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Frequently Asked Questions

You may have some questions about how our services work here at Private Box. You’ll find a list of all our most Frequently Asked Questions here. If your question still hasn’t been answered, we invite you to check our support site. Our support site has plenty of detailed information about our services, and some useful step by step guides on how to use the services we offer. This includes mail forwarding, scanning and account administration. If you can’t find the answer to your question here, please do check our support site.

How much will it cost me?

The Price you pay all depends on the services you choose.

We’ll only charge you for the services that you use, and there’s no minimum contract length either. That means that you could even use our services for only one month, and have only one letter scanned – and that’s all you’d pay for.

A full summary of all our plans and prices can be found here on our website.

Just be sure to scroll down the page below the plan prices to see the additional mail processing costs.

Mail forwarding is charged based on NZ Post or Courier postage rates, plus our handling fee.

Postage is worked out based on the size and weight of the items being sent. To see what the postage rates might be, you can check at the NZ Post website using their rate finder calculator.

More detailed information to explain the price of mail scanning and our handling fees can be found on our support site.

Do you ship internationally/can I order things online and you send them to me?

Yes – we can send parcels overseas for our customers.

You will need to sign up for an account with us first. A Personal Mailbox will be perfect if you’re only making purchases for yourself.

Note: A signup fee may apply.

We will then provide you with an address you can give to the supplier when making your purchase.

IMPORTANT: Your credit card and identity will need to be verified before forwarding of merchandise can occur.

When sending the item via International Courier or International Express Courier, we recommend that you contact us to get a quote for the forwarding cost before arranging the sending of your merchandise overseas, as the estimate shown on our website is always lower than what the actual cost will be. Shipping is calculated based on the size and weight of your package.

Can I have honey sent to me internationally?

Unfortunately, we are unable to send honey to international addresses.

Honey is an animal product, and anyone who sends animal products overseas must meet specific export requirements. To send honey overseas you must:

  • register as an animal products exporter under the Animal Products Act 1999 or us the services of an exporter who is already registered
  • meet the requirements outlined in the General Export Requirements for Bee Products (GREX)
  • meet any overseas market access requirements (OMARs) that apply
  • secure certification if official assurance is required for the destination market

As you can see with the above very specific requirements, it can get very expensive to register to be able to ship these kind of products, and is restricted to companies who regularly do large volumes of exporting.

For more information, please refer to the Ministry for Primary Industries of New Zealand website.

How do I verify my credit card and why do I have to do this?

Credit card verification is an important security feature. It has been put in place to prevent people from trying to sign up for our services using stolen credit card information.

Once you have signed up for an account with us, simply log into your account at www.privatebox.co.nz – you’ll see a flashing credit card button on the top right of the page.

Click the ‘not validated’ text, and you’ll be sent to a page where you will be asked to put a $2 payment onto your credit card. Now don’t worry – this money doesn’t just disappear. That money will be credited on to your account and can be used to go toward any future mailbox rental or mail processing fees.

If you have already made another payment to Private Box, then you won’t need to put through that small $2 credit, any payment to Private Box will show the verification code that you need.

Just check your credit card statement (online or paper) for a four digit code then enter the code and done! You can still use your account with us whilst you wait for the code to show up on your bank statement.

If you cannot see the code, it may be due to the time it takes for some credit card companies to process your payments. Usually the code is visible on the same day, however it may take up to three days for some banks.

If you still are unable to find the verification code on your bank statement, please contact us via email or telephone. We’ll be happy to help you and there are other methods we can use to manually verify your card.

Why do I have to re-open my old account/why can't I just create a new account/why can't I have two accounts?

If you have used Private Box services in the past and would like to start using the mailbox again, we’re very glad to have you back!

Goto our prices page to signup again.

We cannot allow a second account to be opened as it’s part of our compliance with Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009. In most cases, you will already have completed the identity verification on the old account – re-opening your old account means there’s no need to go through the process again.

If you have a business account and want to receive your personal mail – you can absolutely do that on the same account. We can even open multiple mailboxes for you all associated with the one account. Just send us an email and we can help set everything up for you as you need it.

We have an article to detail Duplicate Accounts on our support site.

How does mail scanning actually work?

We are pleased to offer our customers the ability to have their mail scanned, so that you can read the contents all online and never have to touch paper mail.

You can choose whether you have all your mail automatically opened and scanned as soon as it arrives in the Private Box office, or you can simply have us collect your mail, and you can manually select items to be scanned when you have logged into your account. This second option is the best if you’re just wanting to check on particular items from certain senders.

Once we have received a request for mail to be scanned, we will open the item and put it through the scanner for you.

If the mail contains several pages held together by a staple, then the staple will be removed and all pages will be scanned. Due to size and memory limitations, we can only scan up to a maximum of about 50 pages, so if we have been unable to scan the entire document, the last page will be a note from us that will advise you that there were additional pages that couldn’t be scanned.

If your mail is a package, we will scan the shipping document or receipt included with your package if one is available. If there are no documents and nothing we can fit on the scanner, the request will be marked as ‘unscannable’.

If you have a large booklet, bound document or magazine come through, we will only scan the first page with a note attached to advise that only the first page has been scanned.

If you would like to have a bound document scanned, simply send a written request via email and our mail room staff will be happy to help.

We also have an option where you can select that we ‘scan and destroy’ the mail. This means that once the mail has been scanned, it will be destroyed. The scanned PDF will remain on your account, but the actual letter will be removed from your inbox on our website. We do keep these items for 7 days in our office so you have the opportunity to contact us and have it saved if it has important contents. If our staff notices that the letter contains something like a cheque or new bank card, we will override the destruction function and simply scan the letter normally. PLEASE NOTE: We do not read your mail, and cannot guarantee that we will always be able to catch important items like this, so we still recommend that you always check your scans within 7 days of being processed to give you the chance to contact us to rescue items.

My scanned mail contains a verification/security code – why didn’t you scratch off or uncover the code so I can read it?

We do not read the contents of our customers mail. Mail is simply opened and placed on the scanner. We often do not know if your mail might contain a verification or security code like this.

There are many customers who might receive codes like this through the mail, and do NOT want us to reveal the code for them, instead preferring that we post the letter once they know the contents. For everyone’s security, we will not reveal these covered codes unless it has been requested.

If you do receive a letter with a code like this, and you would like us to reveal the code for you, simply contact us by email and provide a written request. We will then re-scan the item for you with the code revealed.

Why do I have to give you an identity document?

We have a full article that goes into detail about the requirements of identity verification which you can read. The identity verification process is all part of our compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009.

The Identity Verification must be completed by ALL customers of Private Box, with no exception. If you do not complete the verification, then we will unfortunately be unable to continue providing you service, and your account will be closed. This is because there are criminal penalties for Private Box Limited when not complying with this law.

We would like to assure you that we do NOT sell your personal details to any other organisation. We take our customers privacy very seriously, and your identity information will only be used to complete our verification processes, and more details on how we do that is provided in the article mentioned above.

If you have any concerns, please do feel welcome to contact us – we’ll be happy to provide a written and signed confidentiality agreement.

Can I use Private Box as a proof of address?

When you are travelling, there may be times you need a proof of address.

As of 1st October 2015, the old work around to get a proof address by getting an IRD number with your address at Private Box has gotten a lot harder. IRD now require you to get a bank account first.

If you are serious about getting a proof of address you will need to establish a bank account. This may be easier from overseas as you can use your overseas residential address as part of the verification (as you will not have proof of address in NZ as yet).

We have a full article with information about who to contact about setting up a bank account, and then applying for an IRD number.

Why am I being charged an 'badly addressed' penalty?

There are a few reasons why you may be charged a badly addressed penalty fee. The most common reason is because of a missing, incorrect or incomplete suite number.

Another reason could be due to using our address incorrectly – even if you have your suite number correct.

We have a full article to explain the badly addressed fee, and provide examples of addresses that may be charged with this fee.

Why is my account suspended?

First – we should define what a suspended account means. Suspended accounts are still considered open, and we will continue to receive mail for you at our address while your account is suspended. However, we will not scan or forward mail for you while your account is suspended.

Once an account has been suspended, you will receive an email to notify you. An account will remain suspended for 28 days, after which if no action has been taken, your account will automatically be closed by our system. Please do contact us if you have any questions about a suspension. We will always work to assist our customers in any way that we can.

Your account may be suspended for a variety of reasons. The most common reasons for suspension are:

  • Your account is in a negative balance.

Our service operates on a pre-paid balance system, so you need to ensure there is always some money on your account to go toward mail processing and mailbox rental fees. If you run out of funds and our automatic top-up service fails, your account will be suspended until credit is added onto your account. Once your account is topped up, the suspension will be removed and you can resume all activity on your account as normal. If your payment didn’t go through due to an expired credit card or other similar situation, simply get in touch with us and talk to us. We can sometimes grant extensions on suspensions to allow payment of accounts.

  • You have not completed the Identity Verification

We have a full article that goes into detail about the requirements of identity verification. The identity verification process is all part of our compliance with the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009, and there are criminal penalties for Private Box Limited when not complying with this law. If you have not responded to our requests to complete the verification, we will suspend your account.

How do payments to Private Box work/why are you trying to take money from my Credit Card?

How do payments to Private Box work/why are you trying to take money from my Credit Card?
Our services all operate on a pre-paid balance system. Your account needs to have money loaded on to it in order for us to process any mail for you. This is why you are asked for a credit card when you first sign up with us. The main reason for this is to avoid situations where someone asks us to post mail for them, and then they refuse to pay for the postage.

If you would like to know how to set up and make payments to Private Box, we have an article to explain.

By default, when your account goes into a negative balance, it will prompt our system to take a payment from your credit card (at a minimum $15 payment) to top up your account and bring it back into a positive balance.

If your account remains in a negative balance for 28 days, your account will be suspended.

How long does it take for my mail to be processed?

We will always try to process your mail for you as quickly as possible. Mail processing includes mail scanning and mail forwarding.

If your request for mail processing is made before 1pm (New Zealand time) on a weekday, your mail will be processed on the same day.

If your request is made after 1pm, on a weekend, or on a New Zealand public holiday, your mail will be processed on the next working day.

  • Standard mail within NZ can be expected within 3 working days.
  • Couriered mail within NZ can be expected overnight (except on weekends. The couriers do not do weekend delivery, so your mail will be delivered on the next working day)

International mail can be expected in the following times:

  • Standard International Air Mail: 3 – 10 working days
  • International Courier: 2 – 6 working days
  • International Express Courier: 1 – 5 working days

Please note: we do not directly control all parts of the delivery chain, and we cannot guarantee that your item will always reach its destination within the target delivery times. Delivery to areas outside major cities, or where your item is dutiable or held in Customs, may take longer.

When you request mail be destroyed, we will always give a minimum 48 hour standby period before we process your destruction. This time is here to allow our customers to contact us and make corrections, just in case they have accidentally marked the wrong item to be destroyed.

Can I sign up for an account, then put the account on hold for later?

No. You cannot put your account on hold at any time. We only have three statuses for accounts – Open, Suspended and Closed.

While an account is open, we will continue to receive your mail and process it as normal.

While an account is suspended, we will continue to receive your mail, but will not process it for you. If an account remains suspended for 14 days, it will be closed as it will be considered not in use.

While an account is closed, we will not collect mail for you, and any mail sent to us will be returned to sender.

If you do wish to put your account on hold because you don’t need to use the service for some time, you can just close your account until you need it again. When you wish to start using our services, just signup again with the same email address. You’ll get the same account back with all the same information that you had before.

Please note: If your account has been closed, and you want to re-open your account again later, you can no longer qualify for the free trial.

How do I close my account?

We’re always sorry to hear when someone wishes to close their account. If we have done something wrong please let us know so we have a chance to fix it!

In order to ensure your account is closed in an orderly fashion, you can close your account at any time you are ready – simply log into your account and go to the billing page. You’ll find the account closure function here.

If you happen to have prepaid credit remaining on your account with us, that balance will be automatically be refunded back to the credit card the payment was made from minus a 50c transaction fee. Note – if we have to manually refund a transaction there is a $5 admin fee.

We also have a full article that goes into detail to explain what happens when an account is closed.

To re-open your account just sign up again via the prices page.

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