Vail Daily letter: Package frustrations |

Vail Daily letter: Package frustrations

Why can we not get packages shipped to us in Avon and maybe in this county without getting the dreaded message “invalid address, returned to sender”?

I am amazed that UPS, FedEx and the U.S. Postal Service cannot get it together. I made phone calls and wrote letters about this to all three a number of years ago. I also wrote a letter to the editor of the Vail Daily. Nothing has really changed, in fact, the problem may be getting worse.

FedEx uses a program called Smart Post, UPS has a program called Last Mile. They have an agreement with the post office that allows them to drop packages off at the post office. If that package does not have a PO box number, it is returned to the sender.

FedEx and UPS do not ship to PO boxes, so why do they leave them at the Avon Post Office? There is no residential delivery for most of us. UPS and FedEx say that all routing happens by automated systems so they have no control over how the packages are handled. As a tech guy, I suggested they could program their systems to not send to the post office if the package did not contain a P.O. Box. Both said that there is no technology solution for the problem. I suggested that the person who loads the truck to Avon assure that there is a PO box in the address. Both said that cannot be done.

The post office says they do not have the budget to allow employees the time to look up the PO boxes of those problem packages so the problem cannot be solved at this end.

Many corporations require physical addresses only and will not even allow a PO box in the address. Even if they do accept a PO box in the address on the Web, they may strip it all before they ship it. Forget ZIP plus four — the four gets stripped off as well.

You can’t even trick the companies any more. Websites are now programed to not allow P.O. Box, POBox, P-O-B, POB, P0B (using a zero), PO8, Box, Boks, BX, and many other iterations that the local post office workers would probably recognize.

The Avon Post Office came up with a great plan a few years ago that has worked for a while. Address the package to the physical address of the Post Office, 111 W. Beaver Creek Blvd, No. xxxx, Avon CO 81620. (The xxxx is your PO box number.) Great solution! Well, that used to work, but lately I have had a number of companies that now say it is an invalid address. They seem to know it is a post office and the package would land in, heaven forbid, a PO box. One company even knew it was not my address and refused to let me use it. So I tried to get the company to send it me as a gift to that address and they still refused to do it.

What precipitated this is that at this moment I have a package containing a Canon camera I sent to the Canon Repair Facility that will now be making its fourth trip between Avon and California. It has now been in transit for more than 20 days. I followed the last tracking number, saw the invalid address, saw that the package was at the FedEx facility in Eagle, but I was not allowed to pick it up from that location. It had to be returned to sender!

Last time I had a Canon camera repaired by the Canon Repair Facility it made six trips between Avon and California, and I don’t even get any airline miles on these trips. I finally had the company ship it to my sister in Greeley. They were reluctant to do that, but after talking to a supervisor they agreed to send it to her. My sister got the package and mailed it to me using USPS and my PO box number. Total time — two months!

When this happened today, I decided to call Canon. The person on the line was irritated with me because she could not understand what the problem was or why it was any big deal. Still not sure she got it right, so I got on the Canon website and went to a “send Canon a message” page, but they would not allow me to submit the form. The reason was the form does not accept P.O. box numbers in the address field when I filled out the shipping page! This is the company that shipped my package by FedEx using a PO box number. Huh?

Corporations (the sellers and the shippers) are cutting all kinds of services to save money. Why do they not want to save all the shipping costs caused by “invalid address, returned to sender”?

Rick Spitzer


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