[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 50 (Thursday, March 14, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16213-16220]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-05863]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Refunds and Exchanges

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal ServiceTM proposes to revise Mailing 
Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual 
(DMM[supreg]) 604.9, and other DMM sections, to remove obsolete 
standards pertaining to postage refunds and stamp exchanges; 
standardize processes for requesting refunds for PC Postage[supreg] 
labels and extra service refunds; and change the methods for 
calculating refund assessment amounts.

DATES: Submit comments on or before April 15, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, Product 
Classification, U.S. Postal Service[supreg], 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., 
Room 4446, Washington, DC 20260-5015. You may inspect and photocopy all 
written comments at USPS[supreg] Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant 
Plaza SW., 11th Floor N., Washington, DC by appointment only between 
the hours of 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday by calling 1-202-
268-2906 in advance. Email comments, containing the name and address of 
the commenter, may be sent to: ProductClassification@usps.gov, with a 
subject line of ``Refunds and Exchanges.'' Faxed comments are not 
accepted.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: 

Vicki Bosch, vicki.m.bosch@usps.gov, 202-268-4978
Douglas Germer, douglas.g.germer@usps.gov, 202-268-8522
Hank Heren, hank.g.heren@usps.gov, 309-671-8926
Karen Key, karen.f.key@usps.gov, 202-268-2282
Suzanne Newman, suzanne.j.newman@usps.gov, 202-268-5581

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Technological advances have facilitated 
expansion of authorized methods for paying postage and requesting 
postage refunds. As a result, certain manual

[[Page 16214]]

refund processes have become unnecessary and inefficient. As new 
postage payment methods options were adopted, some refund and appeals 
time periods were inadvertently omitted. No changes are proposed to the 
claims process for indemnity for Insured and COD articles. If adopted, 
these proposed changes will correct earlier revisions, provide clarity, 
and remove obsolete standards as follows:
     Standards for refunds for postage stamps affixed to 
Business Reply Mail[supreg] (BRM) pieces, and for annual presort 
mailing fees, would be revised so that the permit holder may request a 
credit to an advance deposit account. A direct refund could be 
requested for postage affixed to BRM only if an advance deposit account 
is not used or is unavailable under 604.9.2.6.
     The refund amount for postage stamps affixed to BRM pieces 
would be aligned with other forms of postage refunds by eliminating the 
assessment for the USPS work hours used to process the refund. Refunds 
may not exceed 90 percent of the indicia's face value.
     The amount granted for refunds for dated or undated, 
unused postage meter indicia, when the total face value of the indicia 
is more than $350, would be aligned with the process used when the 
total face value is less than $350, which is 90 percent of the face 
value of the indicia. This would include eliminating assessments for 
work hours used to process the refund.
     Clarifications would be made that meter postage refunds 
are not given for: A decertified meter or a meter which is reported 
lost by the provider and recovered after 365 days.
     We propose to remove the following obsolete standards from 
the DMM: Converting stamps to other postage forms, the former Special 
Delivery service, and providing refunds for adhesive stamps affixed to 
unmailed matter in connection with an authorized marketing program. 
Additionally, as a result of removing obsolete stamp conversions, only 
exchanges of Semipostal stamps would be permitted.
     We propose additional language in the standards for extra 
service refunds to clarify that proof of receipt by the Postal Service 
must be included with the refund request, regardless of the postage 
payment method used. Proof of acceptance can be a valid USPS acceptance 
or mail processing scan, a USPS postmarked (round-dated) mailing 
receipt or retail Post Office mailing receipt. Evidence that postage 
was paid is not proof the article was presented for mailing or was 
inducted into the mailstream.
     Prior to the availability of electronic scanning data, 
signatures were routinely captured for mailpieces being returned to the 
sender as undeliverable. Additionally, when mailpieces with extra 
services that do not include indemnity, such as Certified Mail[supreg] 
and Signature ConfirmationTM, are designed to capture the 
signature of the recipient indicated by the sender in the delivery 
address. We propose new standards to clarify that if the sender or the 
sender's agent is not available to sign for returned, undeliverable 
Certified Mail, Signature Confirmation items, capturing the sender's 
signature is not required. Return to sender scans will still be 
provided in these cases.
     Consistent with existing delivery record retention 
periods, language is being incorporated to state that refund requests 
for extra services not rendered should be made by the mailer not less 
than 10 days, or not more than 18 months (i.e. before the two year 
record retention period expires), from date that the service was 
purchased.
     Duplicate references to Express Mail[supreg] refunds not 
given provided in DMM sections 114.2.0, 214.3.0, 314.3.0, and 414.3.0, 
along with other related refund standards, will be relocated to 
existing section 604.9.5, Express Mail Postage Refunds.
     We propose a minimum threshold of $50 per mailing for 
mailers requesting Value Added Refunds (VAR). Data shows that 
approximately 10 percent of all VAR refunds requested are below $50. 
More specifically, 2.44 percent are for amounts less than $10 and 1 
percent is for amounts less that $1. The administrative costs, 
associated to both the mailer and the Postal Service, will generally 
exceed $50 making such requests a negative return on investment.
     The Postal Service provides customers with an appeals 
process for unfavorable rulings on postage refund requests made to an 
authorized PC Postage provider. These appeals require a manual, 
detailed review of the denial that was not previously accounted for in 
refunds standards. Therefore, we propose to align the refund standards 
for PC Postage appeals with the standards for meter indicia refunds. If 
an appeal of an unfavorable refund request regarding PC Postage results 
in a refund, its amount would not exceed 90 percent of the indicia's 
face value.
    Customers are reminded that, except in the event of a service 
failure on a guaranteed product or for an extra service, refund 
requests for postage purchased through an authorized PC Postage 
provider must be made directly through that provider. Only appeals to 
an adverse ruling on such requests made by a provider within the 
allotted time period may be directed to the Postal Service through the 
manager, Payment Technology, USPS Headquarters as provided in DMM 
608.8.
    If the proposed rules in this article are adopted, PS Form 3533, 
Application for Refund of Fees, will be revised to reflect the changes.
    Although we are 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), we invite public comments on 
the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), incorporated by 
reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 CFR 111.1.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Accordingly, 39 CFR part 111 is proposed to be amended as follows:

PART 111--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority: 5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-
1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 
3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

0
2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), as follows:

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail 
Manual (DMM)

100 Retail Letters, Cards, Flats, and Parcels

* * * * *

110 Express Mail

113 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Express Mail

2.1 Definition

    [Revise the first sentence of 2.1 and then add a new second 
sentence as follows:]
    Express Mail is an expedited service for shipping any mailable 
matter, with a money-back guarantee, subject to the standards below. 
Refunds standards for domestic Express Mail Next Day and Second Day 
Delivery are provided in 604.9.5. * * *
* * * * *

[[Page 16215]]

4.0 Service Features of Express Mail

* * * * *

4.2 Express Mail Next Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.2.6 Refunds in its entirety.]
* * * * *

4.3 Express Mail Second Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.3.5 Refunds in its entirety.]
* * * * *

4.4 Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)

4.4.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.4.1 as follows:]
    * * *. For EMMS, the USPS refunds standards are provided in 
604.9.5.
* * * * *

114 Postage Payment Methods

* * * * *
    [Delete 2.0, Postage Refunds, in its entirety.]
* * * * *

200 Commercial Letters and Cards

* * * * *

210 Express Mail

213 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Express Mail

3.1 Definition

    [Revise the first sentence of 3.1 then add a new second sentence as 
follows:]
    Express Mail is an expedited service for shipping any mailable 
matter, with a money-back guarantee, subject to the standards below. 
Refunds standards for domestic Express Mail are provided in 604.9.5. * 
* *
* * * * *

4.0 Service Features of Express Mail

* * * * *

4.2 Express Mail Next Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.2.5 Refunds in its entirety.]
* * * * *

4.3 Express Mail Second Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.3.5 Refunds in its entirety.]

4.4 Express Mail Custom Designed

    [Delete 4.4.8 Refunds]
* * * * *

4.5 Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * *. For EMMS, the USPS refunds standards are provided in 
604.9.5.
* * * * *

214 Postage Payment and Documentation

* * * * *
    [Delete 3.0, Postage Refunds, in its entirety.]
* * * * *

300 Commercial Flats

* * * * *

310 Express Mail

313 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Express Mail

3.1 Definition

    [Revise the first sentence of 3.1 and then insert a new second 
sentence as follows:]
    Express Mail is an expedited service for shipping any mailable 
matter, with a money-back guarantee, subject to the standards below. 
Refunds standards for domestic Express Mail are provided in 604.9.5. * 
* *
* * * * *

4.0 Service Features of Express Mail

* * * * *

4.2 Express Mail Next Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.2.5 Refunds in its entirety.]

4.3 Express Mail Second Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.3.5 Refunds in its entirety.]

4.4 Express Mail Custom Design

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.4.8 Refunds in its entirety.]

4.5 Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * *. For EMMS, the USPS refunds standards are provided in 
604.9.5.
* * * * *

314 Postage Payment and Documentation

* * * * *
    [Delete 3.0, Postage Refunds, in its entirety.]
* * * * *

400 Commercial Parcels

* * * * *

410 Express Mail

413 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Express Mail

3.1 Definition

    [Revise the first sentence of 3.1 and then insert a new second 
sentence as follows:]
    Express Mail is an expedited service for shipping any mailable 
matter, with a money-back guarantee, subject to the standards below. 
Refunds standards for domestic Express Mail are provided in 604.9.5. * 
* *
* * * * *

4.0 Service Features of Express Mail

* * * * *

4.2 Express Mail Next Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.2.5 Refunds in its entirety.]
* * * * *

4.3 Express Mail Second Day Delivery

* * * * *
    [Delete 4.3.5 Refunds in its entirety.]
* * * * *

4.4 Express Mail Custom Designed

    [Delete 4.4.9 Refunds]

4.5 Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * *. For EMMS, the USPS refunds standards are provided in 
604.9.5.
* * * * *

414 Postage Payment and Documentation

* * * * *
    [Delete 3.0, Postage Refunds, in its entirety.]
* * * * *

500 Additional Mailing Services

* * * * *

505 Return Services

1.0 Business Reply Mail (BRM)

* * * * *

1.6 Postage, Per Piece Fees, and Account Maintenance Fees

* * * * *

1.6.6 With Postage Affixed

    [Revise the fourth sentence of 1.6.6 as follows:]

[[Page 16216]]

    * * * The permit holder may request a credit to the advance deposit 
account for postage affixed to BRM. A refund may be requested under 
604.9.2 for postage affixed to BRM only if an advance deposit is not 
used.
* * * * *

500 Additional Mailing Services

* * * * *

507 Mailer Services

* * * * *

1.8 Returning Mail

1.8.5 Extra Services

    [Revise 1.8.5 by revising the text of the fourth sentence and 
adding a new fifth sentence as follows:]
    * * * The sender must sign a delivery receipt for returned Express 
Mail and for Registered Mail, COD articles, mail insured for more than 
$200, and any mail sent with return receipt for merchandise service. 
Returned Express Mail (when waiver of signature is requested by 
sender), Certified Mail, and mail with Signature Confirmation service, 
USPS Tracking/Delivery Confirmation service, or return receipt for 
merchandise service may be returned to the sender without obtaining a 
signature when those mailpieces are properly returned to sender as 
undeliverable.
* * * * *

600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

* * * * *

604 Postage Payment Methods

* * * * *

4.0 Postage Meters and PC Postage Products (``Postage Evidencing 
Systems'')

* * * * *

4.7 Authorization to Produce and Distribute Postage Evidencing Systems

    [Revise the second sentence of 4.7 as follows:]
    * * * Additional information may be obtained from the manager, 
Payment Technology (see 608.8.1 for address).
* * * * *
    [Revise the title of 9.0 as follows:]

9.0 Exchanges and Refunds

9.1 Stamp Exchanges

9.1.1 USPS Fault

* * * * *

9.1.2 Damaged in Customer's Possession

    [Revise 9.1.2 as follows:]
    Stamps, including stamped paper (cards and envelopes), that are 
damaged or otherwise unusable for postage (because of humidity, 
moisture, or other causes) while in a customer's possession may be 
exchanged only for an equal number of stamps of the same denomination 
or if applicable, unusable stamped paper may be exchanged for stamped 
paper under 9.1.2a through 9.1.2d. Unused precanceled stamps in full 
coils and in full sheets redeemed from precanceled permit holders: 90% 
of postage value. Unusable stamps, including stamped paper, accepted 
from a customer under these conditions must be those on sale at Post 
Offices within 12 months before the transaction. Quantities of the same 
denomination over $10 must be returned in the same configuration as 
when bought (i.e., sheets, coils, booklets). Each such transaction is 
limited to $100 worth of postage from each customer. These additional 
conditions apply to exchanges of stamped paper:
    a. Only the buyer may exchange stamped paper with a printed return 
address or other matter printed by the buyer.
    b. Stamped envelopes (mutilated no more than is necessary to remove 
contents): Postage value plus value of postage added because of a price 
increase or for additional service.
    c. Unmutilated single and double stamped cards: 85% of postage 
value, plus full value of postage added. Unused double stamped cards 
printed for reply should not be separated but, if they are separated in 
error and the buyer presents both halves, the cards may be redeemed. 
Reply halves of double stamped cards returned to sender outside of the 
mail are not redeemable by the original buyer, even though the reply 
half received no postal service.
    d. Stamps affixed to commercial envelopes and postcards: 90% of 
postage value. Envelopes and postcards must be in substantially whole 
condition and in lots of at least 50 of the same denomination and 
value.
* * * * *
    [Renumber current 9.1.4 as new 9.1.8.]
    [Renumber current 9.1.5 as new 9.1.4.]
    [Add new 9.1.5 (renumbered from current 9.2.8) and revise the text 
as follows:]

9.1.5 Semipostal Stamps

    Customers may exchange semipostal stamps for their postage value 
(i.e., the price of the stamps less the contribution amount) to the 
extent that exchange of postage stamps is permitted. The postage the 
customer exchanges is equal to the First-Class Mail single-piece one-
ounce letter price in effect at the time of exchange. However, if the 
customer provides a receipt showing the date of purchase, the postage 
exchanged is equal to the postage price in effect at the time of 
purchase. The contribution amount is not refundable and is not included 
in the exchange value.
    [Delete 9.1.6, Exchange of Spoiled and Unused Postal Matter, in its 
entirety.]
    [Delete current 9.1.7, Stamps Converted to Other Postage Forms, in 
its entirety.]
    [Renumber current 9.1.8 as new 9.1.7 and revise the introductory 
text of renumbered 9.1.7 as follows:]

9.1.7 Not Exchangeable

    The following postage items cannot be exchanged:
    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.1.7 item a. as follows:]
    a. Adhesive stamps, unless mistakes were made in buying (9.1.4), 
stamps were defective or stamps were affixed to commercial envelopes 
and postcards.
* * * * *
    [Revise the title of renumbered 9.1.8 as follows:]

9.1.8 Appeal of Denied Exchange

* * * * *

9.2 Postage and Fee Refunds

    [Revise the title of 9.2.1 as follows:]

9.2.1 General Standards

    A refund of postage and fees may be made:
* * * * *
    [Revise item 9.2.1b by deleting the second sentence and revising 
the text of the first sentence as follows:]
    Under 9.3 for postage evidencing systems refund requests (4.0), 
which includes postage meters and PC Postage products. * * *
    [Revise item 9.2.1c as follows:]
    c. Under 9.4 for Value Added Refund (VAR) requests made at the time 
of mailing.
    [Delete item 9.2.1e (relocated as part of renumbered 9.2.3 item 
m).]
    [Delete current 9.2.3, Torn or Defaced Mail, in its entirety 
(relocated as part of renumbered 9.2.3, item l).]
    [Renumber current 9.2.4 through 9.2.7 as new 9.2.3 through 9.2.6.]

9.2.3 Full Refund

    A full (100%) refund or credit may be made when:
* * * * *
    [Delete redesignated item 9.2.3e and redesignate items 9.2.3f 
through 9.2.3l as new items 9.2.3e through 9.2.3k.]
    [Revise renumbered item h by adding a new second sentence as 
follows:]

[[Page 16217]]

    h. * * * The permit holder should request a credit to its advance 
deposit account, unless an advance deposit account is not used or is 
unavailable and a refund is requested.
    [Add new items 9.2.3l and 9.2.3m as follows:]
    l. If a First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, Standard 
Post or Package Services mailpiece is torn or defaced during USPS 
handling so that the addressee or intended delivery point cannot be 
identified. Where possible, the damaged item is returned with the 
postage refund.
    m. Under the terms of a contract between a contract postal unit 
(CPU) and the USPS for unused postage printed by the CPU.
    [Revise the title of 9.2.4 as follows:]

9.2.4 Postage Refunds Not Available

    * * * No refunds may be made for the following:
* * * * *
    [Revise renumbered item 9.2.4e as follows:]
    e. Unused Priority Mail Forever Prepaid Flat Rate packaging. Exact 
exchanges are made directly through the Express and Priority Mail 
Supply Center (EPMSC) by calling 800-610-8734 and are only authorized 
when the unused packaging purchased by credit card from www.usps.com 
arrives in damaged condition.
    [Add new items 9.2.4f, 9.2.4g and 9.2.4h as follows:]
    f. For postage (and/or fees for extra services not rendered) when a 
postmarked (round-dated) mailing receipt or a valid USPS acceptance or 
mail processing scan is not available.
    g. For extra service fees, when a refund is requested less than 10 
days, or more than 18 months, from the date that the service was 
purchased.
    h. For extra service fees, when the service could not be provided 
and the mailpieces are properly returned to sender as undeliverable.

9.2.5 Applying for Refund

    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.2.5 as follows:]
    For refunds under 9.2, the customer must apply for a refund on Form 
3533; submit it to the postmaster; and provide the envelope, wrapper 
(or a part of it) showing the names and addresses of the sender and 
addressee, canceled postage and postal markings, or other evidence of 
postage and fees paid. The local postmaster grants or denies refund 
requests under 9.2. If the request is granted, the amount refunded may 
not exceed 90% of the indicia's face value. Payment processing is 
through USPS Accounting Services. Adverse rulings may be appealed 
through the postmaster to the manager, Pricing and Classification 
Service Center (see 608.8.0), who issues the final agency decision. 
Refunds for postage evidencing systems postage are submitted under 9.3.
    [Delete renumbered 9.2.6.]
    [Renumber current 9.2.9 as new 9.2.6 and revise the title and text 
as follows:]

9.2.6 Postage Affixed to Business Reply Mail

    The permit holder may request a credit to an advance deposit 
account for postage affixed to BRM. A refund may be requested for 
postage affixed to BRM only if an advance deposit is not used or is 
unavailable. Refunds are not given for foreign postage affixed to BRM. 
The permit holder must submit a completed Form 3533 to the postmaster 
documenting the excess postage payment for which a credit or refund is 
desired. The permit holder also must present properly faced and banded 
bundles of 100 identical BRM pieces with identical amounts of postage 
affixed when quantities allow. Once processed, the amount credited or 
refunded for postage affixed on BRM may not exceed 90% of the face 
value. Credits or refunds are not given for any BRM or QBRM per piece 
charges, annual accounting fees, quarterly fees, or monthly maintenance 
fees.
* * * * *
    [Revise the title of 9.3 as follows:]

9.3 Refunds for Postage Evidencing Systems

    [Renumber current 9.3.1 as new 9.3.7.]
    [Add new item 9.3.1 as follows:]

9.3.1 Description

    Postage meters and PC Postage products are collectively identified 
as ``postage evidencing systems.'' A postage evidencing system is a 
device or system of components a customer uses to print evidence that 
required postage has been paid. Refunds for postage and fees when 
payment is made by postage evidencing system indicia are granted as 
applicable in 9.3.2 through 9.3.12 and as follows:
    a. Refund requests must include the entire envelope or wrapper or a 
sufficient portion of the container showing the indicia must be 
included to validate that the item was never deposited with the USPS. 
Unused metered postage must not be removed from the mailpiece 
(including unmailed meter reply mail).
    b. Indicia printed on labels or tapes not adhered to wrappers or 
envelopes must be submitted loose and must not be stapled together or 
attached to any paper or other medium. Self-adhesive labels printed 
without a backing may be submitted on a plain sheet of paper.
    c. If a part of one indicium is printed on one envelope or card and 
the remaining part on one or others, the envelopes or cards must be 
fastened together to show that they represent one indicium.
    d. Refunds are allowable for indicia on metered reply envelopes 
only when it is obvious that an incorrect amount of postage was printed 
on them.
    [Revise the title and text of 9.3.2 as follows:]

9.3.2 General Standards for Metered Indicia Refunds

    Unused metered indicia are postage amounts (which may include fees) 
already imprinted onto any mailpiece, shipping label or meter strip 
(stamp) that was never mailed. Such meter indicia are considered for 
refund only if complete, legible, and valid. Authorized users must 
submit requests within 60 days of the date(s) shown in the indicia. 
Requests must include proof (such as a copy of the lease or contract) 
that the person or entity requesting the refund is the authorized user 
of the postage meter that printed the indicia. See 9.3.3 for additional 
standards applicable to dated, unused metered indicia and 9.3.4 for 
additional standards applicable to undated, unused metered indicia. For 
both types of unused metered indicia, submit refund requests as 
follows:
    a. The items with unused postage must be sorted by meter used and 
then by postage value shown in the indicia, and must be properly faced 
and bundled in groups of 100 identical items when quantities allow.
    b. Submit a refund request with a separate Form 3533 for each meter 
for which a refund is requested. Complete all identifying information 
and sections of the form. Refunds are processed as follows:
    1. If the request is granted, the amount refunded may not exceed 
90% of the face value.
    2. If a request is denied, the authorized user may appeal within 30 
days of the ruling to the Manager, Pricing and Classification Center 
(see 608.8.0), who issues the final agency decision. The original meter 
indicia must be submitted with the appeal.
    [Renumber current 9.3.3 as new 9.3.10.]
    [Add new 9.3.3 as follows:]

9.3.3 Dated, Unused Meter Indicia

    Refund requests for dated, unused meter indicia must be submitted 
to the local Post Office, under 9.3.1 and 9.3.2.

[[Page 16218]]

The request is processed by the local Postmaster, who grants or denies 
the refund.
    [Revise the title and text of 9.3.4 as follows:]

9.3.4 Undated, Unused Meter Indicia

    Authorized users, or the commercial entity that prepared the 
mailing for the authorized user, must submit refund requests for 
undated, unused meter indicia under 9.3.1 and as follows:
    a. The request must include a letter signed by the authorized user, 
or by the commercial entity that prepared the mailing, explaining why 
the mailpieces were not mailed.
    b. The minimum quantity of unused, undated metered postage that may 
be submitted for refund is 500 pieces from a single mailing or indicia 
with a total postage value of at least $500 from a single mailing.
    c. Supporting documentation must be submitted to validate the date. 
Examples of supporting documentation include the job order from the 
customer, production records, the USPS qualification report, spoilage 
report, and reorders created report, as well as customer billing 
records, postage statements, and a sample mailpiece.
    d. The request must be submitted (with the items bearing unused 
postage and the documentation) to the manager, business mail entry at 
the USPS district overseeing the mailer's local Post Office, or to a 
designee authorized in writing. The manager or designee approves or 
denies the refund request.
    [Renumber current 9.3.5 as new 9.3.9.]
    [Renumber current 9.3.6 as new 9.3.5.]

9.3.5 Ineligible Metered Postage Items

    The following metered postage items are ineligible for refunds:
    [Revise renumbered item 9.3.5a as follows:]
    a. Meter reply pieces unless an incorrect postage price was 
printed.
* * * * *
    [Revise renumbered item 9.3.5c as follows:]
    c. Loose indicia printed on labels or tape that have been stapled 
together or attached to paper or other medium, except under 9.3.2c.
    [Revise renumbered item 9.3.5e as follows:]
    e. Indicia printed on mail returned to sender as undeliverable as 
addressed.
    [Delete current 9.3.7, Refunds for Metered Postage, in its entirety 
and renumber current 9.3.8 as new 9.3.6.]

9.3.6 Rounding Numerical Values

    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.3.6 as follows:]
    Any fraction of a cent in the total to be refunded is rounded down 
to the whole cent. Any such rounding is unrelated to calculating a 90% 
maximum.
    [Revise the title and text of renumbered 9.3.7 as follows:]

9.3.7 Unused Postage Value in Meter

    The unused postage value remaining in a meter system when withdrawn 
from service may be refunded, depending upon the circumstance and the 
ability of the USPS to make a responsible determination of the actual 
or approximate amount of the unused postage value. When postage meters 
are withdrawn because of faulty operation, a final postage adjustment 
or refund will be withheld pending the system provider's report of the 
cause. Once provided, the USPS will make the determination of whether a 
refund is warranted and any refund amount, if applicable.
    When a meter damaged by fire, flood, or similar disaster is 
returned to the provider, postage may be refunded or transferred when 
the registers are legible and accurate, or the register values can be 
reconstructed by the provider based on adequate supporting 
documentation. When the damaged meter is not available for return, 
postage may be refunded or transferred only if the provider can 
accurately determine the remaining postage value based on adequate 
supporting documentation. The authorized user may be required to 
provide a statement as to the cause of the damage and the absence of 
any reimbursement by insurance or otherwise, and that the authorized 
user will not also seek such reimbursement. No refund is given for 
faulty operation caused by the authorized user, for a decertified 
meter, or if a meter is reported lost by the provider and recovered 
after 365 days. Refunds for unused postage value in meter systems are 
provided as follows:
    a. Authorized users must notify their provider to withdraw the 
meter and to refund any unused postage value remaining on it.
    b. The meter must be examined to verify the amount before any funds 
are cleared from the meter. Based on what is found, a refund or credit 
may be initiated for unused postage value, or additional money owing 
for postage value used.
    c. The provider forwards the refund request to the USPS for payment 
or credit to the authorized user's mailing account.
    d. The USPS will not issue individual customer refunds for unused 
postage value less than $25.00 remaining in a meter.
    [Add new 9.3.8 as follows:]

9.3.8 General Standards for PC Postage Indicia Refunds

    Unused PC Postage indicia are considered for refund only if 
complete, legible, valid and documented pursuant to 9.3.1. See 9.3.9 
for additional standards applicable to requests for undated unused PC 
Postage indicia and 9.3.10 and 9.3.11 for additional standards 
applicable to requests for refunds of dated unused PC Postage indicia. 
For all types of unused PC Postage indicia, submit refund requests as 
follows:
    a. Only authorized PC Postage users may request a refund.
    b. The PC Postage system provider grants or denies a request for a 
refund for PC Postage indicia using established USPS criteria.
    c. If a request is denied, the authorized user may appeal within 30 
days of the ruling through the manager, Payment Technology, USPS 
Headquarters (see 608.8) who issues the final agency decision. Requests 
for appeal must include the physical submission of the original label. 
If the exact numerical value of postage paid is not displayed in the 
indicia, the customer must submit the corresponding transaction log. 
The customer's specific reason for requesting the appeal must be 
included. If the appeal to an unfavorable refund request ruling results 
in a refund being granted, the amount refunded may not exceed 90% of 
the indicia's face value.
    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.3.9 as follows:]

9.3.9 Unused, Undated PC Postage Indicia

    Refunds will not normally be provided for valid, undated, 
serialized PC Postage indicia containing commonly used postage values. 
If the authorized user believes extraordinary circumstances justify an 
exception, requests for such refunds must include a detailed 
explanation. Requests will be considered by the PC Postage system 
provider on a case by case basis and as provided in 9.3.1 and, 9.3.8.
    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.3.10 as follows:]

9.3.10 Unused, Dated PC Postage Indicia With PIC

    The refund request should reflect any package identification code 
(PIC). Requests for refund of international mail postage (domestic 
origin only) and fees may include valid PICs for any form of USPS 
Tracking/Delivery Confirmation,

[[Page 16219]]

Signature Confirmation, or Express Mail service, and include those PICs 
available through the Track & Confirm service on usps.com. Requests for 
refund of PC Postage indicia that contain a valid Postal Identification 
Code (PIC) are provided as follows:
    a. Requests must be submitted by authorized users to their provider 
electronically in accordance with procedures available from their 
provider. Physical submission of labels to the provider is not 
permitted.
    b. Requests must be initiated for within ten (10) days of printing 
the indicia.
    c. If a postage refund is granted, the original physical shipping 
label must be destroyed by the authorized user.
    d. The provider may, at its discretion, charge for processing a 
refund request.
    [Add new items 9.3.11 and 9.3.12 as follows:]

9.3.11 Unused, Dated PC Postage Indicia Without PIC

    Requests for refund of dated, unused PC Postage indicia which do 
not have an associated PIC must be submitted as provided in 9.3.1 and 
as follows:
    a. Must be physically submitted by authorized users to their 
provider, along with the items bearing the unused postage, in 
accordance with procedures available from their provider. Authorized 
users must submit the refund request within sixty (60) days of the 
date(s) shown in the indicia.
    b. The provider may, at its discretion, charge for processing a 
refund request.

9.3.12 Unused Postage Value in PC Postage Systems

    Authorized users must notify their PC Postage provider to withdraw 
a system and to refund any unused postage value remaining in that 
account. The provider refunds the unused postage value remaining in the 
user's system on behalf of the USPS. Individual customer refunds are 
not issued for unused postage value less than $25.00 remaining in a PC 
Postage system.
    [Revise the title of 9.4 as follows:]

9.4 Value Added Refunds

* * * * *

9.4.14 Criteria for Mailing

    A mailing for which a VAR request is submitted must meet these 
criteria:
* * * * *
    [Add a new item 9.4.14f as follows:]
    f. Each mailing refund request must be for at least $50 in postage. 
Customers may not combine multiple postage statements on a single Form 
3533 to reach the $50 minimum threshold.
* * * * *

9.5 Express Mail Postage Refund

    [Renumber current items 9.5.1 through 9.5.7 as new items 9.5.4 
through 9.5.11.]
    [Add new items 9.5.1 through 9.5.3 as follows:]

9.5.1 Express Mail Next Day and Second Day Delivery

    For Express Mail Next Day and Second Day Delivery, the USPS refunds 
the postage for an item not available for customer pickup at 
destination or for which delivery to the addressee was not attempted, 
subject to the standards for this service, unless the delay was caused 
by one of the situations in 9.5.6, Refunds Not Given.

9.5.2 Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)

    For EMMS, the USPS refunds postage for an item not available for 
customer pickup at the APO/FPO or DPO address or for which delivery to 
the addressee was not attempted domestically within the times specified 
by the standards for this service, unless the item was delayed by 
Customs; the item was destined for an APO/FPO or DPO that was closed on 
the intended day of delivery (delivery is attempted the next business 
day); or the delay was caused by one of the situations in 9.5.6, 
Refunds Not Given.

9.5.3 Express Mail Custom Designed

    For Express Mail Custom Designed, the USPS refunds the postage for 
an item not available for customer pickup at destination or not 
delivered to the addressee within 24 hours of mailing, unless the item 
was mailed under a service agreement that provides for delivery more 
than 24 hours after scheduled presentation at the point of origin or if 
the delay was caused by one of the situations in 9.5.6, Refunds Not 
Given.
* * * * *

9.5.5 Conditions for Refund

    [Revise the second sentence of newly renumbered 9.5.6 as follows:]
    * * * Except as provided in 9.5.6, a mailer may file for a postage 
refund only if the item was not delivered, delivery was not attempted, 
or if the item was not made available for claim by the delivery date 
and time specified at the time of mailing.
* * * * *

9.5.6 Refunds Not Given

    Postage refunds may not be available if delivery was attempted 
within the times required for the specific service, or if the 
guaranteed service was not provided due to any of the circumstances as 
follows:
    [Revise 9.5.6 by adding new items a. through i. as follows:]
    a. The item was properly detained for law enforcement purposes (see 
Administrative Support Manual 274).
    b. The item was delayed due to strike or work stoppage.
    c. The item was delayed because of an incorrect ZIP Code or 
address; or forwarding or return service was provided after the item 
was made available for claim.
    d. The shipment is available for delivery, but the addressee made a 
written request that the shipment be held for delayed delivery.
    e. The shipment is undeliverable as addressed.
    f. If authorized by USPS Headquarters, and the delay was caused by 
governmental action beyond the control of USPS or air carriers; war, 
insurrection, or civil disturbance; delay or cancellation of flights; 
projected or scheduled transportation delays; breakdown of a 
substantial portion of USPS transportation network resulting from 
events or factors outside the control of USPS; or acts of God.
    g. The shipment contained live animals and was delivered or 
delivery was attempted within 3 days of the date of mailing.
    h. The Express Mail Next Day shipment was mailed December 22 
through December 25 and was delivered or delivery was attempted within 
2 business days of the date of mailing.
    i. The postage refund was other than for loss, and the Express Mail 
piece was destined to Guam, American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the 
Northern Mariana Islands, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, or the 
Federated States of Micronesia (see 608.2.4.1 for ZIP Codes).
* * * * *
    [Insert new 9.6, Refund Request for Special Postage Payment 
Systems.]

9.6 Refund Request for Special Postage Payment Systems

    Refund requests are decided based on the specific type of postage 
or mailing. A mailer's request for a refund for mailings presented 
using any Special Postage Payment System in 705.0 must be submitted to 
the manager, Business Mailer Support, USPS Headquarters (see 608.8.0 
for address). Except as otherwise provided in 604.9, refunds request 
for postage paid through Special Postage Payment Systems are assessed 
an administrative processing fee equal to 10% of the total postage 
value of the

[[Page 16220]]

refund amount, regardless of whether the refund is granted or denied.
* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to 
reflect these changes if our proposal is adopted.
* * * * *

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Legal Policy & Legislative Advice.
[FR Doc. 2013-05863 Filed 3-13-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P