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USPS List Prep Question

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  • USPS List Prep Question

    All of you who run mailing lists through CASS/DPV software I have a question. How much correcting are you doing of addresses that are deemed undeliverable by the software? When we first started our thought process was make the corrections we can without charging since it would equate to more pieces being printed. Now we are mailing about 2 million pieces a year and have changed software that seems to be finding more undeliverable addresses and it is getting unmanageable. So we are trying to figure out what others do with undeliverable addresses, fix them, omit them, return them back to the client to try to fix and add them back in and re-sort??? Each option presents it's own set of issues too.
    Fix - Lets face it, client lists are a mess. we certified one list of 60,000 records that had over 5,000 undeliverable addresses. It would take days to go through each one to try to correct. If you do that when do you start to charge, maybe if it is over 100 records?
    Omit - The client gets mad because they sent a list of 1000 and expect 1000 to be delivered. They have "checked" each address and they are correct, even though they don't pass DPV/NCOA.
    Return to the client for correction - Now you have to add them back in, re presort the list all at an expense.

    Thanks for your thoughts!

  • #2
    Yes client lists are often messy. Its not unheard of to get thousands of undeliverables in a large list. There is no hard and fast rule, its the quality of the list not the software causing the problems.

    Client has 3 choices. Pay for us to manually go through the list...we go by the hour. Or they can omit. Or they can mail as is and see if they get 5000 returned pieces.

    We generally send the undeliverables list back to the client so they can update their records (though with most clients I doubt they do).

    When I last did this (we no longer do the sort in house), I remember being able to look at the undeliverables in Accuzip and figure out if it was as simple as them not entering the data correctly. Still, this is a case to build into their mail sorting work is free...they want a discounted postage rate, that's fine, but they only get that if they play by the rules.


    • #3
      If it's just a handful, maybe even 100 for a GOOD customer, we scan the addresses visually for obvious errors like spelling, numbers that are likely wrong, like excessive digits and repeating numbers - ex 244479 has probably got too many 4s, likely should be 24479. You need to pay attention to the return codes so you know what you are looking for. Other than that we give the customer the option of excluding questionable addresses - those that have errors, but aren't declared non-deliverable by the USPS, or mailing them. Either way we return a list of errors to the customer for their review along with an explanation of return codes so they can see what is wrong with the address. They can research and attempt to correct them. If they want us to research and attempt to correct, they pay hourly.

      It's important to explain to the customer that it is the USPS, not you, that says there is a problem with the address. Unless they have checked each address on the USPS website, they haven't checked it.
      The only one that is a pain is a return code 31 with a DPV of N. USPS says these are non-deliverable, but they are usually new home builds that haven't updated in the USPS data yet. 31 means its on a valid street within a valid range of numbers, but the N means the actual address number isn't found in the database. That is also the usual cause of "error in primary" on move updates.

      You should not presort until you have disposition of the rejected addresses. Don't do the work twice. If you export the list with record numbers, you should be able to merge the corrections back in quickly and easily.


      • #4
        Thanks Guys - The only issue I have with mailing the "undleiverables" is we are Full Service and get penalized if we go over 1/2 of 1% NCOA errors for the month. We just need to set a policy and stick to it, we let things go by trying to be nice in the beginning.


        • #5
          Originally posted by Craig View Post
          Thanks Guys - The only issue I have with mailing the "undleiverables" is we are Full Service and get penalized if we go over 1/2 of 1% NCOA errors for the month. We just need to set a policy and stick to it, we let things go by trying to be nice in the beginning.
          What about mailing the undeliverables separately as full rate? That seems like the lowest time expense on your part, and would encourage the customer to correct their list (or really question the value of trying to force the issue) in the future.


          • #6
            If it is a marketing list of prospects, it's usually easy to have the customer drop the records. It was probably scraped from somewhere and contains a lot of junk that they have no desire to correct. If it is a client list, then it is just bad data entry and we encourage them to go back and correct their records before mailing. After all, it will keep coming back to haunt them. In either case we present it as not likely to deliver if it wasn't already declared non-deliverable. Those pieces that may actually get delivered if they reach the destination PO are often stopped in the mail stream before hand, so it's not likely.


            • #7
              Yep we take them out. Honestly, it's a win for the customer since there's a high chance that they'd be wasting postage on pieces that would never make it to their actual destination. Creating that relationship with the customer and sending out mail that is more likely to reach their recipients, in my mind at least, would create more loyalty than just mailing everything out. Also you don't want to get hit on your USPS bulk mail scorecard because of bad addresses being mailed full service


              • #8
                Run the bad ones against ARS. Cuts it down considerably.

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