Contents Index
S900 Special Postal Services
S920 Convenience

S924 Bulk Parcel Return Service

Summary

S924 describes BPRS and its availability. It explains the application process, requirements for participation, and fees.

1.0 Basic Information

1.1Description

Bulk parcel return service (BPRS) allows mailers of large quantities of Standard Mail machinable parcels that are either undeliverable-as-addressed or opened and remailed by addressees to be returned to designated postal facilities. The mailer has the option of picking up all returned parcels from a designated postal facility at a predetermined frequency specified by the USPS or having them delivered by the USPS in a manner and frequency specified by the USPS. For this service a mailer pays an annual permit fee and a per piece charge for each parcel returned. Payment for the returned pieces is deducted from an advance deposit account.

1.2Availability

A mailer may be authorized to use BPRS when the following conditions apply:

a. All returned parcels are initially prepared as Regular or Nonprofit Standard Mail and are machinable parcels as defined in C050.

b. At least 10,000 Standard Mail machinable parcels will be returned to a designated postal facility during a 12-month period.

c. Parcels are returned to the mailer either because they are undeliverable-
as-addressed or because they have been opened, resealed, and redeposited in the mail by the recipient and it is impractical or inefficient for the USPS to return them.

d. Parcels bear one of the following BPRS endorsements (F010):

“Return Service Requested — BPRS”

“Address Service Requested — BPRS”

e. Parcels have a return address that is in the delivery area of the post office that issued the BPRS permit.

f. The postal facility designated for returned parcels is located in the United States, its territories or possessions, or is a U.S. military post office overseas (APO or FPO).

g. The mailer has a valid postage due advance deposit account and pays the annual BPRS permit fee.

h. BPRS parcels may be combined with the shipper paid forwarding service (F030).

i. Standard Mail parcels that qualify for a single-piece Package Services rate under the applicable standards and that contain the name of the Package Services rate in the mailer’s ancillary service endorsement are not eligible for BPRS.

1.3Optional Label

An authorized BPRS permit holder has the option to use a label to identify BPRS parcels for return to a designated postal facility. The label is prepared at the mailer’s expense and must meet all format requirements described in 4.0 and 5.0 and specifications in C850 for a postal routing barcode symbology used to produce a correct, readable barcode for the return address. Each label must be accompanied by complete instructions for its use.

1.4Special Services

Special services cannot be added to pieces returned via bulk parcel return service.

2.0 Permits

2.1Application Procedures

To obtain a BPRS permit, a mailer must send a written request to the postmaster at each post office where parcels are to be returned. The request must include the following:

a. Payment for the annual BPRS permit fee.

b. Information pertinent to each requested delivery point that documents either the receipt of at least 10,000 machinable parcels originally mailed at Standard Mail rates during the past 12 months, or that there are reasonable grounds to expect at least 10,000 machinable parcels originally mailed at Standard Mail rates will be returned during the next 12-month period.

c. A description of the returned parcels (e.g., piece size and packaging).

d. A statement of the desired frequency and location of the parcel pickup or delivery point.

e. Sample documentation that will be used to substantiate the number of parcels returned daily to each location.

f. If labels will be furnished for returning opened parcels, sample labels prepared in accordance with 4.0 along with instructions for their use.

g. A written statement agreeing to pay the per piece fee for each returned parcel from a centralized advance deposit account.

2.2Authorization

Upon approval of a mailer’s request, the post office issues an authorization letter and provides a postage due service agreement with a BPRS permit number. The permit number is used for account administration only and is not for use on mail.

2.3Postage Due Service Agreement

A BPRS mailer will be required to sign a postage due service agreement with each post office that issues a permit for the return of BPRS parcels.

2.4Permit Renewal

A post office provides BPRS permit holders with annual renewal notices advising that their permits are due to expire. A notice must be returned to the issuing post office with the fee payment or authorization for the postmaster to deduct the fee from the advance deposit account by the permit expiration date. Written authorization is not necessary for renewal of a permit if there is no change to the authorization on file at the post office where the parcels are returned. If a permit holder does not renew a BPRS permit after having been given notice, the USPS will endorse the mail “Bulk Parcel Return Service Canceled” and will charge postage due at the single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail rate as appropriate for the weight of the piece. If the single-piece First-Class Mail or Priority Mail rate is not paid, the mail is forwarded to the nearest mail recovery center.

2.5Permit Cancellation

A BPRS permit may be canceled by the USPS for any of the following reasons:

a. Failure to meet the minimum volume requirement of 10,000 parcels returned during a 12-month period to each postal facility.

b. Failure of the mailer to pay the required postage and fees for returned parcels.

c. Insufficient funds in an advance deposit account to cover postage and fees that are due for returned parcels.

d. Failure to fulfill the terms and conditions of the BPRS permit authorization.

e. Failure to conform return labels to the specifications in sections 4.0 and 5.0.

2.6Reapplying After Cancellation

A mailer must do the following to receive a new BPRS permit at the same post office where a permit was previously canceled:

a. Submit a letter to that office requesting a permit and new agreement.

b. Pay a new permit fee.

c. Provide evidence showing that the reasons for cancellation of the previous permit no longer exist.

d. Maintain adequate funds in an advance deposit account to cover the number of returns expected over at least a 2-week period.

3.0 Charges and Fees

3.1Permit Fee

[7-10-03] An annual permit fee must be paid once each 12-month period at each post office where a BPRS permit is held. Payment of the annual permit fee is based on the anniversary date of the permit’s issuance. 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.

3.2Per Piece Fee

[7-10-03] Each piece returned through BPRS is charged only the per piece fee in R900. Postage is not charged for pieces returned through BPRS.Advance Deposit Account and Annual Accounting Fee

The permit holder must pay BPRS fees through an advance deposit account and must pay an annual accounting fee (see R900). This fee covers the administrative cost of maintaining the account and provides the mailer with a single accounting of all charges deducted from that account. The accounting fee is charged once each 12-month period on the anniversary date of the initial accounting fee payment. The fee may be paid in advance only for the next year 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.

3.3Existing Advance Deposit Account

A separate advance deposit account for BPRS is not required; the annual accounting fee is charged if BPRS fees are paid from an existing account.

3.4Payment Guarantee

The permit holder guarantees payment of all applicable fees. The post office returns BPRS items to the permit holder only when there are sufficient funds in the advance deposit account to pay the fees on returned pieces.

4.0 Label Requirements

4.1Production Methods

Any photographic, mechanical, or electronic process, or any combination of such processes other than typewriting or handwriting may be used to prepare the BPRS label. The background may be any light color that allows the address, postmark, and other endorsements to be easily read. Brilliant colors may not be used for the background. If a label is prepared with adhesive on its reverse side, the adhesive must be capable of securely bonding the label to the parcel.

4.2Label Instructions

Written instructions must be provided with the label that, at a minimum, advise the user to do the following:

a. Obliterate all other delivery addresses and barcodes on the outside of the parcel.

b. Print a complete return address in the location provided in the upper left corner of the label.

c. Place the label with the delivery address and barcode on the side of the mailpiece with the largest surface area. If tape or similar material is used, it must not cover any part of the label where the mailer’s return address and postal routing barcode are located. The barcode should be at least 1 inch from the edge of the parcel. If the shape of the parcel requires specific orientation for stability, the label must be placed on the top surface.

d. Take the parcel to a post office, drop it in a collection box, or give it to a postal carrier.

4.3Distribution

BPRS return labels may be distributed to customers as an enclosure with merchandise, as a separate item, as a facsimile transmission (fax), or as an electronic transmission for customer downloading and printing. Regardless of distribution method, all standards in 4.2 and 5.0 must be met. An electronic file must include instructions that explain how to affix the label securely to the parcel as required in 4.2.

5.0 Format

5.1General

The BPRS label contents and format must meet all applicable standards before the label may be distributed for use. Format requirements are shown in Exhibit 5.0.

5.2Postage Guarantee

The endorsement “NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED IN THE UNITED STATES” must be printed in the upper right corner of the face of the piece. The endorsement must not extend more than 1-3/4 inches (1.75 inches) from the right edge of the label.

5.3Horizontal Bars

To facilitate recognition of BPRS parcels, a series of horizontal bars parallel to the label length must be printed directly below the endorsement “NO POSTAGE NECESSARY IF MAILED IN THE UNITED STATES:”

a. The bars must be uniform in length, at least 1 inch long and 1/16 inch (0.0625 inch) to 3/16 inch (0.1875 inch) thick, and evenly spaced.

b. There must be at least a 1/2 inch (0.500 inch) clearance between the right edge of the ZIP Code in the delivery address and the left edge of the horizontal bars.

c. The bottom bar in the series must be above (not on or below) the top of the delivery address line (the next-to-last line in the address, just above the line with the city, state, and ZIP Code).

d. Do not use a facing identification mark (FIM) on this label.

5.4Class Endorsement

The “STANDARD MAIL” class endorsement must be at least 1/4-inch (.25 inch) high and shown in capital letters to the left of the postage guarantee endorsement.

5.5Bulk Parcel Return Service Legend

The “BULK PARCEL RETURN SERVICE” legend must be placed above the return delivery address on all BPRS parcels. The legend means that the BPRS permit holder guarantees payment of postage and fees on all returned Standard Mail parcels. The following information must be enclosed in a rectangle:

a. Line 1: Show the words “BULK PARCEL RETURN SERVICE” in capital letters at least 3/16 inch (0.1875 inch) high, enclosed in a rectangle.

b. Line 2: The name of the BPRS permit holder must also be printed in capital letters in the rectangle directly below the words “BULK PARCEL RETURN SERVICE.”

c. The permit holder’s city, state, and ZIP Code must appear in capital letters and must be located on the same line as the company name.

d. The post office box number and/or street address must appear in capital letters on the line beneath this information.

5.6Delivery Address

A complete delivery address (city, state, ZIP Code) specified by the post office that issued the BPRS permit and to which parcels are returned must be printed in capital letters at least 3/16 inch (0.1875) high below the “BULK PARCEL RETURN SERVICE” rectangle and at least 1 inch from the left edge of the label. There must be at least a 1/2-inch (0.50 inch) clearance between the ZIP Code and the horizontal bars.

5.7Customers Return Address

The complete return address (street, city, state, ZIP Code) of the customer mailing the article back to the permit holder must be shown in the upper left corner of the label. Space must be provided for the customer’s return address if it is not preprinted by the permit holder.

5.8Optional Information

At the option of the permit holder, a single line above the top line of the customer return address may be used for customer account or other information.

5.9Postal Routing Barcode

Every BPRS label must include a properly prepared barcode that represents the correct ZIP Code information for the delivery address of the returned parcel plus the appropriate verifier character suffix or application identifier prefix characters appropriate for the barcode symbology as described in C850 for machinable parcels. In addition to the barcode requirements in C850, the following requirements must be met in preparing BPRS labels:

a. Barcode Location. The barcode must be placed on the label immediately adjacent to the address and the label must be located on the parcel so the barcode is at least 1 inch from the parcel edge.

b. Barcode Clear Zone. No printing may appear in the area 1/8 inch (0.125 inch) above and below the barcode regardless of location on the label. A minimum clear zone equal to 10 times the average measured narrow element (bars or space) width must be maintained to the left and right of the barcode.

c. Human-Readable Barcode Information. The human-readable equivalent of the ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code encoded in the barcode as referenced in C850 may be omitted.

Exhibit 5.0Bulk Parcel Return Service Label

 

Shows the format for the Bulk Parcel Return Service label.


 

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)