The Problem With Bad Address Validation

Street, avenue, boulevard, and court are but a few of the many suffixes used in addresses. Add in Spanish or French variations like corte or rue and the list gets even longer. If you use the wrong suffix, such as Elm Street instead of Elm Avenue, your package may not arrive. While businesses use address verification services to avoid this problem, sometimes bad address validation backfires and changes a correct address to an incorrect one, costing businesses

Recently, we received an email from a client needing advice about fixing a problem with her address. She said that when ordering packages on several occasions, the USPS had changed her address from what should have been a ‘Heights’ suffix to a ‘Road’ suffix. As a result, the Post Office deemed the address undeliverable because the address with the ‘Road’ suffix didn’t exist — and it returned all of her mail to the sender.

It didn’t matter that she had entered the address correctly when ordering items online; the address would be changed to “Road” time and time again. She asked us how to fix the problem so she could properly receive packages in the future, wondering if she should call USPS or every company she orders from.

We ran her address through our address verification service and found that it would return the correct “Heights” suffix on the address. Therefore, the USPS has her correct address and is not the root of the problem. It turns out that other address verification services were changing “Heights” to “Road” when validating her address upon checkout.

This caused the customer a great deal of inconvenience. Incorrect data in the address validation database also resulted in lost shipping costs on the business side and an erosion of trust. Businesses that repeatedly ship a package to the wrong address, despite repeated corrections, aren’t likely to earn that customer’s referrals or ongoing business.

Our data and expert algorithms allow for finding the correct address and specifically helped in this case. Not only is having address validation necessary, having the correct validation service — one that will both validate the address and confirm that it truly exists — will save both businesses and customers time and money.

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