June 9, 1997

Postal service shuts the door

on business reply mail to 30322

The rules for business reply mail are changing. Effective immediately, any business return envelopes and postcards printed by University offices must use a new standard address and zip code. Offices can continue to use remaining business reply pieces with old addresses and zip codes until their stock runs out.

Business reply mail consists of letters, postcards and oversize pieces that a recipient sends back to Emory postage paid. Most business reply pieces currently returned to Emory use the University's unique zip code, 30322. This has been wrong for some time, according to Tony Cumberworth, manager of the Emory Post Office. "For about three years the [Postal] Inspector Service has been pushing the Atlanta Post Office for this change," he said. These changes have come about because the Emory Post Office is no longer a bona fide branch of the U.S. Postal Service, but a contract unit, said Cumberworth. That means that the our postal station can handle only mail bearing the 30322 zip code, which only should be used for first class and express mail.

Business reply mail will now have its own unique address and zip code-specifically a post office box at the Sage Hill Post Office. The new address is P.O. Box 133000, Atlanta 30333. A "zip + 4" code identifies the type of mail being sent. The zip +4 code for letters one ounce or less is 30333-9905; 30333-9906 for postcards and 30333-9907 for oversize pieces.

Because the rules for business reply mail are very stringent, Cumberworth strongly suggests that offices creating new envelopes and postcards contact the University post office before printing them. Adhering to Postal Service standards can mean a 25 to 45 percent reduction in the cost of business reply mail, for which the University spends about $100,000 a year, Cumberworth estimated.

With its bar codes and other assorted markings, the transport of business reply mail is highly automated. Incorrectly printed pieces will get kicked out of the post office's high speed sorters and cost more, say 10¢ over postage per piece as opposed to 2¢. What's more, incorrect mail may take longer to arrive at its destination.

The system depends on the machine's ability to read and/or affix to mail a barcode bearing the recipient's address.

To be assured of lower rates, offices must submit four samples of the business reply piece to be printed to the Postal Service. It takes about two weeks to obtain approval, according to Cumberworth. The campus printing office can create these samples and print final pieces as well, he said.

The Emory post office has scheduled additional information sessions on Emory's new business reply mail rules at 8:30 a.m. on June 11 and 12 in the Trustee Dining Room at Dobbs Center. Seating is limited. To schedule attendance or for more information on business reply mail, call 727-6172.

-Stacey Jones

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