Do Fedex Overnight packages have the location of origin postmarked or printed on them in any way?
November 6, 2007 12:36 PM   Subscribe

Do Fedex Overnight packages have the location of origin postmarked or printed on them in any way?

If so - do any other mail services not have this feature?
posted by dkleinst to Grab Bag (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
You want a service that does NOT display a return address?
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 12:45 PM on November 6, 2007

posted by dkleinst at 12:46 PM on November 6, 2007

Actually, the return address doesn't matter, it's just the place of origin postmark that I'd like to avoid.
posted by dkleinst at 12:46 PM on November 6, 2007

The Fedex overnight package that got delivered to me this morning had a full return address printed on the label.

Fedex (and anyone else) needs that in case the package can't be delivered.

Also in case it turns out to contain a bomb. Or white powder. Or something else illegal.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 1:01 PM on November 6, 2007

The tracking information will reveal the origin of the package. So, if you're in Austin, Texas, and you send a FedEx with a return address of Portland, Oregon, the recipient can look at the tracking information and learn that you sent the package from Texas, not Oregon, the return address notwithstanding.

I don't know of any mail/shipping service that does not record origination information
posted by crush-onastick at 1:11 PM on November 6, 2007

If I had a document to send, but did not want my origination information to be recorded, could I fax the document to a Fedex Kinkos in another location and have them send it?
posted by dkleinst at 1:16 PM on November 6, 2007

i doubt it. best thing you can do is have a friend in another town send it for you.

this is sort of creepy, by the way.
posted by thinkingwoman at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

If this is important, consider having a lawyer send the package. Lawyers have strong requirements to protect client confidentiality.
posted by exogenous at 1:30 PM on November 6, 2007

I didn't find anything on to suggest they would handle a document via fax before sending. I doubt you'd find any of their competitors do that either. (What about a local or regional courier?)

If you're willing to spend some money, and your purposes were not prohibited by law (e.g. stalking, fraud, interfering with an investigation), I'll bet you could find a lawyer in a distant locale that could help obfuscate things for you. Well, I suppose anybody (not just a lawyer) could do that. But if privacy is your concern then a lawyer-client relationship would provide some protection. Too, most lawyers are typically equipped to handle documents efficiently.

on preview: exogenous beat me :)
posted by GPF at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2007

If you want to conceal the source area, I think you have to mail it twice. The real envelope would have to be inside another envelope. You would mail the double envelope to a confederate in another location who would open the outer envelope and mail the inner envelope from their location to the eventual recipient. This would be the B&M equivilent of a remailer. Google says that you aren't the first person to have this need.
posted by Lame_username at 1:53 PM on November 6, 2007

This is a seriously creepy question, but I'm going to go on the assumption that you're a government whistleblower, or doing something else non-nefarious that requires anonymity.

I don't think Kinkos will do it, unless you can come up with some story about why you're in Houston and faxing a document to a Kinkos in Omaha, and having them send the document to Manhattan. Even a real dolt is going to wonder why you're doing that.

Although, now that I think about it, you might be able to get (and explain convincingly) a Kinkos near your destination to print and mail something. You could just say that you needed to send it on paper, and you wanted it to get in the mail / handed to FedEx early. So taking the above example, you could call a Kinkos in Manhattan and have them print the document and hand it to FedEx for delivery, with the excuse of that being a lot faster than sending it from your actual location.

But you probably need to have a Kinko's account or something for that. Although I'm sure you can call them and see what it takes; explained correctly, it doesn't sound that weird.

Also, I think the USPS has an electronic-document service where you email them a file, and they print it out and mail it from a central facility near the recipient; a sort of hybrid electronic/paper workflow. I suspect that they record information about the sender (your billing information, at least) to prevent abuse (bomb threats, etc.), but it might be enough to add a little mystery if you're just doing this for fun. I think you have to sign up for an account on

If you want *real* anonymity, it is actually easier to do electronically than it is on paper. There are anonymous-remailer systems for email and Usenet (cypherpunk, mixmaster, etc.) that would probably protect you against everyone up to (and potentially including) the NSA. If you can fit whatever you're trying to communicate into a reasonable-sized text message, and email it, Mixmaster might be what you're looking for.
posted by Kadin2048 at 2:00 PM on November 6, 2007

Drive somewhere else and mail it, perhaps?
posted by oaf at 2:28 PM on November 6, 2007

I can't see why you couldn't just put incorrect information on the UPS label. It's not like they check ID when you send it. But I agree about the creepy.
posted by loiseau at 4:58 PM on November 6, 2007

With UPS at least, you can lie on the label. It's pretty common. Keep in mind, however, that the package center you dropped it off at would be noted in the tracking system. Pretty much any package center will also have cameras so tracing the package to you would be fairly trivial. I am unaware of any package service that does not at least note where the package came from. There are good reasons for this, as noted above.
posted by MasterShake at 6:32 PM on November 6, 2007

I don't think this is creepy at all! There are plenty of pretty innocent reasons as to why you might prefer that the recipient not know where you sent the letter from.

One (convoluted) example -- you are away on a road trip. It's your SO's birthday. You want to send a present/card. You are going to surprise your SO by arriving home early. You don't want your location to betray your whereabouts and ruin the surprise.

Why does everyone think this is so creepy!?
posted by mjao at 12:19 AM on November 7, 2007

I work in transport/shipping. the only way you're going to get something sent were the recipient will have idea were it's coming from is to hire a courier. Any national express service fed-ex/DHL/Ups will want a return address, and they will scan it’s origin into the tracking information. The Post Office will send things without tracking but they’ll stamp a letter with the area specific postmark.
One thing to be sure of, in this “post 911 world” any falsification of information for things shipped in the US can carry some surprisingly serious penalties. Yeah.
posted by French Fry at 7:05 AM on November 7, 2007

« Older quote for a holiday card.   |   How to buy a cheap (less than $100) bike in NYC to... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.