Customer Support Ruling

Business Reply Mail Cards, Envelopes, and Labels

UPDATED October 1996

PS-086 (505.1)

This CSR discusses the improper use of Business Reply Mail cards, envelopes, and labels.

Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 505.1.3.1, states that a Business Reply Mail (BRM) permit holder guarantees payment of proper First-Class Mail postage, plus a per piece fee, on all returned BRM distributed under the permit holder’s permit number. DMM 505.1.3.1 and 505.1.4.8, concerns the use of BRM labels and provides that the legend "BUSINESS REPLY LABEL" means the permit holder guarantees payment of First-Class Mail postage upon the return of mailable matter with the permit holder's business reply label. Items printed with the legend "BUSINESS REPLY MAIL" are not acceptable as BRM labels.

When heavy items such as bricks, 2 x 4s, etc., are found in the mails with a BRM card or envelope pasted, stapled, or taped on them as an address label, the pieces should be treated as are other nonmailable items found loose in the mails. If the sender cannot be identified, the matter should be disposed of as waste. If the misused BRM card or envelope is affixed as an address label to a sealed parcel or container, the piece should be treated as dead mail. Please note that these procedures should be followed when a BRM card or a BRM envelope is attached to such heavy items. It is obvious in such cases that the piece is being used in a manner other than that intended by the distributor.

When BRM cards and envelopes are used as intended, the pieces should be given appropriate First-Class Mail service in the mails and the distributor should be advised of the postage due. The service is given on the basis of the guarantee by the distributor, subject to the provisions of DMM 505.1.3.1, that postage will be paid on all returned BRM.

The Postal Service is unable to assure that a Business Reply Mail piece will only be used in a manner and for the purpose intended by the distributor; this is a risk assumed by the distributor. If the piece receives postal handling, the legal rate of postage and appropriate fee should be collected for the service given the piece upon delivery to the distributor. The fact that a returned BRM envelope may be empty or a BRM card may not have been completed has no bearing on the distributor’s obligation to pay postage and fees on all returned BRM pieces.

Anita J. Bizzotto


Mailing Standards

Headquarters, US Postal Service

Washington, DC 20260-3436