POM Revision: Information-Based Indicia Postage Paid Labels Update

Effective October 8, 2009, the Postal Service™ is revis­ing the Postal Operations Manual (POM) to include a new section, 136.6, to cover information-based indicia (IBI) postage paid labels. We are adding this new section to the POM to aid our employees in identifying counterfeit IBI labels and obvious weight discrepancies in IBI postage paid mailpieces.

Postal Operations Manual (POM)

1 Retail Management

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13 Retail Services at Counters

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136 Methods of Payment

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[Add new 136.6 to read as follows:]

136.6 Information-based Indicia Postage Paid Labels

Information-based indicia (IBI) and other online customer postage payment options have unique revenue assurance issues that all acceptance and collection employees should be familiar with. One example is a label that appears to have been photocopied or manipulated. All IBI mailing labels are designed to be used in their entirety without the need for any modification. Labels that appear modified are candidates for fraud. Modifications include handwritten changes, obvious deliberate damage to the IBI, and any other change to the original print. All label barcode num­bers are unique; no two are identical. The same barcode number appearing on more than one label indicates a pho­tocopied label and is considered a counterfeit label. Any item identified as bearing a photocopied or duplicated label should be refused at the retail window or during carrier pickup at a residence or business. Local management should be advised when a photocopied or duplicate label has been identified. Local management may contact the Postal Inspection Service if additional guidance is needed.

Another revenue assurance issue to watch for with mail­pieces bearing IBI postage is an obvious weight discrep­ancy. The label information may indicate the weight and amount of postage paid. If the weight listed on the label is obviously incorrect, the employee handling the mailpiece should make every effort to weigh that item on a scale if one is available. If the weight on the IBI label is incorrect, proper postage was not paid. That mailpiece is considered shortpaid and should be handled according to the appro­priate shortpaid procedure for that class of mail.

Some IBI mailpieces do not show the actual postage amount paid. This is sometimes referred to as “stealth postage” or “nondenominated” IBI. In these cases the postage may not be visible, but the weight, mail class, and origin ZIP code is in text format on the label, which allows identification of a weight discrepancy. If a mailpiece is found with no postage paid, the mailpiece should be marked “returned for postage” and returned to the sender.

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We will incorporate these revisions into the next printed version of the POM and into the online update of the POM, available on the Postal Service PolicyNet website:

n Go to http://blue.usps.gov.

n Under “Essential Links” in the left-hand column, click PolicyNet.

n On the PolicyNet page, click Manuals.

(The direct URL for the Postal Service PolicyNet web­site is http://blue.usps.gov/cpim.)