NCOALink® Service Providers are required by their license agreement with USPS® to acquire a Processing Acknowledgement Form (PAF) for each of their customers. The PAF is an essential part of the NCOALink process because it enables USPS and the mailing industry to comply with the Privacy Act of 1974 by way of a written request to use Change of Address (COA) information for mailing purposes. Specifically, section 552a of Title 5 states in part:
“No agency shall disclose any record which is contained in a system of records by any means of communication to any person, or to another agency, except pursuant to a written request by, or with the prior written consent of, the individual to whom the record pertains”
The NCOALink PAF:
- Identifies those mailers to whom USPS has disclosed change-of-address information via the use of NCOALink.
- Ensures mailers’ acknowledgment use of the COA data is restricted.
- May protect the licensee if a mailer uses the processing results for reasons that abuse the intended use of the product such as creating a list of new movers.
The service provider licensee must acquire this form from each customer before they can perform NCOALink processing. This form must be completed and signed by the mail list owner, the NCOALink licensee and, when applicable, any third parties that are a part of the transaction between the list owner and the licensee. The PAF must be renewed annually and the NCOALink licensee must retain a copy for six years and must make it available to USPS upon request.
Just below the List Owner’s signature on the USPS required NCOALink PAF you will find:
“Do hereby acknowledge that I have received and reviewed the NCOALink Information Package supplied to me by AES systems, an NCOALink Service Provider. I also understand that the sole purpose of the NCOALink service is to provide a mailing list correction service for lists that will be used for preparation of mailings. Furthermore, I understand that NCOALink may not be used to create or maintain new movers’ lists.”
The NCOALink SERVICE PROVIDER REQUIRED TEXT DOCUMENT describes the NCOALink Service and what data must be returned to you as a result of the process. Page three stresses the importance of accurate PAF supplied information.
“Prior to the processing of NCOALink data, every customer must have completed and returned to their NCOALink Licensee the “NCOALink PROCESSING ACKNOWLEDGEMENT FORM” provided to them by their Licensee or Agent. It is inappropriate to misrepresent any of the information on the form. Punitive action will be taken by the USPS if the customer, agent or licensee is found to have knowingly supplied false information.”