USPS announced two new address types this year, giving its customers new ways to get their mail and packages delivered. However, mailers should be aware of these new addresses, as there are a few “gotchas” that could cause problems if mail is sent to the wrong address. Both these new address types make it easier for end customers to get their mail — especially packages. Let’s take a look at these new programs.
PO Boxes That Look Like Street Addresses Post Office Boxes are a staple in the mailing world. Many people and companies hold a PO Box and enjoy the security of getting their mail at their local post office. However, outside shipping agents like UPS and FedEx will not deliver packages to a USPS Box. Enter the unfortunately named “Move to Competitive Street Addressing for PO Boxes” program — affectionately called “PO Box Street Address” or “PBSA” by the industry. With this program, mail receivers can use the street address of their post office, along with their PO Box number, rather than the standard “PO Box” designation on their mail. By using the street address, customers can get all their deliveries, including those from private carriers, all at one location. This is a great service for people who already have a PO Box and don’t want their packages delivered to their home. This also allows USPS to better compete with private mail box companies or CMRAs (Commercial Mail Receiving Agents) such as UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. Mail addressed to the original PO Box and the related PBSA address will all go in the same box.
However, there are a few side effects of this program.
Firstly, there are several restrictions on any materials delivered through the USPS that will not be waived for PBSA. Shipments of alcohol and anything over 70 pounds will not be accepted for delivery. So you won’t be able to ship that new couch to your PO Box.
Some mailers, especially those in the financial and legal system, have restrictions about what types of addresses can be used to register an account or to prove residency. These mailers already have systems in place to identify PO Boxes and CMRAs, but the data you’ll get back from PBSA addresses doesn’t fit neatly into existing processes. These mailers will need to implement one of the following ways to identify a PBSA:
· A list of all the possible PBSA addresses is listed on the USPS RIBBS website (http://ribbs.usps.gov/mtcsa).
· All PBSA addresses will get a carrier route of C770-C779 when passed through the ZIP+4 product or CASS Certified software.
· If you already identify your CMRA addresses using the DPV CMRA table available through CASS Certified software, the same table will identify PBSA addresses. However, a different field in this table is used to identify the PBSA addresses.
· For users of the DSF2 files, PBSA addresses can be identified in the “PO Box Throwback” table.
Otherwise, mailers will have a hard time identifying these addresses as they look like any other address with a secondary.
A sample PBSA address is:
534 Main St #12
Hampden MA 01036-2001
A New Way to Pick up and Ship Parcels For those struggling to be home for their parcel deliveries, USPS is trying a system called gopost. Located in high-traffic areas like transit stations and shopping centers, gopost lockers offer an alternative to delivering mail to your office or doorstep. Customers sign up for an account at http://www.gopost.com, then find the location most convenient for them. When ordering, the customer uses the gopost address and their account number, and the shipper sends the mailpiece. The customer then receives an email or text along with a barcode when the package arrives. They can then visit the lockers, scan the barcode, and get their item. They can also send packages from the same lockers.
This setup is fairly straightforward; however, mailers, especially those that send both packages and other mail such as catalogs, will want to handle these addresses slightly differently. Gopost lockers are intended primarily for parcels, and the customer is charged for each piece of mail sent to their gopost account. So you won’t want to use the gopost address for any follow-up communication, such as promotional catalogs or invoicing. Fortunately these addresses are very easy to identify, as they have “gopost” in the address line. A sample gopost address is:
308 gopost #PI123456
Arlington VA 22203-1557
While PBSA and gopost take a bit of additional work on behalf of the mailer, they do give customers some good shipping options. By identifying and handling these addresses appropriately, you’ll be able to better communicate with your customers.