USPS Is Making More Changes to Your Mail, Starting Sunday
The agency is planning several adjustments that center around postal stamps.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) is certainly no stranger to change—these days, it feels like it would be more surprising if they decided to keep anything the same. Since the introduction of its Delivering for America (DFA) plan in 2021, the USPS has been actively adjusting its operations with the goal of achieving financial sustainability by the end of this decade. So far, most of the agency's changes have centered around raising mail prices and slowing delivery standards. But now, the Postal Service is planning adjustments in light of a major problem: counterfeit postage. Read on to find out more about this change and what else you should expect this summer.
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The USPS recently warned about a surge in counterfeit postage.
Fake stamps have become a serious problem for the Postal Service. Back in Feb. 2023, the agency sent out an alert warning the public that a surge in counterfeit postage has been found in the mail system recently. "The intentional use, or sale, of counterfeit postage is a crime because it seeks to obtain services without payment," the USPS explained.
Due to the recent rise in this crime, at the time the Postal Service announced that it was working to change the way it handles mail found with counterfeit postage. "As the most trusted government agency in the nation, we will continue to work together with other law enforcement and government agencies to protect the sanctity of the mail," Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale said in a statement.
Now, the USPS is finally gearing up to change its standards so it can better fight counterfeit postage.
The agency is putting new standards into place because of this.
The Postal Service has gotten the green light to change its mailing standards in regards to counterfeit postage, according to a final ruling posted April 11 on the Federal Register. With this adjustment, "mail articles with counterfeit postage will be considered abandoned and disposed of at the discretion of the Postal Service," the agency further explained in an April 20 postal bulletin.
These new standards will go into effect this weekend. Starting May 7, the abandoned items "will no longer be returned to the sender," and it doesn't matter if you knew your mail was affixed with fake stamps or not. "Consumers purchasing online items may be surprised to find out that the vendor mailed their goods using counterfeit postage. [But] under the new regulations, such items will be considered abandoned and disposed of at the Postal Service's discretion," the agency noted in its February release.
The USPS added, "When this occurs, consumers will have to seek recourse from the vendor."
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This is not the only change that might upset customers.
Customers have already made their concerns with the new counterfeit postage standards very clear, as indicated in the Federal Register document. But this is not the only change that might cause controversy this summer. The Postal Service also recently announced that it planning to increased the cost of its stamps in a few months.
In an April 10 press release, the agency revealed that it had filed notice with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of proposed plans to raise First-Class Mail prices by approximately 5.4 percent. If favorably reviewed by the PRC, the higher rates will go into effect on July 9 and will include a three-cent increased in the price of a First Class Mail Forever stamp from 63 cents to 66 cents.
This price hike is meant to help "offset the rise in inflation," according to the USPS. "As operating expenses fueled by inflation continue to rise and the effects of a previously defective pricing model are still being felt, these price adjustments are needed to provide the Postal Service with much needed revenue to achieve the financial stability sought by its Delivering for America 10-year plan," the agency added.
The Postal Service is also issuing some new stamps.
It's not all bad news, however. The USPS is also gearing up to rollout some new designs over the next few months. This includes a new stamp to honor Chief Standing Bear, which will be available for purchase following its dedication ceremony at Centennial Mall in Lincoln, Nebraska, on May 12.
A few days later, the USPS will host another dedication ceremony on May 19 to introduce its new Endangered Species collection. These new stamps will feature 20 photos of different endangered animals to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Endangered Species Act, according to the agency.
On May 4, it was also announced that a new waterfall stamps series will be released this summer. This collection will be introduced on June 13 during a dedication ceremony at Yellowstone National Park. "The U.S. Postal Service is celebrating the variety and beauty of American waterfalls with 12 new stamps," the agency said. "Each stamp features a photograph with the name of the waterfall and state in which it is located beneath it."
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0215-usps-warns-the-public-about-surge-in-use-of-counterfeit-postage.htm
- Source: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2023/04/11/2023-07566/counterfeit-postage
- Source: https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2023/pb22622/pb22622.pdf
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0406ma-usps-honors-chief-standing-bear.htm
- Source: https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2023/0419ma-postal-service-spotlights-endangered-species.htm