Return of Presorted Standard Mail
REVISED March 2010
This Customer Support Ruling discusses
a request for a refund of postage on mail recalled by a customer prior to delivery.
The request for a refund of postage
was made for pieces that were mailed at the Presorted Standard Mail rates of postage
by a mailing house and then, prior to delivery, returned to the client of the mailing
house (at its request). The mailing was reworked and later many of the pieces
in the original mailing were remailed at the Presorted Standard Mail rates from
another post office.
The mailing house entered 245,000
pieces of bulk business mail, on behalf of a client (which has retail stores nationwide)
at the Saint Louis Network Distribution Center (NDC). The pieces bore the
company permit imprint of the client. The Saint Louis NDC accepted and processed
the mail and then it was transported to the Los Angeles NDC by rail. The mailing
house requested that the mailing be held at the Los Angeles NDC and it was subsequently
released to a representative of the mailing house's client so that corrections could
be made. At a later date, postage was paid to mail 185,000 of the pieces at
the post office in
. The mailing house contends that the Postal Service did not complete delivery
of the pieces until after they were retrieved, corrected and reentered into the
mails. Therefore, it contends that it should have been charged once for the
postage plus any additional costs for the extra services provided.
Refunds of postage are governed
by the provisions of Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 604.9. In accordance
with DMM 604.9.2, when postage has been paid and no service has been rendered, or
when the amount collected was in excess of the lawful rate, a refund may be made
under the conditions set forth therein.
DMM 604.9.2.5, prescribes that when
mail is returned at the request of the sender or for a reason not the fault of the
Postal Service, any difference between the amount paid and the appropriate surface
rate chargeable from the mailing office to the interception point and return will
In this case, service was rendered,
excess postage was not paid, and there is no difference in postage between the amount
paid and the Presorted Standard Mail rate charged on the mailing entered at the
Saint Louis NDC and intercepted at the Los Angeles NDC.
When a mailing is made at the Presorted
Standard Mail rates and a mailer recalls the pieces prior to delivery, there is
no authority in the postal regulations for prorating the costs associated with the
acceptance, processing, transportation, and delivery of those pieces, and reimbursing
the mailer for the costs of the function(s) not performed. That is, there
is no authority for prorating the postage charges when mail is recalled before delivery
is made to the addressees. Furthermore, the legal rate of postage is required
to be paid if the pieces are subsequently remailed. See DMM 508.1.1.6.
In this case, two distinct mailings
were made at the Presorted Standard Mail rates of postage. One mailing consisted
of 245,000 pieces and the other one consisted of 185,000 pieces. The postage
paid for the original mailing only applies to it and not to both mailings.
The fact that the second mailing consisted of many of the same pieces in the first
mailing is irrelevant. The postage was properly charged on each separate mailing,
and therefore, no refund of postage is due for the recalled pieces.
United States Postal Service
Washington DC 20260-3436