Updated June 2014
In this Customer Support Ruling, a case study of a financial institution’s mailing clarifies what is considered “personal information” when determining what may be mailed as Standard Mail and what is required to be mailed as First-Class Mail. The mailer in this example has requested to pay Standard Mail prices on the mailing.
The Domestic Mail Manual
(DMM) provides that mailpieces containing personal information must be entered at First-Class Mail prices with limited exceptions. For example, personal information may not be included in a Standard Mail mailpiece unless three conditions are met: the mailpiece contains explicit advertising for a product or service for sale or lease or an explicit solicitation for a donation; all of the personal information is directly related to the advertising or solicitation; and the exclusive reason for inclusion of all of the personal information is to support the advertising or solicitation in the mailpiece.
The determination whether a mailpiece contains personal information is based solely upon examination of the mailing. If information which generally would be considered personal in other contexts is the same in each piece in the mailing it will not be considered “personal” for determining whether the mailpiece is eligible for Standard Mail.
In this instance, not all pieces in the mailing are identical. Information such as Consumer Reporting Agency, Address, Toll-free Telephone Number, Decision Date, and Dealer Name, vary within the mailing resulting in a preliminary determination that mailpieces within the mailing do contain personal information. However, upon further consideration, the facts in this case reveal that there are at least 200 identical pieces of each particular variation within the mailing. Accordingly, since the volume requirement for Standard Mail is 200 or more pieces or 50 or more pounds of mail, the mailer could prepare separate mailings for each variation that would qualify as Standard Mail. However, if the mailer consolidates the separate mailings into a single mailing, there is a processing efficiency for the Postal Service, therefore, the mailerís request to enter the mailing as Standard Mail is approved.