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Old Jan 16, 08, 9:17 pm
  #11  
alect
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: MEL/LAX
Programs: AAdv GLD(MM), QF LTS, UA MP_nada, HH Gld, SPG, GoldenCircle Jade
Posts: 4,471
Well here is my brief review and research:

Narrowed it down to the following services:

Bongo International – www.bongous.com
USAMail1 – www.usamail1.com
USA2ME – www.usa2me.com
Earth Class Mail – www.earthclassmail.com
US Global Mail – www.usglobalmail.com
USA Box – www.usabox.com
Access USA – www.myus.com

My requirements were as follows:
• Wanted mail forwarded so that we wouldn’t miss any important letters or companies with whom we had forgotten to change our address
• Wanted a US mailing address for credit cards, memberships, online shopping etc…
• Wanted occasional package forwarding – eg if we wanted to shop online in the US because it was cheaper and have those packages sent to us in Australia.
• Wanted to have as much functionality and access online – view scanned mail, view incoming items, decided what to discard and what to scan or forward – this cuts down the costs of just forwarding everything indiscriminately.
• Possibly having subscribed magazines forwarded as magazine subscriptions in Australia are expensive
• Would be nice to have mailing address in a sales tax free state

Let’s take them one by one and review what I found out, and what I saw as the pros and cons.

AccessUSA

• Setup fee - $35
• Annual membership - $132
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $20 per annum
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $187
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $48.89
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $81.77
• Consolidation – two boxes free then $3 per box
• Commercial invoice per shipment - $8
• Storage – 45 days free then $5 per box + $1 per lb per month
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning – NO
• Location of mailing address (not PO) - FL

USABox.com

• Setup fee - $25
• Monthly fee - $10
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $0
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $145
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $48.30
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $73.05
• Consolidation – $5 per box or 50% of savings
• Storage – up to 6 months
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning - $10 per letter
• Location of mailing address (not PO) – FL

US Global Mail
• Setup fee - $0
• Monthly fee - $15 or $150 annually
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $0
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $150
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $62.33
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $91.37
• Consolidation – $3 for boxes or $1.50 for letters and magazines
• Storage – 1 month free then $1 per lb per month
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning – not offered
• Location of mailing address (not PO) - TX

Earth Class Mail
• Setup fee - $25
• Monthly fee - $9.95 for annual subscription
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $3 per month
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $181
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $??? (would not provide)
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $??? (would not provide)
• Consolidation – ???
• Storage – 90 days free then 3c per day per item
• Online review and discard option – Yes (shredding and recycling)
• Mail scanning – 50 pages included in monthly rate then 50c per envelope and 25c per page
• Location of mailing address (not PO) – OR
• Monthly rate includes 35 mail items per month received after which 35c per item – higher monthly rates include more received pieces per month (they are the only provider who counts received items for the monthly rate)
• Although every other provider had set or estimated shipping costs, this provider would not and simply kept pointing me to the DHL site for an estimate. Other providers charge far less than retail DHL rates. I think this service is most suited to those receiving mail only which they want to read online – not suitable for those wanting packages forwarded especially to outside of the USA.

USA2Me
• Setup fee - $15 (silver)
• Monthly fee - $10
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $5 per name per month
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $195
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $39.75
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $49.75
• Consolidation – 50% of shipping savings
• Storage – 45 days free then $1 per lb per month
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning – 6 pages includes in monthly fee then 25c per page
• Location of mailing address (not PO) – TX

USAMail1.com
• Setup fee - $49.95 includes first 3 months rental
• Monthly fee - $9.99 after initial 3 months
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $25 once off
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $165
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $53.59
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $79.84
• Consolidation – $6.95 per package
• Storage – 45 days storage free then $1 per lb per month
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning – $2 up to 6 pages and then 25c per page
• Location of mailing address (not PO) – NY

Bongo International
• Setup fee - $0
• Monthly fee - $15
• Each additional name on the account/mailbox - $0
• Total cost for myself and my wife for one year - $180
• Typical 5lb package sent to Australia - $53.59
• Typical 10lb package sent to Australia - $79.80
• Consolidation – FREE
• Storage – 45 days then $5 per month per item
• Online review and discard option - Yes
• Mail scanning – 50c per page
• Location of mailing address (not PO) - CT


Some things to note
• Consolidation – some don’t offer it, some charge flat fee per box/package, some offer it free, and others charge a % on the shipping savings achieved by consolidation
• Scanning mail – some includes some scanning in the base price, several charged a flat fee up to 6 pages and then a per page fee – I figured that most mail I would want to scan would be 1-2 pages so the $2 up to 6 pages base isn’t good value – I would rather go for the lower per page rate on a needs basis

Based on my review and modeling of what/how I would use it, I ranked the following top 3:
• Bongo
• USAMail1.com
• USA2Me.com

I am going with Bongo as they seemed the best value for money in my case and they were very responsive to questions both online and on the phone. Among the top 3 they had the best balance of ongoing fees (no cost additional names), consolidation costs (free), shipping rates and scanning costs.

I would recommend based on the above info, if you’re looking into such a service that you model your estimated use and features and calculate your costs for each of these providers – differing requirements may/will result in different rankings of the above providers.
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