Updated January 2001
This Customer Support Ruling determines
the rate of postage required on a sealed envelope enclosed in a mailpiece.
This ruling concerns the rate of
postage that should have been paid on pieces mailed under the permit imprint system
at the Standard Mail rates of postage. Each piece consisted of a sealed flat-size
envelope that contained a smaller sealed envelope that was endorsed "First-Class
In accordance with the provisions
of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 3126.96.36.199*, matter closed against postal inspection
may only be mailed as First-Class Mail or Express Mail. That section states
that First-Class Mail and Express Mail are considered closed against postal inspection.
Note: The Postal Service may open mail other than First-Class Mail or Express Mail
to ascertain whether the proper rate of postage has been paid. Matter which
is wrapped or packaged in such a way that cannot be easily examined or examined
without destruction or serious damage, will be considered closed against postal
inspection and will be charged the appropriate First-Class Mail rate of postage.
DMM 3188.8.131.52* provides that Standard
Mail is not sealed against postal inspection, and the mailing of articles at Standard
Mail rates of postage is consent by the mailer for postal inspection of the contents,
whether secured or not.
An examination of the mailing pieces
in question disclosed that the endorsement "First-Class Mail" was not
visible through the window of the outer envelope. In view of that and since
the inside envelopes contained only Standard Mail matter (i.e., printed materials
and a courtesy reply envelope), the pieces that were mailed were properly accepted
at the bulk Standard Mail rates of postage.
It should be noted that since the
entire piece constitutes Standard Mail matter, the inside envelope was not considered
to be sealed against inspection notwithstanding its endorsement. However,
the inside envelope should not have been endorsed "First-Class Mail".
*See also DMM 233.3, 433.3, 243.3,
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436