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Find out who owns a post office box (PO Box) or PMB

Updated May 2006

The most recent form is http://www.usps.com/foia/_rtf/39CFR265-266.rtf

Ehat (4/20/06)

I have never once had a problem because I never once have asked the UPS store franchisee for the information. I have always asked the U.S. Postal Service itself, which has always come through, and very, very promptly, too. I send out (with a postage-paid reply envelope) a Request for Boxholder Information form, in accordance with 39 C.F.R Section 265.6(d) (1989). There is no fee for providing boxholder information. http://www.usps.com/foia/_rtf/39CFR265-266.rtf I personalize the form and that does not seem to matter. It is used, of course, only for service of process but if that is your goal, you might want to try it. Look up the address of the correct post office to send it to using the USPS Web site.

McKenna (4/20/06):

Federal postal law authorizes the release of the PMB information on a Form 1583 with a subpeona or court order, which is what the original question (not something about the DMM) was about.

39 CFR 265.6(d)(5)(iii) controls, via 39 CFR 265.6(d)(9)(i,iii), and it states that _either_ a subpeona or a court order suffices, unless there's a Prot. Order in effect, in which case, only a court order, not a subpeona, suffices.

See pp. 98-101 of the official PDF file at

<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_05/39cfr265_05.html>

(as of July 1, 2005)

So it appears that one needs a subpeona to get the Form 1583 information about PMB boxholders from a PostMaster, but not for regular PO Box holders, although some PostMasters may provide the PMB

1583 information anyway when one sends the proper letter with the proper magic phrases and certifications in it.

Those magic phrases are found at the above URL (p. 101 in PDF), and in RTF form at

<http://www.usps.com/foia/_rtf/39CFR265-266.rtf>

Also, this appears to me to be a completely different means of getting the boxholder info from directly subpeonaing the PMB company for their business records, which may be a different information-divulging strategy that does an end-run around these highly restrictive, privatization-based, PMB postal regs, which apply to the Postal Service's own divulgance of their own records.

Blitch 5/4/06

I just had to go through this in getting the box holder information for an entity at a Pak Mail location. I sent the 352.44 request form (a copy of which is in the free section of tcpalaw.com) and cover letter to both Pak Mail and the postmaster of the appropriate zip code. The CMRA called within a day and said they wouldn't provide the info without a court order so that their customer privacy could be protected, but without my prompting it was mentioned that the local post office had the same information and that it was possible I could get that data as a public record.

I didn't hear anything from the post office for a week and called the branch and was told by that manager that they couldn't give the info out unless I was with law enforcement. Even after pointing out that I submitted the proper form that even had provisions for a pro se party and that even a case didn't have to be filed since potential litagation was allowed, she only would refer me to the local Postal Inspector's Office. I called them and got the same kind of story with just various comments that they had not ever done that before, especially with information about a commercial service's customer. I was then referred to the USPS Law Department in Atlanta, Georgia. I called that office

(770-936-4820) and was told that that they (the person/receptionist) didn't know what was required but was finally given the right person to contact. I was told that I could either write or fax the office to get the information.

770-936-4826 (fax)
ATTN: Thomas Blum
USPS Law Department
3980 Dekalb Technology Parkway
Atlanta, GA 30340-2778

I faxed over a cover letter yesterday a little after 5PM explaining what had happened along with a copy of my original signed form. By 9AM the next morning I got a call from that office explaining that they just spoke with the branch manager and the local Inspection Service and corrected some misinformation. I was told that they tend to err on the side of caution when dealing with personal information due to privacy concerns that Congress brings up on occasion. I was told that the form was sufficient if signed and that I would get the information I requested. Within another hour I got a call from the post office manager saying that she had the form and would mail or fax it whenever I needed it.

I'd recommend first trying the postmaster (and even PMB/CMRA if by some chance they'll bite) to see if you can get the data you need. If that doesn't work, then maybe sending a copy of the signed form and cover letter to the address I provided above would be enough to get the ball rolling. All the postal employees with whom I spoke were very professional and eager to help, but understandably wanted to make sure that they had the authority to do so.

Older info:

See:

352.44 form: http://www.tcpalaw.com/free/pobox.pdf

Unless something changed very recently and I missed it, it looks like it'll still take a subpoena to get PMB boxholder info. from the Form 1583 that the PMB customer has to fill out. But one could subpoena the post office as well as the CMRA to get the info, as the boxholder info is updated to the local post office quarterly.

From Postal Bulletin 22018:

Information Contained in Form 1583

Information provided by a customer of a commercial mail receiving agency (CMRA) on Form 1583 will not be made available to the general public or to process servers. That has been and remains the policy. Subject to the new protective order exception discussed below, information contained in Form 1583 will be disclosed only to a government agency upon written certification of official need or pursuant to a subpoena or a court order. Seek the advice of field counsel if a subpoena or court order is received for the information or if any request is received for information about an individual for whom there is a protective order.

USPS will ignore civil subpoenas, but you can make a request under 39 C.F.R Section 265.6(d) (1989). There is no fee for obtaining boxholder information needed for service of legal process in accordance with 39 C.F.R. 265.6 (d) (1) and (2) and corresponding Administrative Support Manual 352.44 A and B. This information is to be used solely for the purpose of serving said individual with legal process.

Robert Braver wrote:

I've had no problem getting boxholder info. using the 352.44 form, but according to the postal bulletin, CMRA boxholder info from the Form 1583 requires a subpoena. So are you saying that you have been getting the CMRA PMB holder info from the post office using the 352.44 form? If so, either the postal bulletin has been superceded or the postal officials are being naughty.

Anyway, my first subpoena to a MBE was promptly answered by fax. Boy, was my pyramid schemer surprised when I called him ("how did you get this number?") to inform him that he had been sued and confirm that he was indeed the perp. who anonymously junk faxed me his scheme before serving him.

Another provision is that if you notice to the PO that the PMB info for that perp is wrong, the PO is supposed to require corrected info from the PMB w/in a specified time frame, and if correct info is not provided, the PO is supposed to refuse all mail delivery to that person at the PMB.

When I discover that a defendant is operating thorugh a PMB, I have sent the 352.44 form to the USPS postal supervisor requesting boxholder information. The USPS sends it to the PMB, which honors the request and returns it to the USPS, which forwards it to me. Other times I have walked into the PMB with my process server ID, summons, and the 352.44 form filled out. I show it to the manager, and usually he is ready to answer questions. If he absolutely refuses to cooperate, I get his name and start filling out the blank subpoena form (which I always carry around). "True, you don't *have* to tell me today, but you may have to tell the court. Let's see, I'm going to put you down for next Thursday at 9:00 am, but I suggest your bring a sack lunch in case they don't get to you until afternoon..." You can imagine the response. The problem is that most of the time, the address that I recover is an old physical address that they had when they rented the box. Usually I am more interested in merely confirming that the subject still in fact receives correspondence at the PMB so that I can line up my ducks for a motion for substitute service.

---------------------

I've had no problem getting boxholder info. using the 352.44 form, but
according to the postal bulletin, CMRA boxholder info from the Form 1583
requires a subpoena. So are you saying that you have been getting the CMRA
PMB holder info from the post office using the 352.44 form? If so, either
the postal bulletin has been superceded or the postal officials are being
naughty.

Anyway, my first subpoena to a MBE was promptly answered by fax. Boy, was
my pyramid schemer surprised when I called him ("how did you get this
number?") to inform him that he had been sued and confirm that he was
indeed the perp. who anonymously junk faxed me his scheme before serving him.

-- rb

At 08:41 PM 1/25/2002 -0600, Bill Fason wrote:

>USPS will ignore civil subpoenas, but you can make a request under 39 C.F.R
>Section 265.6(d) (1989). There is no fee for obtaining boxholder information
>needed for service of legal process in accordance with 39 C.F.R. 265.6 (d)
>(1) and (2) and corresponding Administrative Support Manual 352.44 A and B.
>This information is to be used solely for the purpose of serving said
>individual with legal process.

 

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