A new regulation that becomes effective April 26 seems likely to cut into stamp usage on Click-N-Ship packages.
That's the United States Postal Service program that allows small businesses to print shipping labels on personal computers and then use stamps or purchase postage for the parcels at a post office.
The program has been highly touted by the Postal Service as a way to expand its package services for small businesses.
Asked about the change, a USPS spokesman told Linn's it is being made "for security purposes."
A notice sent to postal customers March 31 said, "This means that customers will no longer be able to print labels and apply stamps or pay postage at a post office after April 26, 2015."
Even so, the Postal Service spokesman added, "It is also important to clarify that stamps as a method of postage is not being phased out."
To continue to use the Click-N-Ship program, however, the new rules make clear that a customer must have an approved postage meter, mailing permit or an electronic verification (evs) account with the USPS. Without one of those accounts, the Click-N-Ship program will not print a label, the rules say.
Stamp dealers Stan Piller of California and Dave Hull of North Carolina called Linn's attention to the new rules. Piller blasted the Postal Service’s focus on security in an e-mail message.
"Any label that can be printed on a piece of paper can be copied," he said. "Does that mean we all have to get security enabled printers?"
He said this new rule was nothing short of an attempt to "demonetize the billions of dollars in postage that Americans own. It is grand theft."
UPDATE: April 14, 2015
In an April 13 e-mail, the United States Postal Service asked that Linn’s publish a clarification with Bill McAllister’s article about changes in the Click-N-Ship program.
"It's important to the U.S. Postal Service that your readers know that the changes mentioned below are being made to the Click-N-Ship for Business application on April 26th," the Postal Service wrote. "To meet the needs of our business customers, in late April 2015 the Click-N-Ship for Business application will be transitioning to a USPS meter label solution. This meter label solution application will inherit most of the current capabilities and features from the Click-N-Ship for Business application, but will no longer support creating labels unless an approved meter, permit, and/or eVS [electronic verification system] account payment method has been identified within the application."