Direct Mail News & Resources

Cost of USPS Forever stamps to go up Sunday

It might be called a Forever stamp, but its price is anything but.

The cost of mailing a one-ounce first-class letter will jump from 47 cents to 49 cents on Sunday.

The last increase was in January 2014, according to the U.S. Postal Service. Postcards, letters mailed to other countries and heavier letters aren’t affected.

The word “Forever” refers to when it can be put on an envelope not how long its cost will remain unchanged.

“Once it’s purchased, it never expires or declines in value, but at the time of purchase, it’s sold at the first-class one-ounce rate. You can use it forever,” said Elizabeth Najduch, the USPS spokeswoman for metro Detroit, Flint and Jackson.

Forever stamps were first introduced in April 2007 and within four years, all first-class one-ounce stamps became Forever stamps, except those sold in coils of 500, 3,000 and 10,000, according to the USPS Web site. They were developed “for consumers ease of use” during price changes.

“The idea was never to deceive anyone or anything of that nature,” R. Richard Geddes, an associate professor of policy analysis and management at Cornell University and an expert of the postal service, said about the name of the stamp. “It used to be if there was a change in postage and you had old stamps, you put them on with a two-cent stamp or a one-cent stamp. The idea was buy their group of stamps right now and that price will hold for the foreseeable future, so you wouldn’t have to put on those one- or two-cent stamp additions.”

According to the Geddes, the USPS needs to periodically adjust the price of postage to compensate for even modest levels of inflation, as its own costs – gas for mail trucks, wages, heating and lighting its buildings – go up.

But Lynne Golodner, the chief creative officer of the Huntington Woods-based public relations firm Your People, was annoyed by the cost hike. She buys stamps in bulk.

“I was stunned. It feels like we just had another increase,” she said. “It’s an inconvenience, I am kind of old-fashioned. I use stamps, I pay bills by mail. I mail out checks to employees. I guess I could a lot of that digitally, but I just don’t.”

The Forever stamp had previously cost 49 cents, but the Postal Regulatory Commission ordered the USPS to drop its prices in April, the first time in 97 years.

At the time, Postmaster General and CEO Megan J. Brennan expressed concern: “Given our precarious financial condition and ongoing business needs, the price reduction required by the PRC exacerbates our losses.”

The USPS processed and delivered 154.2 billion pieces of mail in 2015, according to its most recent data.

[Detroit Free Press]

 

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