Best mail forwarding service for Antarcticans?


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  • #1238
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    Any recommendation for an online mail scanning/forwarding service? The four I have identified are:

    • PaperlessMail
    • Virtual Post Mail
    • AmericanMailnet
    • Earth Class Mail

    Right now PaperlessMail and Virtual Post Mail are looking pretty good. Earth Class Mail sounds good at first, but has a hidden fee structure that can really sock it to you (and I don’t like companies that do that anyway so they are probably out of the running). Does anyone have any experience with any of the other three? Thanks.

    #10270
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    So, I use earth class mail….and can say that their service is rock solid and very reliable. What do you mean by hidden fees? Everything that I’m billed for is exactly what I expect to be billed for. This has been a very good solution for me as I am almost never in the states anymore and family was getting sick of handling my mail for me…especially when I would call them from abroad and ask them to open/read/scan/forward….whatever certain pieces.

    The key, I’ve found, to keeping your costs low with earth class mail is to call people that send you mail…your credit card issuers, banks…what have you, and tell them to turn off all the junk mail. Not all of them listen…but most seem to.

    A tip…RPSC will withold taxes based on the mailing address they have on file for you UNLESS you get with the payroll people and get it sorted out. It’s a bit of a pain in the ass…but necessary.

    Anyhow, in short, while ECM may seem expensive, I can say that I’ve been happy with the service I have received and will likely keep giving them my business for the foreseeable future. I can’t speak at all for any of the other services you have mentioned.

    #10271
    m0loch
    Keymaster

    oh…and on sort of the same topic..earth class mail has addresses in Texas. There is no state income tax in Texas.

    and another thought….It seems when I was shopping around for this type of service, perhaps earth class mail got my business because they offer physical street addresses in addition to P.O. boxes. A physical street address seems to be important to certain card issuers and banks.

    #10272
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    If you’re going to change addresses be sure to start immediately. Some businesses take forever to change them (why?).

    I use a UPS store PO box. If you *can* receive mail on the Ice, they will forward it for you en masse at predetermined times, as the box is full, or when you call them.

    Because you’re wintering, you will probably have to resort to one of the aforementioned mail scanning services, or a helpful relative.

    My .02.

    #10273
    MightyAtlas
    Moderator

    I’ve been using a UPS Store for my mailing address for years. During the season they’d send me my mail about once a month. During the winter, my sister picked it up, and held onto it. If something is important, she’d scan it, and e-mail it down to me. EZ. I do all my banking online, and receive all of my bills that way, too. Not much need for snail mail anymore, anyway. 🙂

    #10274
    MATKATAMIBA
    Member

    Thanks guys,
    Getting relatives to take my mail isn’t something I want to ask them to do – partly because it is a lot of work and partly because I don’t want then reading some of my mail. So it is a scanning service for me.

    m0loch, I didn’t mean to bad-mouth the service you like, but no matter how good a job Earth Class Mail does they charge extra for everything. They put $19.95/month at the top of their web page in bold letters, which seems inexpensive, but when you read all the fine print it costs way more. There are so many extra charges it took me half an hour to figure out what the actual cost of their service would be for ten scanned and forwarded letters – $68/month.

    #10275
    thepooles98
    Keymaster

    As said above, these days there is very little need for actual hard mail service. If you can get rid of all the junk, then it’s a lot easier for a relative to help you out. Cancel everything and I mean everything. Establish online accounts. Handle as much as possible by phone. It sometime helps to have a person contact at the places you deal with. Once you tell them you are going to antarctica, it sticks in their heads and they remember you well. put your vehicles in NON-OP status, so you don’t have to pay to register. Most current bills can be paid online. You can get a 3cent a minute phone card to call if you have problems.

    One year my drivers license ran out while on the ice. That was a bummer. Nothing I could do about it. I stopped at Rarotonga on the way home and got a Raro license to drive scooters around the island. That was enough for the California DMV when I got home to agree that I had a current valid license and I didn’t have to go through the whole driver test again.

    #10276
    Sciencetech
    Keymaster

    Yup, what Mike said. Cancel it all. Most major businesses now allow you to receive email bill notification and pay online. Smaller, local businesses without an online option are the only real sticky ones left.

    You can opt-out of a lot of credit card offers and direct marketing, see: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/alerts/alt063.shtm It takes a while to have an effect, but eventually it does work.

    At this point I receive maybe 5-10 pieces of mail each week, almost all unimportant.

    Jury duty notices are the scary things. If you don’t show up it can turn into a contempt of court charge. I’ve received three notices while I’ve been on the Ice. Each time, I simply called the jury commissioner and explained the situation. They were always delighted to get a phone call from Antarctica! There was never any problem either rescheduling or canceling the jury duty, but you must call them.

    #10277
    skua77
    Keymaster

    I’ll agree with ScienceTech, I survived 2 recent winters at Pole doing most everything electronically, although having a friendly family member to collect the snail mail and look at it did help. Never got a jury duty notice though, we’ll see what happens next time.

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