June 16, 2011

A Rant About Being Unverifiable

Our address is not in the USPS database. This is because mail is not delivered to our subdivision; we have a P.O. box instead. And until recently this was rarely a problem.

But more and more businesses are relying on software that performs "address verification" using the USPS database. If you are not in it, you cannot complete a transaction online! So far I've had these problems:

  • Could not take advantage of an extended payment program from Paypal
  • Could not register our iPad
  • Could not order a large item using eBay.

This is just the tip of the iceberg because the use of "address verification" is growing. So far, it has been a nuisance but I worked around it. I didn't really need the extended payment plan so I said forget-about-it. I was just trying to get some freebie that came with the program anyway. And for registering the iPad, I used the address of my investment property which happened to be vacant right then. (Now someone has an incorrect address for us, but it's their fault for not allowing the correct one.) And for the eBay purchase, I contacted the seller, canceled the order and bought the item elsewhere. So while eBay and Paypal lost out on a commission, that's not my problem. I'll just stop using them for items that won't be sent to a post office box. (Too bad, I've been an eBay customer for 10 years. I sent them a complaint but got no response.)

I've talked to our postmistress and she says there is no way we can get into the USPS database because the postal service does not deliver to our street. This is because the resort does not allow mailboxes on the roads here and the postal service has no desire to deliver to narrow mountain roads anyway.  There are several hundred residents here with the same problem, and many people in other communities do not get mail delivered to their homes.  I feel bad for the younger ones who need credit cards and other financial services. They are probably getting turned down and don't understand why. Being told you have an unverified address does not sound rational unless you have an inkling about software and databases and how they operate without actual intelligence.

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