October 01, 2010

Postal Service rate increase denied in victory for Venable clients

1 min

On September 30, a Venable team led by David Levy and Matt Field scored a major victory when the Postal Regulatory Commission unanimously denied the Postal Service's request for permission to raise its rates in January.

On behalf of the Affordable Mail Alliance, a coalition of more than 15 trade associations and 1200 individual publishers, direct-mail companies, nonprofit groups and other mailers representing the majority of the mail sent in the United States, Venable had urged the Commission to reject the increases on the ground that the Postal Service's recent and projected losses were the result of longstanding structural problems with its business model, not the "exceptional or extraordinary circumstances" required by a 2006 law that barred rate increases from exceeding the rate of inflation.

Because of the size of the Postal Service's losses and the political support for the rate increases by postal labor unions, most industry observers had given Venable's clients little chance of winning. However, the Commission agreed with Venable, finding that a short-term exigent rate increase is not an appropriate method of combating the Postal Service's long-term problems. The Commission's decision will save mailers $3 billion annually, and may provide the impetus for fundamental reforms of the Postal Service.