39 CFR § 265.3 - Procedure for submitting a FOIA request.

§ 265.3 Procedure for submitting a FOIA request.

(a) To whom submitted. A request must be submitted to the appropriate FOIA Requester Service Center (RSC). Descriptions of, and contact information for, the various FOIA RSCs can be found at http://about.usps.com/who-we-are/foia/welcome.htm. For assistance in determining the appropriate FOIA RSC, requesters may contact the USPS HQ FOIA Requester Service Center, Privacy and Records Office, U.S. Postal Service, 475 L'Enfant Plaza SW., Washington, DC 20260, telephone (202) 268–2608. Requests for listings of postal employee names should also be sent to the USPS HQ FOIA Requester Service Center.

(b) Form of request. A request to inspect or to obtain a copy of an identifiable Postal Service record must be in writing and bear the caption “Freedom of Information Act Request” or otherwise be clearly and prominently identified as a request for records pursuant to the Freedom of Information Act, both on the letter and on the envelope or other cover. Requests for records that are labeled incorrectly may be delayed in reaching the appropriate FOIA RSC. A requester must provide his or her full name and mailing address. A requester may also provide a daytime telephone number or email address to facilitate communication regarding his or her request.

(c) Content of request. Requesters must describe the records sought in sufficient detail to enable Postal Service personnel to locate them with a reasonable amount of effort. Whenever possible, requesters should include specific information about each record sought, such as the type of record (e.g., contract, report, memorandum, etc.); the title or case number of a specific document or report; the topic or subject matter; the name of the office, facility, functional unit or employees most likely to possess the record; the geographical location, such as a city and state, where the records are thought to exist; the date or general timeframe of the record's creation; and any details related to the purpose of the record. Requests for email records should specify the likely senders and recipients, keywords, and a range of dates. If seeking information about a company, requesters should provide the exact name and address of the company (many companies use similar names). Before submitting requests, requesters may contact the relevant Postal Service FOIA Requester Service Center to discuss the records they are seeking and to receive assistance in describing the records. The request may state the maximum amount of fees for which the requester is willing to accept liability without prior notice. If no amount is stated, the requester will be deemed willing to accept liability for fees not to exceed $25.00. See paragraph (e)(2) of § 265.9.The request may also specify the preferred form or format (including electronic formats) of the requested records.

(d) First-party requests. A requester who is making a request for records about himself must provide verification of identity sufficient to satisfy the component as to his identity prior to release of the record. For Privacy Act-protected records, the requester must further comply with the procedures set forth in 39 CFR 266.5.

(e) Third-party requests. Where a FOIA request seeks disclosure of records that pertain to a third party, a requester may receive greater access by submitting a written authorization signed by that individual authorizing disclosure of the records to the requester, or by submitting proof that the individual is deceased (e.g., a copy of a death certificate or an obituary). As an exercise of administrative discretion, each component can require a requester to supply a notarized authorization, a declaration, a completed Privacy Waiver as set forth in 39 CFR 266.5(b)(2)(iii), or other additional information if necessary in order to verify that a particular individual has consented to disclosure.

(f) Improper requests. A request that does not reasonably describe the records sought, or does not comply with the published rules regarding the procedures to be followed for submitting a request, will be deemed to be an improper FOIA request. If after receiving a request, the Postal Service determines that it is improper, the Postal Service will inform the requester as to why the request is improper. If the requester fails to respond to the Postal Service's request for clarification or additional information within 30 calendar days, the Postal Service will assume the requester is no longer interested in pursuing the request and close its file. The FOIA Requester Service Centers and the FOIA Public Liaisons are available to assist requesters in correcting a request that does not reasonably describe the records sought.

[81 FR 86271, Nov. 30, 2016, as amended at 83 FR 48235, Sept. 24, 2018]