Standard Mail Merchandise Samples
Merchandise samples more than 5 inches wide (high) or 1/4 inch thick, or nonuniform in thickness, mailed at Standard Mail prices, must be mailed with DALs when prepared for general distribution on city delivery routes. Merchandise samples may be mailed with DALs for general distribution on other (e.g., rural) routes and for the residual portion of a general distribution mailing. For this standard, general distribution means distribution in a single mailing to at least 25% of the addresses in any 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area regardless of the number of samples addressed to a single route or the number of 5-digit areas to which samples are addressed. If the same mailing includes a general distribution to one or more 5-digit areas and a secondary distribution of lesser quantities to one or more other 5-digit areas, pieces in the secondary distribution are considered residual. Merchandise samples must be endorsed with a carrier release endorsement, as specified in 508.1.2. At the mailer's option, merchandise samples may be mailed with DALs without meeting the general distribution conditions above when all of the following conditions are met:
- Mailings consist of at least 200 pieces or 50 pounds of the same sample.
- Samples measure no larger than 5 inches high by 9 inches long by 1-1/2 inches thick.
- There are at least 10 addressed samples for delivery on an individual carrier route or Post Office Box section.
- Mailings are entered at a destination delivery unit (DDU) or placed on 5-digit pallets entered at a destination sectional center facility (SCF).
Bound Printed Matter
Unaddressed pieces of Bound Printed Matter may be mailed with DALs when:
- The mail is prepared on 5-digit pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0, except that for flat-size mail, separate 5-digit pallets of carrier route and Presorted price mail are not required. The destination delivery unit (DDU) is determined using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 366.3.0 through 366.6.0 or 466.3.0 through 466.6.0. The mail may not be prepared on pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates that the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in sacks. The trays or cartons of DALs must be prepared under 4.3, placed on the same pallet as the pieces, and must be stretch-wrapped together as one unit.
- The mail is prepared in 5-digit sacks and entered at the destination delivery unit. The destination delivery unit is determined by using the Drop Shipment Product under the provisions for the DDU price in 366.3.0 through 366.6.0 or 466.3.0 through 466.6.0. DALs must be bundled under 4.3 and presented to the destination delivery unit with the accompanying items to be distributed with the DALs.
Alternative Addressing Format
The addresses on DALs may be prepared using an alternative addressing format under 3.0, subject to the applicable eligibility, volume, density, and preparation standards.
Items mailed with DALs may not be combined with any extra service.
Each DAL must be made of paper or cardboard stock that is not folded, perforated, or creased, and that meets these measurements:
- Between 3-1/2 and 5 inches high (perpendicular to the address).
- Between 5 and 9 inches long (parallel to the address).
- At least 0.007 inch thick, except under 4.2.1d.
- If more than 4-1/4 inches high or more than 6 inches long, must be at least 0.009 inch thick.
- Must have an aspect ratio (length divided by height) from 1.3 to 2.5, inclusive.
The address for each item must be placed on a DAL, parallel to the longest dimension of the DAL, and may not appear on the item it accompanies. The DAL must contain the recipient's delivery address and the mailer's return address. In addition, if DALs accompany saturation mailings of Periodicals or Standard Mail flats, a correct delivery point POSTNET barcode or Intelligent Mail barcode with an 11-digit routing code must be included (see 708.4.0) except when using a simplified address.
Only one DAL may be prepared for each accompanying item, and only one item may be identified for delivery per DAL (a single DAL may not be prepared to deliver one each of different accompanying items or multiples of the same item).
The following words must appear in bold type at least 1/8 inch high on the front of each DAL: "USPS regulations require that this address label be delivered with its accompanying postage-paid mail. If you should receive this label without its accompanying mail, please notify your local postmaster." The title or brand name of the item (which may include an illustration of the item) must also appear on the front or back of the DAL to associate it with the accompanying item.
- Official pictures and data circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
- Advertising, under the following conditions:
- The DALs must be automation-compatible under 201.3.0 and have a correct delivery point barcode or an Intelligent Mail barcode with an 11-digit routing code (see 708.4.0).
- The advertising must not obstruct or overlap any of the required elements that are placed on the front of a DAL.
- The advertising must be to the left of the delivery address and must be placed to maintain required clear spaces around the address and postage payment (see 202 and 1.0).
Notice to Delivery Office
Each delivery office to receive a DAL mailing must be notified in writing at least 10 days before the requested delivery period. To ensure that the delivery office can readily relate the notice to the cartons containing the corresponding items, a copy of that letter must be enclosed with the DALs unless the initial notice and the cartons used for the DALs and items each conspicuously bears a mailing identification number. The letter must contain the following information:
- Name and telephone number of mailer or representative.
- Origin Post Office of mailing.
- Expected mailing date.
- Description of mailing.
- Number of addressees for each 5-digit ZIP Code.
- Number of DALs per carton or bundle.
- Number of items per carton or bundle.
- Expected delivery period (range of dates).
- Requested action for excess or undeliverable DALs or items (see 4.4).
Basic Standards for DALs
The DALs must be presorted, counted, and prepared by 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area. Only DALs for the same 5-digit area may be placed in the same carton, sack, or tray. DAL mailings claimed at carrier route basic or walk-sequence prices must be further prepared under the corresponding standards. Mailers must prepare DALs as bundles in sacks, or in cartons, unless prepared in trays under 4.3.7 when mailed with saturation flats. Different size cartons may be used in the same mailing, but each must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure that the DALs retain their orientation and presort integrity while in transit. Each carton of DALs must bear a label showing the information in 4.3.5 unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Multiple containers of DALs must be numbered sequentially ("1 of __," "2 of __," etc.).
Basic Standards for Items Distributed With DALs
Except for bundles of saturation flats placed directly on pallets under 4.3.7, the items to be distributed with DALs must be placed in cartons or prepared in bundles placed in sacks, as appropriate for the type of item and subject to the standards for the price claimed. A label bearing the content description information in 4.3.5 must be affixed to each carton, sacked bundle, or pallet unless a mailing identification number is used (see 4.3.1). Cartons of items (including those on pallets) may be of different sizes but must be filled with dunnage as necessary to ensure the integrity of the items while in transit. The gross weight of each carton or sack must not be more than 40 pounds.
Both the DALs and the accompanying items may be enclosed in the same carton when sent to a small volume 5-digit ZIP Code area. If packed together, these standards apply:
- The DALs must be bundled and labeled under 4.3.2 and placed on top of the items.
- The carton must be packed with dunnage to ensure the integrity of the contents while in transit.
- The gross weight of the carton must not exceed 40 pounds.
- The exterior of the carton must be labeled under 4.3.5 and marked "DALs ENCLOSED" in letters not less than 1/2 inch high.
Sacks, cartons, and pallets of DAL mail must be labeled under the preparation standards for the price claimed. A second label must be affixed to each carton or sacked bundle to provide the following information (unless a mailing identification number is used under 4.3.1):
- Delivery Post Office name and 5-digit ZIP Code delivery area.
- Title, brand name, or other description of the items.
- Name and telephone number of the mailer or representative.
- Number of labels or items in the carton, as applicable.
- Instructions to open and distribute either the DALs with matching items or the items with matching DALs, as appropriate.
Optional Tray and Bundle Preparation
Mailers may prepare DALs in letter trays according to 245.7.0, when DALs are used for mailings of saturation flats. Bundles of saturation flats to be distributed with DALs may be prepared on 5-digit pallets under 4.3.7. The mail may not be prepared on pallets when the Drop Shipment Product indicates the delivery unit that serves the 5-digit pallet destination cannot handle pallets. For such delivery units, mail with DALs must be prepared in sacks. The tray(s) of corresponding DALs must be placed on top of the accompanying pallet of flats, and the pallet contents must be secured with stretchwrap to avoid separation in transportation and processing. All containers must be labeled according to 4.3.5.
Optional Container Preparation
Cartons, bundles of flats, and sacks of items may be placed on 5-digit pallets meeting the standards in 705.8.0. Cartons or trays of DALs must be placed on pallets with the corresponding items under 4.3 and 705.8.0. The USPS plant manager at whose facility a DAL mailing is deposited may authorize other containers for the portion of the mailing to be delivered in that plant's service area.
Disposition of Excess or Undeliverable Material
The letter required under 4.3.1 must either request that the delivery office contact the mailer (or representative) about excess DALs or items, or provide instructions for their treatment. (If the mailer does not provide information about excess DALs or items, such material is disposed of as waste by the USPS.) The mailer must choose one of the following options for each DAL mailing and the items:
- Disposal of any excess material as waste.
- Return of the excess material to the mailer, postage due at the applicable single-piece price under 4.5.
- Holding of the excess material for pickup by the mailer (or representative). If pickup is not made within 15 calendar days of the notice to the mailer, the material is returned to the mailer postage due.
- Holding of the excess material while additional DALs or items are supplied (as applicable). If additional material is not supplied within 15 days of the notice to the mailer, the excess material is returned to the mailer postage due. Additional material must be sent prepaid to the delivery Post Office as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail.
Ancillary service endorsements are not permitted. A DAL that is undeliverable as addressed is handled under 507.1.1 through 507.1.9 for the applicable class of mail. The accompanying item is treated as specified by the mailer under 4.4.1.
DAL mailings are not eligible for any automation price, but they may qualify for a carrier route price, subject to the applicable standards. For DALs used with Standard Mail ECR flats and ECR parcel mailings, mailers must pay a surcharge for each DAL. See 343.1.0 and 443.1.0.
Postage Computation and Payment
Postage is computed based on the weight of the entire mailpiece (the combined weight of the item and the accompanying DAL). If the number of DALs and items mailed is not identical, the number of pieces used to determine postage is the greater of the two. No postage refund is allowed in these situations. The total weight of the mailing excludes the weight of the cartons used to carry the DALs or items, dunnage, and carton labels. In addition, these methods of postage payment apply:
- Periodicals flats must be prepaid. A notice of entry must appear in the upper right corner of the DAL.
- Standard Mail flats and samples and Bound Printed Matter must be paid by permit imprint, which must appear on each DAL. Standard Mail postage is computed at the applicable nonletter prices.
- The DAL surcharge (see 343.1.0 and 443.1.0) applies to each DAL used in a Standard Mail ECR flats or parcel mailing.
Postage for excess or undeliverable DALs that are properly endorsed or for items being returned is computed at the single-piece price (First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Package Services) applicable to the combined weight of the DAL and the accompanying item, regardless of whether both are returned. The total amount due for returned material, which includes the return postage and the applicable address correction fee for each DAL or item returned, is collected when the material is returned to the mailer.
Postage for additional material (DALs or items) mailed to the USPS under 4.4.1d must be prepaid as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, or Express Mail, subject to the eligibility standards for the price claimed and the conditions in 4.5.2.