Contents Index
G000 The USPS and Mailing Standards
G010 Basic Business Information

G011 Post Offices and Postal Services

Summary

G011 describes the opening and closing of post offices, holiday service, and the territories and possessions that are eligible for domestic rates. It also covers consumer complaints, inquiries, and Private Express Statutes.

1.0 Post Offices

1.1Establishment

The USPS establishes and maintains post offices, stations, and branches for customer convenience.

1.2Closing or Consolidation

Under 39 U.S. Code (USC) 404(b), any decision to close or consolidate a post office must be based on certain criteria. These include the effect on the community served; the effect on employees of the post office; compliance with government policy established by law that the USPS must provide a maximum degree of effective and regular postal services to rural areas, communities, and small towns where post offices are not self-sustaining; the economic savings to the USPS; and other factors that the USPS determines necessary. In addition, certain mandatory procedures apply.

1.3Procedures

The Postal Operations Manual contains USPS rules for discontinuing, consolidating, or suspending service at an existing post office or other postal facility; changing a post office or other postal facility name; setting public business hours of postal facilities; and using bulletin boards and handling lost articles found in public areas of postal facilities.

1.4Military Post Offices

Military post offices (MPOs) are branches of a U.S. civil post office, operated by the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps to serve military personnel overseas or aboard ships. The term includes Army post offices (APOs) for the U.S. Army and the U.S. Air Force and fleet post offices (FPOs) for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Marine Corps. MPOs provide postal service for military personnel where the U.S. civil postal service does not operate and a military situation requires the service. MPOs are established or discontinued by the USPS only on request of the military department that operates them. Notice of these actions is published in the Postal Bulletin. Military post offices do not verify and accept bulk or discounted-rate mail; such mailings must be deposited at (nonmilitary) U.S. post offices.

1.5Holiday Service

Exhibit 1.5 shows the national holidays observed by the USPS and the service levels provided on those holidays for retail window, post office box, firm call, delivery, and collection services.

Exhibit 1.5 Holiday Service Levels

A. Holidays Widely Observed

New Year’s Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day

        Delivery  
Holiday Retail
Window
Post Office Box Firm
Call
Business Residential Express
Mail
Collection
Friday              
Friday (Holiday) Service None Holiday None None None Holiday Time decal
Saturday Service Limited Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Sunday Service None Normal None None None Normal None
Saturday              
Friday Service Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Saturday (Holiday) Service None Holiday None None None Holiday Time decal
Sunday Service None Normal None None None Normal Time decal
Sunday              
Saturday Service Limited Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Sunday Service None Normal None None None Normal None
Monday (Holiday) Service None Holiday None None None Holiday Time decal1
Monday              
Saturday Service Limited Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Sunday Service None Normal None None None Normal None
Monday (Holiday) Service None Holiday None None None Holiday Time decal1
Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday              
Preceding Day Service Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Holiday Service None Holiday None None None Holiday Time decal
  1. When a holiday is observed on Monday and no residential collection is scheduled on Sunday, a full residential collection may be provided on the Monday holiday. Consecutive days without collections should be avoided.

B. Holidays Not Widely Observed

Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Birthday; Presidents Day; Columbus Day; and Veterans Day

        Delivery  
Holiday Retail
Window
Post Office Box Firm
Call
Business Residential Express
Mail
Collection
Saturday Service Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal Normal
Sunday Service None Normal None None None Normal None
Monday Holiday Service1 Limited Sunday Limited None None Holiday Time decal2
  1. Veterans Day, November 11, is the only movable holiday in the group of holidays designated as not widely observed; the other three holidays listed in section B are always observed on Mondays. When Veterans Day falls on any day except Sunday, the services provided on that holiday are the same as those shown for Monday. When Veterans Day falls on Sunday, the service levels are the same as those shown for Sunday; the USPS, however, observes the holiday on Monday and treats it as a Monday holiday.
  2. When a holiday is observed on Monday and no residential collection is scheduled on Sunday, a full residential collection may be provided on the Monday holiday. Consecutive days without collections should be avoided.

Note: Exceptions to these service levels must be approved by a district manager.

Definition of Terms

HolidayService determined by national, area, and/or district guidelines.
LimitedService adjusted to meet the limited needs of a community on that particular day.
NormalService normally provided on that particular day of the week.
SundayService normally provided on Sunday for that particular service.
Time decalCollections from boxes with decals identifying the last pickup time.

2.0 Mail Service

2.1Domestic

Domestic mail is mail transmitted within, among, and between the United States of America, its territories and possessions, Army post offices (APOs), fleet post offices (FPOs), and the United Nations, NY. For this standard, the term territories and possessions comprises the following:

American Samoa Navassa Island
Manua Island, Swain’s Island,
Tutuila Island
Northern Mariana Islands,
Commonwealth of the
Baker Island Rota Island, Saipan Island,
Tinian Island
Guam
Howland Island Palmyra Atoll
Jarvis Island Puerto Rico, Commonwealth of
Johnston Atoll U.S. Virgin Islands
East Island, Johnston Island, North Island,
Sand Island
St. Croix Island, St. John Island, St. Thomas Island
Kingman Reef Wake Atoll
Midway Atoll Peale Island, Wake Island,
Wilkes Island
Eastern Island, Sand Island, Spit Island
2.2Mail Treated as Domestic Mail

Mail originating in the United States of America, its territories and possessions, APOs, FPOs, and the United Nations, NY, for delivery in the Freely Associated States, and mail originating in the Freely Associated States for delivery within, among, and between the Freely Associated States and the United States of America, its territories and possessions, APOs, FPOs, and the United Nations, NY, is treated as if it were domestic mail. The term Freely Associated States comprises the following:

Marshall Islands, Republic of the Micronesia, Federated States of
Ebeye Island Chuuk (Truk) Island
Majuro Island Kosrae Island
Palau, Republic of Pohnpei Island
Koror Island Yap Island
2.3International

International mail is mail addressed to or received from foreign countries, except under 2.2. Provisions for international mail are in the International Mail Manual.

3.0 Consumer Complaints and Inquiries

Any postal customer may complain or inquire about postal products, services, or employees at any post office or directly to the USPS Consumer Advocate (see G043 for address). A complaint or inquiry may be made in person, by telephone, by e-mail, or by letter. A complaint or inquiry about the handling of a specific piece of mail should include the related envelope or wrapper and copies of all postal forms filed. A customer who is dissatisfied with the local handling of a complaint or inquiry may send a written appeal to the Consumer Advocate. A court of law can require such appeal as a legal prerequisite for hearing a customer’s suit against the USPS.

4.0 Private Express Statutes

4.1Legal Foundation

By the laws known as the Private Express Statutes, Congress has generally conferred on the USPS the exclusive right to carry letters for others over post routes. USPS regulations under the Private Express Statutes are in the Code of Federal Regulations, 39 CFR 310 and 320, as amended by final rules published in the Federal Register. These regulations take precedence over all prior rulings and USPS publications. Copies of the regulations are available from the manager of the Chicago Rates and Classification Service Center (RCSC) (see G042 for address).

4.2Definition of Letter

For the Private Express Statutes, a letter is a message directed to a specific person or address and recorded in or on a tangible object. A message consists of any information or intelligence that can be recorded on tangible objects including, but not limited to, paper in sheet or card form, recording disks, and magnetic tapes. Certain matter is excluded from the definition of letter, e.g.: telegrams; checks and certain other instruments shipped to, from, or between financial institutions; newspapers; and periodicals. The regulations detail exclusions.

4.3Postage

If the proper postage is paid, letters may be privately carried without violating the Private Express Statutes. The regulations detail compliance. Under certain circumstances, letters may be privately carried without paying postage. The principal exceptions cover letters sent with, and related in all substantial respects to, some part of the cargo or to the ordering, shipping, or delivering of the cargo; letters carried by the senders or the recipients, or by their regular salaried employees; and letters carried to or from a postal facility where they are to be or have been carried in the mail. The regulations detail exceptions.

4.4Suspensions

Limited suspensions of the Private Express Statutes specify the conditions under which: (a) private couriers may carry data-processing materials, international ocean carrier documents, extremely urgent letters, and advertisements incidental to the shipment of accompanying merchandise or periodicals; and (b) universities and colleges may carry the letters of their bona fide student and faculty organizations. Carriers wanting to use the suspension for data-processing materials must file a notice of their intention on a form available from the manager of the Chicago RCSC.

4.5Violations

The Chicago RCSC reviews initial reports of possible violations of the Private Express Statutes. When warranted by the facts, possible violations are forwarded to the USPS General Counsel for further action.

4.6Legal Advice

The public and USPS employees can obtain authoritative advice on the Private Express Statutes, including written advisory opinions, by contacting the Senior Counsel, Ethics and Information, USPS Headquarters (see G043 for address).

5.0 Postal Law Violations

Instructions on mail security as it relates to unauthorized opening, inspection, tampering, or delay of mail are in Administrative Support Manual 274. Information and complaints on a possible postal law violation must be sent to the appropriate address according to the ZIP Code ranges shown below:

ZIP Codes Address
003-079, 08005, 08006, 08008, 08050, 08087, 08092,
08501-08504, 08506-08510, 08512-08514, 08516,
08517, 08519-08553, 08555-08561, 08600-08639,
08642-08691, 087-098, 100-149
POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
PO BOX 2613
JERSEY CITY NJ 07303-2613
08001-08004, 08007, 08009-08049, 08051-08086,
08088-08091, 08093-08099, 081-084, 08505, 08511,
08515, 08518, 08554, 08562, 08640-08641,
150-39776, 700-799
POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
225 N HUMPHREYS BLVD
MEMPHIS TN 38120-2149
400-693, 800-884, 850-999 POSTAL INSPECTION SERVICE
222 S RIVERSIDE PLZ STE 1250
CHICAGO IL 60606-6100

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)