Hi Everyone, sorry for my late reply to my original thread. Thank your comments and for opening the trouble tickets with Shopify.
I wanted to share with you the work-around that we eventually used for our store. It doesn't solve everything in the original problem, but for us just adds an extra confirmation page at the checkout for customers to verify that their address is correct. This way if their address got changed to a gift recipeint from a past order, they have a chance to change it back to thier own.
So the background...in some European countries and Canada, there is some kind of law that customers have to confirm their address/order at checkout. So for those countries, Shopify has an extra "order confirmation" page. It is not available by default for USA customers. We had to call Shopify customer service to get them to turn on this option for us. The option is now active in our admin, going to "Settings" and "Checkout" then scrolling down to the "Order Processing" section. There under "While Customer is Checking Out" tick the box for "Require a Confirmation Step-Customers must review their order details before purchasing."
We have recently launched a new application, GiftShip, which over-rides some of the gift giving issues stated above. We've pioneered not only the ability for customers to send items to different shipping addresses within the same order, but because of the way we take shipping address information (in cart), it correctly distributes this information in your Orders, as well as making sure that the billing address is in the right place.
Through our App listing page you can take a look at some live example sites that are running our App in their carts.
We are also having an issue with this as we have wholesalers who ship to other customers on our website, as well as a connected inventory system which is updated undesirably with gift/drop-ship addresses.
I believe solving the problem may be as simple as removing the set default address line that is causing the shipping address to become the default address on each checkout (see below) from the api reference. But I have not yet been able to find a similar call in the code yet.
Is there anyone out there that might know at least where to start looking to remove this automatic setting of the latest shipping address as the default address. It should be a simple delete/comment to get rid of the functionality, but finding it is going to be the tricky part. Please let us know if you can.
Update on this issue: I also got on support with Shopify about this problem, I do believe that this is something that can only be accessed on the back end due to PCI Compliance/Security which trust me is better to let Shopify deal with (I have dealt with it before and it is a bear). I had them put in a request to the developers suggesting to add a checkbox in the settings->checkout->order processing area under 'while customer is checking out' called 'change default address to shipping address' which is checked but allows shopify admins to un-check it thereby getting the desired results.
Now I know that this does not necessarily mean it will get done, however I did just want to let everyone on this thread know that I had another request put in for this which may elevate it, and was very specific about how to do this and where to help it get done. From the standpoint of an actual developer, this really is an easy one-liner kind of fix. It should not be too tough.
Why should we pay extra for this serious problem in Shopify? The app is not free and I believe this should fixed in the code. It is common for customers to buy gift for others and ship them directly to them. The customer should be able to have a default address same as billing and second address to send gifts.