I’m going to be honest, this post is just pure 100% rant regarding the letter above. I don’t expect it to solve anything but it might help me feel better about things writing it out and let others know just how profoundly stupid Australia Post is getting these days.
Who Is Australia Post?
For those not familiar with it, Australia Post is your classic previously government owned and operated mail service turned business enterprise with a natural monopoly. I would link you to the actual Australia Post website but it turns out they are subscribers to the inane “you can’t link to us without written permission” school of thought of which I have ranted about before. Screenshot snippet from their T&C below:
Back on track, so essentially in recent years Australia Post’s income from letters has been declining (as you might expect as the internet age progresses) but they should have been well placed with their natural monopoly to make a killing on parcel delivery and for a short time they did.
But then it all seemed to go a bit wrong for them. Despite their good initial positioning they seem keen to engage in a slow death spiral composed of the twin vortexes of continual price increases coupled with what seems to be increasingly poor customer service which for most people is all about delivery.
You Want Us To Deliver? HAH!
Most Australians will tell you that using Australia Post for getting parcels delivered is an exercise in frustration. Actually sending the parcels? Pretty easy. Getting the package most of the way? They can even get that mostly right even if it is comparably slow and with very poor tracking (at least in my experience). The actual last step of delivery from your local post office to your door? That they seem to have have been going out of their way to avoid that wherever possible in the last few years.
While I only have the evidence of what myself and others I know have experienced to go on it would seem that Australia Post has made a habit of hiring the lowest cost contractors for parcel delivery which has lead to an apparent decline in service.
If you’re unfortunate to have a particularly bad contractor for your area you might see things like I did at a previous address where they will drive up to a mailbox with “missed delivery” slips already filled out and fling them into the mailbox without any attempt to actually deliver the parcel. Sure you can complain about it but its a long, long process and unless you actually have them on video doing it, don’t expect action.
The Rage Inducing Letter
At our current address of the last two years however things have been pretty good with Australia Post deliveries. We get a reasonable but not huge amounts of parcels and until recently there has been no indication of any issue. On the occasion where a package that required a signature couldn’t be signed for they left the missed delivery card at the door which was fine. That happens.
And then without warning just a few days before Christmas (2014) we got the above letter. Note how it talks down you, the customer, as if whatever the issue was your fault. Had we put a new gate in place or suddenly purchased a rabid guard dog then sure it’d be our fault but now they won’t deliver because it was “outside guidelines”? What guidelines? When did they come into effect? Why were we not warned before hand? We didn’t know. The letter came with no extra material to explain it. There was no issue tracking ID we could use and unsurprisingly that close to the Christmas break we had neither the time nor inclination to chase it up immediately.
Once into the new year we finally got an answer out of them. According to Australia Post they have “always” had a guideline that contractors can not deliver to a location from where they can not view their van for “mail security reasons”. As our door is around the back of a block of apartments this apparently means they just flat out won’t bother to deliver to our door any more despite it not being a problem for the last two years.
I can only assume the delivery contractors are now fitted with explosive collars that detonate if they go out of line of sight from the laser tracker on their van or something. Surely it wouldn’t be because their contractor just can’t be bothered delivering any more? Or maybe even more cynically Australia Post is trying to reduce load on the delivery side of things and wanting to offload us onto the parcel locker service instead?
While the parcel locker service is undeniably useful, particularly if you work in the CBD for an organisation that does not allow personal mail being delivered to the office, the whole damn point of paying for delivery is that it actually gets delivered. To the location that it was paid to be damn well be delivered to. End of story.
Never mind the thousands of locations in our city alone these “guidelines” suddenly mean can’t get deliveries. On our street alone which is not all that heavily built up I can count at least thirty residences that fall under this “no delivery for you!” guideline. Oh and if you want to see what other guidelines might exist that might “prevent” your parcel from being delivered to you? Well they won’t show you them. These are guidelines for the contractors and thus don’t seem to be publicly available on the Australia Post website for consumers to read (not that we could link to them anyway right?) nor has a copy been offered to us by Australia Post representatives. For all I know the guidelines state that parcels can’t be delivered if your door is the wrong shade of green or if the moon is waxing gibbous.
Well if you believe the letter somehow we the consumer are meant to resolve this, I assume by organising to have our apartment block placed on a giant lazy susan so we can rotate our door to the front upon delivery arrival. We’ll get right on that.
Or we could simply choose, where possible, to use any one of the commercial parcel delivery organisations that compete with Australia Post, none of whom seem to have any issue at all about delivering to our door. Furthermore most of them seem to be happy to reschedule delivery on a missed one rather than make us traipse to their location, guess which odd opening hours they are using and wait in long lines when they actually are open.
So great job Australia Post, keep up the fine work of isolating your customer base, increasing expense and generally kicking yourselves out of the market.
Here endth the rant.