Mail Forwarding In Panama

If you move to Panama, you will most likely need to have a mail forwarding provider. I have used AirBox Express, but with Natalia leaving the David office, mail processing has been less than satisfactory. I have talked to AirBox Express and they have said they will address the issues.

In October of 2009, AirBox Express had a problem with its distribution arm in Florida and that resulted in the need to change addresses with the company. That problem caused me several problems with mail being lost during the transition. However, I liked Natalia and I suffered through the transition.

With Natalia going on maternity leave and with my needing to have an address I can depend on for US Federal Tax filing, I decided to stop the current headache and move to another provider that is more convenient to where I live. Whether I have improved my situation, remains to be seen.

I really hate to make changes like this, because I have so many addresses I have to change (credit cards, Amazon, Social Security, etc.). Last Saturday, I started the process.

NOT FUN. However, some good came out of it. When I was going through my needed changes, I came across an account that had changed the way it handled its website and my account had been moved to another provider. I would have known about this change if I had received their notification letter, which went to the dead letter file due to my address being changed at AirBox Express. After about 20 minutes calling the US, I now have a letter coming from that provider. That problem may be solved.

The only way to use the US Postal change of address system is if you use a PO Box address. If you don’t use a PO Box mailing address, then the only way to get your mail directed to a new address will be to manually change all addresses yourself.

I could not change my Social Security mailing address on the Internet, because the computer system could not handle the change. I was able to call the US Social Security and get them to manually change my address. Thank goodness for Magic Jack.

Issues with mail forwarding providers.

Obviously one big issue is if the mail forwarding provider stops providing service completely or to the level of quality you require. As you can see from above, the changes are painful and time consuming. It is a manual process and you have to have a complete list of all places needing changes. There is no one to help you with this but you.

So why not just use a PO Box and then the US Postal Service change system will forward your mail to the new address, if there is a change? Well, PO boxes can cause other problems if you live in Panama. Some credit card companies will not send their card to a PO box. Most companies will not send products to a PO box. Many companies will require the address on the credit card and the shipping address to be the same.

There is no perfect solution that I have found. If you have the PERFECT solution, let me know about it. I will consider it if I have to go through this again.

For the things I have needed to do in the past, I can’t function with multiple addresses. So I am using a single address that is a physical address. When your mail forwarding system works, it is OK. When you have to change, like I am doing now, it sucks.

I didn’t check all local mail forwarding options, but I did check the newest one in David (MBE) and one I had researched in the past. I went by Mail Boxes Etc last Friday. This is a large provider based out of the US. When I checked the website, it only listed locations in the US and Canada, so I am not sure what the affiliation is with the US Office. I went by the David office with a single envelope that I had received at Airbox Express (at the cost of $2.14). One of the possible benefits with Airbox is they have more than once a week delivery.

After waiting about 20 minutes for an English speaking employee to return to the MBE office, I learned that my envelope would cost $2.50. I get a couple of these a week at AirBox and each one costs the same. I didn’t ask if MBE has multiple deliveries a week or not.

The provider I am switching to is Multiservicios Internacionales De Chiriquí. It appears that their services and prices are the same as when I made THIS POST. My envelope example will cost $2.00 there. The location is in the post, but Cynthia is no longer there. The lady I spoke with used excellent English.

Like I said before, there is no perfect system. What works for me may not work for you. One thing I will say is that service in any of these businesses is related to the individuals in the office. If you find people you like to work with, the price may be secondary. Just another example of living in Paradise.

20 thoughts on “Mail Forwarding In Panama

  1. Don, when I go into the previous post on Multiservicios Internacionales de Chiriqui, it says the mail is forwarded via “pakya”. Is that PakyaPanama? If so, that is the forwarding service I have been using for mail and packages for over 6 years. They may be slow, usually 10-14 days, but I have found them to have reasonable charges and they have NEVER lost a piece of mail or package in that time. They are also very responsive when I’ve had questions. Everyone’s story varies on this subject; but that’s my tale and I’m stickin’ to it!

  2. I have used Multiservicios for some time & they have always been very reliable, sending anything from fairly large motorcycle parts & computers to mail

  3. PakyaPanama is still alive and well in David and still using the David center to ship off to Volcan and Boquete. It was another firm with a similar name (PakMail) that closed its doors.

  4. Thanks for the clarification Wendy. I will go by the PakMail and see. I thought they had just moved to a new location a few months ago.

  5. Multiservicios Chiriqui and PakYa Panama are the same. I believe Wendy is correct that it was PakMail, not PakYa, that closed, after it moved. The PakYa (Multiservicios) office in David is behind Romero Doleguita, where the sign says FedEx. Cynthia’s replacement is Gabriela, who speaks English well. Is PakYa Al White’s company?

  6. Thanks Suze. So I guess I am using PakYa Panama and didn’t know it. I knew they use PakYa and thought it was different than PakYa Panama. Duh. How many companies would use PakYa as the name of their company.

  7. The system in the U.S. has made it very difficult to use international Apo addresses. A P.O. Box ain’t what it used to be!

  8. We use Miami Express in Panama City and are satisfied with their service. They have the biggest operation at Tocumen and that helps for larger items. They offer P.O. Box and physical address in Miami. Cheapest way to send letters to US is with local mail service as Don mentioned on another post.

  9. Multiservicios is the sub-contractor for PakyaPanama, the company owned by Al White. As it says in the title, it provides many services, including being the sub-contractor for FedEx.

    PakMail = a separate and distinct former business.

  10. I took a different approach which is probably not for everybody, but works for me. For a couple of years (before I came down here) I moved several times in Wilmington, N.C. and had gotten a mailbox there with an outfit called Mailbox Express (which I think is a franchise). I got tired of the ‘change of address’ drill with the USPS. And that worked great, so I just kept that box when I came down here.

    Mailbox Express works real well. Not only do I get personalized service, but my box is a street number (my ‘apartment number’ identifies my specific mailbox). As you are probably aware, there a number of organizations and businesses that will not ship to a mail box – problem averted. Mailbox also deals with all the shippers and handles a variety of products associated with shipping.

    I have now got it arranged so that I do not receive anything by postal service (snailmail), except those things I can’t control (I get my USAF 1099 on the internet, but Soc Security still mails it for instance). On-line banking also makes this easy.

    Once a month Mailbox packs up what little stuff I get (they even toss the obvious junk for me) and forward it. After several months of experimenting, we settled on Fed Ex. They have an office here in David, and it takes about five days from Wilmington to when they deliver the package to me. Fed Ex has it down to where if there is duty or taxes due, they just collect it when they deliver. Cost about $50-75 a month to ship, but well worth it to me. No pain.

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