How Strict Is UPS On Mailbox Address Format?
August 14, 2011 12:10 PM   Subscribe

Need help from people renting a UPS mailbox: If mail has an address that is not exactly in the correct format, does it still get delivered? E.g., if it should be "456 This Street PMB 34567"' but it comes in as "456 This Street #34567" or even Apt 34567 or Suite 34567' does it get delivered?
posted by justcorbly to Grab Bag (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Usually when you enter your information into the UPS online form, it will suggest the best way to address your package. If you're concerned, I'd go to this page (ship as a guest) and see if it has suggestions.

However, in general, UPS has seen it all, and if it's going to 456 This Street #34567, then the driver who delivers to 456 This Street is going to know that's a UPS Store location, where there are mailboxes that receive packages. Alternatively, call up the UPS Store location and just ask them how a package is best addressed.
posted by Medieval Maven at 12:21 PM on August 14, 2011

I rent a UPS box and the address I use is formatted "456 This Street #345", though occasionally people well send stuff to "456 This Street, Apt. 345." When signing the rental forms and so on, I explicitly asked about whether the #345 format was acceptable, and was told it was. I have never used "456 This Street PMB 345" (it would not have occurred to me to use that format, even) but as far as I know, this has never caused me any problems.
posted by ubersturm at 12:38 PM on August 14, 2011

I rent a mailbox from a UPS Store and I receive mail addressed in each of the formats you listed. I have also received mail that is missing the box number.
posted by Soda-Da at 12:46 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

UPS doesn't care what format is used. If the street address is correct and it gets to them and they have a box with the same number on it, it will be put into that box.
posted by Old Geezer at 12:51 PM on August 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

Agreed, UPS store shouldn't have a problem, even if the box number is left out sometimes.
posted by Yorrick at 12:58 PM on August 14, 2011

The Post Office delivers all the mail in one big lump to the UPS store or other Commercial Mail Receiving Agency, and then the employees at the CMRA sort it and deliver it to the invididual boxes. The Post Office changed the regulations about 10 years ago so that CMRAs could not be used to give the impression that the address was an actual office. They will deliver mail addressed to a CMRA as either PMB 123 or #123, but might reject a letter addressed to "Suite 123." They prefer you put the PMB before the street address, but in my experience they still deliver if the box number is after the street address.
posted by Oriole Adams at 1:01 PM on August 14, 2011

I used to work at a Mail Boxes Etc, which is what became the UPS Store. We didn't care. The USPS would deliver a big bag of mail to 456 Example St; it was up to us to figure out what to do after that, and I'm pretty sure we saw every possible variation.

I do think the USPS has a nomenclature preference for these boxes, but I don't recall what it is. Not that it matters in terms of delivery.
posted by adamrice at 1:58 PM on August 14, 2011

Usually it doesn't matter. If it's some weird courier dude who doesn't care and thinks he's looking for something other than a UPS store, then sometimes it matters. This heinous kludge finally solved 99% of my problems, I kid you not:

The UPS Store #XXXX for zeek321
zeek321 PMB XXX
1234 Some St PMB XXX
City State Zip
posted by zeek321 at 3:59 PM on August 14, 2011

I've actually had packages shipped to UPS thusly:

[My Name]
4600 Fake Ave Apartment 326

And it worked.
posted by zvs at 4:19 PM on August 14, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks, all. It makes sense that UPS accepts varied formats. Mailbox renters can't control how people address mail.
posted by justcorbly at 9:18 PM on August 14, 2011

It depends on the person delivering it. For instance, my UPS Store is on the first floor of an apartment building. So often, USPS deliveries that DON'T have PMB but instead say Apt or #, get delivered to the apartment building. Who then, instead of walking it to the UPS store, mark it return to sender.

This is a problem specific to USPS. I have no problems with UPS, FedEX, DHL deliveries who use Apt or # instead of PMB.

The biggest problems is websites who auto-verify addresses. The don't accept PMB and revert to Apt. by default. So that screws me a lot, even if I put "c/o The UPS Store" in the address.
posted by misanthropicsarah at 9:47 PM on August 14, 2011

also, understand how an address works with regards to USPS...

ZIP code refers to the post office, if you have the +4 on it, it refers specifically to which mail route it is carried on (if you have the zip +4 and you just have your name on it, chances are good that you'll still receive it)

if no +4, then it gets sorted by street, then put in the individual routes...

From that point, it's up to the carrier, your normal carrier (mon-fri) will know who you are, and know it's a commercial mailbox address, they don't care what the numbers are, normally that sorting goes on by the mailbox facility or building address.
posted by fozzie33 at 4:45 AM on August 15, 2011

I volunteered with a non-profit once that used a mailbox at a UPS Store. The address we were supposed to have people use was along the lines of "1234 Main Street PMB 456."

Mail got there whether it had PMB 456, #456, or even Apt. 456. As time went by the people who worked at that particular UPS store knew we were PMB 456, so we even got mail to us addressed to just "1234 Main Street."

My understanding is that it is the post office (or whoever)'s responsibility to deliver to 1234 Main Street, then the UPS store staff will put it in the right box depending on what box number is listed on the envelope, or if they know that Joe Schmoe has box #123.

It's the same thing with mail stops in an office, I suppose. "Initech, 5678 Main Street, M/S 123" -- the mailman has no idea where M/S 123 is, only where 5678 Main Street is. Someone working in Initech's mail room on the other hand, surely knows where M/S 123 is within the office.
posted by tckma at 7:14 AM on August 15, 2011

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