Your P.O. Box Just Got More Expensive

U.S. Postal Service employee Arturo Lugo delivers an Express Mail package during his morning route on February 6, 2013 in Los Angeles, California.
National Journal
Billy House
Add to Briefcase
See more stories about...
Billy House
July 9, 2014, 11:20 a.m.

Awash in red ink, the U.S. Postal Ser­vice is rais­ing the rent­al fees for post-of­fice boxes in 1,625 areas na­tion­wide.

The in­creases will av­er­age about 20 per­cent for each box — which are typ­ic­ally offered in a range of sizes, from 3 inches by 5.5 inches to 22.5 inches by 12 inches, ac­cord­ing to a no­tice pos­ted Wed­nes­day in the Fed­er­al Re­gister.

More than 6,900 loc­a­tions have been char­ging the high­er fees since 2011. Start­ing on Aug. 27, those in­creases will hit boxes loc­ated in a wide range of ad­di­tion­al zip codes, from parts of the Bronx to Wasilla, Alaska.

The Fed­er­al Re­gister no­tice in­cludes a list of the af­fected loc­ales and their zip codes.

The com­mon de­nom­in­at­or for be­ing pegged for the pri­cing changes is that each of these areas are be­ing moved from a “mar­ket-dom­in­ant fee group” to “com­pet­it­ive fee group.” In oth­er words, the Postal Ser­vice has de­term­ined it no longer holds a post-of­fice box mono­poly in those loc­al­it­ies — and so it now faces com­pet­i­tion from private com­pan­ies.

The Postal Ser­vice says it is re­spond­ing by provid­ing “com­pet­it­ive ser­vice” that in­cludes “sev­er­al en­hance­ments.” The no­tice says that in­cludes such things as elec­tron­ic no­ti­fic­a­tion of the re­ceipt of mail, sig­na­ture already on file for de­liv­ery of cer­tain ac­count­able mail, and ad­di­tion­al hours of ac­cess and/or earli­er avail­ab­il­ity of mail in some loc­a­tions.

Na­tion­wide, the Postal Ser­vice man­ages more than 21 mil­lion post-of­fice boxes. Ac­cord­ing to a 2013 USPS Of­fice of In­spect­or Gen­er­al Re­port, these boxes ac­coun­ted for $836 mil­lion in fee rev­en­ue in fisc­al year 2012. The Fed­er­al Re­gister no­tice does not provide a pro­jec­tion of how much more will be raised by the move.

Spe­cif­ic new charges for each size of box dif­fer among vari­ous zip codes across the coun­try.

But Dav­id Ru­bin, an at­tor­ney for the U.S. Postal Ser­vice, said the 20 per­cent price hike, for in­stance, would mean a cus­tom­er now rent­ing a small box for $53 every six months would in­stead have to shell out about $64 every six months. The largest box would go from about $440 for six months to about $528.

Boxes can be ren­ted for as short a peri­od as three months.

Aside from the Fed­er­al Re­gister, the price hike has not at­trac­ted wide at­ten­tion amid the out­cry over the Postal Ser­vice’s push to close or downs­ize more than 80 mail-pro­cessing fa­cil­it­ies na­tion­wide after Janu­ary.

In May, the Postal Ser­vice an­nounced it had ended the second quarter of its 2014 fisc­al year with a net loss of $1.9 bil­lion — des­pite an ac­tu­al in­crease in op­er­at­ing rev­en­ue of $379 mil­lion. The bulk of the agency’s fin­an­cial prob­lems stem from the fed­er­ally man­dated an­nu­al pay­ments to cov­er ex­pec­ted health care costs for fu­ture re­tir­ees.

What We're Following See More »
TRUMP CONTINUES TO LAWYER UP
Kasowitz Out, John Dowd In
2 days ago
THE LATEST

As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."

Source:
ALSO INQUIRES ABOUT PARDON POWER
Trump Looking to Discredit Mueller
2 days ago
THE LATEST

President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.

Source:
INCLUDES NY PROBE INTO MANAFORT
Why Yes, Mueller Is Looking into Trump Businesses
2 days ago
THE LATEST

In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."

Source:
Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."

Source:
ANALYSIS FROM CBO
32 Million More Uninsured by 2026 if Obamacare Repealed
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login