USPS Is Making Even More Changes to Your Mail, as of Sunday
The postal agency has added to its already lengthy list of upcoming adjustments.
The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has been a pillar for postal operations in the country since its founding, but that doesn't mean it hasn't faced some serious setbacks. Despite its long history, the agency has openly acknowledged significant struggles with its financial standing and service performance in recent years. To fix this, the USPS has been implementing new strategies to help get back on solid ground, with several changes to your mail already planned for the new year. In addition to numerous prior announcements, the agency is now adding even more adjustments to its long list. Read on to find out what mail changes to prepare for, as of Sunday.
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The Postal Service has made many adjustments over the last two years.
Feel like the USPS has been making a ton of changes? There's a reason for that.
In March 2021, the Postal Service unveiled its 10-year Delivering for America (DFA) plan, which is meant to transform the agency "from an organization in financial and operational crisis to one that is self-sustaining and high performing" through the implementation of different strategic initiatives. As part of this plan, the USPS kickstarted adjustments later that year.
In Oct. 2021, the Postal Service implemented new service standards for First-Class Mail and Periodicals, slowing down the delivery timeframe for some of our mail. The following May, it further slowed down deliveries by extending the timeframe for First Class Packages. Also in 2022, the USPS raised prices, added new fees, and discontinued some of its shipping options.
Now, the agency is gearing up to make its first major 2023 adjustments.
The agency previously announced new changes for 2023.
If you've been keeping up with USPS, you might know that the agency has been working on 2023 changes for months now.
Back in fall 2022, the Postal Service announced that it had filed notice with Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) of plans for a 4.2 percent increase to first-class mail, marketing mail, periodicals, package services and special services in 2023.
The PRC has since approved the price hike, which will take place on Jan. 22. The postal commission also greenlit cost changes for shipping services starting that same day, which will increase prices for Priority Mail by 5.5 percent, Priority Mail Express by 6.6 percent, and First-Class Packages by 7.8 percent.
On top of all that, the USPS is raising prices for PO Box customers with the introduction of new rental rates on Jan. 22.
Believe it or not, there are even more changes coming.
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More changes are taking place on Sunday.
The Postal Service announced on Jan. 17 that it will be making changes to some of its shipping and tracking codes in the coming days. On Jan. 22, the agency is "eliminating 41 legacy service type codes, updating several forms and replacing one label," according to the new service update.
The decision behind the discontinuation of these codes is based on them not working with "current Intelligent Mail package barcode (IMpb) requirements," the USPS said. With that in mind, the agency will update the following labels and forms to be IMpd compliant: PS Form 153 (Signature Confirmation Receipt), PS Form 3800 (Certified Mail Receipt), PS Form 3813 (Insured Mail Receipt $500 and Under), PS Form 3813-P (Insured Mail Receipt Over $500) and Label 400 (USPS) tracking.
As a result, these pre-printed forms and labels will no longer be usable by customers, eSeller365 further explained. If you still have and use them, "you should throw them out now so that your shipments do not get delayed or returned," according to the news outlet.
The USPS said it is also requesting that post offices "remove all Label 400s from retail lobbies."
The USPS is also discontinuing another shipping option this month.
The USPS is gearing up to get rid of something else, too. On Jan. 22, the agency will discontinue its Priority Mail Regional Boxes and rates, eSeller365 reported. These were originally introduced in 2022 to provide a "low-cost shipping alternative for commercial and online customers," according to the Postal Service.
"Effective Jan. 22, 2023, Regional Rate Boxes will be discontinued," the USPS wrote in a Jan. 9 alert on its website. "After that date, remaining Regional Rate Boxes can still be used for shipping, but they will be treated as weight and rate packages. Customers who currently use these boxes are encouraged to place orders before supplies are depleted."
If you're looking for an alternative to the Regional Rate Box in terms of pricing, the agency is recommending customers use Priority Mail Cubic after the discontinuation.
"Priority Mail Cubic is a sub-service of Priority Mail in which commercial customers ship items using their own packaging and the pricing is based on the outer dimensions of the package rather than weight," the USPS explained, noting that this option "offers similar cost savings" to that of the Regional Rate boxes.