How to Overcome the Online Shopping Obstacle
For several reasons, many online merchants have made it difficult and quite often impossible for APO/FPO/DPO address holders to successfully shop online. These reasons include: ignorance of what an APO/FPO/DPO address is, not using the U.S. Postal Service to ship the items ordered, and the website software not allowing for the existence of the Military Mail States AA, AE and AP. No matter the reason, we here at ShipitAPO are committed to getting you (back) into online shopping and keeping you there. By simply using your new ShipitAPO address as the shipping or Ship To address, ShipitAPO enables you to overcome the obstacles found on these websites and enjoy unrestricted online shopping -- instantly!
When you want to make an online purchase of goods, two address fields are usually encountered during either the checkout portion of the web session or at account creation at the merchant's website. It is these fields that cause all the problems and frustration. These address fields are: Billing Address and Shipping address.
Let's look at these separately because each has specific implications for APO/FPO address holders.
Here is an example of a typical Shipping address field:
Notice the "We cannot deliver to P.O. Boxes, APOs, FPOs, or DPOs." This is a dead give-away that you are dealing with a merchant that does not use the U.S. Postal Service to deliver ordered items. This can be confirmed by clicking the pull-down menu to see the shipping options this merchant offers. Give it a try. What do you see? Ground Shipping. Why is this? Well, the merchant has chosen to use a parcel/package carrier such as United Parcel Services (UPS) or Federal Express (FedEx) to deliver purchased items and not the U.S. Postal Service. By now you know that none of these package carriers can deliver to APO/FPO addresses.
Another way to learn if a merchant's website does not use the U.S. Postal Service is to check the pulldown menu for the State selection. Give it a try. What do you see? Notice there are no Military Mail States in the pull down menu from which to choose AA, AE or AP. Either way you look at it, you are not going to get your packages sent your APO/FPO by this merchant.
But don't give up hope! By using your unique ShipitAPO address, you now have a valid stateside street address to enter in any Shipping Address fields you encounter while shopping online. You order the items you want, they get delivered to us, and we mail them to your APO/FPO/DPO address. It's that simple.
Here is what you would see after entering your ShipitAPO address at this merchant's site:
Notice how effortlessly your ShipitAPO address fills this merchant's address fields. And why shouldn't it? We made it this way so you wouldn't have any trouble. The number after the # is your ShipitAPO Membership Account Number and it is our method of uniquely identifying your packages when they arrive at our package processing facility in Vacaville, CA. Once we get your packages we simply mail them to your APO, FPO, or DPO. Nothing could be more simple and carefree. All the more reason for you to grab one of our free ShipitAPO addresses now!
NOTE: Some online merchants may not ship to an address not on file with your credit card company. If this is the case, you must call the customer service number on your credit card (a collect call is usually accepted) or write to the company issuing your card and give them your new ShipitAPO address as an alternate or secondary shipping address. This is a straightforward procedure which the credit card companies welcome, as it reduces online fraud, which saves them money.
While your APO/FPO/DPO address is a valid billing address for your credit card company, again there are no Military Mail States in the pull down menu from which to choose AA, AE or AP. Check it out to see for yourself. All is not lost. If you want to shop at this merchant, there are three choices:
- Attempt to "Force Fit" your APO/FPO/DPO address into this field. (While we will show you how, this trick may not always work.)
- Use your new ShipitAPO address in this field. (Credit card company notification required.)
- Use another valid street address as your billing address, such as your parent's address. (Credit card company notification required.)
As soon as you are given your new ShipitAPO address, you can instantly start shopping online, with one caveat -- that you can provide a billing address the website will accept. More than likely, you are getting your credit card statements sent to your APO/FPO/DPO address. If you don't want to change your billing address to either your ShipitAPO address or to another stateside address, we offer you a method that will work most of the time.
Here is a trick on how you can "Force Fit" your APO/FPO/DPO address into the billing address fields as shown below:
Notice the "Force Fit" in address lines 1 and 2. This is the "trick."
In this example, Jane Doe's whole APO address was fit into the two main address fields, then APO was entered for the City, California for the State, and the proper ZIP code again entered. As the type (APO, FPO, or DPO) and Military State (AP, AA, AE) change, proper adjustments are needed for each address when implementing this "Force Fit."
Note: For "Force Fit" purposes only, the following substitutions need to be made:
How can this "Force Fit" work, since it's such a weird looking address? Well, it may or may not work but this has nothing to do with the way it looks. It all depends on how the merchant's credit card verification/authorization service processes the information you present in the billing address form. Each credit card verification/authorization service attempts to validate the billing address you present with the information it can obtain from the credit card issuers database(s). If the credit card verification/authorization service simply checks your name and ZIP code then this "Force Fit" will work. If the credit card verification/authorization service checks for the city and ZIP code there is a chance that the database may reject the address you submitted, since some checks do not recognize APO, FPO, or DPO as valid cities in California, New York or Florida. Best guess, is that more than 90% of the sites will accept this "Force Fit." Since this billing address check is a fully automated process, you will know right away if your billing information is accepted.
If it is not, there are three choices: find another site, change your credit card billing address to a friend's or family member's stateside address, or use your ShipitAPO address as your billing address. Finding another site may be your only option right away as doing any address changing to credit card statements may take some time, unless you can do it online. Should you choose to use your ShipitAPO address as your credit card billing address, we suggest that you change your credit card statement preference in your credit card account to "paperless" or "electronic statements" only. ShipitAPO is not in the mail forwarding business as such we encourage you NOT to have your paper statements mailed to your ShipitAPO address.
By using your ShipitAPO address, you can experience unrestricted online shopping and enjoy having your packages being forwarded right to you APO, FPO, or DPO address no matter where you are stationed. All the current frustrations and hassles of online shopping with an APO/FPO/DPO address will simply vanish.
Shop anywhere, ship it APO.