Pacific Mail and Parcel review: Blaine, Washington post office for Vancouver residents

First published on April 3, 2011

I recently had to purchase 3 specialty items online, to be shipped from the United States to the Vancouver, BC area. The shipping cost per item to Canada was $90, versus $10 to have it shipped within the US. Unfortunately, I could not purchase these items in Canada, even at a higher base price. Therefore, I was resigned to throwing out my usual preferences of 1) supporting local business; 2) avoiding hassles with cross-border customs taxes and return policies; and 3) avoiding the cost and pollution of driving. I had to look into getting an American mailing address, which I’d always imagined to be difficult to do. Based on what I experienced, I can recommend Blaine, Washington-based Pacific Mail and Parcel.

During this go-round, I first researched some options in Point Roberts (just south of Tsawwassen), and was turned off by some negative online reviews. So I looked into some Blaine post offices and found the most appealing to be Pacific Mail and Parcel. Their website isn’t particularly elegant, but it is straightforward, seems to get updated regularly, is full of good information, and provides detailed, specific instructions! There’s even a page dedicated to border and customs information and tips, which I’d recommend reading if you’re planning on bringing anything back into Canada from the US.

I used Pacific Mail and Parcel’s package receiving service — not their mailbox service, which has a separate cost. You can sign up over the phone: you need to provide your name, e-mail address, and phone number. In return, they will provide you with a personalized mailing address to which you should have your parcels sent. The annual fee is $13, to be paid when you pick up your first parcel(s), and then there’s a per-parcel fee of less than $3 for packages lighter than 50 pounds. They accept cash only.

Whenever a package sent to your personalized address arrives at the post office, Pacific Mail and Parcel sends you an automated, descriptive e-mail. They will store each item for 2 weeks before you start to incur additional costs.

Pacific Mail and Parcel is located two blocks south of the Pacific Highway truck crossing (down 176 Street on the Surrey, BC side), and isn’t too far from the Peace Arch border either. The area is quiet, and the border line-up is likely to be minimal (no guarantees, though!) if you go early enough. (I’d suggest being at the border at 8am if possible.) I found the staff at Pacific Mail and Parcel to be friendly, helpful, and organized. I hope to not have to pick up any more items from the US in general, but if I do, I won’t hesitate to go back there.


12 Responses to “Pacific Mail and Parcel review: Blaine, Washington post office for Vancouver residents”

  1. Patrick says:

    So there is no way to use this service if you dont go in person?
    I mean, i live in New Brunswick and was looking for a way to receive the occasional shipment through a broker with a US address.


    Reply from Peter: That would be a different “mail forwarding” service. I don’t have any experience with that, but you are likely to find some options by searching.

  2. Patrick says:

    Thanks Peter.

    Even if you blog is BC Oriented, i enjoy reading it and it almost makes me want to move west!

    Keep it up!

    Reply from Peter: Thanks for reading!

  3. Mike says:

    This post comes on the heels of my first use of Pacific Mail and Parcel, so the title leaped off the page when I saw it in my RSS feeds.

    I also had a very positive experience and saved hundreds in shipping on several items.

    I think the draw towards the Point Roberts options is the shorter lineups at the border.

  4. rabbit runs says:

    My husband may be getting a job in Blaine, WA and I’m wondering if it’s a good place to live and raise my son, who is 14. Any surrounding areas where commuting is possible, but nicer? Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

  5. Matt says:

    THANK YOU for your thurough review of Pacific Mail And Parcel!!

    As the owner of the business, and designer of the web site, I had to smile at your words about my site. I am a late 1990’s web site designer who got out of the biz a while ago, so my web site "style" is, well, outdated and not very sophisticated looking to be sure. I am happy however that you found the information useful and clear enough to follow.

    I am also very happy your experience with my staff was pleasant. I work very hard to create a feeling in my shop where people feel wanted and welcome. Although this is my business, it is not just about the money. Quality of life is extremely important to me, and I want my staff and I to work in an environment that is pleasing to be in for all.

    Thanks again for your blogging about my shop!
    Matt Lang
    Pacific Mail And Parcel

  6. Sam says:

    I have been a customer of Pacific Mail and Parcel for just over a year now and I have to agree with everything you’ve said. I did the very same thing you did, first looking at the reviews of the other package receiving companies and the bad reviews turned me off as well. I have no complaints in the time I’ve been with them.
    I was actually just Googling their name to see their hours of operation and came across your blog for the first time. I have to say, the motivation for me writing this is just to say that I LOVE your logo! Hilarious!

  7. Expat says:

    I have been a customer of Pacific Mail And Parcel for years, I must admit the staff were and still very friendly, courteous and professional, and I was happy with their services, however, I am switching to another company because of the following reasons:
    1- Recently it has been super busy on Saturdays (that’s when I do most of my pickups) and last time I was there I had to wait 40 minutes.
    2- Saturday hours are not convenient (closes at 1200 PM) with the border wait time going up, you really have to leave early to catch them, while there are other companies opening till 4:00 PM which is more convenient.
    3- They are no longer offering same day pick up (the day you receive email notification) you must pick up the next day
    4- Their fees are little bit higher than others and they only accept cash

    I know I will miss the nice customer service and friendly staff but I think for the increased waiting time and short hours, I think it is worth the switch.

  8. Red Rocket says:

    I have been a customer of Pacific Mail and Parcel for about 5 years. I think they are a family run business and with the exception of one experience we have always received professional and courteous service. However…

    The 12pm closing time is a huge issue for us. In the past there were a couple of occasions where we were caught in the border line up and were going to be five minutes late for pickup. We phoned ahead and asked if it was ok if we could pick up a few minutes late. They said they were going to be there a half hour after closing, so … not a problem. A couple of Saturdays ago the same thing happened and phoned ahead but this time … no exceptions. A wasted trip from Vancouver :-(

    There have also been a couple of occasions where the shipping of our order took just over a day but the package sat in the warehouse for 5 days before we even received an email. I wouldn’t bother paying for expedited shipping from now on.

    I should point out that on the occasions where we have not been able to pick up within the 2 weeks that they did not charge us an extra fee.

    I feel the fees are generally quite fair but I would have hoped, given the increased volume of cross-border traffic that they would have adjusted their hours of operation.

    Matt (owner of Pacific Mail and Parcel) I hope that you’re paying attention to this thread. I would really like to continue using your company but I am seriously thinking of trying one of your competitors that stay open until 4pm on Saturday.

  9. Peter says:

    I have been using Diversified Shipping Services and find their Saturday hours are more convenient for me. There are no line ups and the staff is very friendly and helpful.

  10. Kay Warner says:

    I am the owner of Ameri-Canadian Parcel. I have expanded hrs and my fees a re lower. I have excellent reviews and only two unhappy customers in 1 1/2 yrs. Check things out for yourself and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

  11. sukhi says:

    I have been a loyal customer of Pacific Mail and Parcel but NEVER again. The patronizing and unprofessional manner in which I was treated was upsetting. I needed to pick up two deliveries same day as I had an internatiomal flight to Asia next day. The lies and miscommunication was pathetic. I was informed due to their supposed internet system down I could come to the location and look for my boxes in the back as I needed the dress shoes and breifcase. When I arrived I was told a differwnt story by a staff member that due to "liability issues I couldnt go back" yet two other customers were permitted. I told them the urgency of the items as I was moving to asia for a new job, and after much pleading a young punk comes forward and say s" sir we will be working long into the night to lrocess this backlog. We will NOT leave tonight until this occurs. Please provide your phone number and we will call you in 3-4 hrs." So I decided to just hang out in blain go for dinner and come back 3 hrs later and the place is closed, lights off and not a sould in the building. This is the tyoe of customer servoce they provide and i basically I wasted almost 5-6 hrs of my time when I could have done other pre trop errands. Also earlier in the day I would say almost 75% of their customers were unhappy. So now I am flying to Asia and have to purchase another pair of shoes and a briefcse while in transit and wasted $500

  12. Bob B says:

    Pacific Mail and Parcel gave my parcel away to someone with a similar name and the owner refuses to reimburse us. We are now out $110.90. While I thought the staff here were great I feel that the cheapskate owner is the very definition of a Deadbeat. Be extremely careful in your dealings with Pacific Mail and Parcel.

Speak your mind

To prove you're a person (not a spam script), type the security word shown in the picture. Click on the picture to hear an audio file of the word.
Click to hear an audio file of the anti-spam word