Beware the UPS Store (or Mailboxes Etc or similar) mailbox

Warning: If you sign up for a mailbox at a non-USPS location, you will not ever be able to file a change of address for it with the postal service.

Also, it's probably a franchise, meaning UPS (with their potentially-consumer-benefiting concerns about maintaining their brand) has no control over pricing, meaning the store might decide to double the fee for that mailbox at some point and leave you with a tough choice.

CRMAs are required to offer mail forwarding services for six months, but they can (and do) charge for them. So far as I am aware UPS Stores do not offer forwarding for a closed box for longer than that six month minimum.

Yes, it's nice to have a non-home-address to use for business or other purposes, but be aware that there are serious flexibility issues with signing up for CRMA (Commercial Mail Receiving Agency) services.


Update July 25, 2014: Just spent 51 minutes on the phone with USPS. The person I spoke with said her supervisor told her that you can put in a change of address from a CRMA address to a street address or USPS P.O. box. I'm going to try that and hope it works.

My particular UPS Store, while not bending on their pricing which is now 4x the cost a USPS box, did say that it is their policy to hold mail from terminated boxes for a little while and to turn it over to the former box owner if they check in, after which they return it to the postal service. It is unclear what would happen to that mail then. It's already been delivered, but maybe a change of address could kick in.

But no. After trying to submit the change of address, I got this on the USPS website:

"Mail addressed to an addressee at commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) is not forwarded through the USPS. The CMRA customer may make special arrangements for the CMRA operator to re-mail the mail with payment of new postage. A CMRA must accept and re-mail mail to former customers for at least 6 months after termination of the agency relationship. After the 6-month period, the CMRA may refuse mail addressed to a former customer. The Application for Delivery of Mail through Agent (PS Form 1583) requires an addressee and agent to comply with all applicable postal rules and regulations relative to delivery of mail through an agent. For more information on mail forwarding regulations, contact your local Postmaster."

I have not been offered any mail forwarding service from the UPS Store and it sounds as though they would immediately put in a termination notice with USPS for accepting my mail. Not sure what that means would happen to any of my mail, but seems as if it would be destroyed or returned to sender.

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Author. Discardian. Defender of life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness. she/her

24 thoughts on “Beware the UPS Store (or Mailboxes Etc or similar) mailbox”

  1. I would also be wary of them because they are always too suspicious of you if you are using the mailbox for personal reasons. I got one like this in DC and as soon as i mentioned that it was for personal use the attendant paused. Then a moment later his partner came from the back and started eye-balling me. Then later when I was getting my key the eye-baller came out to watch me try it to get the box number I suppose. Every time Ive come to get my mail the eye-baller is watching me carefully. All I can assume is that he thinks Im receiving drugs there becuase Im ethnic. The things is He’s ethnic too! And when I left the first attendant insisted on putting my 2 sheet contract in a giant plastic envelope even though I asked him not to. When I got outside there was a cop standing there trying not to notice me rearrange my things. Finally I was expecting a piece of mail from a doctor and when I called their office the doctors sec said the mail was sent back and the address was spot on. It seems to me like this guy at the mailboxes etc on conn. ave. thinks hes a cop. Get a life jack**s!


  2. I’ve had two UPS Store boxes, including the one I currently have. They will forward your mail if you ask for it, and it does cost extra.
    Really, it’s no business of theirs why you want the box. There’s no reason to be any more suspicious than you’d be of someone getting a USPS PO Box.
    There are a variety of reasons why a person would want one for personal reasons. Perhaps you are going to file for a divorce and you need to keep documents from your soon-to-be-ex husband. Perhaps you buy a lot of things online… like several packages a week and you want someone to sign for them while you are at work. Perhaps you are a leader of some club and don’t want people having your personal address. Perhaps you partake in some online penpal-package exchange things online…they are fun, but I like the fact that these strangers don’t know where I actually live.
    My reasons for getting a PO Box, then graduating to The UPS Store:
    My USPS carrier is insane. I’m the only white person on my block, and all my packages were going in the dumpster. My Student Loan bills were being sent back with “moved. did not leave forwarding address” which caused A LOT of problems for me when they started harrassing my family to find out where I whent. My regular mail was being wadded up into little balls and spat on. ***When I called the postmaster phone number to report him to his supervisor, HE WAS THE ONE WHO ANSWERED THE PHONE!!! After he screamed at me for a while and spat a few racial slurs, I realized he was insane, and it’s not worth my getting stabbed over a few pieces of junk mail (which is what he was angry about.)
    I haven’t accepted mail at my home ever since. And, almost 15 years later, that same mail carrier drives by and gives me dirty looks.


  3. Earth Mail Filed Bankruptcy in May of this year.
    USPS is great. The small box is $15.00 a month and the address looks like an address.
    Thank you
    robert wachenheim computer


  4. This blog seems to attract weirdos. One guy sweats being “eyeballed”, and Candice is a screwball.
    I mean, what the fuck does being “the only white person on your block” have to do with all that? You suspect there is race-based, block-wide conspiracy (apparently also involving a postmaster) to risk federal prison by not just tampering, but spitting on, wadding up, crumpling, and otherwise violently attacking your mail?
    Give me break … sounds more like yet another hateful person who spends so much time being hostile that they become fearful of everyone and everything else.


  5. Even more interestingly, Bill, I don’t think it’s regular readers of my blog*, like on many of my posts folks seem to land here as a search result. Searching for places to leave these fears in comments is even odder. Then again, how did you find this post from year before last? 😉
    *blog is to post, as newspaper is to article.


  6. SOME people think it’s THEIR duty to keep an “eye on” potential criminals – try dressing in leather and chains and pull up to the maildump on a Harley – you WILL get “eyeballed” by someone. I have EXACTLY the same problem as th chick you ragged on with postal mail in the 98118 – and YES, people do “risk” being caught, but when EVERYONE thinks of you as an outsider, no one would ever testify FOR YOU against their neighbors. I have a local carrier that has some kind of problem with my family and I and HAS for at least a decade. I’ve had a dozen (uninsured) packages get delivered to neighbors when I paid for signature , overnite, door delivery. I’ve had the USPS carrier tell me HE gets to decide where he delivers a package, I’ve had FedEX =in email= tell me their carriers decide what’s most convenient for them. Funny thing is EVERY package with the OBVIOUS green insurance tag affixed in plain sight gets delivered every time. Freakishly, NO ONE, not Amazon, not eBay, will add it – they all say it’s unnecessary. The USPS carrier has become so unreliable he delays or “loses” packages sent to mail name @ an AMAZON LOCKER in the 98118. Paranoid? Hardly, an atheist group did some tests and found packages with atheist organization’s return address were lost as much as 10x more than the “plain brown boxes”. Ditto for porn mags & =MOTHER JONES=!
    I want a PO box too, but I’ll have to get it outside my zip code because this guy is aiding and abetting mail theft – and his bosses ignore complaints, as has the Postal Inspection Service. You think mail carriers are some kinda angels? Google it – they steal and manipulate mail all the time. In my case I doubt it’s racial. No need to attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence…


  7. Found this post with a google search of “ups mailbox” without quotes. Please go to USPS website and call/online file a complaint for every mishap. Build a log of issues. The first few, headquarters only forwards complaints to the local post office. Once they get enough, someone higher up the ladder comes down on them to get things fixed for a change.
    I’ve done that with my local post offices too. Mailman was putting clumps of mail in one person’s box instead of separating them out. I got meds with my neighbors address. I’ve gotten a letter with a completely different address AND zip code. My insurance told me (and faxed me back) a letter they sent with the proper address that had ‘no such address’ (or other official usps stamp) stamped on it.


  8. Hi, I would be more than happy to beat the living shit out of that racist piece of shit for you. Just let me know.. There is no room for people like that on this planet anymore.


  9. Don’t be critical or name call people who have problems with the USPS – not enough time or room to write the long list of issues I’ve had with them. Don’t believe however it has anything to do with ethnicity because If you get a postal employee bully with power issues you sent getting your mail. For forwarding, I strongly suggest the online procedure and bypassing the local system- I’ve put in temporary transfer of mail with the PO person and had consistent problems with mail returned “to sender addresse unknown.”
    This is after being in town for 3 Years!!!!! Complaining will get you nowhere except more problems. If you can go to a more friendly PO that can be a solution. Some are just better than others- also a complaint to Regional manager can get results too.


  10. While a PO box and PMD (private Mail Box) serve many of the same services, its important to know their differences so that you can make an informed decision on what works best for you.
    Here are some of the Pros of a PO Box
    Cheap – PO boxes cost way less than a PMB.
    Can forward on close – Unlike PMBs, PO boxes can be forwarded like a street address which is great if you need to close it suddenly.
    Mail is only handled by USPS – Unlike a PMB, mail is sorted directly from the post office into the box which means you may get your mail a day sooner.
    Here are a few Pros of a PMB (speaking primarily about UPS store mail boxes)
    Can receive packages from all carriers – With a UPS Store you have a physical address (the address of the store) and have a PMB number that is added on to identify your box.
    Call and check – we frequently got calls from box holders to check to see if they had a specific letter in their box. while we almost always obliged, there are times when it was too busy to check but make attempts to call back.
    Can forward mail on request – either in specific intervals or on individual requests. We generally did this for people living out of the country who wanted to receive mail in the US. AS stated in other comments, you do need to pay the price for shipping. UPS Stores should be able to provide USPS (with markup) or UPS.
    Package delivery emails – email notices are sent to an email on file when a package is logged into the store system.
    Pro and Con – Sorting mail is not the only responsibility of the staff at a UPS Store and because of this, mail can sit for a while before its sorted that day. There were nuemerous times where i searched through the unsorted mail looking for a check or a specific peice of mail for a box holder as time allowed. Customer service is something you are paying for at a UPS Store (Hopefully).


  11. Hello Dinah,
    Thank you for writing this article. I wish that I read this before evvvvvveeerrrr renting a UPS box. I am a small business owner and wanted a box that was readily accessible to receive payment and correspondence from clients, just for a few months until my brick and mortar office was obtained.
    December 1st, I finally have my office location and attempted to forward the business mail from the UPS box to the office address and WHAM! The USPS give me a very weird disclaimer that this is a forward from a CRMA and their is an entire procedure to it.
    I revisited the UPS contract and the area that speaks about the cost of forwarding mail is left blank. It states that UPS can charge to “Re-mail” (i.e. forward) and the customer must pay in advance for postage, packaging material, and forwarding fees. This has to be paid for 1 month or up to 6 months. So essentially, you would have to pay “them” UPS, a fee, for up to 6 months to forward “your” mail, because they are in “cahoots” with the USPS to not allow for you to forward your mail.
    So now I am contacting all of my clients, business credit cards, banking institutions etc., etc. to change the address with them. I refuse to pay UPS for 6 months to make up fees to forward my mail to an office that is literally 20 feet from the UPS store which is in the same office complex!!!
    Please stay away from UPS and any of their owned companies! Yes, there are benefits to having one of these boxes but in the long run there is no benefit.
    Why the USPS would allow a company “UPS” to operate this way is beyond me. My conspiracy mind tells me that there is a benefit to the USPS.
    Please stay away from UPS for personal or business mailbox needs. It’s not worth it in the long run.


  12. reply to bill harris
    you are stupid,pedantic,and,have permament buttinassitis. obviously DID NOT GRADUATE HIGH SCHOOL,OR GRADUATED IN A CAVE OF STUPID HIGH SCHOOL.


  13. This is a quote from the USPS website:
    “The application, Form 1583, signed by the recipient and the CMRA confirms their obligation to affix new postage to redeposit mail sent to a CMRA in the mail. Because this mail services is of convenience, it is reasonable to expect the CMRA customer to bear the expenses, not the CMRAs.
    Currently, CMRAs must provide forwarding services (re-mail) and their customers pay the postage required to re-mail to another location without any limit on their responsibility. This requirement is appropriate and not new and has been in place since September 1960. The revised regulations actually shorten the required re-mail period to at least 6 months. This period will shrink if CMRA former customers notify correspondents of their new information.
    PO Box holders are customers of the Postal Service and, unlike CMRA; customers do not receive mail services of convenience external to the Postal Service. The CMRA and its customer agree (Form 1583) to payment of new postage to redeposit mail delivered to a CMRA. The Postal Service believes this requirement (existing since September 1960) remains appropriate and fair


  14. Here is the dirty little secret. Back in the year 1999 the USPS wanted to drive all CMRA stores including the The UPS Store that was known as Mail Boxes etc trotted out new regulations that would have forced CMRA stores to forward mail at their expense including new postage for former customers for a year.
    These proposed rules started a major fight between the USPS and private mail receiving services. After lots of give and take the current rules were put into place that still requires commercial mail receiving agencies to forward mail for former customers also requiring the payment of new postage for each item forwarded for 6 months. If a former customer files a change of address with the USPS it is automatically forwarded to the CMRA to handle. One other change is the CMRA can require the former customer to bear the cost of the forwarding including the new postage requirement.
    These rules that all of you think the The UPS Store is behind was created by the USPS to give their PO Box services an unfair competitive advantage against private businesses. I was a store owner for over 35 years and I fought these unfair rules for many years.


  15. It is VERY clear, by your diatribe, that Liberalism is a Mental Disorder. Get help and stay on your meds; the public needs protection from nutters like you.


  16. Why would they need to try to get your box number? If you got the box from them, they are the ones that assigned the number to you in the first place.


  17. The UPS store in Chapel Hill NC is using in my eyes blackmail. I receive packages several times a month in quantities of 3 to 20. I was in formed that they would not except any ups deliveries for me over 10 unless I pay for a mail box! This is a ups access point and they are a paid drop location for ups. I am being made to pay for a box I don’t need in order to receive my ups deliveries. So in other words I must pay them to receive packages at there location. They told me I must pay for the most expensive box or they will reject my deliveries. I called ups and was told they are franchise stores and ups doesn’t control them. I was given a number to call. I was told that they have the right to make me pay to receive any packages over 10 because that is all they can allow in a day unless you pay for a box. Then the limit goes away! This seems like blackmail. How can you get paud by me and by ups and it be legal. They are forcing me to pay them by having a fake box that is unused just to receive my ups packages at a ups store! Anyone know who I can contact to see if this is Legal? Is thos not extortion?


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