Stand-up Talk for Postal Service Employees: 2007 Price and Product Holiday Reminders

The holiday season is here. Now is the perfect time to re-familiarize yourself with the recent changes to domestic and international mail. To recap, here are some of the major changes that were made to single-piece (or retail) mail.

Priority Mail

The most significant change was the introduction of dimensional-weight pricing for items over 1 cubic foot capacity traveling to Zones 5–8. As a result, some large lightweight items may be charged as heavier-weight items. This change aligned our pricing with the costs we incur for transportation costs associated with shipping by air.

Another adjustment involved the change to apply the 20-pound balloon rate to packages measuring larger than 84 inches in combined length and girth and weighing less than 20 pounds. Balloon-rate pricing applies only to local and Zones 1–4, which require ground rather than air transportation.

First-Class Mail

Determining postage prices now includes consideration of the shape of the mailpiece. First-Class Mail “shape-based pricing” applies separate prices for each mail shape: letters, large envelopes, and packages. Mail shape is important because each mail shape incurs different processing costs — for example, letters cost less for us to process than large envelopes.

Also, the $0.17 nonmachinable surcharge now applies to all First-Class Mail letters up to 3.5 ounces. Mailpieces classified as postcards eligible for the card rate, large enve­lopes, and packages are never subject to the nonmachin­able surcharge. As an example, the popular “musical” greeting cards that are letter size, weigh more than 1 ounce, and are square in shape may be subject to the nonmachinable surcharge in addition to postage. In some cases, the envelopes are marked “Extra Postage Required.” Due to their size, most square greeting cards are classified and priced as large envelopes (flats), not pack­ages. However, large envelopes that exceed any one of the maximum dimensions of a flat or, regardless of thickness, are rigid, nonrectangular, or not uniformly thick are classi­fied and priced as a package (parcel) — i.e., if the item has bumps that cause the thickness to vary more than 1/4 inch. Notice 3-S, First-Class Mail Shape-Based Pricing Tem­plate, is the perfect tool to help determine First-Class Mail prices.

Parcel Post

The balloon rate was changed to require payment of the 20-pound rate to any piece weighing less than 20 pounds that measures more than 84 inches in combined length and girth. The balloon rate for Parcel Post applies to items mailed to all zones.

Extra Services

The major changes to extra services include the rede­sign of the insured mail label as follows:

Other enhancements to extra services include the following:

Note: Customers may not combine insurance purchased online (which has a $500 limit) with insurance purchased at the Post Office (which has a $5,000 limit).

International Products

International products have been redesigned into four streamlined services that align with domestic services: Global Express Guaranteed, Express Mail International, Priority Mail International, and First-Class Mail Interna­tional. These four products offer enhancements for cus­tomers who purchase postage online. The online forms also combine the shipping label with the appropriate cus­toms form in one convenient form.

Always check the IMM Individual Country Listings for restrictions, prohibitions, and observations when accept­ing international shipments. Also, customers may now use domestic packaging supplies for international shipments. Customers should use former domestic packaging until supplies are depleted. Although the packaging says “For Domestic Use Only,” it can be used for both domestic and international shipments.