Mailing Industry Appeals to Court to Overturn Postal Rate Hike

Increase goes into effect Jan. 26

Three days before the U.S. Postal Service's rate hike goes into effect, the mailing industry filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C.

The exigent rate increase—a 4.3 percent postage increase on top of the customary 1.7 percent inflation-based rate adjustment—was approved on Christmas Eve, dealing a blow to mailers, magazine publishers, newspapers and other mailing media dependent on the U.S. Postal Service. 

The MPA-Association of Magazine Media, Direct Marketing Association, the Newspaper Association of America and 13 other groups filed the appeal Thursday.

Despite the filing, there is almost no chance the court will move to stop the total 6 percent rate hike before it goes into effect on Jan. 26. It could be months before the court gets to the case.

"The evidence used to secure this increase, more than three times the rate of inflation, is fundamentally flawed and thus inherently inaccurate," said Mary Berner, president and CEO of the MPA. "Increased rates will only result in more lost volume for the postal service. Businesses will suffer and good people will lose their jobs."

The U.S. Postal Service is also expected to file for an appeal to try and make the increase permanent.

Potentially making matters even worse for the mailing media, Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), chairman and ranking member of the homeland security and government affairs committee, are moving postal reform legislation that would make the exigent 4.3 percent increase permanent and give carte blanche to the postal service to set rates. The bill would also preempt any appeal of the rates. The committee is set to consider the bill Jan. 29.