Australia Post’s plan to hold parcels for 30 days and charge for late pick up will increase customer angst and put post office staff at risk, says the national association for independent post office agents.
Australia Post announced a plan last week to hold parcels for up to 30 days before being returned to sender.
If the scheme goes ahead – which the company has said may not happen if there is heavy resistance from the public – people would be charged for late parcel collection. After five business days customers would be charged $3 per week, paying up to $9 if parcels went uncollected for 30 days.
Under the current system parcels are held for ten days and collection is free.
Post Office Agents Association Limited (POAAL) said that the scheme, called Hold at Post, would cause extra grief for post office staff.
“POAAL warned Australia Post that this project had the potential to cause customer angst. Licensees and staff serving on the counter would be in the front line for customer complaints,” said POAAL Director Bob Chizzoniti.
Mr Chizzoniti said its members were also concerned about where they would store parcels for up to 30 days, “already many local post offices find it hard to find enough space to securely store parcels awaiting collection.”
The Association has implored Australia Post, which gets almost half of its 6.3 billion revenue from its parcel service, which also helps prop up its sagging letter delivery service, to instead concentrate on why so many parcels are not being delivered.
“Australia Post’s aim may be to encourage customers to collect their parcels from the post office as soon as possible but Australia Post really needs to focus on increasing first-time delivery rates so that parcels don’t end up at the post office,” he said.
Mr Chizzoniti said the agency put “extreme pressure” on parcel contractors to deliver parcels during the day with tight deadlines and thin margins.
“Our contractor members have to deal with all the elements, aggressive dogs, traffic and tight deadlines every day while trying to deliver a first-class service.”
“Australia Post needs to look at areas that receive high volumes of undelivered parcels and identify the underlying causes.”
He said it was often difficult for workers to pick up parcels in the daytime. Parcel lockers were useful but usually only found in metro areas.
Another service is Parcel Collect, where people can have items delivered to post offices with extended opening hours. Safe drop could also help for some parcel delivery.
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