Is The USPS Going After a New Rate Hike?

[responsive]USPSeagle[/responsive]They sure like to keep us guessing.

Back in October, the USPS announced it would not be seeking its usual inflation-based rate hike in January, after much speculation in the fall about whether they would or not.

If you were part of the collective sigh of relief, you may have jumped the gun. Rumor has it that they are prepping for a fresh hike in April, according to Dead Tree Editions.

“The Association for Postal Commerce (aka PostCom), a multi-industry trade group for business mailers, reports that USPS is readying itself for the next postal price change to be effective April 26, 2015,” the article notes. “PostCom’s ‘heard it through the grapevine’ reports on Postal Service doings are usually right on the mark.”

How big a hit are we looking at? Could be as much as 1.7%, and a one-cent bump on the Forever stamp to an even 50 cents, the article notes.

And the continuation – or not – of the exigent rate hike put into place after the recession is still up in the air, with the USPS apparently taking the case to court to not only extend but actually increase the emergency surcharge.

Rate hike regulations are tied into a variety of confusing factors including the Consumer Price Index – which may or may not fall due to declines in oil prices. Confused yet? Add to this mess that fact that Congress is sitting on five nominations to the USPS’s Board of Governors, and it looks like they will be without a quorum until next month at the earliest. So even if they wanted to vote for new rates, they might not be able to.

So, will they or not? Probably, but how much, and when is tricky. The best advice we can give is to continue to work closely with your print production vendors to maximize the effectiveness of the mail you send.

It’s hard to win at a game when you can’t figure out the rules. If a business ran itself in this manner – maybe we will raise prices, maybe we won’t, no we won’t except if maybe we do – they would soon be OUT of business. And rightly so. What customer would willingly do business with a vendor this fickle and unsure of itself?

It’s a crying shame. Congress needs to fix this.