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Topic: Alternate shipping address not accepted

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untitled - ,
Subject: Alternate shipping address not accepted
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 12:13 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2010
Posts: 6
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I've searched the forum and FAQs but don't see this problem addressed:

I moved recently and my new post office / delivery is abysmal. Since then I've had two wishes granted and both times, I selected the option to ship to an alternate address (my place of business). However, when I enter the address, the system refuses to accept it saying USPS cannot verify the address. It is a legitimate address in a very large city and I am entering correctly.

Please help!



Last Edited on: 2/28/14 12:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 12:36 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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Are you using the USPS standard format?  The system is very picky.  Our mail service requires this of PBS.   I recommend going to the zip code finder page of the post office site and entering the address.  That will bring up the approved format.

Addresses that use Ave instead of Av have been refused.  Periods even cause rejection. 

Zip Code look up page

I used to be very specific about the rules, but they are set locally, not nationally. 

Date Posted: 2/28/2014 2:40 PM ET
Member Since: 4/28/2009
Posts: 9,567
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I always use " Ave" and haven't had a problem, but have heard that issue can cause rejection as well as things like spelling out "Road" instead of abbreviating it "Rd" or "Lane" instead of "Ln".  Can't remember having a problem with commas as I do send to someone with an apartment and use a comma to separate the street address from the Apt number on the same line.

If I get a rejection, I just try various options for the abbreviations I used and can always get it to accept one of them.



Last Edited on: 6/9/14 5:50 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 2:49 PM ET
Member Since: 10/13/2007
Posts: 36,445
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Since when is Av the correct term for Avenue?  I've always used Ave with no problem, so when did this change?

Date Posted: 2/28/2014 3:07 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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The accepted format is controlled locally, not nationally.  So what is accepted in one district is not in another.  Even adding a period can trigger it to be refused.  

This gets very complicated as different areas require apartments to be entered differently.  Have even seen one long street in NYC have different requirements for different sections of the street.  

Then there are the APOs.  That can be very difficult as they can change.  

And I repeat, this is not controlled by PBS.  PBS is required to meet our postage providers rules, which are based on the standardized USPS format.  Which really isn't very standardized.  

I will copy the zip code address exactly.  Even then, it can be picky. 

untitled - ,
Subject: @ Emily E
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 3:31 PM ET
Member Since: 9/2/2010
Posts: 6
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Yes, I am using the USPS format from the ZIP code look up; I even tried copying the address directly from the USPS site but PBS still says it's invalid. The ZIP for the building has nine digits, but PBS only accepts 5 -- could that be an issue?

It doesn't make sense because I've had numerous other packages sent here and those websites had no problem accepting the address, even if I didn't use the USPS format.


 



Last Edited on: 2/28/14 3:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 4:18 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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You should be able to just enter the five digit zip.  The extra four numbers should be automatically added.  

Occasionally everything is rejected as invalid if the postage provider is doing back up or maintenance.  Unfortunately, we are not notified when this happens.  

PBS has been able to override the system for addresses.  But that would not apply to the alternative address slot.  Occasionally we have members who need to submit their address into the USPS database.  Local post offices are generally quite willing to add addresses, as their payments are based on how many addresses they serve.  But that would not apply to an established business. 



Last Edited on: 2/28/14 4:19 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 4:31 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,325
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The zip code shouldn't be the issue. 

Other websites might not have the requirement that the address be validated by passing through the USPS database.  PBS has to require that, because otherwise online postage won't work.  (Electronic postage includes delivery confirmation, and delivery confirmation  only works for USPS validated addresses.)

When you plug the address into the website, do you get one result, or multiple results?  If you get multiple results, it won't work yet. You'll have to talk to the Post Office. If you get a single result, it should work.  There are some suggestion here that may be helpful:

Why won't my mailing address work here?  What can I do to make it work?

Note the suggestion that starts with "If your address has extra information in it..."

 

Date Posted: 2/28/2014 5:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2010
Posts: 8,377
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Actually Emily is incorrect about Av.  I live on an avenue and was able to use my own address to test out what is acceptable using the zip code look up.  I tried entering my address 3 different ways, using Av, Ave, and Avenue.  All 3 results  show standard abbreviations and formatting should be Ave.  I have previously checked many, many addresses for my mom's business mailing list.  Sometimes more than one way will show up as standard abbreviations and formatting.  The post office prefers all capital block letters and no punctuation at all, except for the dash when using the zip+4.



Last Edited on: 2/28/14 5:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 6:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/22/2009
Posts: 1,452
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Don't know if this will help at all, but I use my work address as my main address here.  Since I want to receive all my books at work, it's a lot easier than entering it every time I request a book.  This way, at least you'd only have to enter your work address once, and once the system accepts it you don't have to worry about entering it again.

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 6:16 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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The problem with work addresses is that often the USPS database lists multiple addresses with the same ZIP code for a single office building. Just to pick a famous building as an example, this address will not work at PBS:

350 5TH AVE
NEW YORK NY 10118

It returns 129 results at usps.com's zip code lookup page.

This address should work fine:

350 5TH AVE LBBY 1
NEW YORK NY 10118

Same building, but when you enter it this way, you get only one result for the zip code lookup.

Date Posted: 2/28/2014 6:24 PM ET
Member Since: 8/16/2007
Posts: 15,186
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If you are typing it in exactly as USPS shows it, send in Feedback via the Contact Us link and see if they can look at it and figure out why the system won't accept it.

Date Posted: 2/28/2014 6:39 PM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,398
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Sassy, I'm not saying all uses of Avenue have been refused, I'm saying that it sometimes does refuse them.  My own address is refused if I use Drive rather than DR.

Part of the problem is that what the local data entry is listed as, becomes the required format.  This varies widely, due to the district and even which employee entered the data.  There isn't a set standard.  It is very picky and very frustrating. 

Cathy A. (Cathy) - ,
Date Posted: 2/28/2014 7:54 PM ET
Member Since: 12/27/2005
Posts: 4,124
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Yes, there is an official standard list of abbreviations. You can see it here: https://www.usps.com/send/official-abbreviations.htm (click on the Street Suffixes tab). The problem seems to be that the USPS doesn't always follow all of their own rules.

AVE and DR are the standard postal suffixes. AV and DRIVE are both listed as not standard.

Date Posted: 3/1/2014 11:51 PM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2007
Posts: 13,188
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If this helps any ..... pbs postage seems to be completely down for me right now. I'm getting the pink band that says .... heck, I  can't remember .... but basically that the postage provider is having issues right now. Not sure if it's related or not but that's why I came to this forum now, is to find out of anyone else is having issues.

ETA: This is what it says: We experienced an error while trying to process your request. One of our partners' systems appears to be temporarily unavailable. Please try again later.



Last Edited on: 3/1/14 11:54 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 5/19/2014 9:02 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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I know this an old post, but I wanted to chime in and say that I'm having the same problem, not with a business address, but with the address for a newly built home. I contacted PBS about it, and they said I'd have to visit the local post office or call 1-800-ASK-USPS to update the system. I called the 1-800 number simply because right now I don't have the means to visit the local post office. 

I got on the phone with a very nice lady who said updating the system so that my address showed up in the online data base is the responsibility of the local post office. She sent them a message about updating it and gave me a case number that would connect me with her if they don't call in back in 24 hours.

So it seems, the best way to remedy the situation, the address truly doesn't work, is to deal with the local post office. Or, get lucky, and have a helpful service desk person.

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 10:08 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
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To add a new address, a Post Office has to update their "Edit Book" and send it to their Address Management System office, which enters it into the national database.  However the local office puts the address in the edit book becomes the official address.  The local office should be using the street names assigned by the local government, through their 911 addressing system; or if there is no 911 addressing system, as a Route # Box # address.

On another note, an office can (or used to be able to) put in an alternate address.  In my county, the roads the county is responsible for are numbered and called County Route.  These addresses worked fine as long as customers spelled out the words completely.  But if they wrote CR, or Cty Rte., or Ct. Rt., and so forth, they would get kicked out of the machine sorted mail & had to be sorted by hand.  So in my little post office, that delivered to parts of County Routes 17, 19, 20, 24, 25, and 27, I sent in alternate addresses for all of those different spellings that I have mentioned above.  Also at a different office where I worked, there were three apartment buildings, Centennial Terrace, Riverview Towers, and Parkview Rise.  People would address the mail to 153 Centennial Terrace instead of 232 Washington St Apt 153.  So I sent in alternate addresses for those three buildings also.  This allowed more mail to be sorted directly to the carriers by machine, instead of having to be sorted by hand by clerks which took much longer.  In office buildings, it can make a difference of the suite # is included or not; or the addressing may be by floor.  There are so many variations & it does depend on local usage, as far as how the addresses end up listed in the USPS national database.

Here is another curiosity:  I live on US Highway 11.  It runs from New Orleans LA to Rouses Point NY, passing through St. Lawrence County, where I live, and Franklin County, just to the east,  on its way.  In St. Lawrence County, if you live on Rt. 11, your address will be in the national database as being on U S Highway 11.  If you live in Franklin County, it will be State Route 11.    But if you look at a list of New York state highways, there isn't any state highway 11 or state route 11. 

Probably way more than anybody wanted to know!  :)

 

 

 

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 10:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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Thanks for the info Diane! That's really interesting. And I think definitely helpful for people.

The thing for my address is that it's brand new. They are still putting houses up on our street, and we only got a mail box just a few days ago. It makes the address isn't in the system. But I need it updated to be able to receive books through PBS. The customer service lady was kind enough to put a note in her message that I need the address updated to be able to receive packages for a "residential business" just to help speed the process along. She's pretty sure the whole street needs added to the system. But she said she'd do what she could to make sure my address gets in there as soon as possible. 

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 11:34 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
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The slowest part in my experience, is that a human at your local post office has to sit down with a red pen and write the address in the edit book.  And if it is an entirely new street, they have to draw a little map of the area, showing where the new street is, and send that in with it too.

I wonder if calling the district ams office would get someone to light a fire under the local po.  I know I would have responded to it.   If you search for usps district ams, it will take you to a page with a link for ams, which if clicked will take you to another page where you can type in your zip code & get the address & phone number for your district ams office.  It's already on the internet so I guess I am not giving away any big secrets.  :)

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 11:36 AM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 695
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Oh I forgot to say:  it is on the page for RIBBS, not the first link that shows up in my search.  RIBBS-USPS National Customer Support Center.

Date Posted: 5/19/2014 11:46 AM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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Thanks, Diane. I might try that.

Date Posted: 5/22/2014 12:40 AM ET
Member Since: 5/7/2009
Posts: 793
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Another option is to get a 6 month post office box until it gets straightened out.  That is if you are close enough to go to your local post office.

Date Posted: 5/27/2014 3:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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So, it's been a week now. The lady I originally spoke with said they should contact me within 24 hours. I called the help hotline again and gave them my case number, and the only thing the new person could tell me was that they were still working on it. I'm tempted to call the district ams, but I feel like a bit of whiner. How long should it take for them to update the system? Would it make a difference to stop at the local post office or is the district ams still the best bet?

 

I have my wishlist on hold currently, so I don't have to worry about missing any packages. Paying for a PO Box is out of the question.



Last Edited on: 5/27/14 3:05 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 6/9/2014 1:29 PM ET
Member Since: 6/15/2009
Posts: 151
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So I did speak with the district ams, though I was not encouraged by the result. The guy on the other end seemed rather displeased I was calling and asked how I had gotten the number. (um... it's online and public knowledge???) He said he'd have to get approval from the county that the address existed before it could be updated in the system and that it should take two to three weeks. So... fingers crossed...

Date Posted: 6/9/2014 3:38 PM ET
Member Since: 8/26/2006
Posts: 9,325
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Let us know how it comes out!

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