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Rural Alberta online shopper questions Hudson’s Bay policy to not ship to post office boxes

Rural online shopper questions Hudson’s Bay policy on shipping to post office boxes
WATCH: An Alberta man is questioning HBC's shipping policies after his shipment was cancelled because he only had a P.O. box. Tomasia DaSilva looks into the policy and talks to experts about online package shipping rules.

An online shopper in rural Alberta is questioning why Hudson’s Bay had a policy of not shipping to post office boxes (PO).

Tim Zaron, who lives in the small community of Standard about an hour outside of Calgary placed an online order in December 2018. But a few hours after submitting the order, he got an email from the iconic retailer saying his order was cancelled.

“[There was] no explanation…nothing,” he said.

He contacted the retailer for an answer, and after what he called a runaround, he finally got one.

“Then he said: ‘do you have a post office box?’  I said:  ‘yeah.’ And he said we don’t ship to post office boxes.'”

Zaron then received an email from HBC saying the company had recently updated its systems and as a result, didn’t ship to PO boxes.

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“I just don’t understand — they’re ‘the’ Canadian company,” Zaron said.

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He said it’s also ironic because rural shoppers are the ones that need eCommerce the most — since there are few stores in smaller towns.

“Think about the number of potential customers that they’re losing.”

Hudson’s Bay sent this statement to Global News: “As Canada’s department store Hudson’s Bay works to deliver memorable shopping experiences to every customer, including those shopping on thebay.com. Canada Post has parcel size guidelines for orders to PO boxes, and Hudson’s Bay will deliver to PO boxes according to those guidelines.”

Zaron said his package wasn’t large or heavy, it only contained some clothes and slippers. He added he’s seen huge packages at his local post office with some people receiving tractor parts — with no problem.

Global News reached out to Canada Post and they told us “Canada Post has size and weight restrictions for all customers and shippers regarding packages that travel within our system, regardless of the delivery address (civic, rural, PO Box, general delivery, etc.). But from a Canada Post perspective we pride ourselves on our rural, remote and Northern delivery system.”

They went on to say Canada Post serves all Canadians — delivering packages to communities other companies often don’t go to.

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The Retail Council of Canada said home delivery is a complicated process with many moving parts.

Senior retail advisor Michael LeBlanc said some important factors include the size, value and where the package is going. He added it also depends on the retailer and who they are using to ship — although the majority of packages are delivered by Canada Post.

Then there are the systems and processes behind a retailer’s e-Commerce business model.

LeBlanc added that doesn’t mean customers rural Canada are out of luck.

“The last thing the retailer wants to do is not be able to ship to a customer that’s for sure. But like I said they’re not alone in this ecosystem.”

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Leblanc said the good news is the system is evolving, and consumers can look to improvements in the years to come.

Hudson’s Bay has already made some changes, telling Global News it will now ship to PO boxes.

Zaron said those changes may be too late for him, and he will think twice about shopping at Hudson’s Bay again.

“It’s simply not worth the aggravation.”

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