The U.S. Postal Service late today released its long-rumored proposal for a "Summer Sale" that would provide postage rebates of up to 30% on certain direct mail and catalogs.
USPS filed the proposal for the "Standard Mail Volume Incentive Pricing Program" with the Postal Regulatory Commission, which says it will rule on the proposal by June 4. The Rural Letter Carriers Association has already indicated it will oppose the proposal because it claims its members will not be appropriately compensated for the additional work the sale will cause.
Dead Tree Edition revealed plans for the Summer Sale three weeks ago, and some details of it were subsequently released through such organizations as Postcom.org.
The sale would run in July, August, and September of this year, "which is typically a low-volume period for the Postal Service and its customers," the proposal said. The timing is meant to "take advantage of the Postal Service’s current excess capacity to deliver additional volume at relatively low cost during the summer months."
To qualify, a mailer must have sent at least 1 million Standard-class flats (generally catalogs, but also includes some free newspapers and magazines) between October 2007 and March 2008. If the mail was sent on the account of a mail service provider, mailers will have to prove they actually owned the mail. Mail service providers, such as letter shops and presort bureaus, are not eligible for the discount.
The Postal Service is estimating incremental revenue of $38 million to $95 million from the program, which it says will "easily cover" the costs. It notes that few customers have signed up for another recently announced pricing offer, the Saturation Mail incentive program and that some will be eligible for both programs.
The proposal is silent on the Periodicals class, not offering the discount for ride-alongs and not banning qualifying mailers from shifting mail that would normally be Periodicals to Standard during the sale. There are instances where the discounted Standard postage would be significantly lower than Periodicals, especially for relatively light, non-dropshipped publications.