French regulators seek to clarify postmark rules

French regulators have launched a consultation on the role of the postmark within the liberalised postal market. France opened its mail services to full competition in January 2011, but since then ARCEP said certain issue surrounding use of postmarks needed clarification.

The consultation issued on Monday looks at the nature of the postmark that alternative postal providers are obliged to use following liberalisation of the market.

It looks at minimum standards for information presented through the postmark, and how the postmark serves as a legal proof of mailing.

In particular, the regulator said there was currently no requirement for competitive postal services to provide a cancellation date on their postmarks, and that such a requirement should be introduced.

In the consultation paper ARCEP also notes that with the current restructuring of France’s postal network, the location name presented within a post mark as a mailpiece is cancelled is now no longer necessarily accurate with regard to the place of deposit of the mailpiece.

The regulator is proposing a change in the postmark rules to require the identity of postal providers and a date of deposit to be placed on mail in France.

It said it had taken account of proposals from 2010 from the Federation of Alternative Postal Operators (FAPA).

The consultation runs until 17 September.

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