Five years ago the USPS phased out POSTNET barcodes and required mailers use Intelligent Mail Barcodes instead. As part of the switch to IM barcodes, the USPS also mandated that by 2014 the Full Service Intelligent Mail Barcode would be required for automation discounts.
The PRC and mailers said this constituted a rate hike and in 2016 the PRC stated “the Full Service IMb requirement constituted a classification change with rate implications.”
This issue of the USPS using mail prep requirements as a defacto means of raising rates has been tied up in court, stalling any implementation of the mandate.
On April 6, 2018 the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia ruled in favor of the Postal Service, clearing the way for it to impose the requirement that all automation discounted mail have the Full Service Intelligent Mail Barcode.
The Court vacated three PRC rulings on the matter: Order No. 1890 (Nov. 21, 2013), Order No. 3047 (Jan. 22, 2016), and Order No. 3441 (July 20, 2016).
Many mailers have already made the conversion to Full Service, but some have not and face higher costs if they do not comply. The USPS has not announced its intentions to go through with the mandate.