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a legal guide

to the registration and use of a mailbox

We have been in business since 2001 and have many hundreds of customers living aboard narrowboats and other craft.   The one thing they all have in common is that they rely on us to manage their mail discreetly,  reliably and professionally.

In order to continue meeting our obligations to them we always operate within the law,  including the new European standard for data protection  ( GDPR ),  and all HMRC Anti-Money Laundering Regulations.

Gavel, illustrating the legal use of a virtual address in the UK

the account holder

their role, and legal responsibilities

In order to simplify the required identity verification process,  every mailbox account,  whether private or businessmust be registered by a named individual as the Account Holder.   On agreeing to be bound by our Terms and Conditions,  the Account Holder accepts sole responsibility for the legal,  moral and ethical use and conduct of a mailbox account and compliance with all current legislation.

Coffee at home, not at your mailbox address!

claiming residency

it is your address... not your home

There is one golden rule,  you must never claim your mailbox address to be your physical residence.  

Every local council in the UK keeps a list of residents in their area  ( the Electoral Register or Electoral Roll ) and many organisations,  financial institutions in particular,  will check this Register as part of their due diligence on a new customer.

Following widespread suspicion of electoral fraud during the Brexit referendum,  MUCH more importance is being placed on the validity of these databases and simply adding yourself to an Electoral Roll on-line will almost certainly result in a personal visit from local council officials to validate your claim of residency!

PLEASE NOTE:   If it is brought to our attention that you have attempted to add yourself or any of your Users to the Electoral Roll,  your account will be immediately suspended and may subsequently be closed without further reference.

banks & credit cards

If you already have a bank account,  you need simply change your mailing or correspondence address.   Most banks and card issuers offer such a facility in their website and will accept your new address without question.   For new accounts;  by all means tell the bank that you do not have a fixed UK residence because you are living aboard a boat,  but do have a permanent mailing address.   They can then use other means to check your identity and credit worthiness.

dvla & discrimination?

According to their published advice,  the DVLA's primary criterion applied to the address at which a driving licence or vehicle log book  ( V5C )  may be registered,  is that it should be 'Residential',  a status enjoyed by all of our Regional Mail Centres.

They are now,  however,  insisting that this registered address must be that of the licence holder or vehicle owner's actual place of residence!   Whilst they will allow the address of a relative to be used 'in exceptional circumstances',  the DVLA specifically exclude the use of a postal address provided by any commercial mail handling service,  including our own.

This means that if,  like very many of our customers,  you don't have a relative in the UK able or willing to allow their address to be used,  you are not legally entitled to hold a valid driving licence or register a motor vehicle!

We believe that this may constitute an act of discrimination against the estimated 1.2 million people in the UK who,  either from personal choice or financial imperative,  live a 'No Fixed Abode' lifestyle.   As a consequence,  we are lobbying both the Government and the Equality and Human Rights Commission to have ALL persons without a fixed residential address added to the list of 'protected characteristics' as defined under the Equality Act 2010,  regardless of their claimed 'ethnicity' or religious beliefs.

If you think that your story of discrimination may help our lobbying effort,  please get in touch by emailing legal@expost.uk.

In the meantime,  we can not sanction any act that could be construed as fraudulent and so our current advice is simple;  you cannot use a virtual address for the registration of your driving licence or V5C.

motor insurance

This is also a complex issue,  with the potential to cause wider legal problems if you misrepresent your address.

Whilst you can use your mailbox for all correspondence with your insurance provider or brokers,  when you complete a proposal you will be asked a very specific question along the lines of;  'Where is the vehicle normally kept?'.   Because every postcode in the country carries an associated risk based upon local crime and accident statistics,  insurance companies use your declared location as a major factor in their calculation of your premium.   If you falsely claim that the vehicle is 'kept' at the Mail Centre address,  you may invalidate your policy and find yourself driving uninsured!

Above all else, be honest.

Goods and substances banned in the post

restricted goods

what can, and can't, be posted

Certain types of goods are either prohibited in the post,  or have legal restrictions placed upon their carriage.   Because we can't forward items that we believe may contain prohibited goods,  please take a few moments to visit the Royal Mail website for a complete list.   Similar restrictions also apply to most private courier firms.

prohibited

Dangerous goods are articles or substances that could pose a risk to health,  property or the environment,  and include;

Explosives  :  Flammable liquids or gas  :  Controlled drugs or narcotics  :  Clinical & medical waste  :  Human or animal remains  :  Infectious substances & pathogens  :  Corrosives :  Live animals  :  Poisons & toxic chemicals  :  Firearms,  knives or tasers,  even strong magnets and matches!

restricted

Restricted items are goods that can be sent in the post,  but are subject to packaging,  volume,  quantity,  labelling or other restrictions.   These include alcoholic beverages and lithium batteries.

specialist carriers

There are a number of specialist carriers we can source who will ship goods such as bottled wine,  fireworks,  or items over 2m in length;  all otherwise banned by mainline couriers.