Thursday, March 7, 2013

The report argued that eliminating or reducing

The report argued that eliminating or reducing either aspect of the monopoly "would have a devastating impact on the provide the affordable universal service that the country values so highly." Relaxing access to the mailbox would also pose security concerns, increase delivery costs, and hurt customer service, according to the Post Office. The report notes: Sony VPCYA26EC Battery It is somewhat misleading to characterize the mailbox rule as a "monopoly," because the enforcement of 18 U.S.C. § 1725 leaves customers with ample alternative means of delivering their messages. Customers can deliver their messages either by paying postage, by placing messages on or under a door or a doormat, Sony VPCYB15JC Battery by using newspaper or non-postal boxes, by telephoning or emailing, by engaging in person-to-person delivery in public areas, by tacking or taping their notices on a door post, or by placing advertisements in local newspapers. These methods are comparable in efficacy to communication via the mailbox. Sony VPCYA17GH/R Battery Most of these alternatives are not actually free in some communities. For example, in the Chicago metropolitan area and many other major metros one must get a background check from police and pay a daily fee for the right to solicit or post commercial messages on private property. Sony VPCCW2S8E/W Battery Regarding the monopoly on delivery of letters, the report notes that the monopoly is not complete, as there is an exception for letters where either the amount paid for private carriage of the letter equals at least six times the current rate for the first ounce of a single-piece First-Class Mail letter (also known as the “base rate” or “base tariff”) or the letter weighs at least 12.5 ounces. Sony VPCCW2Z1E/B Battery The Postal Service said that the USO should continue to be broadly defined and there should be no changes to the postal monopoly. Any changes would have far-reaching effects on customers and the trillion dollar mailing industry. Sony VPCY11S1E Battery "A more rigidly defined USO would ... ultimately harm the American public and businesses," according to the report, which cautions that any potential change must be studied carefully and the effects fully understood. FedEx and United Parcel Service (UPS) directly compete with USPS express mail and package delivery services, Sony VPCY11S1E/S Battery making nationwide deliveries of urgent letters and packages. Due to the postal monopoly, they are not allowed to deliver non-urgent letters and may not directly ship to U.S. Mail boxes at residential and commercial destinations. Sony VPCW1 Battery However both companies have transit agreements with the USPS in which an item can be dropped off with either FedEx or UPS who will then provide shipment up to the destination post office serving the intended recipient where it will be transferred for delivery to the U.S. Mail destination, including Post Office Box destinations. Sony VPCW1E8R/BU Battery These services also deliver packages which are larger and heavier than USPS will accept. DHL Express was the third major competitor until February 2009, when it ceased domestic delivery operations in the United States. Sony VPCY11AGJ Battery A variety of other transportation companies in the United States move cargo around the country, but either have limited geographic scope for delivery points, or specialize in items too large to be mailed. Many of the thousands of couriercompanies focus on same-day delivery, for example, by bicycle messenger. Sony VPCY11AHJ Battery The Post Office Department owned and operated the first public telegraph lines in the United States, starting in 1844 from Washington to Baltimore, and eventually extending to New York, Boston, Buffalo, and Philadelphia. In 1847 the telegraph system was privatized, except for a period during World War I, Sony VPCY11AVJ Battery when it was used to accelerate the delivery of letters arriving at night.[80] Between 1942 and 1945 "V-Mail" (for "Victory Mail") service was available for military mail. Letters were converted into microfilm and reprinted near the destination, to save room on transport vehicles for military cargo.[81] Sony VPCY11M1E Battery From 1982 to 1985 Electronic Computer Originated Mail, known as E-COM was accepted for bulk mailings. Text was transmitted electronically to one of 25 post offices nationwide. The Postal Service would print the mail and put it in special envelopes bearing a blue E-COM logo. Delivery was assured within 2 days. Sony VPCY11S1E Battery The United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) is one of the oldest law enforcement agencies in the U.S. Founded by Benjamin Franklin, its mission is to protect the Postal Service, its employees, and its customers from crime and protect the nation's mail system from criminal misuse.[83] Sony VPCY11V9E Battery Postal Inspectors enforce over 200 federal laws providing for the protection of mail in investigations of crimes that may adversely affect or fraudulently use the U.S. Mail, the postal system or postal employees. Sony VPCY11V9E/S Battery The USPIS has the power to enforce the USPS monopoly by conducting search and seizure raids on entities they suspect of sending non-urgent mail through overnight delivery competitors. According to the American Enterprise Institute, a private conservative think tank, Sony VPCY219FJ/S Battery the USPIS raided Equifax offices in 1993 to ascertain if the mail they were sending through Federal Express was truly "extremely urgent." It was found that the mail was not, and Equifax was fined $30,000.[84] Sony VPCY21AFJ Battery Lastly, the PIS oversees the activities of the Postal Police Force who patrol in and around selected high-risk postal facilities in major metropolitan areas in the United States and its territories. The United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG) was authorized by law in 1996. Sony VPCY21AGJ Battery Prior to the 1996 legislation, the Postal Inspection Service performed the duties of the OIG. The Inspector General, who is independent of postal management, is appointed by and reports directly to the nine presidentially appointed, Senate–confirmed members of the Board of Governors of the United States Postal Service. Sony VPCY21AHJ Battery The primary purpose of the OIG is to prevent, detect and report fraud, waste and program abuse, and promote efficiency in the operations of the Postal Service. The OIG has "oversight" responsibility for all activities of the Postal Inspection Service. All mailable articles (e.g., letters, flats, machinable parcels, irregular parcels, etc.) Sony VPCY21AVJ Battery shipped within the United States must comply with an array of standards published in the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).[85] Before addressing the mailpiece, one must first comply with the various mailability standards relating to attributes of the actual mailpiece such as: minimum/maximum dimensions[86] Sony VPCY21S1E/L Battery & weight, acceptable mailing containers, proper mailpiece sealing/closure, utilization of various markings, and restrictions relating to various hazardous (e.g., explosives, flammables, etc.) & restricted (e.g., cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, etc.) materials, as well as others articulated in § 601 of the DMM.[87] Sony VPCY21S1E/P Battery The USPS specifies the following key elements when preparing the face of a mailpiece: Proper Placement: The Delivery Address should be left-justified and located roughly in the center of mailpiece's largest side. More precisely, on a letter-size piece, the recommended address placement is within the optical character reader (OCR) read area, Sony VPCY21S1E/SI Battery which is a space on the address side of the mailpiece defined by these boundaries: Left – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the left edge of the piece; Right – 1/2 inch (13 mm) from the right edge of the piece; Top – 2-3/4 inches (70 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece; Bottom – 5/8 inch (16 mm) from the bottom edge of the piece.[88] Sony VPCCW1E8R/WU Battery Preferred placement of a return address is in the upper left portion of the mailpiece—on the side of the piece bearing postage.[89] Finally, postage (e.g., stamps, meter imprints, information-based indicia [IBI], etc.) is to be affixed in the upper right corner of the address side of the mail cover. Sony VPCCW1S1E Battery

It should be noted that any stamp/indicia partly concealed or otherwise obscured by an overlapping stamp/indicia may not be counted as valid postage.[90]

Delivery Address (party receiving mail): The mail piece must have the address of the intended recipient, visible and legible, only on the side of the mail piece bearing postage. Sony VPCCW1S1R Battery

Generally, the name of the addressee should be included above the address itself. A ZIP+4 code will facilitate delivery.[91]

Return Address (party sending mail): A return address tells the USPS where the sender wants the mail returned if it is undeliverable. Sony VPCCW1S1T Battery

Usage of a return address is required for some postal services (including Priority Mail, Express Mail, Periodicals in envelopes or wrappers, Insured Mail, Registered Mail, and parcel services).[92]

Postage Payment: All mailpieces must include appropriate valid postage. Postage payment may be in the form of stamps, stamped stationery, precanceled stamps, Sony VPCCW1S1T/R Battery

postage meter imprints & PC Postage products ("Postage Evidencing Systems"), or permit imprint (indicia).[93] Members of the U.S. Congress, among others, have franking privileges, which require only a signature.

Domestic first-class mail costs 46¢ for envelopes (33¢ for post cards) and upwards, depending on the weight and dimensions of the letter and the class. Sony VPCCW1S1T/W Battery

Undeliverable mail that cannot be readily returned, including mail without return addresses, is treated as dead mail at a Mail Recovery Center in Atlanta, Georgia or Saint Paul, Minnesota. The USPS maintains a list of proper abbreviations.[94]

The formatting of a return address is identical. Sony VPCCW1Z4E Battery

Though some style manuals recommend using a comma between the city and state name when typesetting addresses in other contexts, for optimal automatic character recognition, the Post Office does not recommend this when addressing mail. The official recommendation is to use all upper case block letters with appropriate formats and abbreviations, Sony VPCCW12EN/BU Battery

and leave out all punctuation except for the hyphen in the ZIP+4 code. If the address is unusually formatted or illegible enough, it will require hand-processing, delaying that particular item. The USPS publishes the entirety of their postal addressing standards.[95]

Customers can look up ZIP codes on as well as third-party sites. Sony VAIO VGN-FW139E Battery

All unused U.S. postage stamps issued since 1861 are still valid as postage at their indicated value. Stamps with no value shown or denominated by a letter are also still valid, although the value depends upon the particular stamp. For some stamps issued without a printed value, the current value is the original value. Sony VAIO VGN-FW139N Battery

But some stamps beginning in 1988 or earlier, including "Forever Stamps" that were issued beginning in April 2007, and all 1st class mail 1st ounce stamps beginning 2011-01-21, the value is the current value of a 1st class mail 1st ounce stamps. (The USPS calls these "Forever Stamps". The generic name is non-denominated postage.) Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E Battery

Forever stamps are sold at the first-class mail postage rate at the time of purchase, but will always be valid for first-class mail (1 oz and under), no matter how rates rise in the future. Britain has had a similar stamp since 1989. However, one of the tenets of the Universal Postal Union is having a single flat rate to mail a letter anywhere in the world, Sony VAIO VGN-FW145E Battery

which is true for Britain (since 1995), but not the U.S. The cost of mailing a 1 oz (28 g) First-Class letter increased to 46 cents on January 27, 2013.

A postage meter is a mechanical device used to create and apply physical evidence of postage (or franking) to mailed matter. Sony VAIO VGN-FW160E Battery

Postage meters are regulated by a country's postal authority; for example, in the United States, the United States Postal Service specifies the rules for the creation, support, and use of postage meters. A postage meter imprints an amount of postage, functioning as a postage stamp, a cancellation and a dated postmark all in one. Sony VAIO VGN-FW180E Battery

The meter stamp serves as proof of payment and eliminates the need for adhesive stamps.

In addition to using standard stamps, postage can now be printed in the form of an electronic stamp, or e-stamp, from a personal computer using a system calledInformation Based Indicia. Sony VAIO VGN-FW190E Battery

This online PC Postage method relies upon application software on the customer's computer contacting a postal security device at the office of the postal service.

Electronic Verification System (eVS)[103] is the Postal Service's integrated mail management technology that centralizes payment processing and electronic postage reports. Sony VAIO VPCS11B7E Battery

Part of an evolving suite of USPS electronic payment services called PostalOne!,[104] eVS allows mailers shipping large volumes of parcels through the Postal Service a way to circumvent use of hard-copy manifests, postage statements and drop-shipment verification forms. Instead, mailers can pay postage automatically through a centralized account and track payments online. Sony VAIO VPCS11M1E/W Battery

Beginning in August 2007, the Postal Service began requiring mailers shipping Parcel Select packages using a permit imprint to use eVS for manifesting their packages.

All U.S. postage stamps issued under the former United States Post Office Department and other postage items that were released before 1978 are not subject to copyright, Sony VAIO VPCS11M9R/B Battery

but stamp designs since 1978 are copyrighted.[105] Following the creation of the United States Postal Service, the United States Copyright Office in section 206.02(b) of the Compendium II: Copyright Office Practices holds that "Works of the U.S. Postal Service, as now constituted, are not considered U.S. Government works."[106] Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E/B Battery

Here, the U.S. Copyright Office has clarified that works of the U.S. Postal Service, of the government of the District of Columbia, or of the government of Puerto Rico are not "works of the U.S. government" and thus are subject to copyright. Thus, the USPS holds copyright to such materials released since 1978 under Title 17 of the United States Code. Sony VAIO VPCS12A7E Battery

Written permission is required for use of copyrighted postage stamp images, although under USPS rules, permission is "generally" not required for "educational use", "news reporting" or "philatelic advertising use," but users must cite USPS as the source of the image and include language such as "© United States Postal Service. All rights reserved." Sony VAIO VPCS12A7R Battery

Domestic postage includes Monday through Saturday delivery (excepting federal holidays) to any address, Post Office Box, or general delivery Post Office in the United States, or any U.S. military mail destination.

The Post Office will not deliver packages heavier than 70 pounds (32 kg) or if the lengthSony VAIO VPCS12B7E Battery

(the package's longest dimension) plus the girth (the measurement around the package at its largest point in the two shorter dimensions) is greater than 108 inches (270 cm) combined (130 inches [330 cm] for Parcel Post).[108] Other carriers handle packages that exceed these limits. Sony VAIO VPCS12C5E Battery

Deliveries outside the contiguous United States may take longer than those listed below.

Postal money orders provide a safe alternative to sending cash through the mail, and are available in any amount up to $1000. Like a bank check money orders are cashable only by the recipient. Sony VAIO VPCS12D7E Battery

Unlike a personal bank check, they are prepaid and therefore cannot be returned because of insufficient funds.[114] Money orders are a declining business for the USPS, as companies like PayPal, PaidByCash and others are offering electronic replacements. Sony VAIO VPCS11V9E Battery

From 1911 to 1967, the Postal Service also operated the United States Postal Savings System, not unlike a savings and loan association with the amount of the deposit limited.

In May 2007, the USPS restructured international service names to correspond with domestic shipping options. Sony VAIO VPCS11X9E Battery

Formerly, USPS International services[115] were categorized as Airmail (Letter Post), Economy (Surface) Parcel Post, Airmail Parcel Post, Global Priority, Global Express, and Global Express Guaranteed Mail. The former Airmail (Letter Post) is now First-Class Mail International,and includes small packages weighing up to four pounds (1.8 kg).Sony  VGP-BPS13 Battery Economy Parcel Post was discontinued for international service, while Airmail Parcel Post was replaced by Priority Mail International. Priority Mail International Flat-Rate packaging in various sizes was introduced, with the same conditions of service previously used for Global Priority. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/B Battery Global Express is now Express Mail International, while Global Express Guaranteed is unchanged. The international mailing classes with a tracking ability are Express, Express Guaranteed, and Priority (except that tracking is not available for Priority Mail International Flat Rate Envelopes or Priority Mail International Small Flat Rate Boxes).[118] Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/B Battery One of the major changes in the new naming and services definitions is that USPS-supplied mailing boxes for Priority and Express mail are now allowed for international use. These services are offered to ship letters and packages to almost every country and territory on the globe. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13/S Battery Ironically, the USPS provides much of this service by contracting with a private parcel service, FedEx.On May 14, 2007, the USPS canceled all outgoing international surface mail (sometimes known as "sea mail") from the United States, citing increased costs and reduced demand due to competition from airmail services such as FedEx and UPS. Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/S Battery The decision has been criticized by the Peace Corps and military personnel overseas, as well as independent booksellers and other small businesses who rely on international deliveries. The USPS provides an M-bag[121] service for international shipment of printed matter;[122] Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/S Battery previously surface M-bags existed, but with the 2007 elimination of surface mail, only airmail M-bags remain.[123] The term "M-bag" is not expanded in USPS publications; M-bags are simply defined as "direct sacks of printed matter ... sent to a single foreign addressee at a single address";[122] Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13/Q Battery however, the term is sometimes referred to informally as "media bag", as the bag can also contain "discs, tapes, and cassettes", in addition to books, for which the usual umbrella term is "media"; some also refer to them as "mail bags".Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13A/Q Battery Military mail is billed at domestic rates when being sent from the United States to a military outpost, and is free when sent by deployed military personnel. The overseas logistics are handled by the Military Postal Service Agency in the Department of Defense.[124] Outside of forward areas and active operations, Sony  VAIO VGP-BPS13B/Q Battery military mail First-Class takes 7–10 days, Priority 10–15 days, and Parcel Post about 24 days. The United States Postal Service does not directly own or operate any aircraft or trains. The mail and packages are flown on airlines with which the Postal Service has a contractual agreement. The contracts change periodically. Sony  VGP-BPS21 Battery Depending on the contract, aircraft may be painted with the USPS paint scheme. Contract airlines have included: UPS, Emery Worldwide, Ryan International Airlines, FedEx Express, American Airlines, United Airlines, andExpress One International. Sony  VGP-BPS21A Battery The Postal Service also contracts with Amtrak to carry some mail between certain cities such as Chicago and Minneapolis – Saint Paul. The last air delivery route in the continental U.S., to residents in the Frank Church—River of No Return Wilderness, was scheduled to be ended in June 2009. Sony  VGP-BPS21B Battery The weekly bush plane route, contracted out to an air taxi company, had in its final year an annual cost of $46,000, or $2400/year per residence, over ten times the average cost of delivering mail to a residence in the United States.[125] This decision has been reversed by the U.S. Postmaster General.[126] Sony  VGP-BPS21/S Battery IN DECEMBER 2012, THE USPS BEGAN A LIMITED ONE-YEAR TRIAL OF SAME-DAY DELIVERIES DIRECTLY FROM RETAILERS OR DISTRIBUTION HUBS TO RESIDENTIAL ADDRESSES IN THE SAME LOCAL AREA, A SERVICE IT DUBBED "METRO POST".THE TRIAL WAS INITIALLY LIMITED TO SAN FRANCISCO AND THE ONLY RETAILER TO PARTICIPATE IN THE FIRST FEW WEEKS WAS 1-800-FLOWERS. Sony  VGP-BPS21A/b Battery Processing of standard sized envelopes and cards is highly automated, including reading of handwritten addresses. Mail from individual customers and public postboxes is collected by mail carriers into plastic tubs. The tubs are taken to a Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC). Sony VGP-BPS26 Battery There are approximately 275 such centers across the United States, which sort mail for a given region (typically a radius of around 200 miles) and connect with the national network for interregional mail.[130] At the P&DC, mail is emptied into hampers which are then automatically dumped into a Dual Pass Rough Cull System (DPRCS). Sony VGP-BPL26 Battery

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