UPDATE: Are USPS Rate Hikes Coming? If they are, they won’t until after early 2015

[responsive]USPS[/responsive]It’s Q4, that time of year when businesses are busy putting the final touches on next year’s budget. Yet for USPS customers, there is one line item that is too murky to call at this point.

“Postal rates in 2015 could rise or fall—or do both,” according to this article at Dead Tree Edition.

And that is making it tough on companies that rely on the mail to keep the wheels turning. The uncertainty centers around the 4.3% exigent rate hike that we all dealt with early this year.

“That surcharge is supposed to disappear after it yields the U.S. Postal Service an additional $3.2 billion, presumably in mid-2015,” notes the article at Dead Tree.

“The three-judge panel considering an appeal of the exigency case seems unlikely either to eliminate the rate hike or to make it permanent, according to Stephen Kearney, executive director of the Alliance for Nonprofit Mailers,” the article continues.

“But based on the judges’ comments and questions during recent oral arguments, [Kearney’s] reading of the tea leaves foresees a decent chance the judges will remand the case to the Postal Regulatory Commission with orders to revise it.”

This means ongoing uncertainty for mailers, according to Freeport Press Mailing Manager Tom Watry.

“A final decision might not be approved until sometime in 2015 which makes it extremely hard to budget postal dollars,” Watry predicts. “My best guess is that they delay any increase so they can keep the large increase in place from last year; government is not in the business of giving any money back once they have it.”

It’s a big “who knows” right now, so the smart money is on talking to your printer and mailing provider about ways to maximize every cent in your mailing budget. Then no matter what happens, you’ll have done the right thing.


UPDATE – October 1st, 2014:

The Governors of the U.S. Postal Service have decided not to seek a price change for mail and shipping products and services in January in part because of the uncertainty regarding the exigent price increase. This means that the current pricing of postal products and services will remain in effect through the holiday season and early part of 2015. The Board will continue to evaluate pricing strategies and will communicate about any potential price change filings in early 2015. As always, the Postal Service will provide customers advance notice of any price changes.