Complaints about lost parcels on the rise
COMPLAINTS about lost parcels are on the rise - and it's a problem Australia Post customer Wessel Appel is all too familiar with.
Mr Appel, who lives in Brisbane and runs a side business through eBay, has had parcels lost by the national carrier on numerous occasions.
They have included items being sent to both himself and his customers, and the most recent incident occurred in October, when Mr Appel ordered items online from a Gold Coast company worth $128.
He paid $20 for postage, but did not opt for extra insurance.
The parcel never arrived, and Mr Appel filled in a claim request, but was told that because he hadn't purchased insurance, he would only be reimbursed the $20 postage and $50 for the items.
He was furious to learn he was now $78 out of pocket.
"Does that mean that Australia Post is not prepared to take responsibility for the bad actions and negligence of their employees?" Mr Appel asked.
"I am fully at the mercy of Australia Post to get my stock in and out … Does it mean that we as customers have to protect ourselves against the bad actions and negligence of Australian Post employees?
"Why do we then have to pay so much for postage delivery and still we have to accept the Australian Post employees delivering a substandard service?"
The maximum amount you can claim back from Australia Post for a lost or damaged standard delivery is $50. For registered post you can claim up to $100, and if you purchase insurance cover you can claim up to $5000.
But the standard $50 fee has not increased since 1987, which means the amount of compensation has been steadily declining in real terms for three decades - the same $50 in 1987 would be worth $117 in today's dollars.
The Postal Industry Ombudsman even raised the issue in a 2010 report as it was such a significant complaint, but although it recommended Australia Post conduct a formal review of its compensation rate, nothing ever came of it.
According to the Commonwealth Ombudsman 2016-17 annual report, the Postal Industry Ombudsman received 4213 complaints against both Australia Post and other Private Postal Operators in that period, which represented an 18 per cent decrease from the previous financial year.
However, it noted an increase in complaints specifically about parcels, with lost items accounting for the highest percentage of complaints received.
A Commonwealth Ombudsman spokeswoman said around 90 per cent of complaints about Australia Post related to non-reserved services such as parcel delivery, express and premium services and retail services.
"Complaints concerning loss account for almost 30 per cent of all complaints we have received about Australia Post over the last three years, a trend which continues to date," the spokeswoman said.
An Australia Post spokeswoman said lost items were take "extremely seriously".
"Our posties and delivery drivers work hard every day to ensure customers receive their mail on time," a spokeswoman said.
"We take instances of lost or delayed mail extremely seriously, and while these instances are rare we encourage customers to contact us so we can fully investigate and provide appropriate compensation.
"There are a number of factors which may result in lost or delayed mail, including incorrect or damaged addressing, vandalism or theft after delivery."
If a customer believes an item has been lost, they should contact Australia Post on 13 POST or online and lodge a "missing or late item inquiry form" before making a formal complaint and contacting the Commonwealth Ombudsman here as a last resort.