Mailers submitting mailing jobs electronically to PostalOne!®need to identify the various entities involved in the mailing job – specifically: the Mail Owner, the Mail Preparer, and the eDoc Submitter. Combined, this information is known as the “By/For” relationships. In other words, the United States Postal Service®(USPS®) is asking that electronic documentation identify who is preparing the mail and who is submitting the eDoc (the “By” portion) and who is responsible for the content of the mailpiece and ultimately pays the postage for the mailings (the “For”) portion.
For the most part, these entities may be identified in the eDoc using their Mailing Identification number (MID) or their Customer Registration Identification number (CRID). However, in the case of the Mail Owner identification, there are a number of places in the eDoc where this needs to be identified. For Mail Service Providers (MSP’s), getting all of this straight can be a challenge and it can be challenging to collect all of these critical pieces of information for their clients too.
Starting in July this year, the USPS plans to implement postage assessments for mailers who exceed the published error thresholds for Full-Service mailings, and this By/For data is a common area for mailers to have errors.
Uses of Mail Owner information
The USPS uses the Mail Owner data in eDoc for three main purposes:
Means of Identification
By/For Relationship: Currently, the Mail Owner MID, CRID or Mail Owner permit data may be used to identify the Mail Owner for this purpose. The Mail Owner is required to be identified when the owner represents 5,000 or more pieces in a mailing.
Nonprofit Price validation: For each nonprofit mailing, all mail owners must be identified and must have a valid nonprofit authorization number, regardless of the number of pieces per owner in the mailing. For mailings consisting of multiple mail owners, all of the mail owners must be identified in the eDoc. Currently, the Mail Owner Permit may be used to identify the Mail Owner if the mail owner is paying their own postage using their own permit. For Mail Owners using a MSP permit to pay postage, the MSP must identify the Mail Owner using the Mail Owner’s MID/CRID information. In the past, a “Ghost Permit” was often used for this purpose. These are non-paying postal permits, used for identification purposes only, and were established by request at the post office where the mailing was verified and paid for. The USPS no longer issues these ghost permits, so MSP’s should be using the Mail Owner MID/CRID information, and transition away from using these old ghost permits.
Display Owner on Postage Statements: On the first page of postage statements, there are three blocks for Mailer information. The first block is the Permit Holder, and the data displayed in this block is that of the owner of the permit used to pay for the mailing. The second block is the Mailing Agent or Mail Preparer. This is identified by the CRID or MID of the Mail Preparer in the eDoc. The third block is the name and address of the organization for which the mailing is prepared, a/k/a “the Mail Owner.” This block is populated using the using the Mail Owner MID or CRID in the eDoc. If the Mail Owner uses their own permit to pay the postage, this data should be identical to the data in the first block. However, if the Mail Owner uses the postal permit of the Mail Preparer, then the company associated with the Mail Owner MID/CRID in the eDoc should appear in this block. As mentioned earlier, MSP’s who may still be using ghost permit numbers in the Local Permit field of the Mailer Postage Account file (MPA) in the Mail.dat file for this purpose should discontinue this practice, and use instead the Mail Owner MID/CRID data.
Mail Service Provider Challenges
If you are a Mail Service Provider, you need to obtain the CRID’s and MID’s of your clients in order to insure the Mail.dat files are correctly populated.
This can become a bit of a challenge for mail preparers who may have hundreds of clients using hundreds of postal permits to pay for their postage. Associating each of the clients and permits with the appropriate MID’s can be a daunting task to say the least.
Mail Service Providers often ask “which piece of information should I get from my clients, their MID or their CRID?” Currently, either piece of data may be used in the eDoc, but the CRID takes precedence, so that should be the priority. However, we encourage Mail Service Providers to obtain both pieces of data for all their clients so that they are prepared just in case the USPS changes the identification requirements in the future. (That would NEVER happen. Right?)
Add to that the fact that PostalOne! has to be aware of all of this MID, CRID, and permit information and also have them all appropriately linked! If the appropriate linkage isn’t established, this can result in errors when uploading files to PostalOne!. These types of errors can only be rectified by contacting the PostalOne!Help Desk to request the appropriate MIDs, CRIDs and permits be linked. Another error that can occur is when the same MID/CRID information is populated in the eDoc for both the Mail Owner and the Mail Preparer. If your company is rightfully both the owner of the mail and the preparer of the mail, PostalOne!needs to know that and verify that this is indeed the case. If you receive this type of error, again – you need to contact thePostalOne! Help Desk for resolution.
If you receive validation errors when submitting files toPostalOne! that refer to permits, postage payment methods, MIDs or CRIDs, or if you are seeing excessive By/For errors on your Mailer Scorecard, you should use this check list:
So, how do you try to make sense of all of this? The best resources are the Business Customer Gateway (BCG) andPostalOne! A Mail Service Provider (MSP) may also verify or gather the MID and CRID data for their clients using the Business Customer Gateway. These requests may be submitted in bulk using the BCG Bulk Search utility. Likewise, MSP’s may actually apply for MID’s on behalf of their clients, again through the use of an Excel spreadsheet submission. In this case, MSP’s must also provide documentation that the mail owners have given their permission for the MSP to apply for the MIDs on their behalf. TheUSPS RIBBS web site also has some helpful information to clarify MIDs and CRIDs. The USPS also provides guide documents, such as Guide to Mail Owners in eDoc and By/For Relationship in eDoc.
Getting Help From the Experts
Window Book’s DAT-MAIL™ software allows you to easily manage MID and CRID information as well as quickly see all the By/For relationships in the Mail.dat files using the Advanced Navigator View. This also allows you to quickly edit this information if necessary. Mail Service Providers can maintain the MID, CRID and Local Permit data in master client and permit files within DAT-MAIL. And, if you are a Bell and Howell BCC Mail Manager user, there is an interface available that allows you to import your client data from BCC Mail Manager into DAT-MAIL.
Window Book can help you manage the By/For data in your mailing/shipping operation and automate your processes using our software and service solutions.