DMM Revision: Clarification of Official Mail Standards

Effective July 28, 2013, the Postal Service™ will revise the Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®) 703 to clarify the standards for using Official Mail, such as the use of postage statements and the sale of Penalty Mail stamps and stationery. We are also removing the standard regarding on-site service, which has not been offered for several years.

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM)

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700 Special Standards

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703 Nonprofit Standard Mail and Other Unique Eligibility

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7.0 Official Mail (Penalty)

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7.5 Services, Classes, Prices, Preparation, and Detention

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7.5.3 Basic Preparation

Penalty mail must:

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[Insert new items 7.5.3c and d, and redesignate current items 7.5.3c and d as new 7.5.3e and f (repositioned from previous 7.7.4) as follows:]

c. Bear a complete return address (agency name and mailing address) in the upper left corner of each mailpiece.

d. The preprinted words “Official Business” and “Penalty for Private Use $300.00” must be directly below the return address. The penalty statement must not be handwritten or typewritten.

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7.7 Penalty Meter

7.7.1 Description

[Revise the text of 7.7.1 as follows:]

Any agency may use postage meters or PC Postage (postage evidencing systems) with a special penalty design, following the procedures in 604.4.0 as modified in 7.7.2 through 7.7.9.

[Revise the title and text of 7.7.2 as follows:]

7.7.2 Agreement

The agency must include its 3-digit agency code when entering into an agreement to use a postage evidencing system under 604.4.0, and should assign one 5-digit cost code to each meter or PC Postage account. All transactions for each system are charged to the agency code listed in the agreement.

7.7.3 Meter Indicia Format

[Revise the text of 7.7.3 as follows:]

Penalty mail meter stamp indicia must be placed in the upper right corner of the mailpiece. Except under 604.4.0, envelopes used with a penalty postage meter must not contain facing identification marks (FIMs) or printing, other than the meter indicia in the area where the meter stamps are applied.

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[Delete 7.7.4, Return Address, repositioning the text as new items 7.5.3c and d; and renumber current 7.7.5 through 7.7.6 as new 7.7.4 through 7.7.5.]

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[Revise the title and text of renumbered 7.7.5 as follows:]

7.7.5 Relocation

An agency must provide updated address information to the provider in the event of relocation.

[Delete current 7.7.7, On-Site Service, in its entirety; and renumber current 7.7.8 through 7.7.11 as new 7.7.6 through 7.7.9.]

7.7.6 Replacement Meter

[Revise the text of renumbered 7.7.6 as follows:]

If a meter is replaced, the remaining postage is transferred from the original meter to the replacement meter. Cash refunds are not issued to agencies for penalty mail postage meters checked out of service.

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7.8 Penalty Permit Imprint

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7.8.2 Indicia Format

[Revise the text of 7.8.2 as follows:]

The penalty permit imprint indicia must be in a rectangular box in the upper right corner of the mailpiece, and include the words “Postage and Fees Paid” with the agency name and assigned penalty permit imprint number or other penalty permit imprint number authorized by the Corporate Accounting Manager, USPS Headquarters, preceded by the letter “G.” In addition, the class of mail or appropriate price marking must be the first item within the indicia or immediately below or to the left of the indicia. The city of mailing, amount of postage, and weight of the piece may be included within the indicia but are not required. First-Class Mail penalty permit imprints also may show the date.

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[Delete 7.8.3, Return Address, incorporating the text as new items 7.5.3c and d; and renumber current 7.8.4 as new 7.8.3.]

[Delete 7.8.5, GPO Contractor, in its entirety.]

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7.9 Penalty Postage Stamps and Stationery

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7.9.2 Availability

[Revise the text of 7.9.2 as follows:]

Penalty mail stamped stationery (plain stamped envelopes, personalized envelopes, and stamped cards) and penalty mail adhesive stamps may be used, but are no longer sold.

[Delete 7.9.3, Application in its entirety, and renumber current 7.9.4 through 7.9.5 as new 7.9.3 through 7.9.4.]

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[Delete current 7.9.6, Ordering Stock in its entirety, and renumber current 7.9.7 as new 7.9.5.]

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7.15 Contractors

7.15.1 Reimbursement

[Delete the second sentence of 7.15.1.]

An agency authorized to use penalty mail must reimburse the USPS for contractor use of penalty mail services.

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We will incorporate these revisions into the next monthly update of the online DMM available via Postal Explorer® at