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Customer Support Ruling



Sealed Envelopes
Updated January 2001

PS-044 (343.3.2.3)

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 Mail".

In accordance with the provisions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 333.3.2.1*, 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 343.3.2.3* 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, and 443.3.

Sherry Suggs
Mailing Standards
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436