A federal court dealt a major blow to the U.S. Postal Service on Friday, ruling that the mailing agency’s five-cent price increase for stamps that went into effect earlier this year is illegal.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit sided with Doug Carlson, a private citizen, who filed his petition against the Postal Regulatory Commission, an oversight body that approves all proposed USPS rate hikes. The court said PRC failed to consider all factors related to the increase, thereby violating the Administrative Procedures Act.
The immediate fallout of the decision was not immediately clear, as the Postal Service said it is “considering our legal options.” By the court’s own admission, an “invalid rate increase can result in overpayment to the Postal Service without any means of recovery.” USPS was forced to quickly slash the price of stamps as recently as 2016, when PRC and an appeals court ruled the mailing agency had to rollback the emergency rate increase it imposed in response to the recession.