Archive for October, 2010

Business Customer Gateway Restored

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No official word yet (I’m sure it will be forthcoming), but the USPS Business Customer Gateway is accessible now.

4+ hours of unscheduled downtime, during the middle of a business day.  Not good.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 21st, 2010 at 2:48 pm

Posted in USPS

PostalOne! Downtime

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From the PostalOne! Help Desk @ 10:37am.  Personally, we haven’t been able to access PostalOne! since 10:08 am.

Attention PostalOne!® Users

You are receiving this email because a Priority Urgent ticket has been opened by the PostalOne Help Desk for an issue that is affecting PostalOne external users.
This issue has been identified as a network/infrastructure problem affecting many external facing applications. At this point we know customer access to all services made available through the Business Customer Gateway is impacted. This includes FAST and PostalOne. eDoc submission of Mail.dat and MailXML files is not impacted. Additional information will be provided as it becomes available. There should be no impact to internal users accessing PostalOne from the blue page.
Please call the PostalOne Help Desk at (800) 522-9085 if you have any further questions.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 21st, 2010 at 10:38 am

Posted in USPS

Keeping Letter and Flat Trays in Circulation

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From the DMM Advisory

Keeping Letter and Flat Trays in Circulation

The fall and Holiday mailing seasons are getting into full swing. Letter and flat trays allow us to handle your mail efficiently in our processing facilities; however, we are facing a potential shortage of the MM letter trays.

We have tried to avoid this situation by asking mailers to conduct ongoing mail transport equipment (MTE) audits to locate forgotten, misused, or excessive MTE. As a rule of thumb, you should maintain no more than a 7-day supply of MTE.

When MTE overstocking occurs, other customers are prevented from completing their mailings. So please, don’t hang onto excess MTE. Make sure to return it to your Post Office, processing facility, or BMEU.

Until we have recovered excess MTE, keep in mind that you may use EMM trays (EIRS 74E) as an authorized substitute when MM letter trays are unavailable.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 20th, 2010 at 4:18 pm

Posted in USPS

More Business Customer Gateway Information

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From the USPS, a very good communication regarding the Business Customer Gateway Agreement, with resources…

The USPS® has revised the online agreement which describes the terms and conditions for the use of USPS computing systems and Business Customer Gateway online services. Beginning November 1, 2010, Business Services Administrators (BSAs) are encouraged to accept the new agreement in order to maintain uninterrupted access to Business Customer Gateway services.

To assign your BSA responsibilities to another user, click the Manage User Access link from you Business Customer Gateway homepage and select a user from your user base. If you are experiencing problems or wish to deactivate your account, contact the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085.

If the registered BSA has left your company and you were routed this notification, we recommend verifying that the former BSA assignment has been revoked through the PostalOne! Help Desk at 800-522-9085. Be prepared to answer questions for security reasons. A new BSA can then assume the role by accepting the current online agreement.

Please be prepared to answer the following questions when contacting the Help Desk:

1) CRID(s) of former BSA
2) ZIP Code of former BSA
3) Company Name
4) Name of former BSA (first and last name)
5) Date BSA left
6) Name of the Business Customer Gateway online service
7) Listing of all CRID(s) associated to the company

For more details and to preview the revised agreement, go to http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_gateway/documents/tech_guides/BSAAgreement.pdf.

For inquiries, send email to IMb@usps.gov, include BSA Reacceptance in the subject line.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 20th, 2010 at 10:13 am

Posted in USPS

USPS Business Service Admin Obligations and Liabilities

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From the Business Customer Gateway New Online Agreement Notification:

Responsibilities of a BSA include:
o   Managing company profile information
o   Activating and deactivating company-affiliated users’ logon IDs
o   Granting the appropriate access levels at locations for services
o   Establishing where permits and Mailer IDs are to be linked
With PostalOne! release 25.0.0 in November 2010, the system will begin sending important updates and notices to the BSA and users of the new Verification Assessment Evaluator (VAE) service. Refer to the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information Reports Guide, Volume I for detailed information about the Gateway services and the BSA role. For detailed information on the VAE Role, refer to A Guide to Intelligent Mail for Letters and Flats.

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Excerpted from the Agreement, which is available in its’ entirety here

Section 4 PARTICIPANT OBLIGATIONS
Participant will take the following measures to ensure that USPS information, communications, and systems are protected:
4.1      Responsibility and Privacy Act: Participant will ensure that its Users use the USPS system responsibly and Participant will provide its Users with copies of the User Responsibility Agreement Statement and the Privacy Act Statement.
4.2      Restrict Access: Participant will ensure that access to the USPS computer system is restricted to only those Users who require access to the system in the performance of their duties and who have complied with Section 4.1.
4.3      Security Violations: If the Participant learns of any breach of security, misuse of passwords, unauthorized access, or violation of security procedures by any of its Users, Participant shall provide written or electronic notification to the Customer Care Center to be received within 48 hours.
4.4      User List: Participant will maintain a current list of Users, which Participant has authorized, with access to the system (each a “User”). This list will include each User’s logon ID.
4.5      Unauthorized Attempt: Participant is responsible for any User who has access to a USPS computer system, and for any unauthorized attempts to upload or change information, or otherwise cause damage to USPS. Should any User employed by, or acting on behalf of, Participant engage in such acts, Participant is subject to the penalties set forth in Section 5.
4.6      Business Service Administrator (BSA): Participant will appoint a Business Service Administrator to administer its Users access and use of the USPS computer system.
4.7      Business Service Administrator Responsibility: Appointed Business Service Administrator will: (a) be responsible for activating and deactivating its Users’ logon IDs; (b) be responsible for assigning the appropriate access levels to its Users of participant sites; a site is defined as a unique computer system communicating information in an electronic data exchange with a USPS computer system regardless of geographic location. and (c) agrees to receive updates and notifications in writing or by electronic means regarding the service for which the Participant has a BSA.
4.8      Business Service Administrator Obligations: Business Service Administrator will advise its Users of their obligations under these terms and conditions.
4.9      Personnel Change Business Service Administrator: Participant shall notify the Customer Care Center in writing or via email within 48 hours when a Business Service Administrator leaves the employment of Participant. If Participant fails to notify the Customer Care Center, Participant is liable for any loss sustained by the USPS and any other third parties resulting from the Participant’s failure to submit such notification.
4.10    Electronic Information: Participant must transmit its mailing data to USPS in accordance with the rules set forth for deposit of mailing in an acceptance unit.
4.11    Additional Participant Site: Each Participant site requesting access to the USPS system must apply to the USPS for access and be authorized by Participant.

Section 5 PARTICIPANT LIABILITY
If Participant fails to comply with the provisions in Section 4, other portions of these terms and conditions, or applicable statutes or regulations, Participant will be subject to the following:
5.1      Access Terminated: Participant may be immediately denied access to the USPS system
5.2      Indemnity: Participant shall reimburse, indemnify, and otherwise make USPS whole for any damages caused by Participant or any of Participant’s employees, agents or assignees
5.3      Other: Any appropriate criminal, civil, or administrative remedies.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2010 at 9:49 am

Posted in USPS

The OIG Wants Your Help on Audits!

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USPS OIG » Blog Archive » The OIG Wants Your Help on Audits!.

Any/every opportunity the mailing community has to comment and be heard is critical.  Participate, or don’t complain when decisions are mandated that you don’t agree with, but never siad anything about when the opportunity was presented.  The OIG is making it easy to communicate with them.  Take adavnatage!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 18th, 2010 at 9:32 am

Posted in USPS

Business Services Administrator Agreement Details

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Excerpts from the new Business Customer Gateway BSA Online Agreement, of note:

“1.5      Contingency: In the event of a USPS system or telecommunications network failure preventing Participant from transmitting (as communicated by USPS unscheduled outage notifications) or the Postal Service from receiving and verifying receipt of documentation under these terms and conditions, Participant shall submit hardcopy documentation of the mailings pursuant to the applicable requirements of the DMM and other USPS regulations or such other local process that may have been defined and approved by the USPS for the Participant’s use.”

This is the same “contingency plan” that was used when PostalOne! was out for several days, wreaking havoc for mailers and the USPS alike.  This plan did not work well, there is no reason to expect it to in the future.  But, anyone signing the BSA Agreement will be signing off that this is A-OK.  It isn’t.

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“2.2      Confidentiality: Participant acknowledges that there are inherent risks in the electronic transmission of data. The USPS will not be liable for its unauthorized access, disclosure or dissemination of Participant’s information, unless the information is provided based upon the gross negligence of the USPS. ”

Doesn’t give me a warm and fuzzy feeling about a place where I do financial transactions.

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“2.6      Contest Validity: USPS and Participant will not contest the validity or enforceability of documents transmitted pursuant to these terms and conditions under any applicable law relating to agreements in writing or signed by the party to be bound thereby. Transmitted documents, if introduced as evidence on paper in any judicial, arbitration, mediation or administrative proceeding, will be admissible as between the parties to the same extent and under the same conditions as other business records originated and maintained in documentary form. USPS and Participant will not contest the admissibility of copies of documents on the basis that they were not originated or maintained in documentary form. ‘

eDocs as a legal document?  Does that work for everybody?

Tomorrow I will cover the Participant Obligations and Participant Liability, in their entirety.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 17th, 2010 at 9:49 am

Posted in USPS

ALL Business Customer Gateway / PostalOne! Users – Must Read!

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From the USPS, at the RIBBS Business Customer Gateway site

Notice to the Mailing Industry: The USPS® has revised the online agreement which describes the terms and conditions for the use of USPS computing systems and Business Customer Gateway online services. Existing Business Services Administrators (BSAs) are encouraged to accept the new agreement to retain access to Business Customer Gateway services. The agreement must be accepted by a new or existing Business Services Administrator (BSA).

The agreement can be found for review at the end of this document:

BSAAgreement.pdf (application/pdf Object).

PostalOne Users -Be CERTAIN that you read the referenced document, and have your legal departments review.  Chances are most BSAs are going to just accept this without reading the actual agreement.  There are liabilities involved, read, review, and be aware.  Do not sign without reading the fine print!!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 17th, 2010 at 9:27 am

Posted in USPS

Losing Your Full Service Discount

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This is the USPS focus, taking back the Full Service discount.  Penalties as a revenue stream.

From the USPS® PostalOne!® – Release 25.0.0 Release Notes – Version 6

On January 2, 2011 the errors identified in the MicroStrategy Mail Data Quality reports will result in the
loss of the Full-Service discount for all Full-Service pieces contained in the containers or handling units.
For logical containers and handling units, due to lack of visibility of pieces tied to physical containers, the
loss of discount will be assessed for all Full-Service pieces in the logical containers and handling units
when an error occurs.   In the January release, the PostalOne! Full-Service Error Report will provide the
eDoc submitter with the functionality to make payment for the assessment as well as request reconciliation
of the identified errors.

All errors will be reported to the associated eDoc submitter CRID (SEG Mailer Facility ID).
The errors for loss of Full Service discount verified by the system will include:
>     Mailer ID: Verify that the Mailer ID parsed from the barcode provided in the eDoc is a valid Mailer
ID in the MID system
>    Service Type ID: Verify that the Service Type Identifier parsed from the barcode provided in the
eDoc is valid for the Mail Class and indicates Full-Service
>    By/For: Verify that the Mail Owner and Mail Preparer provided in the eDoc by MID or CRID map to
a valid CRID from the Customer Registration system
>     FAST Customer Supplier Agreement (CSA): Verify that the eDoc contains valid elements for all
of the required fields for the CSA.
>     Barcode Uniqueness: Verify that Intelligent Mail barcodes (pieces), Intelligent Mail tray barcodes,
and Intelligent Mail container barcodes provided in the eDoc are unique within and across mailing
jobs (as designated by the Mailer Facility ID) based on the Postage Statement Mailing Date
provided in the eDoc.

Full-Service eDoc verification errors will be reported in the MicroStrategy Mail Data Quality reports through
the Business Customer Gateway generally within 48 hours after the finalization of postage statements.
The Mail Data Quality reports will continue to aggregate errors by the job based on finalization of postage
statements until the job is completed. Mail Owners are encouraged to monitor the Mail Data Quality
reports through the duration of the mailing cycle. See the User Access to Electronic Mailing Information
and Reports Guide on RIBBS (http://ribbs.usps.gov/) at
(http://ribbs.usps.gov/intelligentmail_guides/documents/tech_guides/user_access/user_access.htm) for
detailed instructions on accessing the Mail Data Quality Reports.  A new Full-Service eDoc Verification
Error Invoice report will provide detailed information on Full-Service jobs. The report will contain affected
piece counts and additional postage amounts that will correlate with the PostalOne! Full-Service Error
report.

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 15th, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Posted in USPS

Full-Service eDoc Verification and Assessment

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From the DMM Advisory –
The November 2010 PostalOne! release will introduce a process for evaluation of electronic documentation (eDoc) for Full-Service mailings. The process will evaluate Full-Service electronic documentation (eDoc) for invalid Mailer ID, invalid Service Type ID, incorrect By/For information, incorrect Customer Supplier Agreement information and non-unique barcodes. On January 2, 2011, these errors will result in the loss of Full-Service discounts. Mailers should use the feedback to correct errors found during Full-Service verification prior to implementation of the Full-Service Discount Removal on January 2, 2011. Additional information can be found on RIBBS in the PostalOne! Release 25.0 release notes.

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Another step in a continuing, disturbing trend – the USPS using penalties as a revenue stream rather than a corrective action.  Beware!

Written by Lisa.Bowes

October 15th, 2010 at 4:11 pm

Posted in USPS