Each spring, questions arise about whether to assess a nonmachinable surcharge for shrubs, trees, and other nursery stock placed in the mailstream. The following information is offered for clarification and to promote consistency.
The nonmachinable surcharge in Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 453 applies to Parcel Post® mailpieces that cannot be processed mechanically and require more costly manual sortation. The Postal Service™ assesses a nonmachinable surcharge for a Parcel Post item that does not meet the machinable criteria in DMM 401.1.5 or that meets the nonmachinable criteria in DMM 401.2.3.2.
- DMM 401.1.5 defines a machinable parcel, in part, as follows:
- DMM 401.2.3.2 (a–j) lists nonmachinable criteria for Parcel Post, including the following: “[j.] Parcels with characteristics (such as inadequate packaging) that could result in damage to the contents of the mailpiece, other parcels, or postal machinery if mechanical sortation is used.”
Based on the requirements in DMM 401.1.5 and 401.2.3.2, use the following guidelines to determine whether to assess a nonmachinable surcharge for shrubs, trees, and other nursery stock items:
- Assess a nonmachinable surcharge if the item does not meet the machinable criteria in DMM 401.1.5 or if the item meets any of the nonmachinable criteria in DMM 401.2.3.2.
- Don’t assess a nonmachinable surcharge if an item a) meets the machinable criteria in DMM 401.1.5 and is mailed completely enclosed in a box or carton that constitutes adequate packaging, or b) is mailed as follows:
For more details see the DMM, available online at http://pe.usps.gov.