[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 77 (Friday, April 20, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 17518-17519]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-08257]


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POSTAL SERVICE

39 CFR Part 111


Overweight Items

AGENCY: Postal ServiceTM.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The Postal Service recently published an advanced notice 
requesting comments on how the Postal Service should proceed to prevent 
overweight items from entering into the postal network. After 
considering the comments received, the Postal Service is now moving 
forward to propose amendment of the Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual, (DMM[supreg]) to prevent 
overweight items from entering the postal network.

DATES: Submit comments on or before May 21, 2018.

ADDRESSES: Mail or deliver written comments to the manager, Product 
Classification, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, Room 4446, 
Washington, DC 20260-5015. If sending comments by email, include the 
name and address of the commenter and send to 
ProductClassification@usps.gov, with a subject line of ``Overweight 
Items.'' Faxed comments are not accepted.
    You may inspect and photocopy all written comments, by appointment 
only, at USPS[supreg] Headquarters Library, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW, 11th 
Floor North, Washington, DC 20260. These records are available for 
review on Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., by calling 202-268-
2906.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lizbeth Dobbins at (202) 268-3789 or 
Garry Rodriguez at (202) 268-7261.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    On October 3, 2017, the Postal Service published an advanced notice 
requesting comments on how the Postal Service should proceed to prevent 
overweight items from entering into the postal network (82 FR 46010). 
The Postal Service received 18 responses and those suggestions have 
been incorporated into this proposed rule, as appropriate. The Postal 
Service now proposes to amend the DMM to add a penalty for attempting 
to enter nonmailable, overweight items into the mailstream. 
Implementation of this proposed rulemaking will require action by 
Postal Service management.
    The Postal Service defines overweight items as anything over the 
Postal Service 70 pound maximum limit or the applicable maximum weight 
allowed for hazardous materials (see DMM 201.7.3). These overweight 
items are considered nonmailable and present a safety risk to 
employees.
    Existing DMM section 601.1.3 provides that it is the mailer's 
responsibility to refrain from depositing nonmailable matter in the 
mail. A mailer's responsibilities include complying with applicable 
postal laws and regulations governing mailability. As such, the Postal 
Service reserves the right to refuse nonmailable items.
    Overweight items should never be entered into the postal network. 
However, the Postal Service is noticing an increase in overweight 
items, such as items that are initially delivered using a private 
carrier, but are attempted to be returned using the Postal Service. It 
is unsafe to return the overweight item to the sender through the 
postal network. Occasionally, the item is abandoned which creates 
another safety issue when trying to dispose of the overweight item.

Comments

    Most commenters identified that safety is an issue with overweight 
items and strongly supported the Postal Service position. Commenters 
recognized that heavier weight items require specialized equipment for 
lifting or at least two people to handle the item. In many locations 
neither specialized equipment nor enough people are available to move 
the heavy item.
    Some commenters identified that it is nearly impossible to identify 
if an item is overweight unless a scale is used to validate weight. 
Since items are often picked up by postal personnel upon request or 
during the normal course of the delivery route and there are no scales 
inside delivery trucks, overweight packages may mistakenly enter into 
the postal network. It is impractical to place scales inside delivery 
vehicles to verify the weight of items. Postal personnel rely on mailer 
compliance with applicable postal laws and regulations governing 
mailability and preparation for mailing.
    The Postal Service needs the full cooperation of its partners and 
customers to stop overweight items from entering into the postal 
network. Recently, other shipping companies adopted stronger practices 
to penalize those who fail to adhere to their maximum weight 
requirements.

Proposal

    As a result, the Postal Service is proposing to assess a penalty of 
$100.00 per item over the 70 pound maximum weight limit or the 
applicable maximum weight allowed for hazardous materials discovered in 
the postal network. Once the overweight item is identified, it would be 
secured and either the sender or receiver would be contacted to pick-up 
the item within 14 calendar days and notified of the assessed penalty. 
The penalty would be payable through any authorized retail payment 
method and must be paid prior to the release of the item. The Postal 
Service also proposes that the penalty and any amounts paid as 
purported postage and fees would not be refundable. Any overweight item 
not paid for and picked-up within the 14 calendar day timeframe would 
be considered abandoned and disposed of at the Postal Service's 
discretion.

Public Participation

    Although exempt from the notice and comment requirements of the 
Administrative Procedure Act (5 U.S.C. 553(b), (c)) regarding proposed 
rulemaking by 39 U.S.C. 410(a), the Postal Service invites public 
comments on the following proposed revisions to Mailing Standards of 
the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM), 
incorporated by reference in the Code of Federal Regulations. See 39 
CFR 111.1.

List of Subjects in 39 CFR Part 111

    Administrative practice and procedure, Postal Service.

    For the reasons stated in the preamble, the Postal Service proposes 
to amend 39 CFR part 111 as follows:

PART 111--[AMENDED]

0
1. The authority citation for 39 CFR part 111 continues to read as 
follows:

    Authority:  5 U.S.C. 552(a); 13 U.S.C. 301-307; 18 U.S.C. 1692-
1737; 39 U.S.C. 101, 401, 403, 404, 414, 416, 3001-3011, 3201-3219, 
3403-3406, 3621, 3622, 3626, 3632, 3633, and 5001.

0
2. Revise the following sections of Mailing Standards of the United 
States Postal Service, Domestic Mail Manual (DMM) as follows:

[[Page 17519]]

Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, Domestic Mail 
Manual (DMM)

* * * * *

600 Basic Standards for All Mailing Services

601 Mailability

1.0 General Standards

* * * * *
    [Renumber 1.2 and 1.3 as 1.3 and 1.4 and add new 1.2 to read as 
follows:]

1.2 Overweight Items

    The maximum Postal Service weight limit is 70 pounds, lower weight 
limits may apply. Any item exceeding the 70 pound Postal Service 
maximum weight limit or the applicable maximum weight allowed for 
hazardous materials is nonmailable and if found in the postal network 
will be secured at the facility identifying the ineligible item for 
pick-up by the mailer or addressee. The Overweight penalty of $100.00 
will be assessed and must be paid by any authorized retail payment 
method before release of the item.
* * * * *

604 Postage Payment Methods and Refunds

* * * * *

9.0 Exchanges and Refunds

* * * * *

9.2 Postage and Fee Refunds

* * * * *

9.2.4 Postage and Fee Refunds Not Available

    Refunds are not made for the following:
* * * * *
    [Amend 9.2.4 by adding a new item i to read as follows:]
    i. For any amounts paid as purported postage and fees on overweight 
items that are nonmailable under 601.1.2.
* * * * *
    We will publish an appropriate amendment to 39 CFR part 111 to 
reflect these changes.

Tracy Quinlan,
Attorney, Federal Compliance.
[FR Doc. 2018-08257 Filed 4-19-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 7710-12-P