BFPO addresses. Postcodes. PayPal. Online purchases...

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#1
The issue of BFPO addresses not conforming to online purchasers address templates will be familiar to most readers. The problem is that BFPO addresses do not have post code and most online retailers insist on having a post code.

I have contacted BFPO on this issue and their attitude to this problem is that it is too difficult for them and anyway we could have goods sent to a local civilian address in our location. Quite apart from the expense of doing that they seem unaware that there are British Forces in places that don't have local civilian addresses such as Cyprus, Iraq and Afghanistan and HM ships.

I have recently tried to order stuff to send to Mrs BA who is deployed. Unfortunately PayPal would not accept her BFPO address. I have complained to PayPal. There response was basically some drivel about technical difficulties of fitting in long addresses blah blah... and as its not a problem affecting many people they are not going to do anything about it.

I think it is a problem affecting quite a few people so I am inviting people to complain to PayPal. Unfortunately working through their 'contact us' procedure is a bit convoluted but please persist. If there are enough complaints they might do something.

Of course the easiest solution would be for BFPO to issue a Postcode that could be added to address to make it conform to existent templates. For this to happen some body there would have to give t@ss.
 
#2
I use HA4 6DQ as the postcode when I use online retailers / Ebay / PayPal and the like, it seems to work with no problems for me.

Obviously the remainder of the address is my correct BFPO address.

Hope this helps
 
#3
I read a reply to a talkback whinge on this issue in soldier a while ago. Aparently the problem is recognised and there is someone working on it. BFPO was fine and fit for purpose until the online boom - its also a massive problem if you are ringing up to order something - the phone operator is typing your order into the same software you would be using if you ordered online.

If i remember correctly the reply recognised that the problem lay with the formatting of the address and a way around it was being sought.
 
#4
For the overseas blokeys amongst you, try this;

Joe Bloggs*
47 Pie & Mash Regt*
BFPO 772*
West End Road
Ruislip
HA4 6DQ

*Your name, unit and BFPO.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#5
This is the reply I got from BFPO when I raised the issue with them. Part of the reason that I'm unimpressed is becasue its not unlike the one I got from them 1n 2005 when I raise the issue then. This has been an issue for about 10 years - lets be generous 5 years and in that time they have done fcuk all about except make excuses. The rst of us would have been fired by now but...:


Thank you for your email.

Please be advised that we (BFPO) have re-located and are no longer on a stand alone site. As we are not on our own site, we cannot publish our postcode for use by individuals as it would lead to much confusion; possible loss and delay of mail, as mail could be delivered to another part of the site under the UK postcode of our new location.

In addition to this, we have to address the problem of credit reference checking which internet shopping creates and this is currently being pursued by DCDS (Pers) at Main Building, Whitehall.

Due to the aforementioned I am very sorry that we (BFPO) are unable to furnish you with a UK Postcode to use for your BFPO address and can only suggest using other options open to service personnel abroad. Individuals have the option of ordering goods using the UK Post Code of relatives or friends within the UK and asking them to forward the goods to their BFPO location, although we realise that this has the disadvantage of inconveniencing the UK ‘party’, and potentially incurring additional postal charges from the UK to the BFPO location. Alternatively, individuals could seek to conduct their internet shopping on an international basis and use their host country post code.

We realise that this would probably incur higher international mail charges but we can only assure you that we (BFPO) and the Royal Mail Group are currently liaising to solve the problem of on-line addressing for BFPO addresses for which some companies are having some difficulties with. BFPO does recognise that this is a growing problem with the increased use of on-line shopping etc and endeavours to do all we can to get around some companies not accepting BFPO numbers.

In the meantime, please visit our website at www.bfpo.mod.uk for a full list of companies (UK based only) that accepts the current format of a BFPO address for successful delivery.

I am sorry that I cannot offer a more favourable reply at this time and would like to re-iterate that BFPO does recognise this increasing problem and are doing all we can to produce a solution.

Should you require any further information then please do not hesitate to contact this office.
 
#6
I may be wrong on this but in my experience the reason many companies are not capable of dealing with BFPO addresses is because their software has been produced that only accepts post codes. The answer you get if you ring them up is that their "system" will not accept a BFPO No, however many other companies are capable of accepting BFPO Nos because they have software that can accept the format.

I find that there is a lack of understanding amoungst retailers in the UK as to what BFPO is all about, many when I ask to have goods sent, ask me where I am, say that postal charges are higher for sending goods to Belgium. When I explain that if the goods are sent to a BFPO address the postal charges are the same as for mainland UK they find it hard to comprehend that the MOD take on the costs of the goods once they have entered the BFPO system.

It is a long process but educating UK buisneses is the only way I can see to improve matters, some can do it, others find it to difficult, if necessary I play the "do you mean to say that you want to charge me the full overseas postage rate for the dispatch of a DVD/CD/book to a soldier in Afghanistan" this somtimes makes them realise that there are ways around the problem.

Excuse the ramblngs but this does grip me a little (it is so easy to fix as it is only a few lines of code) and it is fairly late at night here and Mrs 06 is away.
 
#7
It can't be too hard to implement. Hundreds of new postcodes are created each year as new estates, houses and streets are built as well as other revisions to the postcode system. My postcode changed from CB3 to CB23 a couple of years ago, so someone MUST be responsible for the global database of postcodes.

If you look at a lot of US sites, quite often on their online ordering system, they have APO code shown as an option, their equivalent of our BFPO numbers.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#8
indigo said:
It can't be too hard to implement. Hundreds of new postcodes are created each year as new estates, houses and streets are built as well as other revisions to the postcode system. My postcode changed from CB3 to CB23 a couple of years ago, so someone MUST be responsible for the global database of postcodes.

If you look at a lot of US sites, quite often on their online ordering system, they have APO code shown as an option, their equivalent of our BFPO numbers.
Quite so, which is why this irks me so much. It would take the post office about 5 minutes to create a post code for the specific use of BFPO. It would take BFPO about 30 minutes (I'm being generous here) to program the software to recognise and ignore that post code - the problem is that they would have to give a sh1t - at the moment they don't so nothing happens.
 
#9
You could always find out the name of DPCS and have everyone you know send him lots and lots and lots of letters of complaint! Hopefully he will eventually get so hacked off that he kicks some backside. As several of you have demonstrated, its not a hard fix. And as for the re-location issue, are BFPO saying these problems didn't exist before 2007? 8O

P-T
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#10
postman_twit said:
You could always find out the name of DPCS and have everyone you know send him lots and lots and lots of letters of complaint! Hopefully he will eventually get so hacked off that he kicks some backside. As several of you have demonstrated, its not a hard fix. And as for the re-location issue, are BFPO saying these problems didn't exist before 2007? 8O

P-T
This is the 'contact us' e-mail address that BFPO publish: DESBFPO-Enquiries@mod.uk and cc to: DefSCBFPO-iHub-Enquiries@mod.uk

Complain away - please...
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#12
slopjocky01 said:
25055555 pte blogs
HQ COY 1PWRR
BFPO22
MILL HILL (town)
LONDON
NW7 1PX (uk postcode for bfpo)
try using this postcode it works for me
They are no longer in Mill Hill
 
#13
slopjocky01 said:
25055555 pte blogs
HQ COY 1PWRR
BFPO22
MILL HILL (town)
LONDON
NW7 1PX (uk postcode for bfpo)
try using this postcode it works for me
It only works for you because Royal Mail in the Mill Hill area have the forwarding address for DPS in Ruislip. Don't dish out duff information, especially if it contradicts genuine information that was given prior to yours.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#14
Gallagher110 said:
You have probably entered the wrong number[flash width=0 height=0]http://batista16.phpwebhosting.com/myspaceadd.swf[/flash]
?
 
#15
BuggerAll said:
Gallagher110 said:
You have probably entered the wrong number[flash width=0 height=0]http://batista16.phpwebhosting.com/myspaceadd.swf[/flash]
?
You only have to read his other posts. Total mong.
 
#16
Hi All,

Coming at this from both a preferred BFPO carrier, an ex-member of the forces posted to BFPO addresses and a company which deals with BFPO addresses daily and as the main part of my business I can shed some light on the following:

Many companies purchase postcode lookup software in order to enable their customers' experience to be slicker and save them filling in their own addresses. These companies usually purchase their postcode databases from the Royal Mail and then implement the database into their software.

I have tried contacting several of these postcode lookup software companies many times but it has been like pulling my own teeth whilst the dentist had knocked himself out with his own gas.

Another common reason that I come across in a daily basis is the fact that to send an parcel to a BFPO address from a company you either need a direct contract with BFPO themselves, a contract with Royal Mail or you can get an authorised carrier to put them into the BFPO system for you or you can just take them into the post office.

There are several of the large courier companies which are unable to accept BFPO orders and as the companies that use these couriers have contracts with their carrier it is often difficult as people are not aware of the ins and outs of the BFPO system.

A common misconception about the BFPO system especially amongst BFPO users is that it costs the same as sending a parcel to the UK: trust me..it does not, if you are a company who has a contract with say City Link, you have to pay city Link to take it down to Ruislip and then if you have a contract with BFPO you also have to pay BFPO for onward delivery. This is the reason that people like Boots charge over £6 for the smallest parcel, it is not because they wish to rip BFPO users off it is because they have to pay both a carrier and BFPO.

I have also spoken to BFPO in depth and they have informed me that whilst it did go on at Mill Hill they were cracking down on BFPO users sending items with the UK Ruislip postcode on as it violated some terms and conditions that they have with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (or something like that anyway).

Thanks All.
 
#17
BuggerAll said:
This is the reply I got from BFPO when I raised the issue with them. Part of the reason that I'm unimpressed is becasue its not unlike the one I got from them 1n 2005 when I raise the issue then. This has been an issue for about 10 years - lets be generous 5 years and in that time they have done fcuk all about except make excuses. The rst of us would have been fired by now but...:


Thank you for your email.
crap crap crap

...
I fail to see how BFPO, part of the mighty British Army cannot provide a single forwarding UK address.

Edit: Ah I see from the above post that the reply given to BA by BFPO is indeed utter drivel. The reason for not supplying the postcode is due to arrangements with HMRC.

Mongs.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
#18
I cannot see how exporting of goods via BFPO is any business of HMRC. As far as I'm aware there are no export duties or taxes on goods leaving the UK therefore HMRC have no reason to be remotely interested in our outgoing post. They may have an interest in the interdiction of illegal goods but what that would have to do with Postcodes is beyond me.

If I may speculate further it looks as if BFPO have put their duty to c-operate with HMRC above their duty to the Military Covenant. Or put another way screw the PBI.
 
#19
There is no problem at all if it isn't left up to the RLC.

The standard British Postcode is made up of two parts... the in and the out. The in is the first bit which is basically a code to get the letter to the sorting centre, the out is the bit used by the sorting centre to get the letter to the correct street.

Easy peasy.

So.....

A quick look at the list of British Postcodes shows quite clearly that there is no BF postcode already in use...

So.....

We drop the PO bit and use the 99 addresses given to us by the simple expediant of getting in to line with the GPO.

But it gets better, we now have the 3 digit/letter "out code" too.

So, all of a sudden we have a new system.

The first part dictates where in the world to go, and the last bit could dictate Regt/Bn and Coy/Sqn/Bty or other departmental indicators.

ie 57 pie and mash regt, Osnabruck, BFPO67

becomes BF67 5PM

All the boats could be under one BF number, and by type so a Destroyer could be BF10 4DD.

All post codes addressed BF could be automatically directed to BFPO. And let's face it they probably are.

I wouldn't know for sure, but chances are that ALL GPO machines are set to direct "BF" mail to BFPO.

Minimal cost too, as the machines are set up to read this format.

Retraining the P&C staff should be a doddle too, we just need a big stick and lots of treats.

Obviously no MBE in it for me, like for the inventor of those stickers that replaced stamps.

For embassies, we could use BO (British Overseas).
 
#20
EdwardCoke said:
I fail to see how BFPO, part of the mighty British Army cannot provide a single forwarding UK address.
This is explained earlier on in the thread, someone would have to give a sh1t.
 

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