Which endorsement?

Do you know which endorsement to use on your utility bills? No, not a political endorsement, although it is quickly becoming that time, again! I’m referring to USPS endorsements – that statement on your bill or envelope that tells the Postal Service what to do if the mail is undeliverable to address where it was mailed.

What is a USPS endorsement?

Postal Service endorsements are those three words printed on the envelope of mail you receive that end with “Service Requested”.

You may be in the same situation I was (until I learned better), and assume all endorsements mean the same thing, even though the wording is different. However, that is not the case, as you will soon see.

Assuming your customer who has moved away has provided the Postal Service with a forwarding address, here is what happens based on the endorsement you selected:

Address Service Requested

Address Service Requested means the mail is forwarded to your customer’s new address and you are provided with notification of the new address. This is the ideal scenario, however it does come with a cost, as an address correction fee is charged for the service.

Return Service Requested

Return Service Requested, as the name states, means the mail is returned to you with notification of the customer’s new address. You can then update the customer’s address in your billing system, but you must mail it again in a new, correctly addressed envelope.

Change Service Requested

Change Service Requested results in the mail being disposed of and notification of the customer’s new address provided to you. To my way of thinking, this is least desirable of the four endorsements because the final bill is neither forwarded to your customer nor returned to you to send to their new address.

Forwarding Service Requested

With Forwarding Service Requested, as the name implies, the mail is forwarded. However, no new address notification is provided to you. If you continue to send mail to this customer, it will continue to be sent to the customer’s old address and you will must rely on the USPS to forward it to your customer’s new address.

This chart below recaps the four endorsements (clicking on the graphic will open a larger image in a new window):

You can find more details at https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/507.htm.

Of course, if your customer hasn’t filed a change-of-address order, the Postal Service has no choice but to return the mail to you as undeliverable.

If you don’t have an endorsement on your utility bills, then Forwarding Service Requested is the default option.

National Change of Address

If you use an outsource vendor to print and mail your bills, there is a good likelihood they use the USPS NCOALink database. This allows them to look for address changes, and make the address correction, before your bills are mailed. This reduces the chance of sending undeliverable mail compared to printing and mailing your own bills.

Trying to improve your final bill collection rate?

Are you trying to improve your final bill collection rate? If you are, please give me a call at 919-673-4050 or e-mail me at gary@utilityinformationpipeline.com to find out how a business review could help you do just that.

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© 2023 Gary Sanders


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