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Mailers Fight Postal Increase

4 Dec, 2013 By: Doug McPherson

WASHINGTON – Postal customers and suppliers have asked the Postal Regulatory Commission to reject the U.S. Postal Service's request for a 4.3-percent exigent rate increase. They say the USPS's claim that the rate is needed to offset lingering effects of the recession doesn't meet the “exceptional circumstance” criteria in the 2006 Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act.

Christian Lundblad, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina, backed the filing and said that the Postal Service's assumptions that recessions continue to deepen ad infinitum were “a nonsensical notion.” Lundblad also said USPS's exigency request disregards all the positive effects the 2009 recovery had on mail volume.

And Jim Cregan, with the Association of Magazine Media – one of 13 entities named in the filing – said, “You could drive a mail truck through the holes in the Postal Service's arguments. The main reason for declining mail volume over the last seven years is digital diversion – the long-term trend toward electronic correspondence, Internet advertising, and electronic bill presentment and payments.”

Mailers claim an economic study referenced by the Postal Service in its exigency request holds that the recession hit USPS 10 times harder than it did the gross domestic product.

“If you take the Postal Service's study at face value,” says Tony Conway of the Alliance for Nonprofit Mailers, “then all of the mail volume losses since 2007 are the result of the recession and none result from digital diversion.”

Organizations named in the filing include: the Direct Marketing Association, the American Catalog Mailers Association, Quad Graphics, R.R. Donnelley, the Alliance of Nonprofit Mailers, and the Major Mailers Association.

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