Mail receiving centres at border towns in Maine are trying to get the word out about stricter enforcement of a United States Postal Service rule affecting New Brunswickers who have their U.S. purchases shipped to them.

Canadian shoppers must now have a personal mailbox number attached to purchases, said Crystal Carrier, the assistant manager at Calais Ace Home Center in Calais, Me.

It's easy and free to get a personal mailbox number, she said.

nb-si-stephen-border-croppe

Many New Brunswickers have their U.S. mail-order packages delivered to locations in Calais and Houlton to avoid the cost of shipping across the border.

But if people don't realize they need one, their order will be held at the post office.

"You know you feel for the people that have packages sitting there and really are helpless to do anything to help them."

Many New Brunswickers have their U.S. mail-order packages delivered to locations in Calais and Houlton to avoid the cost of shipping across the border, said Carrier.

With the Christmas season approaching, Ace is getting upwards of 200 parcels a day, she said.

"The postmaster actually approached me with a letter about the changes coming. We were approached, I think it was the 25th of September, and we had until Oct. 1 to become compliant, which was virtually impossible," said Carrier.

"According to them, this is a change that, it should have been done like this for quite some time now and we just have simply, it's not been enforced with us," she said, noting Ace has been in business for about three or four years.

Package drop off centres can easily assign people a mailbox number free of charge if they fill out the required paperwork, Form 1583, said Carrier.

But people who fail to add a personal mailbox number to the delivery address on their purchase orders may have to pay the postal service between $40 and $60 to get their items released, she said..

"As long as they're addressed correctly, they should get to us," said Carrier. "When they come to get the packages the first time, they can fill out the paperwork and we get it on file with the post office.

"They should definitely get in touch with us about getting a postal mailbox number and address their packages accordingly."