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Acceptance means the receipt and retention of products delivered or services rendered by a Supplier following inspection to ensure conformance with contract specifications. Acceptance may take place before delivery, at delivery, or after delivery, depending on the contract's provisions.

Acceptance constitutes acknowledgement that products or services conform to quality, quantity, and packing requirements set forth in the contract. Acceptance may be used for the start of the warranty period. After acceptance, the product or service can then be used by the Postal Service for its intended purpose.

After inspection, three possibilities exist for the received goods or services:



Acceptance with limitations


Generally, the Postal Service accepts the Supplier's product or service when it conforms to the contract specifications or criteria. At the time of acceptance, no outstanding nonconformities remain. The Postal Service's payment to the Supplier prior to a timely rejection of the Supplier's product or service does not constitute acceptance.

Acceptance is the responsibility of the Contracting Officer or the Contracting Officer's Representative (COR). However, acceptance can be performed by the Client for direct delivery items. When this responsibility is assigned to a COR or other party, acceptance by that person is binding on the Postal Service. Contracting Officers may contract with third parties to perform contract administration responsibilities related to acceptance.

Contracts should specify the place of acceptance. Products accepted at a place other than destination may not be Inspected (inspection process determines whether the purchase will be accepted or rejected) again for acceptance at destination, but should be examined for quantity, damage in transit, and possible substitution or fraud. Additional information on Inspection can be found in the Receipt and Inspection topic of the Complete Delivery task of Process Step 4: Deliver and Receive Requirements.

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Acceptance Based on Supplier Certification

When purchasing commercial items, acceptance based on supplier certification, Clause B-5: Certificate of Conformance, may be in the Postal Service's interest when:

Only small losses will be incurred by a defect.

The Supplier's reputation or past performance suggests that the products or services will be acceptable and that defective work will be replaced, corrected, or repaired without contest.

The Supplier's production processes and procedures are demonstrated to provide quality products that meet or exceed Postal Service requirements. International Standards Organization (ISO) certification and maintenance of certification may be an indicator of quality performance.

Revocation of Acceptance in Whole or in Part

The Purchase/SCM Team, represented by the Contracting Officer, can revoke acceptance of a nonconforming product or service if original acceptance:

Resulted from the reasonable assumption that the nonconformance would be corrected, but it is not corrected

Took place because the nonconformance has not been discovered before acceptance as a result of the difficulty of discovery (e.g., hidden defects) or because of the Supplier's assurances

The Postal Service has the same rights and duties upon revocation as upon rejection. Revocation of acceptance must occur within a reasonable time after the Contracting Officer discovers the deficiency. These issues are addressed in paragraph a of 4-1: General Terms and Conditions and Clause 2-1: Inspection and Acceptance.

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Transfer of Title and Risk of Loss

The title to products passes to the Postal Service upon formal acceptance, regardless of when or where the Postal Service takes physical possession, unless the contract specifically provides for earlier transfer of title.

Unless the contract specifically provides otherwise, risk of loss or damage remains with the Supplier until:

Delivery of the products to a Carrier, if transportation is free-on-board (f.o.b.) origin

Acceptance by the Postal Service or delivery to the Postal Service at the destination specified in the contract, whichever is later, if transportation is f.o.b. destination

This does not apply to products that are rejected. The risk of loss of, or damage to, rejected products remains with the Supplier until correction or acceptance. Additional information on f.o.b. origin and destination can be found in the Shipping topic of the Complete Delivery task of Process Step 4: Deliver and Receive Requirements.

Surveillance or Audit of the Work in Progress

A surveillance plan is used to identify from the statement of work (SOW) the specific tasks that require compliance with the identified standards. The surveillance plan identifies standards by which the Supplier is expected to perform in a continuous, satisfactory manner. The Supplier must be informed immediately if there are issues of noncompliance with the contract specifications so the required corrections can be made.

The costs to the Supplier for Postal Service time when the Supplier is not compliant for an inspection requested by the Supplier and reinspections are addressed in Clause 2-23: Reimbursement - Postal Service Testing.

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Delayed Acceptance

The Purchase/SCM Team may consider using a special testing requirement after delivery and before acceptance (such as a preacceptance test) for purchases of complex equipment (e.g., mail-handling systems, telecommunications equipment, computers, and building systems). Requirements for delayed acceptance must be thoroughly described in the contract. Clause 2-6: Delayed Acceptance addresses preacceptance tests and the requirements of the Supplier associated with the tests.


The Purchase/SCM Team may reject any or all of the supplies or services not conforming to contract requirements resulting from:

Requirements not met

Defined criteria or specifications not satisfied (e.g., pursuant to Clause B-4: Variation in Quantity, variations in quantity will be accepted only in certain conditions and/or in certain thresholds)

When determined that correction within the delivery schedule is not possible, the Purchase/SCM Team must ordinarily reject products or services where nonconformance adversely affects safety, health, reliability, durability, performance, interchangeability of parts or assemblies, weight, appearance, or any other basic objective of the contract. Suppliers must be given a notice of rejection promptly, including the reasons for rejection. If prompt notice is not given, acceptance may be implied as a matter of law. The Postal Service will return rejected items for correction, substitution, refund, or credit.

All repair, replacement, and other correction and redelivery must be completed within the time frame determined by the Postal Service. All costs and expenses and loss of value incurred as a result of, or in connection with, nonconformance and repair, replacement, or other correction will be recovered from the Supplier (e.g., through equitable price reduction or credit against any amounts that may be owed to Supplier).

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Correction or Replacement

Suppliers must be given an opportunity to correct or replace nonconforming products or services when it can be accomplished within the delivery schedule. If correction or replacement is feasible:

There must be no additional cost to the Postal Service.

The Postal Service reserves the right to charge the Supplier the cost of reinspection and retesting needed because of a previous rejection (rates charged and other expenses are in accordance with Clause 2-23: Reimbursement - Postal Service Testing).

When replacement or correction is not possible within the performance period and the Purchase/SCM Team has rejected performance, the Contracting Officer may provide the Supplier an opportunity to provide acceptable substitute performance if the Purchase/SCM Team decides that:

Performance is still desired and

Substitute performance will best mitigate the damage suffered by the Postal Service.

When substitute performance is accepted, the Contracting Officer must modify the contract to provide for appropriate consideration.

Nonconforming Supplies or Services

Under paragraph a of 4-1: General Terms and Conditions and Clause 2-1: Inspection and Acceptance, if the Supplier fails or refuses to correct the defects or nonconformance, the Postal Service may:

Acquire replacement supplies or services from other sources at the Supplier's expense

Accept the supplies or services at a reduced price

Repeated delivery of nonconforming products or services must not be allowed. In such cases, the Purchase/SCM Team should take appropriate action, such as rejecting delivery and having the rejection documented in the Supplier's performance record.

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Acceptance with Limitations

Acceptance with limitations occurs when products or services partially conform to the contract specifications or criteria, nonconformities remain that can be worked around, or part of the deliverable is accepted (or the whole deliverable is conditionally accepted). If the Postal Service accepts with limitations, the contract must be modified.

The Purchase/SCM Team may not accept products or services where nonconformance adversely affects a basic contract objective unless acceptance is clearly in the Postal Service's interest and acceptable to the Client. The Purchase/SCM Team's decision to accept these products or services must be put in writing by the Contracting Officer (who must also modify the contract) and be based on:

Information on the nature and extent of the nonconformance

Advice of technical specialists that the material is safe to use and will perform its intended purpose

The Supplier's request for acceptance of the product or service

A recommendation for acceptance by the intended user, with supporting rationale

Appropriate monetary or other considerations

The Purchase/SCM Team may accept minor nonconformities (e.g., defects). When minor nonconforming products or services are accepted, the Contracting Officer need not modify the contract to provide for appropriate consideration, unless:

It appears that the savings to the Supplier in fabricating the nonconforming products or performing the nonconforming services exceed the cost to the Postal Service of processing and enforcing a modification

The Postal Service's interests otherwise require a contract modification

Clause 4-1: General Terms and Conditions and Clause 2-1: Inspection and Acceptance address postacceptance Postal Service rights and Supplier obligations.

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Other Topics Considered

Shipping topic, Complete Delivery task, Process Step 4: Deliver and Receive Requirements

Receipt and Inspection topic, Complete Delivery task, Process Step 4: Deliver and Receive Requirements


Clause B-4: Variation in Quantity

Clause B-5: Certificate of Conformance

Clause 2-1: Inspection and Acceptance

Clause 2-6: Delayed Acceptance

Clause 2-23: Reimbursement - Postal Service Testing

Clause 4-1: General Terms and Conditions

Clause 4-5: Inspection of Professional Services

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