibility Standards for First-Class Mail Flats, all pieces in a First-Class Mail Presorted price mailing must be marked, sorted, and documented as specified in 334.3.0, Mailing Documentation, and 335.5.0, Preparation of Nonautomation Flats, or, alternatively under 705.9.0, Combining Bundles of Automation and Nonautomation Flats in Trays and Sacks.

4.2 Barcodes on Nonautomation First-Class Mail

[1-27-13] Any barcode on a mailpiece in a First-Class Mail nonautomation flats mailing must be correct for the delivery address and meet the standards in 708.3.0 and 708.4.0.

4.3 Nonmachinable Flat-Size Pieces

Flat-size pieces that do not meet the standards in 301.1.3 through 301.1.4 must be prepared as parcels and pay the applicable parcel-size prices.

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5.0 Additional Eligibility Standards for Automation First-Class Mail Flats

5.1 Basic Standards for Automation First-Class Mail

[1-27-13] All pieces in a First-Class Mail automation mailing must:

a. Meet the basic standards for First-Class Mail in 3.0.

b. Be part of a single mailing of at least 500 pieces of automation price First-Class Mail.

c. Meet the physical standards in 301.3.0.

d. Bear a delivery address that includes the correct ZIP Code, ZIP+4 code, or numeric equivalent to the delivery point routing code and that meets these address quality standards:

1. The address matching and coding standards in 5.5 and 708.3.0.

2. If an alternative addressing format is used, the additional standards in 602.3.0.

e. Bear an accurate Intelligent Mail barcode encoded with the correct delivery point routing code, matching the delivery address and meeting the standards in 302.5.0 and 708.4.0, either on the piece or on an insert showing through a window.

f. Be marked, sorted, and documented as specified in 335.6.0, Preparation of Automation Flats, or 705.9.0, Combining Bundles of Automation and Nonautomation Flats in Trays and Sacks.

5.2 Eligibility Standards for Full-Service Automation First-Class Mail Flats

All pieces entered under the full-service Intelligent Mail automation option must:

a. Bear a unique Intelligent Mail barcode.

b. Be part of a mailing that meets the standards in 705.24.0.

5.3 Price Application—Bundle-Based Flats

Automation prices apply to each piece that is sorted under 335.6.0 or 705, Advanced Preparation and Special Postage Payment Systems:

a. Pieces in 5-digit bundles of 10 or more pieces qualify for the 5-digit price. Preparation to qualify for the 5-digit price is optional and need not be done for all 5-digit destinations.

b. Pieces in 3-digit bundles of 10 or more pieces qualify for the 3-digit price.

c. Pieces in ADC bundles of 10 or more pieces qualify for the ADC price.

d. Pieces in mixed ADC bundles qualify for the mixed ADC price.

5.4 Price Application—Tray-Based Flats

Automation prices apply to each piece that is sorted under 335.6.6, First-Class Mail Optional Tray-Based Preparation, into the corresponding qualifying groups:

a. Groups of 90 or more pieces in 5-digit trays qualify for the 5-digit price. Preparation to qualify for the 5-digit price is optional and need not be done for all 5-digit destinations.

b. Groups of 90 or more pieces in 3-digit trays qualify for the 3-digit price.

c. Groups of fewer than 90 pieces in origin 3-digit trays and all pieces in ADC trays qualify for the ADC price.

d. All pieces in mixed ADC trays qualify for the mixed ADC price.

5.5 Address Standards for Barcoded Pieces

5.5.1 Basic Address Standards for Barcodes

To qualify for automation prices, addresses must be sufficiently complete to enable matching to the current USPS ZIP+4 Product when used with current CASS-certified address matching software. Standardized address elements are not required. Any barcode that appears on a mailpiece claimed at an automation price must be the correct barcode for the corresponding delivery address on the piece.

5.5.2 Numeric ZIP+4

A numeric ZIP+4 code must consist of five digits, a hyphen, and four digits.

5.5.3 Numeric Delivery Point Routing Code

[1-27-13] A numeric equivalent to the delivery point routing code is formed by adding two digits directly after the ZIP+4 code.

5.5.4 Address Elements

Addresses must include the correct street number, predirectional, street name, suffix, and postdirectional that are input to obtain a match with the current USPS ZIP+4 Product.

5.5.5 Firm Name

An address must include a firm name when necessary to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product. If an address contains a firm name assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product, the unique ZIP+4 code must be used. If the firm name is not one assigned a unique ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the range in which the apartment/suite number appears must be used in that address. If the firm name does not correspond to a firm name that has a unique ZIP+4 code assigned in the USPS ZIP+4 Product and the apartment/suite number is not included in the address, the ZIP+4 code for the building must be used.

5.5.6 Secondary Designator

If a secondary address designator (e.g., an apartment number) is shown in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that secondary address as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a secondary address designator is required to obtain an exact match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code in the USPS ZIP+4 Product but the information is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the building must be used.

5.5.7 Rural and Highway Contract Routes

If a rural route or highway contract route box number is included in the address, the mailpiece must show the appropriate ZIP+4 code representing the range for that box number as contained in the current USPS ZIP+4 Product. If a rural route or highway contract route box number is required to obtain a match with the finest level of ZIP+4 code but is not available, the alternative ZIP+4 code or ZIP+4 or delivery point barcode for the rural route or highway contract route must be used. If used, the rural route or highway contract route box number must be placed on the line immediately above the city/state/ZIP Code line.

5.5.8 Post Office Box

A Post Office box address must contain a Post Office box number that can be exactly matched with the USPS ZIP+4 Product in effect.