[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 132 (Wednesday, July 9, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 39272-39273]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-15223]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Treatment of Undeliverable Books and Sound Recordings

AGENCY: Postal Service\TM\.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Postal Service is proposing to revise the mailing 
standards for the treatment of books and sound recordings that are 
found loose in the mail or undeliverable as addressed. The revision 
would eliminate confusion and simplify procedures.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before August 8, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the Manager, Mailing 
Standards, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., Room 3436, 
Washington, DC 20260-3436. You may inspect and photocopy all written 
comments at USPS Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza, SW., 11th 
Floor N, Washington, DC, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through 
Friday. Do not submit comments via fax or e-mail.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bert Olsen at 202-268-7276.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic 
Mail

[[Page 39273]]

Manual (DMM[supreg]) 507.1.9.2, as originally written (under the 
section titled Dead Mail), was intended to facilitate a process for 
identifying and returning to the original publisher or distributor 
books and recordings that had become undeliverable as a result of being 
``loose in the mail'' (contents separated from packaging and other 
address information). Unpredictably, the rule has been misinterpreted 
by some publishers and distributors as allowing them to reclaim 
ownership of all UAA mail and not just mail that was truly identified 
as ``loose'' in the mail. Practically speaking, there are very few 
commercially mailed books and sound recordings found loose in the mail. 
Books and sound recordings seldom separate from their outer wrappings. 
The vast majority of pieces that are not delivered are pieces that the 
Postal Service attempted to deliver but were refused by the addressee.
    Therefore, the Postal Service is proposing to remove DMM Section 
507.1.9.2 in its entirety. To clarify their preferences regarding UAA 
pieces, mailers are encouraged to use appropriate ancillary service 
endorsements. Currently, many commercially mailed books and sound 
recordings are mailed at Standard Mail and Package Services prices 
using the endorsement, ``Change Service Requested'', to indicate that 
the piece should not be returned. This endorsement requires that UAA 
pieces, including refused pieces, be disposed of by the Postal Service 
and a notice of the new address (if applicable) or reason for 
nondelivery be provided to the mailer. Alternatively, mailers who wish 
to have UAA Standard Mail or Package Services pieces returned can use 
the endorsement, ``Return Service Requested.'' This endorsement 
requires that UAA pieces, including refused packages, be returned to 
the sender with the reason for non-delivery; the sender is charged 
postage at the First-Class Mail single-piece price or Priority Mail 
single-piece price, for pieces originally sent as Standard Mail, or the 
appropriate Package Services single-piece price, for pieces originally 
sent as Package Services mail, based on the weight of the piece.

Background Information

    DMM 507.1.9 defines ``dead mail'' as ``matter which is deposited in 
the mail that is or becomes undeliverable and cannot be returned to the 
sender from the last office of address.'' DMM 507.1.9.1 sets out 
general procedures for attempting to identify senders or recipients of 
dead mail and the means by which identifiable items are returned and 
postage is collected for return. DMM 507.1.9.3 notes that the Postal 
Operations Manual (POM) ``contains USPS policy and procedures for 
handling and disposing of dead mail. Those procedures include 
provisions for the sale or donation of dead mail.
    In the past, as now, commercial mailers of books and sound 
recordings could endorse their mailings to provide for the return of 
undeliverable as addressed (UAA) items to them by guaranteeing payment 
upon return, or could by endorsement, or by lack of endorsement, 
indicate that return was not requested, in which case the undeliverable 
items were to be considered as the property of the U.S. Postal Service.
    DMM 507.1.5.3 and 1.5.4 list and describe the endorsements 
available to mailers of Standard Mail and Package Services parcels who 
want to have pieces that are undeliverable as addressed forwarded or 
returned. Each of these endorsements (``Forwarding Service Requested,'' 
``Return Service Requested,'' or ``Address Service Requested,''), 
provide for return of an item to the mailer under certain specified 
conditions when the mailer provides payment for the return at the 
appropriate price.
    Accordingly, the Postal Service proposes to delete DMM 507.1.9.2. 
The Postal Service recognizes that this change may affect the ancillary 
service endorsement choices of mailers of books and sound recordings 
and therefore proposes that the final rule will be effective 60 days 
following its publication.
    Although exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedure Act [5 U.S.C. 553(b),(c)] regarding proposed 
rulemaking by 39 U.S.C 410(a), the Postal Service invites comments on 
the following proposed revisions to the Domestic Mail Manual, which is 
incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 
CFR 111.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative Practice and Procedure, Postal Service.

PART 111--[AMENDED]

    1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 
416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, and 
5001.

    2. Revise the following section of the Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) 
as set forth below:
* * * * *

500 Additional Services

* * * * *

507 Mailer Services

1.0 Treatment of Mail

* * * * *

1.9 Dead Mail

* * * * *
[Delete 1.9.2 in its entirety and renumber current 1.9.3 as new 1.9.2]

1.9.2 Books and Sound Recordings

* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR Part 111 to 
reflect these changes if the proposal is adopted.

Neva R. Watson,
Attorney, Legislative.
[FR Doc. E8-15223 Filed 7-8-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P