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DMM Advisory 2/17/2005

February 17, 2005

The Postal Service has issued two additional new or revised Customer Support Rulings (CSRs),PS-262, and PS-322, to aid mailers in understanding revised postal standards that go into effect June 1, 2005 (see Postal Bulletin 22142, dated 11-25-04), about the use of “personal information” in Standard Mail matter.

Like earlier DMM Advisory releases, both CSRs are being issued now, in advance of the effective date, to help customers in planning and making decisions about what may be mailed as Standard Mail and what must be mailed as First-Class Mail. Specifically, these CSRs provide examples where a decision is made about whether the presence of personal information in a mailing meets the test established by revised Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) E610.3.1 for including personal information in Standard Mail.

Because both CSRs are written on the basis of the revised DMM language effective June 1, 2005, they contain links to the Federal Register of October 27, 2004 (69 FR 62578-62583), which announced the revised regulations. Currently, when readers click on the links to the DMM language in the CSRs, they access the Federal Register notice. After June 1, the CSRs will be revised to link to then-current postal standards. 

 The Postal Service is again providing the “decision tree” based on the revised DMM language as an aid in the evaluation of whether matter containing “personal information” may be eligible as Standard Mail or is required to be sent as First-Class Mail.  It has been annotated with references to CSRs that may be referred to for guidance when making decisions as to whether a mailpiece meets the test established in DMM E610.3.1.
This graphic describes the process for determining Standard Mail eligibility as described below.

Process for Determining Standard Mail Eligibility

The following seven-step process is a guide to help you determine whether a mailpiece meets the content requirements for Standard Mail.  If the requirements are not met, the piece must be entered as First-Class Mail (or Express Mail). Additional requirements may be applicable, e.g., weight, volume, preparation and other non-content requirements. Steps 4 through 7 outline the steps, under standards effective June 1, 2005, for determining whether the presence of “personal” information in a mailpiece disqualifies it from entry at Standard Mail rates. The flow chart (above) provides a summary of these steps (this chart has been annotated with references to CSRs that may be referred to for guidance when making decisions as to whether a mailpiece meets the test established in DMM E610.3.1.):

Step 1:  Examine the entire mailpiece (E600, C600, C800, M010).

Step 2:  Does the mailpiece contain typewritten or handwritten material (E110.3.3)?  If yes, it is First-Class Mail. If no, proceed to Step 3.

Step 3:  Does the mailpiece contain a bill or statement of account (E110.3.1)? If yes, it is First-Class Mail. If no, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4:  Does the mailpiece contain “personal” information (E110.3.2)? If no, the mailpiece may be considered Standard Mail if all additional requirements are met. If yes, proceed to Step 5.

Step 5:  Does the mailpiece contain an explicit advertisement for a product or service for sale or lease, or an explicit solicitation for a donation (E610.3.1a)? If no, it is First-Class Mail. If yes, proceed to Step 6.

Step 6:  Is all of the “personal” information in the mailpiece directly related to the advertisement(s) or solicitation(s) (E610.3.1b)?  If no, it is First-Class Mail. If yes, proceed to Step 7.

Step 7:  Is the exclusive purpose of all “personal” information to support the advertisement(s) or solicitation(s) (E610.3.1c)?  If no, it is First-Class Mail. If yes, the mailpiece may be considered Standard Mail if all additional requirements are met.

Additional information regarding the revised rule in Steps 4 through 7 may be found in the Federal Register of October 27, 2004 (69 FR 62578-62583) in the October 27, 2004.