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Ebay, Fed Ex, UPS, Paypal, and P.O. Boxes

Old 10-06-19, 01:51 PM
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Ebay, Fed Ex, UPS, Paypal, and P.O. Boxes

Moved recently to a rural place that uses P.O. Boxes instead of street addresses. Been having a nightmare of a time buying items online, since half of online sellers and most Ebay vendors won't ship to a P.O. Box. First I was told by one Ebay vendor that UPS and Fed Ex simply do not deliver to post offices. But then a week later, I saw a UPS truck unloading stuff at the local post office. Talked to the driver who told me that if a vendor won't ship to a P.O. Box, then I should just use the street address of the Post Office as my street address, and then for apartment number, put my P.O. Box number.

I have had some limited success with this, but some Ebay orders still get kicked back. I really do not understand why so many online vendors are outright refusing to take my money. They apparently don't understand that many rural residents are forced to use P.O. Boxes and have no mail delivery, and rural people tend to shop online a lot more than people who live in cities, because there are no brick and mortar stores nearby.

My latest theory is that the reason goes back to Paypal disputes, in that people have been known to order items sent to P.O. Boxes, then claim they never received them, and that when this happens, Paypal always sides with the buyer, and so sellers got tired of being ripped off in this way, so most quit shipping to P.O. Boxes. This may be a partial explanation, but I suspect that there is more to the story. Anyone else have this problem?
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Old 10-06-19, 02:32 PM
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I've never heard of the issue with rural addresses. Our post office seems to deliver to the end of the driveway pretty much anywhere within 10 or 20 miles to a town or a city. I suppose I could imagine some very rural locations embedded in forest land that could be more isolated, but I frequently see mailboxes in unexpected locations.

I have seen physical addresses of the format: Route X Box Y.

I assume you've talked to your local postmaster. What did the person say?

Is it possible you could put your street address on a package, and it would be intercepted by the Post Office?

UPS and FEDEX sometimes use "Last Mile" delivery, so you might put on your street address, and they'd dump off at the Post Office anyway. If not, they may deliver to the house. Talking to the truck driver would help clarify.

In theory, if you're expecting a UPS or Fedex delivery, you may be able to intercept, and have them hold it at their local transfer station for pickup. Just hope they don't blanket reject the packages.

As far as why the problem exists... I've heard of the restriction. I would assume it indicates more of a fly-by-night arrangement. While one may require some sort of ID to open a box, a person with a PO Box could potentially receive the package, close the box, file a dispute and vanish. Does the post office deal with oversized packages?

I've always wondered who actually used Post Office Boxes. Are there people living out of cars or campers using post office boxes? Many of whom are honest people, but not all.

There is a service, "Mailboxes Etc" which provides what looks like a street address, but they capture the packages for distribution. And, I think one could move, keep the old address, and they'd take care of forwarding. Are they part of UPS now?
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Old 10-06-19, 02:41 PM
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Jeeze, I am in an RV park at the moment, and have no issues getting Amazon deliveries there... usually FEDEX, or US mail.
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Old 10-06-19, 02:47 PM
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I live in an old building which isn't marked and no one can find the individual units. The mail carrier could but UPS and Fed Ex guys can't seem to. Plus, it's in an unincorporated area. Point is, the P.O. Box is my one and only official address. Yet vendors won't ship to it, despite the fact you need an ID to open a P.O. Box, and it's under 24/7 video surveillance, and the packages are scanned by USPS as they come in, and there's an official record of that.

The insistence on a street address makes no sense to me, it could be a friend's address, could be a non-existent address, what is it about a street address that makes it any more legitimate, I don't get it. A person can use a street address and "just vanish" too.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:06 PM
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There is a similar rule in place for deliveries in Australia. I'm not 100% sure if the reasons are the same yet in Australia I believe the issue is that 3rd party services can't deliver to Post Boxes because the Dominant Postal service won't let them. The Dominant Postal service wants its fee and won't allow other services just drop stuff off to a Post Box. If the parcel went through the Dominant service from the start it would be fine yet many companies have contract services is place with courier companies who also pickup the daily deliveries from the seller as well.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:08 PM
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My search for info on the net turned up people in Australia complaining about the very same issue. I think having only a P.O. Box common in rural areas, saves the carriers a ton of daily driving. Also, people in the military were complaining that no one will deliver to APO Boxes.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:29 PM
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Hmmm...

It makes me wonder how people deal with apartment living. If one has a tiny mail slot, does the post office leave packages on the floor? What about UPS and Fedex? Unsecured delivery may be OK in some places, but inappropriate in others.

You seem to be in an area around other people. Unincorporated, but not isolated, so I would think there should be solutions.

These "Cluster" boxes are used both in urban and rural settings, such as on gated communities. I've used them in the past, but I don't remember package delivery services.



I think they match your street address, are accessible from the street, and have mid-sized boxes for packages (but probably not large enough for a whole bike box). Perhaps something similar could be utilized for your building, either inside or outside.

I'm wondering if you're getting close to the answer on PO boxes.

USPS should deal with PO boxes just fine. Simply leave a note in the box indicating the package availability.

UPS/Fedex may choke on them. Although that may be location dependent.

Shippers may not understand the differences, and even if they ship (or can ship) using USPS, they don't bother to clarify the differences.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:32 PM
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Oh, and over the years, I've picked up (or shipped) many items from transfer stations (USPS, UPS, or Fedex). It isn't a big deal. I don't remember why.

Mom has a gate on her driveway, usually not locked during the day, and different shippers use different solutions from leaving packages under a tree to coming down to the house, to not delivering and requiring her to go pick them up.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:49 PM
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I live in Canada next to the border and maintain a PO box in the US. I ship to the street address, suite #xxx and have never had a problem with Amazon, Ebay or anyone else. UPS and Fedex both deliver there.
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Old 10-06-19, 03:53 PM
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I may try this, since all kinds of alarm bells go off at Ebay if they see "P.O. Box" in your address.
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Old 10-06-19, 05:15 PM
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Opening scene from Cast Away, FedEx delivering in the boonies of Texas. I know, it’s the movies.....

If you have a street address - how does the fire dept. know where to go ?, I’d bet you could use that. At my place of work in Brooklyn, FedEx and UPS will NOT deliver to a PO Box, only a real location, though recently there are partnerships with UPS and FedEx Ground to use the USPS for the final mile. I hate that.

My buddy upstate uses a RR XX as his address, gets both UPS and FedEx.
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Old 10-06-19, 11:56 PM
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Maybe it is simply a google maps thing... can't find a PO box on google maps, but an address shows up fine.

In Chicago, just use 1060 West Addison Street.

Last edited by genec; 10-07-19 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 10-07-19, 05:34 AM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Hmmm...

It makes me wonder how people deal with apartment living. If one has a tiny mail slot, does the post office leave packages on the floor? What about UPS and Fedex? Unsecured delivery may be OK in some places, but inappropriate in others.
It's not just an issue for apartment dwellers. In fact, some apartment dwellers have it better than people who own houses with nothing more than mail slots. That's because the mail boxes in some apartment buildings are inside a secure vestibule or other area.

Having only a mail slot at my house, I always have things delivered to work. Seen too many packages (USPS, FedEx and UPS) left outside on steps or inside screen doors. Another thing some people do is leave a note asking the delivery person to leave packages at a corner business like a pharmacy or corner store. I used to have a deli across the street from me that would accept packages. Also, neighbors will accept packages for you. Just had that happen this weekend with a delivery that I thought was going to my office. Roy, who lives two doors down, knocked on my door Saturday morning with the box.
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Old 10-07-19, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by AnthonyG View Post
There is a similar rule in place for deliveries in Australia. I'm not 100% sure if the reasons are the same yet in Australia I believe the issue is that 3rd party services can't deliver to Post Boxes because the Dominant Postal service won't let them. The Dominant Postal service wants its fee and won't allow other services just drop stuff off to a Post Box.
Correct in the U.S. as well. The private carrier has to pay the USPS a fee to deliver to P.O. boxes.

https://www.quora.com/Why-wont-UPS-deliver-to-a-PO-box
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Old 10-07-19, 05:49 AM
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UPS and FedEx can deliver to hey PO Box if you are in rolled in something called street address. This is a service offered at many PO Box locations. Basically all you have to do is use the street address for the PO Box or post office itself and enter the unit number which is the same as your PO Box number. For example if the post office is located at 250 Main St. in Cambridge Massachusetts and your PO Box number is 425999, you would address your package to 250 Main St., unit 425999 Cambridge, MA 02142. This is a service that has been offered by the USPS for quite some time. Go into your local post office And ask a clerk will they provide this service. If not, many times if you’re only mailing one package Clerkswill not mind if you do this Once in a while.
This is pretty much what the UPS guy told me. I guess it all makes sense at some level, but it's really galling to have the money to buy something, but the vendor won't do business with you and refuses to take your money, just because you use a P.O. Box, and can't get a street address.

And like I posted earlier, I've seen the UPS guy delivering to the local post office, I just wasn't aware there was a fee for them to do this.
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Old 10-07-19, 06:17 AM
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I thought all homes now had street addresses to facilitate 911 response. But apparently that varies by locality. In my rural area, even the private dirt roads were given names and all houses were given numbers, although the mail is still delivered to sets of boxes at the main paved road. They instituted this back in the late 90s.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Having only a mail slot at my house, I always have things delivered to work. Seen too many packages (USPS, FedEx and UPS) left outside on steps or inside screen doors. Another thing some people do is leave a note asking the delivery person to leave packages at a corner business like a pharmacy or corner store. I used to have a deli across the street from me that would accept packages. Also, neighbors will accept packages for you. Just had that happen this weekend with a delivery that I thought was going to my office. Roy, who lives two doors down, knocked on my door Saturday morning with the box.
Good point about using a work address.

One might even set one's E-Bay/PayPal address to the neighbor, or the neighbor business

My front porch is not visible from the road, and I've never had an issue with a package left on the porch.
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Old 10-07-19, 10:52 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
Having only a mail slot at my house, I always have things delivered to work.
I used to do that until I got yelled at by my boss for abusing work resources. Fortunately, the package I got yelled at about was something I needed for my work, so I showed it to my boss and he just said, "well don't do it anymore".
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Old 10-07-19, 11:11 AM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
I used to do that until I got yelled at by my boss for abusing work resources.
How is having something delivered to work using, much less abusing, work resources?
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Old 10-07-19, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz View Post
How is having something delivered to work using, much less abusing, work resources?
the mail folks who are employees here have to sort it and deliver it to our departmental office from the general usps dropoff and then the secretaries have to sort it from that dropoff and put it in our actual mailboxes.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
the mail folks who are employees here have to sort it and deliver it to our departmental office from the general usps dropoff and then the secretaries have to sort it from that dropoff and put it in our actual mailboxes.
Ah. Must be a big place.
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Old 10-07-19, 12:27 PM
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Some of the private mailing places around here (Mail Boxes etc...) get deliveries from UPS and Fed Ex as well as send packages for them. They also had PO Boxes for letters. The location by my old condo used to accept packages that UPS couldn't deliver and hold them for people to pick up later.
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Old 10-07-19, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by himespau View Post
the mail folks who are employees here have to sort it and deliver it to our departmental office from the general usps dropoff and then the secretaries have to sort it from that dropoff and put it in our actual mailboxes.
I've been in small offices that I didn't think it was a problem. In fact, the front secretary would probably just direct the delivery person where to drop it, and it would just stay there until picked up.

I would hope that a boss would be accommodating if issues with delivery were explained, or if there was a security risk to get home deliveries.

Of course, I did a lot of shipping of company owned computers, so an extra package or two could easily get mixed in and nobody would have noticed (not that I chose to do that).

The company even configured UPS accounts for all employees to get "corporate rates" for personal shipping.
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Old 10-07-19, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK View Post
Hmmm...

It makes me wonder how people deal with apartment living. If one has a tiny mail slot, does the post office leave packages on the floor? What about UPS and Fedex? Unsecured delivery may be OK in some places, but inappropriate in others.

You seem to be in an area around other people. Unincorporated, but not isolated, so I would think there should be solutions.

These "Cluster" boxes are used both in urban and rural settings, such as on gated communities. I've used them in the past, but I don't remember package delivery services.


We got those at my condo complex, and only the USPS could use the package spaces. Everyone else had to leave the packages in the lobby.
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Old 10-07-19, 03:09 PM
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Too bad that all these various shippers can't play nice with each other. Maybe the USPS gets a thrill from charging UPS a fee to deliver to P.O. Boxes, and not allowing other shippers to use "their" cluster boxes, but in the end it's the consumer is who gets hurt.
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