DMM Notice: Proper Use of Flat Rate Containers

Employees are reminded of the proper use of Priority Mail Express® and Priority Mail® Flat Rate envelopes and boxes (containers).

According to Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM®), when sealing a Flat Rate Envelope (FRE) or Flat Rate Box (FRB), the container flaps must be able to close within the normal folds. Tape may be applied to the flaps and seams to reinforce the container, provided the design of the container is not enlarged by opening the sides and the container is not reconstructed in any way. The weight restriction for domestic Flat Rate Envelopes and Boxes is 70 lbs.

If an FRE or FRB is presented at the office of mailing and the customer has manipulated or reconstructed it, the container is accepted using weight and zone — not the Flat Rate price. A customer is not required to repackage an item unless the contents are fragile and would be at risk of damage during processing and transit.

Below are a few typical questions and answers:

Q. Is tape allowed?

A. Yes, tape is allowed on the seams and flaps of an FRE or FRB. Tape is allowed to reinforce the flaps of an FRE within its normal folds and of course to properly close a FRB.

Q. How much tape is acceptable?

A. Tape is permissible as reinforcement on the seams and flaps of a FRE or FRB to make sure the container does not break open during processing and transit. However, tape should not “encase” the FRE or FRB. Note that if a customer is using a printed Click-N-Ship® label or PC Postage Vendor label, extra tape is allowed to properly attach it to the envelope or box.

Q. What about bulges?

A. As long as the FRE or FRB can close “within the normal folds,” bulges are not a problem. “Flat” refers to the price, not to the shape.

Q. What if the FRE is too thick?

A. There is currently no maximum thickness for a FRE. “Flat” refers to the price, not to the shape.

Q. What if the FRE is stuffed so full that it’s shaped like a cylinder?

A. As long as the FRE can close within its normal folds, and as long as the sides of the FRE haven’t been reconstructed, for example by being slit and having a gusset inserted, it is fine. “Flat” refers to the price, not to the shape.

Q. What if a skillet is packed in an FRB and the handle sticks out?

A. A small bump-out of the box is okay, but if the handle actually sticks out of the box or the box is reconfigured to accommodate the skillet, it cannot be considered as a FRB.