[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 26, 2013)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 38203-38210]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-15215]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Refunds and Exchanges

AGENCY: Postal Service\TM\.

ACTION: Final rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service is revising 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, and to standardize processes for 
requesting refunds for PC Postage[supreg] labels and extra service 
refunds.

DATES: Effective date: July 28, 2013.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Vicki Bosch, Business Mailers Support, 
vicki.m.bosch@usps.gov, 202-268-4978; Douglas Germer, Revenue/Field 
Accounting, douglas.g.germer@usps.gov, 202-268-8522; Hank Heren, 
Payment Technology, hank.g.heren@usps.gov, 309-671-8926; Karen Key, 
Shipping Products, karen.f.key@usps.gov, 202-268-2282; Suzanne Newman, 
Product Classification, suzanne.j.newman@usps.gov, 202-268-5581.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Postal Service published a notice of 
proposed rulemaking on March 14, 2013 (78 FR 16213), which included a 
30 day comment period. After review of the comments and further 
consideration, the Postal Service provides this final rule.

A. Comments

    The Postal Service received fourteen formal responses to our 
proposed rule as comments, four of which included comments about more 
than one issue. There were two responses by customers, nine by mailers, 
one by a postal employee; and two by mailer associations.

Changes To Refund Amount Assessments

    Seven mailers and two mailer associations requested that the Postal 
Service withdraw or alter the proposed change to replace hourly 
assessments, used when granting specific postage refunds, with an 
assessment of not more than 90 percent of the face value of postage. 
This proposed change affected postage refunds for dated or undated, 
unused postage meter indicia; for stamps affixed to Business Reply 
Mail[supreg] (BRM) pieces; and for refunds requested under Special 
Postage Payment Systems under DMM 705 (which provides for refunds only 
under extenuating circumstances and where a mailer or third party 
provider is at fault, not the Postal Service). The commenters generally 
suggested that the Postal Service either retain the hourly 
administrative assessment and/or set a refund threshold amount for 
assessments at 90 percent of the face value. One mailer and one mailer 
association suggested a mailer/USPS[supreg] task team be established to 
determine the changes to these postage refund assessments. Two 
commenters provided similar examples of a recent mailer refund request 
assessed at an hourly administrative cost compared to an assessment at 
the face value of the amount of postage to demonstrate that the charges 
under the proposed rule would be excessive. The example describes a 
PostalOne![supreg] reversal due to a mailer's incorrect postage 
statement; the proposed rule would not have altered the charges 
assessed in that instance. One mailer association questioned whether 
the proposed rule applied to postage withdrawals from a permit imprint 
advance deposit account. The proposed rule made no mention of revising 
the current process for withdrawals from permit imprint advance deposit 
accounts. As a result of these comments in general, the Postal Service 
will publish a revised Federal Register notice-proposed rule addressing 
this particular subject.

Refunds for Adhesive Stamps in Connection With Authorized Marketing 
Programs

    One commenter requested the Postal Service continue to provide 
refunds for adhesive stamps affixed to un-mailed matter in connection 
with an authorized marketing program. Under current standards for the 
exchange of stamps affixed to commercial envelope and cards, customers 
would not be adversely affected by removing the reference to (USPS) 
authorized marketing programs. Therefore, the Postal Service will 
remove the unnecessary references to an authorized marketing program 
from the DMM.

Establishing a Minimum Threshold for VAR Refunds

    One commenter disagreed with the Postal Service proposing a minimum 
threshold of $50.00 for Value Added Refunds (VAR) and also commented 
that the overall concept was understandable. The commenter recommended 
a $25.00 minimum threshold and suggested that the Postal Service 
require VAR refunds to be made by Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) in an 
effort to reduce the manual costs of processing VARs. Since the 
majority of VAR refunds are done by EFT today, requiring VARs only 
through EFT may not serve to eliminate or significantly reduce the 
current costs to process the VAR. Therefore, based on a need to cover 
actual costs and improve efficiencies in this area, the Postal Service 
is establishing a minimum threshold of $50.00 for VARs as part of this 
final rule.

Refunds and Exchanges of Damaged or Unused Stamps or Stamped Matter

    One commenter voiced his displeasure with the following four DMM 
revisions pertaining to the proposed rule:
     The commenter disagreed with the Postal Service's proposal 
to extend the same provision to exchanging unusable stamped paper as 
provided for unusable stamps when spoiled in the customer's possession; 
which must be those items on sale within 12 months before the 
transaction. Rather than continue to treat customers with similar types 
of exchanges differently, the Postal Service will align the exchange of 
similar types of postage-related items under the same established 
principle; exchange is limited to items on sale within 12 months before 
the transaction.
     The commenter indicated the provision allowing the 
redemption of unusable aerogrammes spoiled in the customer's possession 
appears to be

[[Page 38204]]

omitted from the proposed rule. This change was included in the 
proposed rule in general as an obsolete standard. Aerogrammes have not 
been available for purchase since 2007. Additionally, the proposed rule 
to revise stamped matter presented for exchange to those items on sale 
within the last 12 months would eliminate the ability to redeem 
aerogrammes. Based on these facts and the final rules in this notice, 
the Postal Service is removing the option to redeem aerogrammes from 
mailing standards. Customers are reminded that previously purchased 
aerogrammes are currently mailable at the applicable First-Class Mail 
International letter-size price.
     The commenter states that the explanation of the proposed 
rule refers to the use of the Special Delivery stamp and that 
individuals who have purchased Special Delivery stamps should be able 
to use them for any purpose now that the Postal Service has eliminated 
that service. The customer compares this to his opinion that this is 
unfair to not allow the use of the Special Delivery stamp as it should 
be the same as being able to use the 15-cent Certified Mail stamp, 
issued in 1955, as postage. Special Delivery stamps have not been 
available for purchase since 2007 and based on current standards, 
neither the Certified Mail[supreg] stamp nor the Special Delivery stamp 
are allowed to be used as postage. As a result, the obsolete references 
to Special Delivery service will be removed from the DMM as part of 
this final rule.
     The commenter states that the redemption permitting 
conversion of postage stamps to a deposit to a permit imprint account 
was being eliminated without the Postal Service stating the reason for 
this change. The proposed rule served to remove obsolete standards from 
the DMM in general, as indicated in the preamble. The use of this 
option has declined steadily over the years and is now rarely or never 
used, and no other comments from any customer claiming to use this 
option were received. Therefore, this final rule removes the option for 
conversion of postage stamps to a deposit to a permit imprint account.

Clarifications

    Four comments included requests for further clarification on the 
limits of $100.00 for stamp exchanges for ``each such transaction''. 
This final rule revises the DMM language to provide clarity and define 
``each such transaction'' under the $100.00 exchange limit.
    One commenter expressed concern whether the proposed rules aligning 
the refund standards for PC Postage with the standards for meter 
indicia refunds would adversely affect the retail acceptance offices 
processing these refund requests. There was no mention in the proposed 
rule that would change the processing of PC Postage refunds requests 
from the vendors to USPS Retail units.
    One commenter requested clarification on whether the proposed rule 
was actually eliminating their ``current practice'' of cutting unused 
postage stamps from envelopes and affixing them to sheets of paper for 
refund. The standards mentioned were merely being relocated, not being 
revised. Furthermore, customers are advised that current standards 
prohibit refunds being made for unused stamps cut from envelopes (and 
affixing them to paper), therefore, this practice should be 
discontinued immediately.
    Although no comments were received to the proposal to include 
language in the DMM, consistent with existing delivery record retention 
periods, for those refund requests for extra services not rendered, the 
Postal Service plans to publish a revised Federal Register notice in 
the nearby future which will include more comprehensive information in 
this regard.

B. Summary of Changes To Be Implemented

    Technological advances have facilitated expansion of authorized 
postage payment methods and for requesting postage refunds. As a 
result, certain manual refund processes have become unnecessary and 
inefficient. Additionally, as new postage payment methods options were 
adopted, some refund and appeals time periods were inadvertently 
omitted. These revisions will serve to correct earlier changes, provide 
clarity, and remove obsolete standards from the DMM as follows:
    Permit holders may request a credit to an advanced deposit account 
for postage stamps affixed to BRM pieces, and for annual presort 
mailing fees paid but never used. A direct postage refund may be 
requested for postage affixed to BRM only if an advance deposit account 
is not used or is unavailable.
    Clarifications are being made that meter postage refunds are not 
given for a decertified meter or for a meter which is reported lost by 
the provider and recovered after 365 days.
    As a result of removing obsolete stamp conversion standards as part 
of this final rule (i.e. converting stamps to other postage forms; 
references to the former Special Delivery service; and to providing 
refunds for adhesive stamps affixed to unmailed matter in connection 
with an authorized marketing program) only exchanges of Semipostal 
stamps will be permitted.
    Additional language will be included in our 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 valid USPS acceptance/
mail processing scans, a USPS postmarked (round-dated) mailing receipt 
or a retail Post Office mailing receipt.
    Prior to the availability of electronic scanning data, signatures 
were routinely captured for mailpieces being returned to the sender as 
undeliverable. Additionally, mailpieces with extra services, including 
those that may not include indemnity, such as Certified Mail[supreg] 
and Signature Confirmation\TM\, are designed to capture the signature 
of the recipient indicated by the sender as the addressee on the 
mailpiece. This final rule will clarify that if the sender or the 
sender's agent is not available to sign for returned, undeliverable 
Certified Mail, return receipt for merchandise, and Signature 
Confirmation items, capturing the sender's signature is not required. 
Return to sender scans will still be provided in these cases. Customers 
are reminded that postage refunds for services not rendered are not 
provided when a signature of the sender is not captured when the piece 
has been properly returned to sender with reason for non-delivery.
    Duplicate references to when Express Mail[supreg] refunds are not 
given, as provided in DMM 114.2.0, 214.3.0, 314.3.0, and 414.3.0, along 
with other related refund standards, will be relocated to the existing 
DMM section for Express Mail Postage Refunds (605.9.5).
    Data shows that the administrative costs, associated to both the 
mailer and the Postal Service, to provide a Value Added Refund (VAR) 
will generally exceed $50.00 making such requests a negative return on 
investment. Therefore, a minimum refund amount of $50.00 per mailing is 
established in the file rule for VARs.
    The Postal Service provides customers with an appeal 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, the refund standards for PC Postage appeals are being 
aligned under the same established principles as for meter indicia 
refunds, which take a similar amount of manual steps to review and 
adjudicate. Therefore, if an appeal to an

[[Page 38205]]

unfavorable ruling on a refund request for PC Postage indicia results 
in a refund being granted, the refund amount would not exceed 90 
percent of the face value of the indicia. Customers are also reminded 
that, except in the event of a service failure on a guaranteed product 
or 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 refund period may be directed to the 
Postal Service through the manager, Payment Technology, USPS 
Headquarters. Subsequently, as part of this final rule, the Postal 
Service will expand the refund period for customers to request postage 
refunds through their provider for PC Postage indicia containing a 
valid Postal Identification Code (PIC) from 10 days to 30 days. This is 
being done in an effort to give customers additional time to reconcile 
their shipping records and to help reduce the amount of requests for 
appeals being received beyond the current 10 day refund filing period.
    As a result of these revisions, PS Form 3533, Application for 
Refund of Fees, will be revised to reflect the changes.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    Accordingly, for the reasons stated in the preamble, 39 CFR part 
111 is 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 the 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 Priority Mail Express

113 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

2.0 Basic Eligibility Standards for Priority Mail Express

2.1 Definition

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

4.0 Service Features of Priority Mail Express

* * * * *

4.2 Priority Mail Express Next Day Delivery

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

4.3 Priority Mail Express Second Day Delivery

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

4.4 Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)

4.4.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.4.1 as follows:]
    * * * For PMEMS, 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 Priority Mail Express

213 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Priority Mail Express

3.1 Definition

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

4.0 Service Features of Priority Mail Express

* * * * *

4.2 Priority Mail Express Next Day Delivery

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

4.3 Priority Mail Express Second Day Delivery

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

4.4 Priority Mail Express Custom Designed

    [Delete 4.4.8 Refunds]
* * * * *

4.5 Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * * For PMEMS, 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 Priority Mail Express

313 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Priority Mail Express

3.1 Definition

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

4.0 Service Features of Priority Mail Express

* * * * *

4.2 Priority Mail Express Next Day Delivery

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

[[Page 38206]]

4.3 Priority Mail Express Second Day Delivery

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

4.4 Priority Mail Express Custom Design

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

4.5 Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * * For PMEMS, 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 Priority Mail Express

413 Prices and Eligibility

* * * * *

3.0 Basic Standards for Priority Mail Express

3.1 Definition

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

4.0 Service Features of Priority Mail Express

* * * * *

4.2 Priority Mail Express Next Day Delivery

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

4.3 Priority Mail Express Second Day Delivery

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

4.4 Priority Mail Express Custom Designed

    [Delete 4.4.9 Refunds]

4.5 Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)

4.5.1 Objectives

    [Replace the third sentence of 4.5.1 as follows:]
    * * * For PMEMS, 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:]
    * * * 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 Priority 
Mail Express and for Registered Mail, COD articles, mail insured for 
more than $200, and any mail sent with return receipt for merchandise 
service. Returned Priority Mail Express (when waiver of signature is 
requested by sender), Certified Mail, and mail with Signature 
Confirmation, 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

    [Revise the title and text of 9.1.2 as follows:]

9.1.2 Unusable, Damaged Stamps or Stamped Paper

    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, or stamped paper, alike 
and of the same denomination. Unusable stamps, including stamped paper, 
accepted from a customer must be those on sale at Post Offices within 
12 months before the transaction. Quantities of the same denomination 
totaling over $10 (i.e., sheets, coils, booklets) must be returned in 
the same configuration as when bought. Except as provided in item e, 
each such transaction is limited to $100 worth of postage from each 
customer. These additional conditions apply to exchanges of damaged or 
unusable stamps or 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 any added postage due to 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

[[Page 38207]]

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.
    e. Unused precanceled stamps in full coils and in full sheets 
redeemed from precanceled permit holders: 90% of postage 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 9.1.6 as follows:]

9.1.6 Not Exchangeable

    The following postage items cannot be exchanged:
    [Revise the text of renumbered 9.1.6 item a. as follows:]
    a. Adhesive stamps, unless mistakes were made in buying (9.1.4), 
stamps were defective, stamps are affixed to commercial envelopes and 
postcards, or under 9.1.2.
* * * * *
    [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:]
    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 9.2.4c as follows:
    c. Unused adhesive stamps (may be exchanged under 9.1, Stamp 
Exchanges).
    [Revise renumbered item 9.2.4e as follows:]
    e. Unused Priority Mail Forever Prepaid Flat Rate packaging. Only 
same packaging exchanges may be made directly through the Express and 
Priority Mail Supply Center (EPMSC) by calling 800-610-8734. Exchanges 
are only authorized when the unused packaging, purchased by credit card 
from http://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, retail Post Office mailing 
receipt or valid USPS acceptance/mail processing scan events are not 
available.
    g. For extra service fees for services that include obtaining 
addressee signatures, except Signature Confirmation, 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. 
For Signature Confirmation fees when a refund is requested less than 10 
days, or more than 10 months, from the date that the service was 
purchased.

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 when the total face value of 
the indicia is $350 or less. When the total face value of the indicia 
is more than $350, the amount refunded is the total face value reduced 
by $35 per hour for the USPS time to process the refund, with a minimum 
charge of $35. The charge is $35 for each hour spent, with the last 
fraction of an hour treated as a full hour. For example, if the time to 
process the refund is 2 hours and 12 minutes, the charge is $35 for 3 
hours ($105), which is deducted from the total face value of the 
indicia. USPS may process the refund payment via a no-fee postal money 
order for amounts up to $500.
    Payment processing is through Accounting Service Center. 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.

[[Page 38208]]

    [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

    A business reply mail (BRM) permit holder may request a credit to 
an advance deposit account for postage affixed to returned BRM pieces. 
A refund may be requested for postage affixed to BRM only if an advance 
deposit is not used or is unavailable. Only the value of the postage 
affixed may be credited or refunded. 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 (when quantities allow) 
identical BRM pieces with identical amounts of postage affixed. A 
charge of $35.00 per hour, or fraction thereof, is assessed for the 
workhours used to process the credit or refund. 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. Charges for processing a refund request for 
unused, dated meter indicia are as follows, depending on the total face 
value of the indicia:
    1. When the total face value of the indicia is $350 or less, the 
amount refunded is 90% of the face value. USPS may process the refund 
payment via a no-fee postal money order; or
    2. When the total face value of the indicia is more than $350, the 
amount refunded is the total face value reduced by $35 per hour for the 
USPS time to process the refund, with a minimum charge of $35. The 
charge is $35 for each hour spent, with the last fraction of an hour 
treated as a full hour. For example, if the time to process the refund 
is 2 hours and 12 minutes, the charge is $35 for 3 hours ($105), which 
is deducted from the total face value of the indicia. USPS may process 
the refund payment via a no-fee postal money order for amounts up to 
$500. Payment processing for refunds of $500.01 or more is through the 
Accounting Service Center.
    c. 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. 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:]

[[Page 38209]]

    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 adverse 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, Signature Confirmation, or Priority Mail Express 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 thirty (30) 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

[[Page 38210]]

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 $50.00 in 
postage. Customers may not combine multiple postage statements on a 
single Form 3533 to reach the $50.00 minimum threshold.
* * * * *

9.5 Priority Mail Express 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 Priority Mail Express Next Day and Second Day Delivery

    For Priority Mail Express 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.

9.5.2 Priority Mail Express Military Service (PMEMS)

    For PMEMS, 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.

9.5.3 Priority Mail Express Custom Designed

    For Priority Mail Express 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.
* * * * *

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 Priority Mail Express 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 Priority 
Mail Express 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).
* * * * *
    We will publish an amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to reflect these 
changes.

Stanley F. Mires,
Attorney, Legal Policy & Legislative Advice.
[FR Doc. 2013-15215 Filed 6-25-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P