Small Parcel - iStock

How To Receive Parcels At The U.S. Border

It’s dead simple to have U.S. companies that don’t ship to Canada ship to the border instead.

Small Parcel - iStockSHOPPING AROUND | Last week we ran a story on down sweaters and discovered that some of the best-value models come from the cheap-chic Japanese fashion house Uniqlo, which does not ship to Canada. Uniqlo will, however, take orders for anything in its online catalogue over the telephone from the store in Manhattan and send it to any address in the U.S for a flat rate.

This got us thinking about how we might use the services of any of the parcel-receiving companies that operate just over the border in Blaine, Washington. We contacted four of them—Automated Mailing Services, Mail Boxes International, Pacific Mail and Parcel, and Security Mail Services—and found out the process is simple.

All of these companies offer essentially the same service with slight variations in what they charge for receiving your goods ($2.50 to $5.00 for small packages); how long they will hold packages without adding late fees; how the arriving packages will be tracked and by whom; and when the company is open for business. One thing all of them suggest is that parcels be addressed to the recipient, and include just the street address of the receiving company not the company’s name (like you’re sending something to a private residence).

Who Gets Our Goods?

So which of these companies would we use? Probably Mail Boxes International. Here’s why. While Mail Boxes does have a mandatory annual registration fee of $10 (some of the others don’t), it offers enhanced services, like being able to register and track your own packages online, although you don’t really need to do this because Mail Boxes will send you an auto-reply you once your package has been logged into its system. Its prices are at the low end, and its operating hours are the best of the lot: Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri.: 8:30 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Wed.: 8:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Sat.: 9:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.—Annabel Lee

Mail Boxes International is located at 1685 H Street, Blaine, WA  98230, 360-332-7678; visit www.mbistore.com; Automated Mailing Services, 360-332-2500; Pacific Mail and Parcel, 360-332-1888; Security Mail Services, 360-332-4228.

Photo: iStock

13 replies
  1. Kay Warner
    Kay Warner says:

    I left feed back earlier asking how my company could either be added to the review of mailing services or simply get reviewed by Frugalbits. I am a new company with many years experience and have been encouraged (by former customers)to go out on my own since my customer service skills were appreciated compared to the lady I worked for. I can use your help. Thank you

    Kay @ Ameri-Canadian Parcel

    Reply
  2. Chuck LeDuc
    Chuck LeDuc says:

    I prefer Point Roberts to Blaine, as the border waits are much shorter, it’s closer to Vancouver, and the services there don’t charge an annual fee. Check out thelettercarrier.com and tsbshipping.com – I’ve used The Letter Carrier and like it, and friends speak highly of TSB Shipping.

    Reply
  3. George Landry
    George Landry says:

    Two Questions–Wahington has 6.5% sales tax, is that added to the cost of any items purchased? Oregon (no common border) and Montana have no tax-are there similar forwarding services in these states?

    Reply
  4. Wilf in Vancouver
    Wilf in Vancouver says:

    I just picked up a parcel that took 3 days to ship from Indianapolis to Pacific Mail and Parcel in Blaine. Based on the UPS tracking info it sat in their warehouse for 5 days until it was available to pick up.

    I’m thinking of switching to another service. Has anyone had similar experiences with this or other companies. Any reccomendations? Thanks

    Reply
  5. Oliver
    Oliver says:

    We have used Pacific ail Mand Parcel for a few years. Unfortunately the service has declined drastically with culmination of a pretty much hostile experience this year. While waiting to ship packages we noted that two other customers who had received notification that their parcels were available, were disappointed when they tried to pick them up. The staff could not find them and just went with their constant mantra of we have XXX numbers of packages to deal with etc etc and you will just have to come back. Our experience shipping our packages was awful. The guy assisting became openly hostile when we only had a hundred dollar bill to pay.We went next door to the gas station to have it changed (I stayed with the packages). Promptly at 7:30 when they officially closed they locked the doors and informed me they were now closed and became increaingly agitated waiting for the changed money. Once we had the money changed, he completed the paperwork but in error had printed documents to send both packages to the same address (despite the addresses being clearly documented on the packages). He groaned and then fixed the issue, completed the process rushed us out but the stickers for the shipper were still not on our boxes. Apparently they print these at the back of the warehouse….by the time we were in our car all of the lights were out. I was so concerned I called the nest morning to check that the packages had the shipping labels on them and was promised they did and that UPS would pick them up today. They are still not in the UPS tracking system….
    This is a service based business and I expect they have some major glitches in their receiving process along with some staff who just don’t want to be there. I asked when the owner would be in so I could follow up with him and the response I received was “I have no idea, he comes and goes at will”.No offer to pass a message- no customer service.

    Reply
  6. Shelley
    Shelley says:

    We have used Mailboxes International for years and they are excellent – the one woman who works there can be a little curt, but thay are very efficient and we have never had any problems at all.

    Reply
  7. Sheila Boulton
    Sheila Boulton says:

    We were using Mailboxes International but are switching to Ameri-Canadian Parcel as it is open on Sundays, and until 7 pm weekdays (except it is closed on Tuesdays) Friends of ours use them and say it is a great outfit.

    Reply
  8. Expat
    Expat says:

    I have been a customer of Pacific Mail And Parcel for years, I must admit the staff were and still very friendly, courteous and professional, and I was happy with their services, however, I am switching to another company because of the following reasons:
    1- Recently it has been super busy on Saturdays (that’s when I do most of my pickups) and last time I was there I had to wait 40 minutes.
    2- Saturday hours are not convenient (closes at 1200 PM) with the border wait time going up, you really have to leave early to catch them, while there are other companies opening till 4:00 PM which is more convenient.
    3- They are no longer offering same day pick up (the day you receive email notification) you must pick up the next day
    4- Their fees are little bit higher than others and they only accept cash

    I know I will miss the nice customer service and friendly staff but I think for the increased waiting time and short hours, I think it is worth the switch.

    Reply
  9. Kelvin
    Kelvin says:

    I have been going to Blaine Postal Center and they are friendly and have the best hours of any that I have seen. They are open 7 days a week from 9:00 to 7 week days and 9:00 to 4:00 on Saturday and Sunday. No annual fee and $2.50 per parcel unless its heavier and no storage fees, I couldn’t be happier with their service.

    Reply
  10. Narendra
    Narendra says:

    I had a parcel place in Point Roberts before and then i decided to change over to Blaine. One of the best calls i made. I have had the pleasure of knowing Kay lot more than others and she is such a sweet heart she is tough cookie but very sweet lol. She is one of the most help full person you can come across even when she is shut down and odd times she went out of her way to accommodate my request.

    i prefer small family owned business and your always treated like family. Rates are one of the best ones you can find and its closet to border in and out in 15 mins which is great,

    Kay is a great person and always a pleasure to deal with.

    Reply
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    iherb coupons says:

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