Barcode your Business Reply Mail

by Gino


The Post Office has one particular requirement that I see is overlooked a great deal.

Here is an excerpt from the rule as printed in the current Domestic Mail Mannual:

3.17 Enclosed Reply Cards and Envelopes

3.17.1 Basic Standard

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (business reply mail (BRM), courtesy reply mail (CRM), and meter reply mail (MRM)) provided as enclosures in automation First-Class Mail, Periodicals, and Standard Mail and addressed for return to a domestic delivery address must meet the applicable standards for automation-compatible mail in 3.0.

In other words, what the Post Office is saying is that in order for a mailing to receive reduced automation postage rates not only does the mailing have to meet all the stringent automation compatibility rules on the outside, it must also meet those rules for any reply mail on the inside! Basically, they are saying that they do not want to give you a discount on your mail unless you make it easier for them to mail back the included reply mail. I have always found this to be an odd requirement but nonetheless, if it is not adhered to your mailing will not receive automation discounts, which will not only cost you more in overall postage but may also cause a delay in your final delivery times.

If you currently do not have a automation compatible barcode for your return mail you can obtain one easily by contacting your local Post Office. You will want to ask for the Mailing Requirements Department of the Business Mail Entry Section. They will supply you with a fax number or email address to send them your return address to and in turn relay back an address complete with a barcode. You can then supply your printer with this for your future reply mail print runs.

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