Contents Index


G000 The USPS and Mailing Standards

G020 Mailing Standards


G020 describes the Domestic Mail Manual. It also a covers a mailer's responsibility to comply with all postal standards and the procedures for appealing a classification decision.

1.0 Domestic Mail Manual


The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) contains the basic standards of the United States Postal Service (USPS) governing its domestic mail services; descriptions of the mail classes and special services and conditions governing their use; and standards for rate eligibility and mail preparation. Domestic mail is classified by size, weight, content, service, and other factors.


Terms in the DMM referring to only one sex apply to persons of either sex. Terms referring to the singular also apply to the plural, unless the context indicates otherwise. The term postmaster also applies to an officer-in-charge if the postmaster position is vacant and, in district host cities, to the district manager.


The Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) is distributed to all post offices and is available online on the Postal Explorer web site ( Copies of the DMM may be inspected during normal business hours at USPS Headquarters, area and district offices, and all domestic post offices, stations, and branches. A copy is also filed at the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration. The public may buy copies by subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office (see G043 for address).


The USPS reserves the right to change the standards in the Domestic Mail Manual. Substantive revisions are published in the Postal Bulletin and, when appropriate, the Federal Register.

2.0 Mailer Compliance with Standards

2.1Mailer Responsibility

A mailer must comply with all applicable postal standards. Despite any statement in this document or by any USPS employee, the burden rests with the mailer to comply with the laws and standards governing domestic mail. For mailings that require a postage statement, the mailer certifies compliance with all applicable postal standards when signing the corresponding postage statement. Questions on mail classification and special mail services may be directed to local USPS representatives (e.g., business mail entry managers). Rates and classification service centers (RCSCs) can help local post offices answer customer questions on mailing standards (G042 lists the areas served by the RCSCs).

2.2Postage Payment

A permit imprint, bulk, or other discount rate mailing is accepted after an examination of the mailing and the accompanying postage statement prepared by the mailer. A USPS employee’s signature on the postage statement and the subsequent acceptance of the mailing do not constitute verified accuracy of that statement, and do not limit the ability of the USPS to demand proper payment after acceptance when it becomes apparent such payment was not made.

2.3Request for Exception to Standards

To the extent that postage rates, fees for mail services, and basic mail classification and eligibility are prescribed by federal statute or the Domestic Mail Classification Schedule, the USPS is not authorized to waive or except the corresponding DMM standards. Postmasters or managers at post offices, district or area offices, and other field facilities may not suspend or grant any waiver or exception to standards established by the USPS (e.g., regarding mail preparation) unless specifically authorized by the DMM. Any mailer’s request for an exception to DMM standards must be referred to the RCSC serving the post office of mailing. (See G042 for a list of the RCSCs and their service areas.)

3.0 Rulings on Mailing Standards

3.1Local Decision

A mailer who disagrees with a classification decision by a local post office, whether on a pending or proposed mailing, may send a written appeal to the postmaster within 30 days. The appeal is forwarded to the appropriate rates and classification service center (RCSC), which issues the final agency decision. Only the RCSC manager may rule on such an appeal and on any appeal or initial request for a ruling on an exception to a USPS standard in the DMM.

3.2Expedited Oral Decision

A mailer who receives an adverse ruling from a post office, whether on a pending or proposed mailing, may request the RCSC manager to provide an expedited oral decision on appeal, which is then confirmed in writing. This request for an expedited appeal may be made by telephone. The RCSC manager determines whether the appeal or individual questions in the appeal can be decided on an expedited basis.

3.3Classification While Appeal Pending

Pending resolution of an appeal, the mailer may, by a letter to the local postmaster, request to mail under a deposit arrangement. The mailer must deposit with the postmaster enough funds to cover postage at the higher rate. If the appeal is upheld, the difference between the amount deposited and a lower rate determined to be appropriate is returned to the mailer. If the appeal is denied, the deposit is not returned. If a balance remains in the deposit after the higher rate postage is deducted, the balance is refunded at the mailer’s request.

3.4RCSC Decision

Any mail classification decision made initially by the RCSC manager may be appealed within 15 days to the manager of Mailing Standards (see G043 for address), who has sole authority to render a decision on such appeals.

3.5Corresponding Standards

Rulings and appeals concerning revenue deficiencies (on past mailings), refunds, or applications for various mailing privileges, rates, or authorizations, are subject to the corresponding standards.

DMM Issue 58 (8-10-03)