Post price delays called for

AUSTRALIA Post has been asked by the Australian Competition and Consumer Com-mission to delay price increases for its Ad Post services until October 2000.

Ad Post is a direct mail service currently used by many businesses.

Australia Post told the ACCC of a number of changes it wanted to make to its new price structure to be introduced in October 1999.

ACCC chairman Alan Fels said most of the changes would favour users.

“The existing Bulk PreSort arrangements will remain in place for an additional two years, the discount for metering is to be increased and the threshold number for eligibility for bulk discounts is to be lowered from 2,500 to 300 letters,” Professor Fels said.

“The proposed adjustment in prices will result in an overall reduction in bulk letter prices of 9 per cent from current prices and 1.1 per cent from those previously notified to the ACCC.

“But some price increases are proposed for certain Ad Post services. Although the price changes are relatively small, for some companies that use Ad Post in direct marketing there will be a considerable increase in their postage.

“Australia Post argued that customers were offered the option of avoiding the additional cost through using the newly introduced structure available when meters or barcoding are used.

“The ACCC considered these would be more realistic options if the price increase for Ad Post services were delayed until October 2000.

“Business should then be more able to make informed decisions about whether to a move to barcoding or metering would mitigate the effect of the price increases.

“Currently there is considerable user concern about the costs involved to users for both these new technologies.

“The basic 45 cent postal rate is unaffected by these changes,” he said.

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