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Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Old 06-05-09, 07:21 AM
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Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Has anyone noticed more and more items these days are not shippable to PO Boxes anymore? Does anyone know the reason behind this? Is it some sort of attempt to reduce fraud/theft? Whatever it is it's really annoying....
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Old 06-05-09, 09:05 AM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

I just ordered LittleBigPlanet and was not allowed to ship it to my PO Box. Kinda annoying. I got a PO Box in the first place because I had a few items not show up at my home.
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Old 06-05-09, 09:47 AM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Originally Posted by nemein View Post
Has anyone noticed more and more items these days are not shippable to PO Boxes anymore? Does anyone know the reason behind this? Is it some sort of attempt to reduce fraud/theft? Whatever it is it's really annoying....
I also have my Amazon items shipped to a PO Box and I find it annoying too!

They are doing it for one reason only: to lower their cost structure. (Gotta please those Wall Street analysts!) (You can listen to the Amazon investor relations conference calls and they stress they are very dilligent about lowering their distribution cost structure.)

I am talking about merchandise sold by Amazon itself and NOT the 3rd party Marketplace sellers.

I recently bought a blu-ray player as a gift and Amazon paid $27 to ship it via USPS Priority mail even though I picked free super saver shipping. I was very pleased with the fast shipping, but I don't think Amazon made much of a profit on that sale.

Here are some things I have noticed:

More drop shipping: Instead of having the distributors/suppliers ship the items to Amazon and then Amazon shipping it to the customer, they have the distributor ship directly to the customer. These suppliers/distributors use UPS and not the USPS for shipping (more on that below).

Amazon saves stocking/inventory holding costs/shrinkage (do Amazon employees steal merchandise from their employer?), holding outdated merchandise, odd sizes and unpopular colors. These risks and costs are all transferred to the suppliers/distributors.

I recently bought a spark plug wire set for my car from Amazon LLC. It was dropped shipped directly from the supplier and they used only UPS. You can tell because the shipping label is different, the originating zip code came from an odd location where Amazon does not have a distribution facility and the return label said "authorized return address" intead of just the usual Amazon return address. The wire set was boxed in a used Fram oil filter shipping carton instead of the usual Amazon box with the "smile" logo on the side.

Amazon is also trying to lower their USPS shipping costs.

Background: USPS has various levels of service such as media mail, parcel post, first class, priority mail and express mail.

Generally speaking, the USPS is usually the low cost leader in the media mail catagory. The other classes of mail service is more expensive compared to the competition, especially UPS.

All the other carriers discount their posted rates based on volume through negotiation with the customer. I have heard that the discounts can be substantial, especially at UPS.

When you or I ship via UPS, Fedex, etc, us little retail customers pay the posted retail rates. (Kinda like paying the rack rate for a hotel room.) Big, volume customers get a pecentage discount off the posted rate.

This is why most business customers use UPS and not the USPS. (This impacts dropped shipped Amazon merchandise because the suppliers usually use UPS and not USPS.)

On the other hand, no matter whether you ship one package or 1 million packages, everyone pays the posted govt. regulated rates at USPS. There is no official discounting of rates by the USPS. (The USPS tried to get around their fixed rate structure to be more competitive by buying advertising at their large customers. It was seen as a kickback/rebate to the customer to reduce their shipping costs from the fixed USPS rates.)

It is way cheaper to use UPS than USPS, so I think Amazon has made the decision for heavy/large items to NOT ship to PO Boxes for these items.

Also, Amazon is even using 3rd party aggregator services such as SmartPost to lower their USPS shipping cost.

For example, let's say Amazon has 100s of packages that need to go from Amazon's Fernley, NV warehouse to the Los Angeles, CA area. In the old days Amazon would pay the USPS for each piece by weight, zone, etc. This is very expensive at the posted govt regulated rate. Enter SmartPost.

Amazon groups its Los Angeles bound packages together. SmartPost will pick them up and transport them in bulk to Los Angeles and than drop them into the USPS mail stream at the USPS BMC facility, reducing the distance zone to just a local one. Amazon can save easily save 20% this way.

Overall, it is more expensive for Amazon to deliver non-media mail merchandise to PO Boxes, combined with direct drop shipping from suppliers, there is less Amazon merchandise available for shipping to PO Boxes.

I don't like it, but it seems to be a trend at Amazon....
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Old 06-05-09, 12:57 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

thanks for the info... still sucks but at least now I know why/how it sucks
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Old 06-09-09, 03:41 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

I cant tell you the last time I had soemthing shipped USPS from Amazon. Everythign, for me anyway, comes UPS from them. And that would have been my answer, that mroe and more retailers are getting away from using USPS and moving towards UPS and FedEx.
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Old 06-09-09, 08:02 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

about 99% of my stuff from amazon still comes via usps
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Old 06-10-09, 05:53 AM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Originally Posted by Stryker336 View Post
I bet it definitely has to do with fraud. Very rarely do legit buyers have things shipped to p/o boxes.
I find it easier because there's no real place at my house to secure packages (either from other people or the weather).
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Old 06-10-09, 07:52 AM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

I would assume because you cannot ship items by UPS to P.O. boxes. If they eliminate shipping to P.O. boxes, Amazon has the option of using UPS or USPS (whichever is cheaper).
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Old 06-10-09, 04:27 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Originally Posted by hindolio View Post
about 99% of my stuff from amazon still comes via usps
Very strange, indeed.
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Old 06-13-09, 07:48 AM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

You might look at getting a private mailbox - like the kind that the former Mailboxes Etc (now the UPS store) offers. Private mailboxes have a number of advantages over USPS mailboxes:

1) You don't write "PO Box" in the address, it is sufficient to give the street address and box number like "123 Main St #56" so hardly anyone even knows it is a mailbox
2) You don't get the junk mail that the local post office stuffs in every box
3) Some places will email/text you when you receive a package
4) If you decide to forward your mail, you do have to pay the forwarding costs but they do not share your new address with every tom, dick and harry - the USPS sells lists of everyone who files a "change of address" form with them

And of course fedex, ups, etc will all deliver to most private mailboxes.
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Old 07-11-09, 01:57 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

I encountered this problem and found a solution that works quite well for me since I receive all my USPS mail at a PO Box because of mail theft and Amazon in all their wisdom decided to not inform you of what shipping method would be used.

On the first address line, I put my physical address and on the second line I put my PO box minus the PO. For example "Box 999". Amazon has a script designed to filter out the phrase "PO Box".
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Old 07-12-09, 12:23 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Originally Posted by wvtechs View Post
I encountered this problem and found a solution that works quite well for me since I receive all my USPS mail at a PO Box because of mail theft and Amazon in all their wisdom decided to not inform you of what shipping method would be used.

On the first address line, I put my physical address and on the second line I put my PO box minus the PO. For example "Box 999". Amazon has a script designed to filter out the phrase "PO Box".
So anything sent by USPS would go to the box, but UPS would go to the street address. Interesting. Why wouldnt the mailman delive the package to the physical address, though?
Would only work providing both physical and box address are in same zip code, no?
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Old 07-12-09, 04:45 PM
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Re: Amazon and shipping to PO Boxes...

Originally Posted by jjcool View Post
So anything sent by USPS would go to the box, but UPS would go to the street address. Interesting. Why wouldnt the mailman delive the package to the physical address, though?
Would only work providing both physical and box address are in same zip code, no?
I suppose it is one of the advantages of living in a small town. We only receive USPS mail at the post office because there is no box at the physical address. Been doing it for years and never had a problem.
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