Measuring Parcel Dimensions to Determine Price or Preparation Eligibility
Updated June 2014
This Customer Support Ruling describes the procedure to determine whether a parcel containing selvage is subject to dimensional weight or machinable parcel pricing, eligible for certain preparation options, or is subject to balloon or oversized pricing.
For example, Priority Mail parcels with at least one dimension exceeding 1 foot may be subject to dimensional weight standards, requiring measuring the length, width and height of the piece. Generally, parcels of other classes at least 6 inches long, 3 ½ inches high, ¼ inch thick, and not more than 27 inches long, or 17 inches high, or 17 inches thick can be eligible for machinable parcel prices and/or machinable parcel preparation options. See the DMM for other dimensional criteria, including weight minimums and maximums specific to certain parcel products. Parcels exceeding 108 inches in length and girth combined may be nonmailable, or eligible for oversized prices (Standard Post or Parcel Select only, up to a 130 inch combined maximum).
For customers using poly, plastic, cloth or similar “soft” wrap to package clothes or other "soft goods," current standards for measuring parcels do not include mention of selvage.
When a soft packaging material has flexible selvage (that can be easily bent) at the edges or corners, such material is not included when measuring the three dimensions for determination of linear measurements. When measuring selvage, the parcel should be placed on a flat horizontal surface with the length of the parcel resting on the flat surface. For example, an item measuring 20 inches x 14 inches x 6 inches would calculate to 1680 cubic inches. For a Priority Mail parcel, it does not exceed the 1728 cubic inches necessary for consideration of dimensional weight. If the same item was packaged in poly and had two inches of selvage on each side of the length making it 24 inches x 14 inches x 6 inches it would calculate to 2016 cubic inches and would be subject to dimensional weight. If the selvage was flexible and measured as described above, the original calculation of 1680 would apply and the item would not be subject to dimensional weight pricing.
In summary, flexible selvage is not included when measuring parcels; it is not included when determining either minimum or maximum dimensions.
Headquarters, US Postal Service
Washington, DC 20260-5015