The Alliance and 11 other business associations sent a letter to the United States Postal Service (USPS) encouraging the agency to put forward measures in the coming weeks that will provide business mailers with incentives to stay in our nation’s postal system during the COVID-19 crisis. Associations representing newspapers, magazines, direct mailers, non-profit mailers and others reminded USPS management that its operations are fully funded by postage rates paid by individuals and businesses. As the coronavirus crisis continues to unfold, businesses are pulling back on advertising, which is already having an impact on solo and shared mail marketing campaigns, including newspapers’ Total Market Coverage products. As a result of this advertising contraction, businesses that distribute marketing mail for advertisers are likely to scale back their own operations or abandon the mail altogether. The business association letter encourages USPS to adopt incentives now to encourage businesses to remain in the mail. Specifically, the letter encourages USPS to: (1) propose to the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) an immediate 5 cent per-piece rate reduction for all market-dominant products; (2) defer collection of postage payments for customers with various USPS accounts; and (3) introduce a new promotion incentive to bring back mail volume in the summer.
Robert Taub, chairman of the Postal Regulatory Commission, was also a recipient of the letter, as the PRC would have to approve any USPS price proposals. Chairman Taub responded to the associations saying that USPS is “charged with setting rates,” but that the “Commission stands ready to act as expeditiously as possible to efficiently and effectively review any proposals.”