8/29/2014

PRC Issues Regulations for Market Tests of Experimental Products

Washington, DC – Today the Postal Regulatory Commission issued final regulations that establish new procedures concerning requests from the Postal Service to conduct market tests of experimental products. The regulations balance the Commission's oversight authority over market tests with the Postal Service's need for flexibility to test new product ideas. The regulations also reflect the lessons learned from past market tests.

The new rules provide increased clarity for the Postal Service, mailers, and the public regarding how such market tests are to be conducted and evaluated under the law. The rules offer the Postal Service the flexibility to conduct market tests of experimental products and to gain valuable experience from market tests, but also include safeguards to avoid disruptions to the commercial marketplace. The rules also discuss the elements the Postal Service must include in a market test proposal, the Commission’s review process, the revenue and time limitations, the data to be collected from a market test, and the mechanisms by which the Postal Service can seek to change market tests or transition experimental products to permanent products.

To date, the Commission has approved nine requests filed by the Postal Service to conduct market tests. At the Postal Service’s request, the Commission also has granted extensions of four market tests, authorized two exemptions from the revenue limitation, and granted three requests to make experimental products permanent. Market Tests previously evaluated by the Commission are listed here.

The Commission’s Order is available at www.prc.gov under Docket No.RM2013-5. The regulations will take effect 30 days after publication in the Federal Register.

 

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The Postal Regulatory Commission is an independent federal agency that provides regulatory oversight over the U.S. Postal Service to ensure the transparency and accountability of the Postal Service and foster a vital and efficient universal mail system. The Commission is comprised of five Presidentially-appointed and Senate-confirmed Commissioners, each serving terms of six years. The Chairman is designated by the President. In addition to Chairman Goldway, the other Commissioners are Vice Chairman Mark Acton, and Robert Taub.