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Only USPS Can Deliver To PO Boxes

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I guess I just never really thought about the logistics of delivery to a Post Office Box before but only the United States Post Office can deliver to PO Boxes. If you think about it, it makes sense because the only way someone can access the box is with a key (you) or through the back (the post office), UPS and FedEx can’t very well leave the package outside a bank of PO Boxes in the hopes that you, and not some enterprising thief, picks it up.

While I’ve never FedEx’d or UPS’d a package to a PO Box before, I bet that their software or their people would probably notify me that they couldn’t delivery… but what if they didn’t? What happens if you try to use UPS or FedEx to deliver? Return to sender? Anyone know?

{ 35 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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35 Responses to “Only USPS Can Deliver To PO Boxes”

  1. SMY says:

    I use a p.o. box for my mail. If someone sends something via UPS or Fedex, it gets returned.

    • Alec says:

      yah if you try to send something to a po box with ups they will not notify you that they cant deliver it….they just keep rerouting the mail until someone calls…

  2. CMB says:

    UPS and FedEx routinely hand off packages to the USPS as part of their delivery options. I would imagine they would do the same in this case.

  3. Patrick says:

    Usually the computer software will not let the transaction go through if you input a PO Box address when using UPS or FedEx. Most on-line sales programs automatically screen for this as well and at the minimum have a notice that UPS and FedEx can not deliver to PO Box addresses.

    UPS and FedEx deliveries can be a real pain for US Military members overseas. The US Postal System delivers to them at no extra cost – it is the same as shipping within the US (NY for Europe/Middle East; and West Coast for Asia). That can be a great deal for military members, but a real hassle for stores that only ship UPS/FedEx.

  4. UPS won’t accept packages addressed to PO boxes, and if they do take one they just return it to sender.

  5. Jags Mollu says:

    In Dubai, where I used to live earlier, people always had a P.O.Box. Post is never delivered to your doorstep, instead put into your respective box at the post office. Fed Ex and any other courier company would always work with a contact telephone number. So when they have a package for you, they would call your telephone number (as given by the sender of the package) for a convenient time for delivery and deliver your goods. You just needed to produce an ID and sign for the goods.

  6. Chris says:

    I’ve never really thought much about that myself. And I mail out hundreds of packages a week, though it’s 100% USPS. I’ve never had good experiences with FedEx, I try to avoid them like the plauge no matter what I send. A few years back I shipped a brand new plasma tv to my house in the original shipping box from the manufacturer AND encased it in another all wood box as well and when I got it, it had tire tracks on it and was broken. Apparently the FedEx guy backed over it and then they told me they could only give me a $50 refund (though I paid an extra $150 for insurance of the full amount) because the packaging wasn’t good enough (even though it was WAY over the manufacturers recommended packaging for shipment). what a rip!

    • Me says:

      That sucks. In the future though, you should never ship something in the box it came in. Shiiping boxes are meant to be used once and if you ship something in the box it was shipped in already you are compromising the integrity of the box, thus it being YOUR fault. As for insuring your package, that’s impossible since FedEx does NOT offer insurance, especially for Plasma TV’s. The reason you were only offered a $50 refund (which I’m sure was the cost of the shipping) is because when you shipped the tv, you assumed all responsibility for it, since FedEx does not insure. Better Luck Next Time.

  7. Bob N says:

    I went to a locally owned mailbox place. The guy has been there for 20 years and it’s a family owned business. They sign for all of my packages and keep stuff safe. Never had any problems.

    The one time I had FedEx attempt to deliver a package to my apartment, it turned into a complete fiasco.

    FedEx will also not deliver to UPS Store box locations, and UPS has actually gotten *LOST* trying to deliver to a UPS Store box I used to have!

  8. CMG says:

    I use my local “Mailbox , etc”, for all deliveries (UPS, FEDEX, etc.) and mail needs. I have had no problems with my deliveries. I am even phoned (when asked) when a particular delivery has arrived.

  9. Jason says:

    Just for clarification Fedex will deliver to a The UPS Store. I happen to operate one and we get daily deliveries from Fedex, DHL, Postal, and all other freight carriers.

    When Fedex is accepting a package for delivery they do not have any way of knowing if the address on the other end is a The UPS Store or an actual house/business. Also from a business standpoint it would not make sense to refuse to take the package because it is sent to one of our stores. With over 3000+ stores that could be a lot of potential deliveries turned away.

    Just my two cents.

  10. Andrea says:

    I believe DHL will hand off to the post office, even if your street address is listed for delivery. That may only be if you are not home to receive. I only found this out after great confusion with a package – the DHL site kept saying that it was delivered but I didn’t have it. Meanwhile, I had a slip to pick something up at the post office, signature required, and I had NO idea who had sent me something and wasn’t in a particular rush to pick it up … and when I did, lo and behold, there was my DHL package.

  11. Flexo says:

    I’m considering a P.O. Box for business use, but with all the UPS deliveries I get, I’m going to opt for a box at an independent location, i.e., not USPS.

    UPS and FedEx won’t leave packages on my doorstep (when a signature is not required) because they feel it is an unsafe location.

  12. rob s says:

    The software provided for UPS, FedEx and DHL shippers does not allow PO Boxes to be entered. Also, all of their manual entry waybills state “Street Address”, with the note that they will not ship to PO Boxes.

    Conversely, USPS will deliver to any private “mailbox” address; the terminology used is “PMB”, as in 1313 Mockingbird Ln PMB 231, Chicago IL. PMB is the abbreviation for Private Mail Box. I manage a warehouse, and never have gotten our salespeople to understand this! Great site.

  13. Patrick says:


    I would recommend using a store such as Mailboxes Etc., PostNet, The UPS Store, or something similar. They allow you to rent a mailbox in the store, but it is not just a PO Box, and you can have any carrier deliver to it.

    The store employees should also be available to sign for any shipments to the store (you may have to give them permission). It should be relatively inexpensive per month, and the convenience of not having to drive across town to pick up and sign for a package is worth the cost.

  14. Tony says:

    I’m a Carrier with the USPS. We get daily deliveries from FedEx, UPS, and DHL all for redelivery by USPS. The reasons why is simple, cost. The USPS delivers to every address in the US everyday. However, for UPS, Fedex, and DHL it is cheaper for them to pay the USPS to deliver for them. They save on, gas, labor, vehicle maint., etc.

    BTW all USPS express mail pkgs are sent on FedEx planes for exchange of a FedEx drop off box allowed to be in front of Post Offices and I’m sure other contractual details. So another word, whether you send something by FedEx or USPS next day it all goes on the same plane.

  15. muckdogr says:

    In my area anything left on the doorstep gets stolen by neighborhood kids. So it’d be nice to have the option of delivering to a PO Box. Instead of asking things to be reshipped constantly!

  16. CT says:

    My company ships using Fed-Ex all the time. Since our packages are insured, Fed-Ex will not deliver via USPS or to a PO Box. However, some customers have accounts at places like Mail Boxes Etc. where they’d receive a physical address as well as a PO Box so that Fed-Ex and UPS can deliver to the store. The store will sign for the package, hold it in their back room, and place a delivery slip in your box notifying you to pick it up at the desk. To my knowledge, USPS does not offer a physical address option.

  17. karla (threadbndr) says:

    They deliver to the parents of service people, who then have to REpackage and REship via the post office (AND fill out the customs forms AND hand deliver for inspection).

    Ask me how I know this?

    K, Mother of a Marine

  18. tiredofbeingbroke says:

    DHL will deliver to PO Boxes regardless of what the way bill says. At my job we use DHL on a weekly basis to send packages to PO Box addresses. They always get delivered, however am not too sure of the logistics of it.

  19. Runa says:

    About the same happens in Italy. If you own a P.O. box only Poste (the main company) may delivery mails there.

  20. Turtle says:

    Hi. USPS letter carrier. DHL , Airborne, etc. do contracted drop shipments to POB’s and street addresses. We pickup a postage fee for doing this. We don’t deliver to POB’s ; no postage paid. Try contacting USPS on their website for a schedule of charges; we often have a better price. Try our carrier pickup service; I have two E-bayers who do regularly.

  21. Anonymous says:

    UPS does not deliver to USPS Post Office boxes. One eBay seller recently ignored my request to ship the item via USPS because my shipping address is a PO box. Instead, it was shipped via UPS. UPS did not reject the package. Instead, UPS mailed a postcard to my PO box, notifying me of the local address where my package was temporarily being held. Since I couldn’t get to that UPS office to pick up the box, it was returned to the sender. Argh.

  22. LateNightLarry says:

    The Postal Service (USPS) has contracts with DHL, FedEx, and UPS to deliver “the last mile”, so to speak. If senders don’t specify how a package is to be delivered, those carriers will frequently hand off the package to the USPS through the back door sometime during the day, and USPS will deliver it the next day. There is a revenue-sharing agreement between USPS and the other carriers as part of the agreements.

    The USPS also contracts with FedEx to ship Express and Priority Mail on the FedEx planes, although I don’t believe it goes through FedEx hubs; the USPS has its own hub and spoke system at a number of major airports. Besides that, USPS also contracts with various passenger and freight air carriers to fly mail (First-Class or higher classes) between airports not on the FedEx routes.

    If you ever get a chance to visit one of the major mail processing centers (like San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) do so… you’ll be amazed at how fast the mail moves through those centers.

  23. Mark says:

    DHL will do it.



  24. webshopper says:

    Note to all shippers using UPS & FedEx exclusively: wake up or die! It’s the time of the consumer and when I want you to deliver USPS priority mail, listen up. It’s time to rethink your business plan, if you have one….

  25. Pat says:

    I just received a package today from a vendor who, in the past, always used USPS if the delivery address was a Post Office box. This time the package came to my USPS box from UPS! The address label listed the USPS Post Office’s street address then in smaller font listed my name and box # under the heading: deliver to. I’m amazed!

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