Checks & Balances
Friday, 06 January 2006 12:47

In our day to day business we normally have checks and balances to ensure that we do not make mistakes.

As an example we can randomly count our mailing labels and compare the number of labels against the postal statement (they should be the same) to determine if the software is working correctly. If you have approved software, you should review the qualification report on a random basis to check the 5-digit, 3-digit and carrier route copies claimed vs. number authorized.

I have reviewed hundreds of postage statements over the past year and have discovered that many publishers do not have any checks and balances in place for postage statements. This is costing you thousands of dollars in revenue that could have initially been prevented with a simple check and balance.

I also have reviewed some of the Statements of Ownership, Management and Circulation published in October and was concerned that no checks and balances are in place.

As an example, Line 7, on the Form 3526 requires the known office of publication to be completed (a physical address [optional unless no letter carrier service], street, city, county, state, and ZIP+4). Many publishers are incorrectly reporting this information by using a PO Box (instead of street address) and the wrong city!

Does the city and address agree with the ID statement and your known office of publication? Again, no checks and balances are in place and this simple mistake could cause you untold grief, depending on the actual facts.

The known office of publication is “The location where the original entry for Periodicals mailing privileges is authorized and the known office of publication must be a public office for transacting the business of the publication during normal business hours. It also must be the office where the publication’s circulation records are kept or can be available for the USPS examination.”

The known office of publication cannot be a PO Box. You are not authorized to do business from a PO box.

An additional downside to this situation is that In-County rates apply to subscriber copies only when they are entered within the county in which the post office of original entry is located for delivery to addresses within that county. So, if you are considering consolidation of newspapers to a central location, remember the requirements to be eligible for In-County rates and the checks and balances.

The ultimate nightmare would be that you are mailing at an office without official authorization (RE-ENTRY approval). This may require repayment at the Standard or First-Class mail rate.