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244 Postage Payment and Documentation

1.0 Basic Standards for Postage Payment

1.1 Postage Payment Options

[6-2-14] The mailer is responsible for proper postage payment. Postage for Standard Mail flats must be paid with postage evidencing systems, permit imprint, or precanceled stamps as specified in 2.0. Mail manifested using the Electronic Verification System (eVS) under 705.2.9 must be paid with a permit imprint. Postage-affixed pieces must bear the correct numerical value of postage unless excepted by standard.Permit imprint may be used for mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces only if authorized by Business Mailer Support at USPS Headquarters.

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2.0 Additional Postage Payment Standards

2.1 Identical-Weight Pieces

[6-2-14] Mailings of identical-weight pieces may have, affixed to each piece, the exact numerical value of postage for which the piece qualifies, or postage at the lowest price applicable to pieces in the mailing. Alternatively, a USPS precanceled stamp (or stamps precanceled with a mailer's precancel postmark), under 604.3.0, may be affixed to every piece in the mailing or mailing job, or each piece may bear a permit imprint. If exact postage is not affixed, all additional postage and surcharges must be paid at the time of mailing with an advance deposit account or with a postage evidencing system indicium bearing the correct numerical value of postage affixed to the postage statement. If exact postage is not affixed, documentation meeting the standards in 4.0 must be submitted to substantiate the additional postage unless the pieces are identical weight and separated by price when presented for acceptance.

2.2 Nonidentical-Weight Pieces

[6-2-14] Product Samples must be of identical weight within each mailing. Postage for nonidentical-weight pieces may be paid by precanceled stamps, subject to 4.0 and 604.3.0. Mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces subject to the piece/pound prices may have postage paid by permit imprint (if authorized by Business Mailer Support) or by postage evidencing system indicium (if each piece has the full numerical value of postage affixed). Alternatively, except for heavy letter mail over three ounces (see 201.3.6), the mailer may affix the numerical per piece price to each piece and pay the pound price for the mailing through an advance deposit account. Under this alternative, the mailer must provide a postage statement for each payment method and mark each piece “Pound Rate Pd via Permit,” in the postage meter indicium or ad plate or other means that ensures a legible endorsement. For mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces, “nonidentical” must be shown as the weight of a single piece on the applicable postage statement; other entries must be completed as directed.

2.3 Combined Price

[6-2-14] Postage evidencing system indicia may be used for combined price mailings containing both pieces subject to pound prices and pieces subject to minimum per piece charges. Postage for such mailings may be paid with permit imprint only if authorized by Business Mailer Support.

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3.0 Postage Payment for Automation Letters and Flats

3.1 All Pieces

[6-2-14] Unless authorized by the USPS under 705.2.0 through 705.5.0, or 705.16.0, when precanceled postage or postage evidencing systems are used, only one payment method may be used in a mailing, and each piece must bear the correct numerical value of postage for which the piece qualifies. For mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces subject to the piece/pound prices, the mailer may affix the applicable numerical per piece price to each piece and pay the pound price for the mailing by a permit imprint advance deposit account. All pieces prepared this way in a mailing must be subject to the same pound price. A postage statement must be submitted for each payment method and each piece must be marked "Pound Price Pd via Permit" in the postage evidencing system indicium or ad plate or other means that ensures a legible endorsement. "Nonidentical" must be shown in place of the weight of a single piece on the postage statement.

3.2 Affixing Postage for Automation Standard Mail

[6-2-14] In a postage evidencing system indicia or precanceled stamp mailing, each piece must bear either:

a. A precanceled stamp, under 604.3.0; postage documentation under 4.0 is required. Additional postage must be paid at the time of mailing with an advance deposit account or with a postage evidencing system indicium affixed to the postage statement

b. Exact postage on pieces bearing postage evidencing system indicia pieces or postage at the lowest price applicable to the mailing job. Additional postage must be paid at the time of mailing with an advance deposit account or with a postage evidencing system indicium affixed to the postage statement

3.3 Mixed Price Mailing Documentation

[6-2-14] Where it is not practicable for the mailer to affix either the exact numerical value of postage or the lowest postage price to each piece in the mailing, the mailer may compute postage for the mailing as if the lowest numerical price affixed to any piece in the mailing were affixed to all pieces. Additional postage is computed based on the difference between the lowest numerical price affixed to any piece in the mailing and the price for each price level in the mailing. This computation must be documented to meet the basic standards in 4.0. No refund is paid for any piece where postage is affixed at a price higher than the lowest price claimed for or affixed to any piece. The total additional postage must be paid either by advance deposit account or by a postage evidencing system indicium affixed to the postage statement.

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4.0 Mailing Documentation

[6-2-14] See 203.1.0 and 203.2.0 for postage statement and documentation standards.

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5.0 Residual Pieces

5.1 Residual Standard Mail Subject to First-Class Mail Prices

[6-2-14] Mailers who have pieces weighing 13 ounces or less that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail must pay single-piece First-Class Mail postage for such pieces. If mailers do not desire to receive First-Class Mail service for such pieces they may enter the mailpieces “as is” (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), under the following conditions:

a. Additional markings and/or postage must not be added to these pieces.

b. Mail bearing metered or precanceled stamp postage must pay the difference between the postage affixed at the Standard Mail prices and the single-piece First-Class Mail prices by means of an advance deposit account or by affixing a meter stamp for the appropriate amount to Form 3600-R. These pieces are reported in the appropriate part of Form 3600-R under the heading “From Standard Mail mailing.”

c. Mail bearing permit imprints must pay the appropriate single-piece First-Class Mail prices by completing Form 3600-R. These pieces are reported in the appropriate part of Form 3600-R under the heading “From Standard Mail mailing.” For permit imprint mail there must be at least 200 pieces, except when the pieces are part of a larger mailing job and are submitted for acceptance along with the mail and a Standard Mail postage statement for the other pieces in the same mailing job.

5.2 Residual Standard Mail Subject to Priority Mail Prices

[6-2-14] Mailers who have permit imprint pieces weighing over 13 ounces but less than 16 ounces that do not qualify for Standard Mail prices but that are prepared as Standard Mail must pay Priority Mail postage for such pieces. Mailpieces paid with meters or permit imprints must re-envelope or otherwise prepare the pieces so that when mailed they bear only the appropriate Priority Mail markings, ancillary service endorsements, and ACS codes and do not bear Standard Mail markings, endorsements, or ACS codes. Mailpieces paid with permit imprints for which mailers do not desire to receive Priority Mail service may enter the mailpieces “as is” (i.e., bearing the Standard Mail markings and endorsements), under the following conditions:

a. Additional markings and/or postage must not be added to these pieces.

b. The appropriate Priority Mail prices must be paid by completing the appropriate part of Form 3600-R on the line titled “Pieces From Standard Mail mailing” in the postage calculation section. For permit imprint mail there must be at least 200 pieces, except when the pieces are part of a larger mailing job and are submitted for acceptance along with the mail and a Standard Mail postage statement for the other pieces in the same mailing job.

5.3 Postage Payment for Barcoded Machinable Parcels

5.3.1 100% Eligible

[6-2-14] If 100% of the pieces in a mailing are eligible for the machinable parcel prices under 243.5.0, then the mailing may be paid with meter stamps, permit imprint, or precanceled postage.

5.3.2 Less Than 100% Eligibility

[6-2-14] If less than 100% of the parcels in the mailing are eligible for the machinable prices, then the following standards apply:

a. Payment with precanceled stamps is not permitted.

b. Metered postage may be used only if exact postage is affixed to each piece in the mailing.

c. Payment with permit imprint is permitted only under a manifest mailing system in 705.2.0.