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How Do You Score as a Mailer (and What Might it Cost You)?


Over the last few years the US Postal Service has been developing and refining a tool called The Mailer’s Scorecard. The scorecard is a way to help companies improve the quality of the mailings they submit – and punish mailers with inferior mail quality. Let’s face it; preparing commercial mail is more complicated than the old days of manual bundling, stickers, and paper postal forms. Automation and digitization brought lots of efficiency improvements to mailers and the USPS alike, but those advances in technology also require strict adherence to the rules and procedures that make everything run smoothly. The USPS Mailer’s Scorecard aims to help achieve that goal.

The Mailer’s Scorecard provides a history of mailings, recounting details about how past mailings compared to USPS guidelines and thresholds for compliance. Information presented in the scorecard is available for both Mail Owners (business mailers) and Mail Preparers (mail service providers) through the USPS Business Customer Gateway application. Mail Owners can view all their mailings, even if they were prepared and submitted by different entities. Items detailed in the Mailer’s Scorecard include information about how mail was prepared, including Full Service Intelligent Mail, Move Update, e-induction, and Seamless Acceptance.

What Happens to Low-Scorers?

This USPS tool has undergone several changes and updates since its introduction. At times, mailers were advised to stop using the scorecards while the USPS researched bugs and problems. Originally, the Postal Service intended to use the Mailer’s Scorecard to impose fines and penalties upon mailers who failed to meet established minimum guidelines for Full Service mailings. Those assessments are still likely to be implemented, but the USPS has postponed the deadlines for compliance several times. In the latest news, the USPS announced delays in assessments originally scheduled to be effective in July 2016. They decided to allow mailers more time to access, analyze, and test the Full Service Mail Quality Metrics reported by the Mailer’s Scorecard. Mail industry analysts predict assessments based on the Mailer’s Scorecard will be implemented in October.

When the Postal Service begins assessing fines, they will disallow postage discounts on mail exceeding an established verification threshold. If an error limit is 2% for example, a mailing with errors in 3% of the mail would incur an assessment in an amount equal to the Full Service postage discount on 1% of the mailing. There are several validations associated with Full Service Intelligent Mail, some for Move Update, and other verifications for the lesser-used e-induction and Seamless Acceptance components of mail submission.

Businesses using a service provider like EarthColor to handle their mailings need not be concerned with interpreting details communicated through the Mailer’s Scorecard. We’ll handle that. We may share information gathered from the scorecard with you, however, to point out opportunities for score improvement or as a historical perspective on the impact of changes already made. If you have questions about the Mailer’s Scorecard, please contact our mailing experts at mailingexperts@earthcolor.com.

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