This article originally appeared in TidBITS on 2012-09-17 at 11:29 a.m.
The permanent URL for this article is: http://tidbits.com/article/13267
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Change PO Box Billing Address to Order an iPhone

by Adam C. Engst

If you live in a rural part of the United States, you might use a post-office box as your billing address, since it’s a more-secure destination for important letters such as bills, and it can be usually differentiated from a shipping address that you point at your home or office, depending on what’s most convenient.

But as TidBITS reader John Hinckley, who lives in a small town in Vermont, pointed out to me, those who do rely on a PO box may have trouble ordering an iPhone from Apple, because Apple won’t ship to PO boxes [1]. The fact that you’re not shipping to such an address is irrelevant because, at least in the case of the iPhone, Apple reportedly picks up your AT&T billing address as the default shipping address. Presumably, the same applies to Verizon Wireless and Sprint customers in the United States; I imagine the situation may vary in other countries.

[image link] [2]

When John called the Apple Store to resolve the problem, the sales rep said she was unable to help, but she had spoken to a number of customers with the same problem. Luckily, he hit upon a workaround, which was to change his billing address on the AT&T Web site temporarily and then place his order for the iPhone 5. Once it arrives, he plans to change the AT&T billing address back to his PO box.

If you run into a similar problem, John’s workaround is worth a try. It might also be worth trying to order from your carrier directly to see if they will let you differentiate between billing and shipping addresses. I ended up ordering from AT&T, not because of any address snafus, but because AT&T was still promising that my iPhone 5 would arrive on 21 September 2012 when I placed my order early on the first day of pre-orders, whereas Apple was already saying I’d have to wait until some time in October.

[1]: http://store.apple.com/us/help/shipping_delivery
[2]: http://tidbits.com/resources/2012-09/Apple-shipping-policy.png