Just over two years ago, USPS had proposed that Full-Service mail preparation be required for mailers to claim automation rates. While many larger companies were already using Full-Service, most mailers were scrambling to make the changes necessary to keep their automation discounts. Then in a surprise move, the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) made a statement: a Full-Service mandate is equivalent to a price increase, and is subject to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) cap for postage increases. USPS, needing to use the CPI to balance their budget, cancelled the Full-Service mandate, and then challenged the PRC ruling in the courts.
Where the courts stand
Two years later, this issue has been through the wringer in the court system. There have been appeals, clarifications, remands and redefinitions, but the dust seems to have finally settled. Basically the PRC was correct to state that the mandate is a price increase, as it would eliminate a price cell (the Full-Service discount). In order to mandate Full-Service for automation rates, USPS would need to use their CPI allotment.