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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Moscow Mail Drama Enters New Act

The manager of a New York City mailbox company used by more than a thousand foreigners in Russia has sent a letter to a Moscow-based courier service warning it to stop making "completely untrue" claims about its ability to use the address.

The letter, dated March 31, accuses Post International, Inc. of improperly telling its customers they could use an address at 208 E. 51st Street, Suite 295 in New York City as a mailing address.

"It has come to my attention today that you have been claiming that Post International's clients are entitled to use Box 295 at this address on a 'permanent basis,'" wrote Lorraine Fexas, the manager of Mail Boxes Etc. "This, as you are fully aware, is completely untrue."

The address is important to many foreigners because it was their mail link abroad under a service offered by the American company U.S.-Russia Mail Connection. When that company was bought by Post International, the address became free and was promptly bought by a competitor, P.X. Post.

In her letter, Fexas wrote that the address now belonged "exclusively" to P.X. Post, a British firm.

"P.X. Post -- not Post International -- now has exclusive use of Box 295," Fexas wrote. "I expect that you will prepare a statement to distribute to your clients as soon as possible which will clarify any misunderstanding that your previous announcement has caused them."

Dmitry Charoikov, the Post International official whom the letter was sent, stood behind his company's claim to be able to use the address. He declined to say how his firm would accomplish this when exclusive rights had been bought by his competitor.

"I don't want to say how," said Charoikov. "But we have a way."

Post International, faced with the prospect of clients deciding it would be easier to change mail companies than to change their address, began running ads two weeks ago that told clients they could use the address at Suite 295.

"Post International notifies all clients that for maximum convenience, they can now use two addresses in the U.S. on a permanent basis," the advertisement reads. It goes on to list the Suite 295 address as an option.

Guy Kingston, president of P.X. Post, called Post International's advertisements "absolute rubbish."

"From June 17, if you want to recover mail from that address you will have to do it through P.X. Post," he said.

The disagreement puts clients of Post International in an awkward position. If they keep their old "Suite 295" address, they risk having mail returned by P.X. Post. If they do decide to change their address, they undertake a job that their courier service says is unnecessary.

Presently, Post International is stamping all mail it handles through the "Suite 295" mailbox with a change-of-address advisory for its alternative New York mailbox at 666 Fifth Ave.