By now, you know that Full-Service will be required for automation rates starting January 2014. In addition to the new mailing requirements for Full-Service, additional checks will be performed on your mailings at entry. Starting July 2014, the USPS may start applying assessments to mailers who don't meet certain compliance thresholds. Let's take a look at how the verifications are performed now, and how they will change over the next year.

Automation verifications Today, automation mailings are checked for content, presort makeup, automation compatibility and barcode quality. If problems are found, mailers have a choice: they can either take the mail back and rework it, or pay an additional charge to compensate for noncompliance. For example, if half the barcodes scanned during verification had errors, then half the mailing would be charged at the nonautomation rate.

All of these verifications will continue for automation priced mailings, and mailers will continue to have the option to rework the mailing to avoid assessments.
Full-Service Verifications For Full-Service mailings, additional requirements will be validated at entry. First, USPS will ensure that the mailing documentation was submitted electronically via Mail.dat, Mail.XML, or the Postal Wizard. Next, the clerk will scan three pallet labels, five tray labels, and 30 mailpiece barcodes.
During this process, the barcodes will be checked for readability and uniqueness. If any errors are found during this spot-check, additional barcodes will be scanned. If more than two pallet, three tray, or four piece barcodes are in error, the mailing will be considered out of compliance. Also, if the pallet barcodes are covered by plastic wrap, an error will be logged.

Just like the current automation verifications, mailers will have the option to take the mailing back to correct any errors before submitting. If the mailer chooses not to correct the errors, the Full-Service discount will not be applied. Beginning January 2014, mailers will have the option to submit the mailing as-is, but at nonautomation rates.

Future verifications Not all requirements for Full-Service are verified at entry today, but USPS is keeping track. In addition to all the verifications listed above, USPS is collecting data on Full-Service mailings to determine how to handle it in the future. This includes checking whether the Service Type ID on mailpieces is appropriate for the mailing, the Mailer ID used is valid, each barcode is unique for a minimum of 45 days, and the entry facility was defined properly in eDoc. In addition, the by/for information must be populated correctly in eDoc, along with consolidator information for co-palletized mailings.

For now, no penalties will be assessed if mailings don't meet these requirements. However, it's anticipated that USPS will start applying assessments starting July 2014. The thresholds and penalties for these assessments have not yet been announced.

Your Tool: the Mailer Scorecard As you make the transition to Full-Service, become familiar with the Mailer Scorecard. This is a report available in the Business Customer Gateway that outlines all the mailing checks performed on your Full-Service mailings, even those that don't cause problems today. Each month, your mailings will be aggregated to create your score, and trouble areas will be highlighted. Additionally, information about the makeup of your mailings (mail classes, piece types, etc.) will display.
The trick to the Mailer Scorecard is what you do with it. While USPS is not assessing on all Full-Service errors today, they have indicated that assessments could start by July 2014. The thresholds and penalty amounts haven't been set, but mailers will get a preview of the costs as soon as October of this year. Starting then, USPS intends to show mailers what their projected invoice will be through the PostalOne! system. How this will show up in the reports is unknown. However, the results in your Mailer Scorecard can give you an idea of where to concentrate your efforts. If your mailings consistently see complications in a specific area, you can use the time before July to address those issues.