Postal Updates

By Bill McAllister, Washington Correspondent

Calculation error gives magazines a break on postal rates

February 24, 2015 01:32 PM

Magazine publishers had been bracing for nearly a 2 percent postal rate increase in April.

But the Postal Regulatory Commission staff discovered an error in a filing by the United States Postal Service.      

The error will cut the planned rate increase for "outside county" periodicals to 1.34 percent, instead of the 1.965 percent increase that the USPS had announced.

That will give the mostly magazine publications in the "outside county" category an unexpected break, according to a Feb. 19 post on the online blog Dead Tree Edition.

The blog, which reports on the mailing industry, was the first to note the error, along with the Postal Service’s acknowledgment.

Dead Tree Edition reported that the USPS had failed to account for new rules that will result in fewer carrier-route sorted bundles and more bundles using flat-sort machinery.

"The Postal Service’s intention was to increase periodicals prices by 1.965 per cent," the agency said in response to a PRC question.

The PRC wanted to know why the proposed increase was so low, given that periodicals have long been regarded as a money loser by the USPS.

Dead Tree Edition said magazine publishers “won’t get off scot-free.” The USPS won’t be able to recoup the mistake immediately, it said.

The Postal Service almost certainly will seek to boost the periodical rates higher in next year’s rate case, it said.