On Monday of last week, I requested replacement earbuds for my iPod from Apple, since the right earbud had been losing volume ever since I got the device. Since I bought the device less than a year ago, Apple's policy is to replace the earbuds for free, on the condition that I return the defective ones. I went to their website to request a replacement, and they emailed me to say that a replacement had been sent and that the envelope would contain instructions on how to return my old set so I wouldn't get charged for the new ones.
On Wednesday, I arrived at home to discover that the earbuds were waiting at my front door. I thought this was odd, because Apple only has my PO Box address, so I expected to find them at the post office. Well, it turns out that Apple uses DHL to send out replacements. I've had the occasional experience in which a non-USPS carrier was given my PO Box and then just decided that trying to deliver the item in question wasn't worth it. In this case, though, DHL apparently tracked down my home address, most likely by checking with the Post Office to find out the home address of the Box owner. (For those of you who don't rent PO Boxes, when you rent one the Post Office asks for your home address and keeps it on record, for just this sort of possibility.) DHL then added a label to the package with my home address on it and delivered the package to my home.
As for returning the old earbuds, Apple uses a delivery label which can be ripped off, revealing a return label pasted underneath to the same envelope. I sealed my old earbuds into the envelope and left it at a DHL pickup box a block from my office. The pickup box was odd; it's basically a cabinet in a public mailroom with a recessed shelf on which packages can be left. In fact, someone else had left an envelope for DHL on the shelf already, which is how I knew I had the right place. I was mildly concerned that anyone could come by and steal the package, but I left it there anyway.
On Friday, I got an email from Apple saying that they had received my old earbuds and so I would not be charged for the replacement.
Kudos to DHL for this good delivery experience.