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Old 20-02-2020, 06:26   #1
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St Brendan's Isl mail service

We have been underway for 13 years and for maybe the past 10-11 years used the folks at St Brendan's Isl mail forwarding service and they were great regardless of where we were. We had mail shipped to a lot of places Tunisia multiple times, Turkey multiple times, Israel, Trinidad I think and I am not sure where else. And our preference is USPS express.

I would send them an email and they would ship the same day. No issues and I would always receive it. No issues.

We are now in St Lucia and requested our mail and a person named Scott, maybe the owner, sent me back a note and asked how. I asked for a recommendation and he suggested UPS or FedEx which is twice the cost of USPS. He came back and said well can not track it and would not recommend it and 3rd world countries you may not get the mail and continued to say UPS or FedEx even after I said USPS.

I spent 40 years in the transportation and a senior manager/director and wrote a lot of contracts worth millions with both UPS and FedEx. I think what St Brendan's Isl is doing is charging customers the non contract rate and pay the carrier the contract and living on the difference. That leads me to believe that perhaps St Brendan's Isl may be having financial problems.

Has anyone experienced the same issue - ie getting pressured to use the higher cost service?

We may change companies so can anyone recommend someone else.

thanks
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Old 20-02-2020, 06:50   #2
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

We use St. Brendan's and I honestly had no idea you could call in and request your mail to be shipped. We have always used the web page to have our mail sent to us. The webpage gives you a list of what can be used and you choose from it. The webpage list what can be tracked and what isn't and you decided from there.

To be honest we have very little mail, so I only have a package sent to me maybe once a quarter, sometimes not even that often. Everything we can we have emailed to us or provided in an electronic form.

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Old 20-02-2020, 06:57   #3
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

Was told by post office in George Town Bahamas that it could take 6 to 8 weeks or more to send a tracked envelop to the states. It has to be scanned in every stop the boat or plane makes.
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Old 20-02-2020, 07:07   #4
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

In my opinion the USPS has gotten less and less reliable, then add in that if your sending to the Bahamas, due to the Bahamian side you’ll likely never see it, or at least there will be a long time before you do.
I believe anytime USPS crosses borders, it gets handed to the host countries mail system to complete the voyage, UPS, FedEx etc I think it’s in their hands until delivery.

Even sending mail overseas to a Soldier, it gets in the Army Postal system at NY and out of USPS hands and I’m not sure where on the West coast. UPS or Fedex goes to your door in Germany or wherever the delivery address is.

So far as getting a discount for shipping and not passing that discount along? Maybe. Many businesses do that, it’s not even unethical really, everything else is marked up in business, you dot pay the same for a battery that they did, they marked it up.

I’d be surprised if St Brendan’s Isle has enough business to get much of a discount though, when we are staying in Jax I always pick up our mail personally, and there isn’t as much shipped out as you would think.
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Old 20-02-2020, 07:10   #5
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

There is another mail service in Tx, but other than it’s existence, I know nothing else about it.
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Old 20-02-2020, 07:22   #6
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

I have used them in the past - not cruising but when living in Colombia - I would think this is a dying business - how much mail do people get anymore - besides governmental mail - also with Amazon offering shipping to more and more countries - shipping goods through a mail forwarding service is going to be less.
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Old 20-02-2020, 07:33   #7
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

The guys gotta make money to stay in business. If that means arbitraging a bulk mail rate that you can't get but they can and charging you what you'd pay otherwise....you'd begrudge them of that?

It's interesting, when my kids were in elementary school I'd ask them which they'd prefer, a choice something like where one sibling got 1 candy bar and the other got 2 or neither got any. The child getting 1 always chose that neither got anything, they would do something clearly against their own interest only to ensure that someone else didn't do even a little bit better then them. Now as teenagers, they negotiate a deal whereby the person getting 2 shares some and only comes out a little ahead. A sign of maturity in my eyes. I'm not sure I care about a couple bucks enough to even bargain with one of the last remaining companies voluntarily providing such a valuable, but low margin, service for so many people in this community. Certainly wouldn't be badmouthing them in public for trying to stay in business.
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Old 20-02-2020, 08:05   #8
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

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Originally Posted by cdy View Post
I have used them in the past - not cruising but when living in Colombia - I would think this is a dying business - how much mail do people get anymore - besides governmental mail - also with Amazon offering shipping to more and more countries - shipping goods through a mail forwarding service is going to be less.
Interesting idea that it's a dying business. I'll have to think about that.

I'm looking at selling my house and going cruising. That requires a "home" address somewhere. Maybe fewer people are doing that, but surely there's still a market for full-time cruisers and RV'ers. Especially since St. Brendan's is the brand name in that business.

And, don't they charge a monthly fee? I suppose if the economics of their business changed, that would simply be raised to cover it. Frankly I'm not going to be making my decision solely on price. Which is unusual for me.
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Old 20-02-2020, 09:34   #9
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

I can remember first contracting St. Brendans as our mail service while cruiising 22 years ago. I did not select them by reputation, but simply because their location was just a few miles from our "Home Marina". Since that time they expanded to a larger facility at a different location, nearby. Then again, a couple years ago, they added the adjacent storefront in order to accommodate their expanding needs.

After twenty years of having our mail sent to our different cruising locations we have sold our boat and are living ashore; however, the mail box at our home ashore remains empty. I drive by St. Brendans about once a week to pick up my mail which is located in one of their lower numbered boxes. I'm pleased to report that they are thriving with more space, turnover, and employees than many years ago.

I often find them helping new cruisers and RV travelers mange the paperwork to establish their means to mange a nomadic life. Sure, I'm biased, but that's because their my friends, neighbors and joyful group of people provided a great service at a successful business.
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Old 20-02-2020, 09:44   #10
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

I read a review of many services and the author concluded that they would stay with the service they had for years, but if they choose to change they would try Travelingmailbox. We just signed up so I have nothing else to report yet. The price seemed reasonable and they have been very helpful in filling out the forms required.

https://travelingmailbox.com/


I am not selling my home but I want access to the mail that would have been delivered to the house
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Old 20-02-2020, 10:24   #11
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

We have been a member of St. Brendan's since 2006. Because members can claim Florida citizenship and Florida does not have a state income tax (in most cases), we saved a lot of taxes over retaining our California mailing address. In our travels in the Eastern Caribbean, we have found that asking them to ship via the least expensive alternative was always the USPS. The down side was the transit time. We found four to six weeks to be the norm in Grenada. In St. Martin, we waited eight weeks for a small package of three diesel injectors. We went to the local post office every day for the last two weeks only to be told they had not received it. On our last visit, the clerk on duty said it still had not arrived. I saw a box with the injector company logo resting on top of a number of other boxes, less than three feet behind the clerk. I asked her to please look at the box and much to her surprise it was our box. She said it was a stack of undeliverable boxes being prepared for return. We have experienced the similar issues with the main post office in St. George's, Grenada and Rodney Bay, St. Lucia.
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Old 20-02-2020, 12:03   #12
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

We're a big fan of Traveling Mailboxes, http://www.https://travelingmailbox.com/. They scan the envelope of all our mail and notify us via e-mail. We can log in and look at the envelope(s), choose whether to have them opened and scanned, shredded or sent to us via a courier of our choice. Great people, great service, fair price. Been using them for years!
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Old 20-02-2020, 12:57   #13
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuckr View Post
We have been underway for 13 years and for maybe the past 10-11 years used the folks at St Brendan's Isl mail forwarding service and they were great regardless of where we were. We had mail shipped to a lot of places Tunisia multiple times, Turkey multiple times, Israel, Trinidad I think and I am not sure where else. And our preference is USPS express.

I would send them an email and they would ship the same day. No issues and I would always receive it. No issues.

We are now in St Lucia and requested our mail and a person named Scott, maybe the owner, sent me back a note and asked how. I asked for a recommendation and he suggested UPS or FedEx which is twice the cost of USPS. He came back and said well can not track it and would not recommend it and 3rd world countries you may not get the mail and continued to say UPS or FedEx even after I said USPS.

I spent 40 years in the transportation and a senior manager/director and wrote a lot of contracts worth millions with both UPS and FedEx. I think what St Brendan's Isl is doing is charging customers the non contract rate and pay the carrier the contract and living on the difference. That leads me to believe that perhaps St Brendan's Isl may be having financial problems.

Has anyone experienced the same issue - ie getting pressured to use the higher cost service?

We may change companies so can anyone recommend someone else.

thanks
There's another possible scenario: that someone had recently rung up the guy you talked to, having had his USPS mail go astray (as mail sometimes does), and so when he talked to you that disappointment was fresh in his mind, and he thought the tracking aspect would be valuable.

I can certainly testify that where we have tracking, we try and follow the package. They take weird routes through various freighting hubs, not the same as our air travel hubs.

Ann
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Old 20-02-2020, 13:22   #14
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

Since selling our dirt home 19 years ago, we've been using a mail service in Pensacola that does not currently offer mail piece scanning services but we have managed to cut down on our snail mail to the point that it is not much of an issue anymore.

We have considered "moving" to St. Brendans Isl a couple of times over the years but have had so many banking hassles due to our non traditional address since the 2010 "know your customer" law (CFR-2010-title31-vol1-sec103-121) that we're fearful of rocking the "change your address" boat.

In fact, we got notified just last week by a bank we've done business with for 20 years that we had 30 days to give them a "sticks-and-bricks" physical address (which we don't have) or our accounts would be closed. Fortunately, they were one of the ~60% of the banks that accepted a next-of-kin physical address exception as allowed by the law. But we've been turned down numerous times by the other 40% of banks.

Didn't want to start thread drift but the entanglements due to that law have become the biggest factor in where we "live" and how frequently we would "move". Sadly, we find it hard to be homeless these days.....
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Old 20-02-2020, 13:44   #15
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Re: St Brendan's Isl mail service

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carriage Boy View Post
Since selling our dirt home 19 years ago, we've been using a mail service in Pensacola that does not currently offer mail piece scanning services but we have managed to cut down on our snail mail to the point that it is not much of an issue anymore.

We have considered "moving" to St. Brendans Isl a couple of times over the years but have had so many banking hassles due to our non traditional address since the 2010 "know your customer" law (CFR-2010-title31-vol1-sec103-121) that we're fearful of rocking the "change your address" boat.

In fact, we got notified just last week by a bank we've done business with for 20 years that we had 30 days to give them a "sticks-and-bricks" physical address (which we don't have) or our accounts would be closed. Fortunately, they were one of the ~60% of the banks that accepted a next-of-kin physical address exception as allowed by the law. But we've been turned down numerous times by the other 40% of banks.

Didn't want to start thread drift but the entanglements due to that law have become the biggest factor in where we "live" and how frequently we would "move". Sadly, we find it hard to be homeless these days.....

This is a good point that I hadn't considered before. I'm also in the process of renewing my TSA pre-check / Global Entry for flights, and part of the application and interview is your residence and home address for the past 5 or 10 years.
Has anyone had issues meeting this requirement with St Brendan's Isle or any other mail service?
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