Yesterday, I tried to mail a package to my son in England. Much to my surprise, there is a new required form to mail packages internationally that has required codes on it that are Greek to me.
As of yesterday, an EEL or PFC code is required information when you mail a package overseas, unless you are mailing to an APO/FPO or DPO address. EEL and PFC codes are issued by the U.S. Census bureau.
The new form from the USPS is not really complicated, except that you have to fill in those codes. There is a website shown on the form, that is supposed to help you get those codes. http://www.census.gov/foreigntrade/aes.
I tried going to that URL, but, as so often happens with bureaucracy, the link was broken. Hopefully it will be fixed by Monday, because I tried it again this morning, and still get an error page telling me the link is broken.
The form says you can call an 800 number (which is the US Census bureau), but after waiting on hold for over an hour, I was ultimately cut off. I guess everyone who wanted to mail a package overseas was on hold with the U.S. Census Bureau when I tried to call. Then there is supposed to be a U.S. Postal Service Publication 613 which when all else fails, is supposed to have the information on it for you. Just go to the USPS website and look under publications.
I finally found publications on the USPS website, but the numbers jumped from 611 to 615. There was no publication 613 to be found.
Is the message here that the Census bureau or the Post Office does not want us mailing packages overseas?
By the time I endured yesterday's torture which ended finally at just after 5pm West coast time, I was so exasperated, but I do have a gift to send to my son, so I'll try again on Monday.
I still don't know what an EEL or PFC code is, or why the Census bureau is involved in mailing packages overseas.
Written by Shelby Bateson