Secure Personal and Confidential Mailboxes in Spain
The Post Office – Why use a courier / mailbox?
Correos de España offices are normally open for restricted hours and the queues can be horrendous if someone is claiming benefits or paying bills. From an international perspective, no next-day service is offered. A recently sent a birthday present ´Certificado´ from Spain to the UK did not arrive. The Spanish Correos tracked it down to the UK sorting office. A telephone call to the sorting office tracked it to the local delivery office where the lady that answered the phone said “I think I remember something like that but I don’t know how to work the computer. Can you come in tomorrow and see the manager?” (I was still in Spain!)
On 8th September 2008, the BBC reported that a Scotsman had hoarded or disposed of at least 20,000 letters because he was too overworked to deliver them. On 9th August 2008 150 sacks of mail went missing from Leeds General Hospital. On August 6th 2008, discovery of a mound of partially burned letters in a wood near Paisley led to a Postman being suspended.
Some valuables and correspondence are just too important to trust to either the Spanish or the UK Post Office. Reliability, accountability, peace of mind and a personal service are worth the small premium that a customer will pay at Citibox. Some customers even courier their luggage and fly with hand baggage only and SAVE money over the budget airlines’ handling fees!
The local Correos can provide an ‘Apartado’ Post Office Box. If a letter arrives that requires a signature or a parcel is too large to fit into the box, a card is placed inside the box. I once queued for 45 minutes to retrieve a registered letter from the Correos office.
If the recipient lives some way from the local post office, a great deal of time can be wasted going to and from the post office to see whether a parcel has arrived and in many areas those that cannot speak Spanish are likely to get nowhere.
Increasingly, foreign companies are using couriers to deliver parcels throughout Europe as the price of couriers becomes competitive with postal services and the reliability exceeds the post. Couriers cannot deliver to post office boxes. Amazon.co.uk, the internet book company, now sends European orders by courier and they are returned as undeliverable if addressed to an Apartado de Correos.
ParcelForce, the UK company, sub-contracts Spanish deliveries to a local courier. A recent parcel containing goods bought on-line from the UK and sent through ParcelForce, reached Spain via Belgium and Germany. The local courier company could not deliver to the post office address and I had to drive two hours each way to collect the parcel.
It is a common experience in Spain for part-time residents to return to find their services cut off because somehow the mechanism for paying the bill has gone wrong and the letter from the utility company or their bank has not reached them.
Some authorities and companies refuse to deal with post office box addresses.
A Citibox mailbox addresses all the above problems. No queues. The customer is sent a telephone or SMS message when their expected parcel has safely arrived. All incoming parcels are accepted, signed for and kept safe until collection. Incoming post can be forwarded or even opened and faxed. A Citibox address can be “Citibox Suite 103, Rotonda 2, Avda. de Manolete, 29660 Nueva Andalucia (Málaga). This provides a physical location which satisfies the final point.
In 2009 Citibox launched their UK Address in Spain service which is proving immensely popular UK Address.
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