USPS Shares New UAA Data On Mail

Looking for ways to control your mailing budget?

If so, take a hard look at your Undeliverable As Addressed (UAA) mail.

The USPS recently shared data from a 2010 report studying UAA mail. Prior to release of this report, the most recent data was from a 2004 study.

According to the study, the total volume of Undeliverable As Addressed mail dropped from 9.3 billion pieces (4.71 percent of total mail volume) in FY 1998 to 6.9 billion pieces (4.11 percent of total mail volume) in FY 2010.

Still falling short of former Postmaster General Jack Potter’s goal of a 50% reduction by 2010, this is still a notable decrease.

How are you impacted?  Think of all the time and money spent designing, printing, preparing and applying postage to your mail. The mail returned to you as UAA is money down the drain. You won’t see a return on investment, or a bill paid, on mail that never made it to the designated recipient.

Historically, UAA mail runs in the range of 4 percent to 5 percent of total mail volume, and the percentages vary by class of mail. The volumes of UAA mail that the USPS forwards or treats as waste both saw declines, but the amount of UAA mail that the USPS returned to sender increased.

The USPS handles UAA mail in three ways:  it is forwarded to the new address, it is disposed of as waste, or it is returned to the sender.

Although the Move Update requirements implemented in 2008 have had a direct impact on the reduction of UAA mail, the increase in the volume of mailpieces returned to sender is of note. These are the most costly UAA mail for the USPS to process at an average cost of 51.3 cents per piece.

All of this undeliverable mail costs both the USPS the mailers. Charles Hunt, the USPS program manager for licensing and move update support, told the Mailer’s Technical Advisory Committee (MTAC) that all postage rates could drop by one cent each if the UAA problem were taken out of the equation.

What can you do to decrease the amount of Undeliverable As Addressed mail you receive?

  • Become vigilant about your list hygiene.
  • Maintain suppression lists of those customers who have requested not to receive mailings from your organizations.
  • Frequently update your list to remove any UAA addresses returned to you.
  • Work with your mail service provider to design mailpieces for postal automation compatibility.

There are so many resources out there for address cleansing and updating. The benefit is to you in doing your part; it not only reduces waste, but helps to ensure that your message is indeed reaching the target.


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