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Outbound International Reply Coupons Discontinued

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by KC9LGW, Dec 7, 2012.

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  1. KC9LGW

    KC9LGW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    International Reply Coupons</SPAN></SPAN>

    Three respondents supported the discontinuance of selling international reply coupons, stating the Postal Service should ‘‘streamline’’ their product offering of low volume items. Ninety-one respondents opposed the discontinuance of international reply coupons. Of these, 63 respondents identified themselves as U.S. amateur radio operators who rely on international reply coupons to confirm radio contacts through the exchange of ‘‘QSL cards’’ and who stated that no other practical way exists for this kind of exchange. Some of the other comments from the group of 91 included the following statements:</SPAN></SPAN>
    (1) ‘‘In many countries, it’s either illegal to possess or mail foreign currency, or currency is routinely stolen from the mail;’’ </SPAN></SPAN>
    (2) ‘‘In many countries the amateur radio operators do not have funds available to answer QSL requests as their income is much lower than we consider average in the United States;’’</SPAN></SPAN>
    (3) ‘‘There is no alternative mechanism to supply foreign correspondents with return postage;’’ and</SPAN></SPAN>
    (4) ‘‘As a minimum, the USPS should continue to sell IRC’s at the www.usps.com store or through a few dispersed Post Offices that would sell them by mail to people beyond reasonable driving distance.’’</SPAN></SPAN>

    As prescribed in the Postal Regulatory Commission’s (PRC) Order No. 1541, the PRC approved the Postal Service’s proposal to discontinue outbound international reply coupons, while retaining inbound international reply coupon service. The PRC determined that the proposal to discontinue outbound international reply coupons was not inconsistent with the statute, and acknowledged that the small number of consumers, such as amateur radio operators, who purchase international outbound reply coupons, will no longer be able to do so, but they will still have options. For countries to which money orders may be sent, once the U.S. sender ascertains (or estimates) the cost of sending the QSL card from the foreign country to the U.S., the U.S. sender can obtain and send a money order in that amount. Finally, senders and recipients may find it more convenient and less costly to use an online payment service to transmit the cost of mailing a QSL card.</SPAN></SPAN>

    The Postal Service hereby adopts the following changes to </SPAN>Mailing Standards of the United States Postal Service, </SPAN>International Mail Manual (IMM), which is incorporated by reference in the </SPAN>Code of Federal Regulations. </SPAN>See 39CFR 20.1.</SPAN></SPAN>
     

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  2. KC9LGW

    KC9LGW Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Additional Information:

    381.1 Description

    As of January 27, 2013, the U.S. Postal Service no longer sells international reply coupons. However, coupons previously sold by the U.S. Postal Service can still be used or exchanged (see 381.2). The following standards apply to international reply coupons:
    a. The sender of a letter may prepay a reply by purchasing reply coupons that are sold and exchangeable for postage stamps by participating postal administrations in member countries of the Universal Postal Union.
    b. International reply coupons (in French, Coupons-Reponse Internationaux) are printed in blue ink on paper that has the letters ‘‘UPU’’ in large characters in the watermark. The front of each coupon is printed in French. The reverse side of the coupon shows the text relating to its use in German, English, Arabic, Chinese, Spanish, and/or Russian.

    381.2 Previously Sold Coupons and Exchange Value

    The following standards apply to the exchange of international reply coupons:
    a. International reply coupons sold by the United States Postal Service prior to January 27, 2013, are exchangeable in
    any other member country for a stamp or stamps representing the minimum postage on an unregistered air letter. Unused U.S. coupons (that is, those with the U.S. selling price stamped on them that are not ultimately redeemed by recipients in other countries) may be exchanged only by the original purchaser for United States postage stamps at a discount of 1 cent below the purchase price.
    b. With the exceptions noted in 381.3d, international reply coupons purchased in foreign countries are exchangeable at U.S. Post Office facilities toward the purchase of postage stamps and embossed stamped envelopes at the current maximum First-Class Mail International 1-ounce, letter-size price, per coupon, irrespective of the country where they were purchased
    See Notice 123, Price List.

    381.3 Processing Requests

    The following standards apply when processing international reply coupons:
    a. Under Universal Postal Union’s regulations, participating member countries are not required to place a control stamp or postmark on the international reply coupons that they sell. Therefore some foreign issue reply coupons that are tendered for redemption may bear the name of the issuing country (generally in French) rather than the optional control stamp or postmark. Such coupons are exchangeable for U.S. postage as specified in 381.2b.
    b. A Post Office facility redeeming an unused U.S. coupon must postmark it in the unpostmarked circle. A Post Office facility exchanging a foreign reply coupon must postmark it. Post Office facilities must not accept foreign coupons that already bear a United States Postal Service postmark.
    c. The only valid version of the international reply coupons printed by the Universal Postal Union is Item Number 330800, which is approximately 3.75 inches by 6 inches, has a barcode on the reverse side, and has an expiration date of December 31, 2013. This policy is for international reply coupons issued by the United States before January 27, 2013 as well as for those issued by foreign postal administrations.
    d. Reply coupons formerly issued by the Postal Union of the Americas and Spain are no longer valid. These coupons are printed in green ink and bear the caption Cupon Respuesta America-Espanol. Customers possessing any of these coupons should return them to their correspondents in the country of issue for redemption through the selling post office.
    e. Postmasters must process exchanged foreign and redeemed U.S. international reply coupons as prescribed in 11–6.6, ’’International Reply Coupons’’ in Handbook F–101, Field Accounting Procedures.
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  3. KI4WCQ

    KI4WCQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    IRCs can be purchased until Jan 27, 2013 from USPS.

    Our government is just trying to be helpful. I guess dropping this service makes a dent in the multi-trillion deficit.
     
  4. W6SDM

    W6SDM XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I guess this makes sense for the US Postal Service. After all, why make a service available that has such a small service base?

    In most of the DX countries, sending cash isn't a problem and it's less expensive and less bother than buying and mailing an IRC. In countries where foreign currency is illegal or mail pilferage is a problem, there's always PayPal. After all, anyone who can figure out how to put a signal on the air and have it reach around the world should be able to do the same thing with the post card.

    Finally, this puts even more emphasis on LotW. It's too bad that the ARRL doesn't invest the resources into the program that will allow it to survive popular contests without crashing or slowing down. Maybe now they will reconsider.
     
  5. K5WL

    K5WL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Note: I went to a branch post office to purchase a few for next years' use, and found they "haven't had those here in years. You have to go to the main post office in downtown Dallas.".
     
  6. WA7PRC

    WA7PRC Ham Member QRZ Page

    USPS could've chosen to supply IRCs from a central location, with an automated ordering system. There would've been minimal human contact.

    Not every sender AND receiver has Paypal. Money Orders will have to be used.

    I'm not against electronic QSLs but, IME, ARRL has a vested interest in IRCs going away. Ya think?
     
  7. K4RTS

    K4RTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    And what money orders (brand name) would be accepted in foreign countries ?
    IRC's were good almost everywhere, I'm unsure of any other way to easily
    send $2-$3 ...is US money that easily exchanged ?

    73
    Richard
     
  8. AD8P

    AD8P Ham Member QRZ Page

    I understand but that stinks.
     
  9. W8TWA

    W8TWA Ham Member QRZ Page

    IRC's are still accepted by many DX stations in lieu of "green stamps". So load up on IRC's by on line purchase from the USPS using your credit card. Also, there are several foreign stamp vendors that have quick service to permit sending a complete SASE to the DX. The other previously suggested methods of OQRS, and PayPal are very workable -- all many avenues for obtaining good old fashioned pasteboards.
     
  10. N4UFO

    N4UFO Ham Member QRZ Page

    They have "reconsidered"... they are planning on upgrading servers and I read somewhere that a re-write of the software is in the works.

    IRCs now... and the bureaus will likely not be far behind. Many stations won't deal with them anymore and as their usage goes down, the problems will multiply. Same as with all mail... less use means higher costs for what is remaining. LotW and paypal for direct mail is the answer.
     
  11. WB4AEJ

    WB4AEJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    International Reply Coupons

    I came up with a solution to that problem years ago.

    1). Find your local stamp collectors [philatelic] store that sells foreign stamps (or find one on the Internet that you can do business with).

    2). Get on the Internet to find out what the rate for mailing an International letter is (check the postal site for that particular nation).

    3). Purchase the required foreign postage from your stamp store.

    When you enclose your SASE, put the postage on the envelope with stamps from that nation at their rate for an International letter.

    I did that and I got a prompt reply.

    73,




    Fred, WB4AEJ
     
  12. NR6M

    NR6M XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's no surprise. Most PO do not know what IRC's are. My local post office does not know what to do with them even after taking a printed copy of the postal regs to them.
     
  13. N8DC

    N8DC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I havent bought any IRC's in years . I have some that are expired I think from about 20 years ago :).. 2 bucks in an envalope with a sase works for me and has for years but I got in when it was cheap to send mail to dx stations. I have used the stamps also. The best thing to happen to dxers is LoTW. I do hear the complaints all the time but it works and its getting better. LoTW is a pain to get working but once you do its great. I commend the ARRL for helping us all with the rising cost of postage and wanting confirmations for our awards. If your just collecting the cards then its a different story. I am 4 from having them all DXCC mixed and I also have the cards but my dxcc cw and phone awards will never have all the cards just because its cost prohibitive . Lotw will hopefully help me get to the top.
    Dave N8DC
     
  14. K7ZZY

    K7ZZY Ham Member QRZ Page


    I'd rather they streamlined the queues at the local post offices.
    The least they could do is offer a chair and a pillow for the wait.

    Next window please. I'm late for lunch.
     
  15. N8DC

    N8DC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I havent bought any IRC's in years . I have some that are expired I think from about 20 years ago :).. 2 bucks in an envalope with a sase works for me and has for years but I got in when it was cheap to send mail to dx stations. I have used the stamps also. The best thing to happen to dxers is LoTW. I do hear the complaints all the time but it works and its getting better. LoTW is a pain to get working but once you do its great. I commend the ARRL for helping us all with the rising cost of postage and wanting confirmations for our awards. If your just collecting the cards then its a different story. I am 4 from having them all DXCC mixed and I also have the cards but my dxcc cw and phone awards will never have all the cards just because its cost prohibitive . Lotw will hopefully help me get to the top.
    Dave N8DC
     
  16. N8NU

    N8NU Ham Member QRZ Page

    One thought comes to mind: It is legal to simply import IRCs to the US from countries where they are still sold? Perhaps the retailers that serve us could add imported IRCs to the product line of imported radios, antennas and accessories.

    I also hope nobody tries to start a scam over the shipping of IRCs without actually buying any, as some guy named Ponzi did, LOL.
     
  17. AA6RE

    AA6RE Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    My local PO has not covered IRCs for many years. I had to buy them from the online USPS site, which was fine as I often put in an order for international stamps etc at the same time.

    The Green stamp methiod has some issues. Stolen mail and the resulting confusion and delay cause more issues.


    The ideal siutation would be that the ARRL open up LOTW for all HAMS for a nominal yearly fee that would allow full access to LOTW. READ ONLY if you don't pay.

    The LOTW system would need more cacpacity ($$) and software. My guess is that for $20/year 75,000 additional International users would sign up for LOTW.


    Paypal allows money to be transferred easily. (I recently found out paypal will even issue 1099K's for people paid for contract work by international firms
     
  18. N3KIP

    N3KIP Ham Member QRZ Page

    Can't see why it wouldn't be legal to buy IRCs from another country. Trouble is, the US is not the only country that no longer sells them. I hear that you can no longer get them in the UK either.
     
  19. W4WN

    W4WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    And next to go is the greenstamp, there was an article in the local paper recently saying congress wants to do away with the dollar bill and replace it with a coin to save costs. I imagine with the Fed printing the stuff like newspaper we'll be sending a "Benjamin" instead of a couple "Washingtons" soon anyway...
     
  20. W3TLN

    W3TLN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    The USPS is a private corporation and is not run by the US government. If it was a government entity it would have no problems. It would just run a deficit as other government agencies do.
     
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