Founding father and first Postmaster General Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying, “There are only two things certain in life: death and taxes.” While people might not like death and taxes, they do like certainty. That’s especially true for mailers.
Mailers have pushed for predictability in postage rates for seemingly as long as there have been postage rates. The market-dominant rate increase of 2015 illustrates the frustration of uncertainty. Customers weren’t entirely sure when the new prices would take effect or what exactly those new rates would be, making it hard to budget.
In 2015, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which reviews proposed price increases, twice sent the market-dominant case back to the Postal Service because the PRC could not determine if the filing was legal. (Market-dominant products are essentially the monopoly products, such as First-Class Mail, Standard Mail, and Periodicals.) The Postal Service had to resubmit portions of its proposal and ultimately pushed back implementation of new rates to May 31, 2015. According to our recent audit report, the Postal Service lost out on about $108 million because the price increases weren’t implemented on time.
We recommended the Postal Service establish a documented and repeatable process to guide its Pricing group in preparing price change proposals. Such a process could have helped it prevent the errors the PRC identified. We also suggested the Postal Service limit complex mail classification changes in its proposed price increase filings.
While some customers might not complain about a delay in price increases, the uncertainty around the 2015 changes caused a good deal of consternation. Tell us your story. Were you or your business affected by the uncertainty surrounding the 2015 price changes? If so, how? Would you like to see changes in how price changes are implemented and, if so, what would those changes be?