Jumping back to April of 2018, some ACS (Address Change Service) customers got a little surprise when their monthly ACS invoice arrived. One example of this surprise was a mailer that typically had a monthly invoice of a couple of dollars suddenly had a bill for several hundred dollars. After some investigation by the Postal Service, a problem was identified in the logic used to determine which pieces are billed and which pieces are provided for free. The change the Postal Service implemented was intended to provide ACS customers that have 95% or more of their mail volume as Full Service to get all their ACS data for free. Several hundred ACS customers were impacted by this incorrect billing, which resulted in the Postal Service issuing an Industry Alert on June 2, 2018. The Industry Alert advised ACS customer to not pay their April or May invoices that they received.

Since the June 2nd Industry Alert was issued, ACS billing has been on hold while the Postal Service has worked to resolve the problem. The fix has proven to be rather difficult to resolve, but it appears the Postal Service believes they have the updated logic working correctly. On August 10, 2018 another Industry Alert was issued noting the Postal Service is ready to resume billing. It stated:

  • ACS customers will receive invoices for all ACS-related notifications and forwarding services effective August 24, 2018. The invoices will contain charges for the fulfillment of ACS-related notifications and forwarding services for the period of July 25, 2018 through August 24, 2018.

One additional item that is important to be aware of is along with resuming their normal billing, the Postal Service is also going to go back and bill for the previous months as well, stating:

  • On September 24, 2018 invoices will be issued for all ACS-related notifications and forwarding services that were provided between March 25, 2018 and July 24, 2018. ACS customers who submitted Full Service-eligible mailings during this timeframe may request preliminary invoices for review by sending an email to the ACS Support department with a Subject line containing “ACS Invoice Review Request”. The email message must include the ACS account number, found on either a recent ACS invoice or from the Electronic Product Fulfillment site where ACS records are retrieved.

In industry discussions with the Postal Service it is still unclear exactly how the 95% logic is supposed to work. Is it being evaluated daily, monthly, or quarterly? Once a mailer falls below the 95% threshold, and then gets back above it, how long do they have to wait before ACS is provided for free again? The Postal Service has committed to providing answers to these questions, but at the moment they are still unknown, which will make it difficult to verify if the invoices received are correct. If you have any questions or concerns about the ACS invoice you receive, it is highly recommended that you take advantage of the Postal Service offer to request a review of your bill.

Ralph Mezzoni

Ralph Mezzoni

Director, Product Marketing - Mailroom Solutions

Ralph Mezzoni is the Director of Product Marketing for Mailroom Solutions at Quadient USA.  He has spent over a decade helping to develop new technologies to optimize mailing processes while minimizing mailing costs for customers across the United States.

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