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Lisamer
05-14-2008, 04:56 AM
I have been doing regular work for a major online publisher. Although they pay through Paypal, you need to fill out a W9. Without it, you will not be paid. I live in the Colorado hills, where we do not get mail delivery. Thus, everyone uses a PO Box.

When filling out a tax form, either with my PO Box, or my physical address, it is rejected. When contacting the publisher, I get this response:

"Our mail system currently does not accept PO Box addresses we are working on changing that. We use the USPS to verify mailing addresses. Is there perhaps an address you can use of someone close to you, like a relative or friend?"

Everyone I know has the same circumstance, so a friend or relative would not be viable. Also, when I filled out my application, I listed my PO Box, so they already knew my address. Anyone have any idea of what sort of legal action I can take?


We are talking about a sum of close to $700.

Thanks!

Bartholomew
05-14-2008, 05:08 AM
I have been doing regular work for a major online publisher. Although they pay through Paypal, you need to fill out a W9. Without it, you will not be paid. I live in the Colorado hills, where we do not get mail delivery. Thus, everyone uses a PO Box.

When filling out a tax form, either with my PO Box, or my physical address, it is rejected. When contacting the publisher, I get this response:

"Our mail system currently does not accept PO Box addresses we are working on changing that. We use the USPS to verify mailing addresses. Is there perhaps an address you can use of someone close to you, like a relative or friend?"

Everyone I know has the same circumstance, so a friend or relative would not be viable. Also, when I filled out my application, I listed my PO Box, so they already knew my address. Anyone have any idea of what sort of legal action I can take?


We are talking about a sum of close to $700.

Thanks!

Do you have a brick and mortar address for them? Send them a physical bill.

Lisamer
05-14-2008, 05:12 AM
I actually have. This too was ignored.

IceCreamEmpress
05-14-2008, 05:15 AM
Can you get a statement from the post office stating that this is your only mailing address?

Also, I'm confused about the W-9. You don't have to fill it out online--you can print one out from the IRS website, fill it out, and mail it to the publisher. Then they'll have the information and can pay you.

CDarklock
05-14-2008, 05:20 AM
I really can't get over this.


Is there perhaps an address you can use of someone close to you, like a relative or friend?

"We must verify your address. Sorry, we can't verify that one. Could you use SOMEONE ELSE'S address?"

WTF are they verifying?! That you KNOW an address they can verify? That's just... it's... well, it's retarded, that's what it is.

Lisamer
05-14-2008, 05:32 AM
Thanks for everyone's fast replies. They already have a faxed and snail mail version of my W-9. The response is still the same.


Can you get a statement from the post office stating that this is your only mailing address?

This is a time-consuming but good idea. Thanks!

tjwriter
05-14-2008, 05:32 AM
It is stupid, but I can't say that I've not run into similar situations living in a small town that does not deliver mail to your home.

It's weird the hoops you have to jump through to do some pretty simple things.

Bartholomew
05-14-2008, 05:35 AM
All because some anal retentive clusterfuck won't consider a world where people have PO boxes. Nice.

tjwriter
05-14-2008, 05:42 AM
Somehow using a physical address makes you less likely to be a scammer or a fraud.

:Shrug:

I've chewed people out, in a calm and polite manner of course, because I couldn't use an online service with my PO Box. I couldn't get coupons once because I had a PO Box. That was a pissy email I sent them.

Often, if they have two boxes on the form for address, the second box isn't verified by the system, so I'll enter my street address in the first box and my PO Box in the second. I've also been known to put it in the apartment number box or any other box it will accept it in.

Some of the systems try to be really tough and end up being really stupid instead. The government accepts PO Boxes, so I don't know what this company's deal is.

Depending on what type of work you did, you could forbade them from using it if you cannot get compensated. Surely there is a way to put a manual override in the system fo you.

IceCreamEmpress
05-14-2008, 05:57 AM
Thanks for everyone's fast replies. They already have a faxed and snail mail version of my W-9. The response is still the same.

I'm pretty sure they're giving you the runaround, then. I know you can have a PayPal account with a PO Box as your only mailing address.

Basically, if the only problem is that they can't generate a "pay to" output from QuickBooks because you don't have a street address, they can just enter your post office box address in the street line.

So if your post office box is Box Number 123, they can enter it as:

123 POBox Street
Yourtown, Yourstate, YourZIP

Mac H.
05-14-2008, 06:04 AM
"Our mail system currently does not accept PO Box addresses we are working on changing that. We use the USPS to verify mailing addresses. Is there perhaps an address you can use of someone close to you, like a relative or friend?"Give them their own address: Lisa Mer, C/O (Their address)

After all, they are the ones who suggested that you give them a fake address for tax purposes.

Mac

maestrowork
05-14-2008, 06:13 AM
Could it be a Paypal's problem? Far as I know, Paypal only accepts verifiable physical addresses.

IceCreamEmpress
05-14-2008, 06:41 AM
Could it be a Paypal's problem? Far as I know, Paypal only accepts verifiable physical addresses.

No, you can have a PayPal account with a PO Box if you back it up with a bank account that has the same PO Box as its mailing address (unless they've changed this in the last year or so).

blacbird
05-14-2008, 06:46 AM
When filling out a tax form, either with my PO Box, or my physical address, it is rejected. When contacting the publisher, I get this response:

"Our mail system currently does not accept PO Box addresses we are working on changing that. We use the USPS to verify mailing addresses. Is there perhaps an address you can use of someone close to you, like a relative or friend?"

The appropriate response:

"Dear Publisher:

Well, you stupid sonsabitches, join the real world. Millions of people, businesses and even government agencies use P.O. boxes for postal delivery, for all manner of practical and necessary reasons, and been doing it for decades. You goddam well better be fixing your system to bring it into line with reality, otherwise I don't write you no more good material, and you wind up starving in a gutter somewhere that also don't have no physical address.

Have a nice day.

Yours sincerely, etc."

Just a suggestion.

caw

nevada
05-14-2008, 09:03 PM
( i think there's a legality involved with using PO boxes as "legal" addresses.) you could look for a private place that offers PO Boxes with regular street adresses. Such as the UPS Stores. There you get a PO Box that actually has a legal street address. Instead of PO Box 21, 79 west street, it would be #21, 79 West street. If you don't have that available in your small town, you can rent one at a larger town and have the mail from that PO Box forwarded to your PO Box. It's all good and well to rail against the system and call them stupid, etc, but if you want your money, thats what you'll have to do.

Nightfall
05-14-2008, 10:13 PM
That stinks.
Another reason people get PO Boxes nowadays is to keep from having their mail stolen from unsecure boxes in front of their homes. That's why I HAD to get a PO Box. I've also lived in places where the only mailing address you had was a PO Box.

It ticks me off to no end that having a PO Box makes you look and get treated like you are a scammer in that some shippers won't send pacakges to a PO Box and my personal favorite, if your PO Box is printed on your checks (w/phone #) the store will still insist that you give them a street address.

All this trouble because I objected to havng my mail swiped and took preventative measures.

/rant

P.S. Nevada, you're right but it is still very backward and inconvenient. PO Boxes, in the age of rampant identity theft, are going to become more common and having a PO Box should not label someone as a crook by default.

Lisamer
05-14-2008, 10:32 PM
Once again, thanks for everyone's help. In my section of Colorado, there are many second home owners. This is just one of the reasons that all mail service goes to the local post offices. Additionally, roads can be dangerous in the winter, so I guess they decided to keep all mail going to a few central locations.

The renting of a PO Box at Mail Boxes Express can be an idea. However, since the site pays by paypal, and all of my other mail goes to my regular po box, I can spend more on the box than I actually earn.

Ironically, this organization owns a number of websites. One of them actually deals with outdoor and mountain activities, so I'm sure that at least some of their writers have a PO Box.

For now, I am being a "lady" and not revealing their identity. However, if the situation remains unresolved, since they have a large number of Internet sites, I wil post their identity on the Bewares board.

Once again, thanks for your support!

IceCreamEmpress
05-14-2008, 11:22 PM
( i think there's a legality involved with using PO boxes as "legal" addresses.)

No, there isn't, if one lives in a community where the post office does not deliver to homes. Seriously, it's up to the Post Office to make this determination--if your only mailing address is your Post Office box, nobody can deny you service based on the Post Office's decision.

Lisamer, I'd recommend that you talk to the person in Accounts Payable directly about this. They need to resolve this either with a manual override of their system, or with your getting a certification that this is your sole mailing address from the Post Office, or both.


Here's a question, though: Do you actually HAVE a street address? Legally, I mean? Your local Fire Department should know if you have one.

nevada
05-15-2008, 12:01 AM
No, there isn't, if one lives in a community where the post office does not deliver to homes.

My mistake. I live in Canada. Even in small communities there are addresses. Rural homes have actual legal addresses such as Rural Route 3, or whatever. So they have a postal box but it's a box on a legal address. box 14, RR 3, Hinton. That kind of thing.

HeronW
05-15-2008, 01:56 AM
I've been f*cked over by Paypal for months before someone finally told me: Israel isn't part of our system. Gee, you couldn't have said so in the TOS or in the 1st 20 replies to my confused and unanswered questions?

How about direct deposit to your bank?

Birol
05-15-2008, 03:42 AM
Let's watch the language please.

IceCreamEmpress
05-15-2008, 04:44 AM
My mistake. I live in Canada. Even in small communities there are addresses. Rural homes have actual legal addresses such as Rural Route 3, or whatever. So they have a postal box but it's a box on a legal address. box 14, RR 3, Hinton. That kind of thing.

Oh, yes, I know what you mean. The same was true in the rural East Coast community I grew up in--there were "Rural Routes" and "Farm Routes" and "Star Routes".

But in parts of the US there are still unnamed roads. On the other hand, the original poster's local Post Office might be able to generate a hypothetical street address for her if the road she lives on has been named, and the houses or lots numbered.

Lisamer
05-15-2008, 04:48 AM
We do have an actual physical address. However, since that address does not go to the USPS list, I am considered non-existent. The direct deposit idea would be perfect, but their policy is that if you can't be verified by USPS, you don't exist, so you can't be paid.

IceCreamEmpress
05-15-2008, 04:57 AM
We do have an actual physical address. However, since that address does not go to the USPS list, I am considered non-existent. The direct deposit idea would be perfect, but their policy is that if you can't be verified by USPS, you don't exist, so you can't be paid.

Ah!

Well, I think the answer is to get a letter from your local postmaster/postmistress and send it to them. That would count as "being verified by the post office" after all.

Linda Adams
05-15-2008, 05:54 AM
Oh, yes, I know what you mean. The same was true in the rural East Coast community I grew up in--there were "Rural Routes" and "Farm Routes" and "Star Routes".

But in parts of the US there are still unnamed roads. On the other hand, the original poster's local Post Office might be able to generate a hypothetical street address for her if the road she lives on has been named, and the houses or lots numbered.

People who live on military bases in the barracks have the same problem. The mail would be addressed to [Company Name], [Fort Name], State, and Zip. Some businesses gave me similar responses because I didn't have a street address. I tried including a building number, but it didn't make a difference.

inkkognito
05-15-2008, 09:59 PM
I'm so glad I live in an area where we have UPS Stores and Pak Mails. My mailbox in front of the house is NOT secure...the post office indiscriminately sends back our mail, marked "No Such Address," every now and then for no apparent reason. I have a box at a private place, and I can use # XXX instead of P. O. Box # XXX, which seems to appease the places that refuse to delivery to a true post office box. As an added bonus, they accept package deliveries.

tjwriter
05-15-2008, 10:39 PM
We do have an actual physical address. However, since that address does not go to the USPS list, I am considered non-existent. The direct deposit idea would be perfect, but their policy is that if you can't be verified by USPS, you don't exist, so you can't be paid.

The federal government recognizes these box numbers as a valid address. The IRS has a statement directly on the 1040 that you may enter your PO Box number if you do not have mail sent directly to your home.

Businesses should recognize that not all people have a street mailing address.

I had some systems so silly as to not accept PO Box XXX but take P.O. Box XXX.

Contact them and ask if a certified letter from your postmaster would be sufficient. It's a bit ridiculous that you have to jump through so many hoops.

Perhaps you should make one more attempt to work this out with them, and then inform them that you will be following up with as a nonpaying client. It's insane that their system limitation keeps you from being paid.

Lisamer
05-16-2008, 09:31 AM
Update: Much to my surprise, when I visited the post office today, there was a real live check. The payment was for work done while they were still using the "paper check" system. They've recently switched to paypal, and ironically, I have not yet been paid for the few assignments I've done since they switched to that system.

I also received a call from somebody in the company, who explained that they were advised by their attorney to do the "No PO boxes" thing, because they always send out a 1099, and they do not like to send these documents to PO Boxes.

I calmly explained that while that may be the case, anyone who applies for a job has already filled out an application with their PO Box. Since they already knew this, I should have been informed before I started writing. Furthermore, since many of their websites deal with outdoor activities, hiking and trails, a good portion of their writers probably live in the same type of area.

The outcome: I will be a special case and will hopefully continue to get paid, but it was a rough ride. Thanks for everyone's support!

IceCreamEmpress
05-16-2008, 09:11 PM
Glad to hear about the good outcome, Lisamer. Thanks for sharing your experiences here--I bet you're not the only person to face this dilemma.