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Quick Service Guide 220

Commercial Letters, Flats, and Parcels

Priority Mail

May 31, 2015
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Physical Standards (201.7.0)

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Maximum weight: 70 pounds.

Maximum length and girth: 108 inches.

Prices and Fees (223.1.0)

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For a complete listing of commercial Priority Mail prices, see Notice 123–Price List.

Except for Flat Rate and Regional Rate packaging, balloon, or dimensional weight, and commercial plus cubic items, Priority Mail commercial prices are based on weight and zone. Mailpieces are charged per pound; any fraction of a pound is rounded up to the next whole pound, except for Priority Mail commercial plus items that weigh up to 1/2 pound are charged the 1/2-pound price.

Balloon Price: Parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 1-4 that weigh less than 20 pounds but measure more than 84 inches (but not exceeding 108 inches) in combined length and girth are charged the 20-pound price for the zone to which addressed.

Dimensional Weight Price: Postage for parcels addressed for delivery to Zones 5-9 and exceeding 1 cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) is based on the actual weight or the dimensional weight, whichever is greater. (See QSG 120 for examples on how to measure dimensional weight.)

Matter mailed in USPS-produced Priority Mail packaging is charged one flat price regardless how much the item weighs (up to 70 pounds) or domestic destination. Only USPS-produced Flat Rate packaging is eligible for Priority Mail Flat Rate pricing. For a complete list of Flat Rate packaging items, see the Flat Rate Quick Reference section of Notice 123–Price List.

Regional Rate Boxes are available to Priority Mail commercial customers who use the USPS-produced packaging, with prices based on one of the three box sizes and zone to which it is shipped. Regional Rate boxes exceeding the maximum weight for the box size, or the container flaps do not close within the normal folds, will be assessed the applicable Priority Mail prices.

Critical Mail is a sub-category of Priority Mail and is available only for automation-compatible letters (up to 3 ounces) and automation flats (up to 13 ounces) bearing Intelligent Mail barcodes (223.1.4).

Content (223.2.0)

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Unless Priority Mail Express is used, Priority Mail prices are required for a mailpiece that weighs more than 13 ounces when the mailpiece contains matter that must be mailed as First-Class Mail (233.2.0). All mailable matter may be sent as Priority Mail, except matter prohibited by standards (e.g., certain hazardous materials) (601.8).

Postage Payment and Documentation (224)

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Commercial base and Regional Rate Box prices are available for postage paid through:

Commercial plus prices are available to existing and new customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volume for the previous year exceeds a combined total of 5,000 letter-size and flat-size (including Flat Rate Envelopes, but not the Padded Envelope); or a combined cumulative volume exceeding 75,000 total pieces (letters, flats, and parcels); or who have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS.

Commercial plus cubic prices are available to existing and new customers who qualify for commercial base prices and whose account volume exceeds 250,000 for the previous year or have a customer commitment agreement with the USPS, and who are:

Priority Mail pieces (except Critical Mail without an extra service) with postage paid through a PC Postage system must bear an Intelligent Mail package barcode prepared under 708.5.0.

Postage Statement: PS Form 3600-R or approved facsimile; other documentation may be required by standards for payment method used. No postage statement is required if metered postage is affixed.

Mail Preparation (225)

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Matter mailed in USPS-produced Priority Mail packaging is subject to Priority Mail prices regardless of how the package is reconfigured or how the marking may be obliterated.

When sealing Flat Rate packaging or Regional Rate boxes, 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.

Each piece must include a complete delivery and return address with the correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code (602.1.0).

All commercial Priority Mail pieces (except letter and flat size pieces entered under an authorization to use an Intelligent Mail barcode (IMb)) must meet the requirements for use of unique Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) or an extra service IMpb. Mailpieces not meeting this requirement will be assessed an IMpb noncompliance fee as outlined in Publication 199 available on RIBBS at

Marking on each piece: ''Priority Mail'' must be placed prominently on the address side of each mailpiece.

Except for permit imprint or Merchandise Return Service, the following price markings are required in the postage area (225.2.0):

Enter and Deposit (226)

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Deposit: Packages with Click-N-Ship, IBI metered postage, or PC Postage may be deposited in collection boxes or at an acceptance point designated by USPS.

Delivery: At mailer's option, uninsured mail may be left in a protected place if endorsed "Carrier-Leave If No Response" (508.1.1.8).

Open and Distribute Shipments: see 705.18.0.


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