Campus Policy on Postage and Postage Meter Purchases

Effective July 1, 1999

(If you're already familiar with this policy and just want to order stamps, click here.)

I. UNIVERSITY POLICY

The University policy governing mailing and postage is Business and Finance Bulletin 65 (BUS-65), Guidelines for University Mail Services. This policy states:

  1. Postage Machines. Postal meters shall be installed only at the central mail unit to assure maintenance and auditable records of meter usage and to comply with US Postal Service regulations governing the University's postage metering privileges. Installation and use of US Postal Service meter machines by a campus department other than the central mail unit is not permitted except with prior written approval by the Chancellor or designee […]. Such requests for approval shall be considered only in situations when use of the central mail unit meters is physically impractical (such as a remote, off-campus location or a contract station). At such locations, a person will be assigned responsibility for use of the metering machine and shall be instructed in the US Postal Service requirement associated with its use.
  2. Postal Materials. The central mail unit shall maintain an inventory of postal materials (stamps, postcards, etc.) which departments may purchase to meet special mailing needs. Campus departments other than the central mail unit shall retain such materials only for urgent mailings, and shall maintain auditable records of usage.

The purchase of postal materials directly from the U.S. Postal Service by departments other than the central mail unit, is not permitted except with prior written approval by the Chancellor or designee […].

II. BERKELEY CAMPUS REQUIREMENTS AND RESTRICTIONS

  • Departments may purchase postage for "urgent mailings", which are defined as mailing needs that cannot be reasonably met by Mail Services. Departments may also purchase stamps for fundraising solicitations and invitations to formal events, for which a stamp is the traditional and preferred form of postage.
  • Postage retained by departments may only be used for University business and may not, under any circumstances, be sold to employees, students or others, nor may they be used for personal purposes.
  • Stamped mail must be deposited by the department directly in a US Postal Service collection box or at a Post Office, and may not be deposited in campus mail for pickup by Mail Services. Exceptions will be made only for fundraising solicitations and invitations to formal events.
  • Postage in the department's possession must be treated as cash. Appropriate controls must be maintained by the department: postage must be kept in a locked box or drawer at all times; only persons authorized by the department may make withdrawals; a record must be kept of all withdrawals. On request, departments must make available for inspection all records and procedures used by the department to control postage in its possession.
  • Departments may purchase up to $70 in postage per month from Mail Services. Written justification is not required for purchases up to this amount, but must be provided if requested by Mail Services. Purchase requests in excess of $70 must be accompanied by a justification. Departments that regularly need more than $70/month in postage may submit a written request for a higher monthly limit.
  • Mail Services keeps a variety of stamp denominations and commemoratives in stock. If a department orders an item not kept in stock that must be specially purchased from the US Postal Service (i.e., odd denominations or unusual commemoratives), the additional time required to special order the stamps from the US Postal Service will be charged at Mail Services' prevailing labor rate.

III. PURCHASE OF POSTAGE FROM MAIL SERVICES

Pursuant to BUS-65, departments are expected to purchase postage from Mail Services, not the US Postal Service. Purchases can be made in one of the following ways.

Orders for Delivery: The easiest way to order is to use the on-line order form at Mail Services web site: mailservices.berkeley.edu. An IOC or a letter on department letterhead is also acceptable. If the order is for more than $70, it should include a brief justification. IOCs or letter orders may be sent by campus mail (Mail Services, 2000 Carleton St. # 2284) or by fax (642-5847). The order must indicate the address to which the postage is to be delivered. Delivery will be made in 1-2 days.

Orders for Pickup: The easiest way to order is to use the on-line order form at Mail Services web site: mailservices.berkeley.edu. If the order is an IOC or a letter on department letterhead, fax a copy to Mail Services at 642-5847 a few hours in advance. If the order is for more than $70, it should include a brief justification. Bring the order to Mail Services at 2000 Carleton St. to pick up the postage. Please call 3-MAIL to let us know when you’re coming so we can have your postage ready.

IV. PURCHASE OF POSTAGE FROM THE US POSTAL SERVICE

Departments may purchase postage directly from the US Postal Service only in situations where Mail Services is substantially unable to meet their needs, and only with the advance approval of Mail Services. Postage purchased directly from the US Postal Service are subject to the same conditions as postage purchased from Mail Services, as described in Sec. II.

Purchase by Check:
Prepare a purchase order made payable to the US Postal Service. Include in the comment field of the order a justification for why the postage must be purchased from the US Postal Service. Fax a copy of the order to Mail Services at 642-5847. Include a fax number and email address for reply. Decisions are generally made the same day, but no later than the next day.

  • If the purchase order is approved, Mail Services will note its approval on the purchase order copy and fax it back to the department. The department can then proceed with the order. The copy bearing Mail Services' approval must be retained in the department's files along with the purchase order.
  • If the purchase order is denied, Mail Services will notify the department by email or fax with an explanation.

V. PETTY CASH AND EMPLOYEE REIMBURSEMENTS FOR POSTAGE PURCHASES

After-the-fact reimbursements for postage purchases, whether to departmental petty cash funds or to employees, will be made only where the postage was required for an urgent mailing, in circumstances where Mail Services was closed for business or otherwise unable to meet the department's urgent need.

To obtain approval for a petty cash reimbursement that includes postage, prepare a purchase order with receipts attached per campus procedures. However, instead of sending the purchase order to Disbursements, send it to Mail Services at 2000 Carleton St. # 2284. (If you send it to Disbursements, it will be forwarded to Mail Services, resulting in a delay.) The order must include a justification for why the postage had to be purchased from the US Postal Service. Decisions are generally made the same day, but no later than the next day. If Mail Services approves the request, the purchase order will be forwarded to the Disbursements Office for processing.

VI. POSTAGE FOR BULK MAILINGS DONE THROUGH OUTSIDE VENDORS


By longstanding campus policy, departments may choose to use the campus’ in-house bulk mailing service (now provided by UC Printing Services) or the services of an outside vendor for their bulk mailings. Accordingly, the postage for mailings done through outside vendors is not subject to the same restrictions as postage for other purposes. Typically, vendors require postage to be paid in advance. Departments are strongly advised to make these Check Requests payable to "US Postal Service" or "Postmaster" rather than to the vendor.

Although Mail Services’ approval is not required for postage for bulk mailings, departments must nevertheless document purchase orders for bulk mail postage. This documentation is evidence of the department’s compliance with BUS-65 and it allows Mail Services and auditors to distinguish bulk mail postage and other postage when the department’s postage transactions are audited. All purchase orders for bulk mail postage must include the following information in the comments section of the order: description of the bulk mailing, class of mail, number of pieces being mailed, name of the vendor doing the mailing.

Departments that use outside vendors for their bulk mailings must coordinate with Printing Services' direct mail coordinator for the submission of all mailings done against the campus' postage permit account and/or the campus' non-profit mailing authorization. (Procedures available from Printing Services on request.)

VII. PURCHASE OF POSTAGE METERS

Departmental postage meters are permitted only in situations where Mail Services is substantially unable to meet the department’s needs; e.g., the department needs a meter for a location that is distant from the campus. Exceptions for departmental meters are rare, so departments should request an exception before preparing a purchase order. Note: This procedure applies to new purchases and to upgrades or replacements of existing, approved equipment. Send a request for an exception to Mail Services. Include the following in the request:

  • An explanation of why the department needs a postage meter.
  • Make and model of the meter machine the department proposes to purchase.
  • Additional equipment needed; e.g., scale.
  • Cost of the proposed system (excluding maintenance)

Mail Services will review the request and discuss it with the department and then provide a written decision. If the request is approved, and if the total cost of the system exceeds $2,500, Mail Services’ approval must be provided to Purchasing before they can process the order.

 

© 2008 The Regents of the University of California. All Rights Reserved.