Editor's Note: This article appeared in the October 2010 issue of PARCEL, but we had to cut it down for space constraints. Here is the article in its entirety.

    Address corrections, as it applies to certain express and ground carriers, can be a very unwelcome and costly expense. However, that is not the case when shippers receive address notifications from the USPS.

    Most of you are probably familiar with ancillary service endorsements (ASEs) for letter-size and flat-size mail — especially if you prepare commercial First-Class Mail and/or Standard Mail, as the use of ASEs is an approved method to meet the Move Update regulation.

    As a parcel shipper, the proper use of ASEs can also be an effective way to update shipping address databases, reduce costs for address corrections and help ensure the appropriate USPS response, if your parcel is undeliverable as addressed. 

    Below are USPS actions and associated fees for various ASEs as it applies to retail-price parcels based on particular delivery needs.

    Delivery need — Request that the USPS forward your package while providing change-of-address (COA) information. 

    Use "Address Service Requested." For First-Class Mail and Priority Mail packages, if a COA is on file and the recipient moved within the last 12 months, your parcel will be forwarded at no additional charge and you will receive a separate notice with the new address. You'll be charged a small address correction fee, which is currently 50 cents. Within the timeframe of 13 to 18 months, your parcel will be returned to you for free with the new address attached. Upon receipt of address notifications, you have the opportunity to make appropriate changes to your database. If your recipient did not file a COA, or moved more than 18 months ago, the parcel will be returned to you at no charge with reason for nondelivery.

    The USPS action for Package Services is similar. Package Services are generally non-personal mail and include four sub-classes: Media Mail, Library Mail, Bound Printed Matter and Parcel Post. The delivery and service objective is approximately two to eight days, depending on origin and destination. With the exception of Bound Printed Matter, which has a weight limit of 15 pounds, Package Services parcels can weigh up to 70 pounds. For qualifying parcels, Package Services may be a very cost-effective alternative to Express Mail, Priority Mail and other carriers when speed of delivery is not critical.

    The costs for Package Services are slightly different from those associated with First-Class Mail and Priority Mail packages. If a change-of-address order is on file, within months one through 12, your package will be forwarded locally at no charge, or forwarded out-of-town with postage due for the recipient at the applicable Package Services single-piece price. You will receive a separate notice with the new address and pay a small address correction fee. If your recipient refuses to pay the postage due, your package will be returned to you with the reason for nondelivery. Forwarding postage, where attempted, and return postage will be charged to you at the applicable Package Services single-piece price.

    In months 13 through 18 of your recipient's move, the package will be returned with the new address attached and only the return postage will be charged to you at the appropriate Package Services single-piece price. If your recipient moved more than 18 months ago or did not file a COA, the package will also be returned with reason for nondelivery and you will be charged the applicable return postage. 

    Delivery need — Request that the Postal Service return your package and provide change-of-address (COA) information. 

    Use "Return Service Requested." As it applies to First-Class Mail and Priority Mail, packages will be returned to you at no charge with the new address or reason for nondelivery attached. This is the same action for Package Services parcels, except that you will pay the appropriate Package Services single-piece postage price. 

    Delivery need — Request that the Postal Service dispose of your package and provide change-of-address (COA) information. 

    Use "Change Service Requested." For First-Class Mail, this endorsement is limited for use by participants in the Address Change Service (ACS) program. It is only available for perishable Priority Mail packages and you must also participate in the ACS program. The endorsement can be used without ACS for Package Services parcels. Packages using this endorsement cannot contain hazardous materials.

    Ancillary service endorsements provide very cost-effective and efficient means of meeting desired delivery objectives as it applies to the forwarding, return or disposal of your parcels. For more detailed information, refer to the Domestic Mail Manual, section 507 (Treatment of Mail) on the USPS Postal Explorer website http://pe.usps.gov/default.asp.

    First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, Media Mail, Parcel Post, Express Mail and Domestic Mail Manual are trademarks owned by the United States Postal Service.

    Extra, web-only sidebar:

    What Happens to UAA Packages if You Use No Endorsement?

    It's true that 40% of all moves are not reported to the USPS. In addition, parcel shippers might have a valid address for a recipient, but it's undeliverable for reasons such as death, divorce, insufficient address information or data entry errors. So what happens to UAA packages if you use no endorsement?

    For UAA First-Class Mail and Priority Mail, your packages will be forwarded during the first 12 months if there is a change-of-address on file; however, you will not receive COA information. Whereas in months 13 through 18, the parcel will be returned to you at no charge along with the new address attached. After 18 months, or if it is simply UAA, your parcel will be returned with a reason for nondelivery.

    The USPS action on undeliverable as addressed Package Services parcels having no endorsement is treated similar to that of Address Service Requested except that in months one through 12, you will not receive notification of the new address.


    Elizabeth Lombard, CMDSM, CMDSS, MDP, MDC, EMCM is National Postal-Carrier Manager, 
    Mailing Solutions Management Learning & Performance, Pitney Bowes Inc.

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