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Appealing MERLIN Results  
Understand how and when to appeal MERLIN™ program results.

 
 
Circumstances for appeal
All MERLIN verification results may be appealed if you believe them to be in error.

If your mailing has not passed MERLIN and you question the results, you can request a second level review with the USPS® acceptance personnel. If you are unable to resolve it, you may elect to appeal the results.

A Mailpiece Design Analyst (MDA), Business Mail Entry Supervisor, or other designated USPS employee completes the second level review. At the mailer’s request, the second level review may be conducted by the MDA exclusively in the case of barcode readability errors. The MDA will review live mailpieces that were identified with quality issues as quickly as possible; however, there may be a delay if the MDA does not reside at your acceptance site. If local efforts are exhausted, appeal to the next level as follows:

• For barcode readability failures, upon your request, USPS sends the pieces tested by MERLIN to the Pricing and Classification Service Center (PCSC) Appeal Site in New York, NY, where the samples are retested on the MERLIN appeal machine. Additional postage (above original assessments) may be charged if the appeal results are lower than the initial results. If the appeal results are higher than the initial results a refund may be due.
• For barcode digit string ‘9999’ failures, a mailer may request that the pieces found in the sample with ‘9999’ be faxed to Business Mail Acceptance (BMA) in Headquarters for validation. BMA will respond to the origin site with the findings.

General appeals process
Although presort verification, First-Class metered mail and piece count errors are usually resolved at the time of mailing, they may be appealed through the general appeals process according to the procedures outlined in the Domestic Mail Manual 607.2.0. The mailer may send a written appeal to the postmaster within 30 days. The appeal is forwarded to the PCSC for review and final agency decision.

Review the process to appeal verification results other than barcode readability in the Domestic Mail Manual Mailing Standards.

 
Barcode readability appeals process
The MERLIN barcode readability verification results may be appealed through a unique appeal process. The appeal must be made by the mailer at the time they are notified that the mailing has failed the barcode readability test. A second level review must be performed on all mailings before sending up the appeal. Origin sites must enter Priority Mail Express™ postage in applicable block on Appeal Form and this must be paid by the customer.

• POSTNET and Intelligent Mail barcode letter and flat mail threshold rate - 90%
• Verifications on mailings with pieces using the POSTNET barcode that fall below 90% verification threshold will be assessed additional postage at non-automation prices for all automation price pieces in the mailing.
• Mailings presented at Full-Service discount that fail barcode verification will lose Full-Service discount.
• The test mail must be kept in the same order as it was run. Test mail must be secured to ensure it is kept in correct order.
• Test mail must be isolated until the mailer is notified.
• Mailer must pay Priority Mail Express postage for shipment to the appeal site and, if applicable, back to the mailer. Priority Mail Express postage will be refunded, if appeal is upheld by the PCSC.
• Refunds will be processed according to standard accounting procedures. The Pricing & Classification Service Center (PCSC) will perform the appeal verification and issue the final agency decision in writing to the mailer and copy the Business Mail Entry Manager.

There are three appeal scenarios:

1. Appeal results - pay additional postage - Enter balance of mailing - Test Mail is Returned to Mailer from Appeal Site.
2. Appeal results - pay additional postage - Enter balance of mailing - Test Mail is Entered in Morgan GMF NY P&DC - Test Mail is not Returned to Mailer.
3. Withdraw mailing - appeal MERLIN results - Withdraw balance of mail awaiting appeal results - Test Mail is Returned to Mailer from Appeal Site.

Barcode Digit String ‘9999’ appeals process
The digit string analysis is performed to detect invalid ‘9999’s. Any that are found are included in the MERLIN Barcode Digit String Report for the mailer to review. If the mailer disagrees with the test results, one of two options can be chosen:

• If at the time of the mailing the mailer disagrees with the results of the test, the pieces in question may be faxed by the acceptance site to BMA to validate the ‘9999’s. If BMA confirms that the ‘9999’s are valid, the mailer will receive the automation rates.
• If the mailer disagrees with the test results after the mailing has entered the mailstream, they may send a written appeal to the postmaster within 30 days. The appeal is forwarded to the PCSC for review and final agency decision.