Australia post staff criticise plan to charge customers to pick up parcels

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pstrongCUSTOMERS aren’t the only ones upset about Australia Post’s new parcel pick-up tax, with post office staff fearing they will cop backlash from punters./strong/ppAustralia Post announced this week it would start charging up to $9 a pop to retrieve undelivered parcels from post offices./ppThe charges are not set to come in until August, but some customers have said they had already received emails and text messages stating they will be charged if their parcel is not collected after five days./ppIt has prompted calls for an investigation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC)./ppNews.com.au has also been contacted by a number of Australia Post licensees independent small business people who run smaller post offices who have said the ridiculous price hikes would lead to them being abused by customers./ppOne manager said shed even considered shouldering the new charges herself to help customers./pp The plan, which is branded Hold at Post, is proving about as popular as Ted Cruz at an Indiana election rally./ppCurrently, undelivered parcels are held for 10 days at no cost. But from August, parcels not picked up within five days will attract a $3 holding fee rising to $9 if they are still uncollected after three weeks./ppAustralia Post said 92 per cent of parcels were collected within five days and would continue to be fee-free under the new proposals. It also confirmed it could drop the plan altogether if customer outrage continued from now until August./ppbCOPPED COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF ABUSE/b/ppAn independent Post Office licensee from Queensland, who wished to remain anonymous as they were fearful of crossing Aus Post bosses, told news.com.au it was just the most recent in a long line of fees angering customers./ppThere isnt a day that goes by that I do not have at least five people complain about the cost of postage and stamps, the manager said./ppAsked whether she expected this to continue with Hold at Post, she said. Absolutely, we have copped copious amounts of abuse about stamps. We will continue to be talked about, looked down on, abused over the counter where we are only just keeping afloat as it is./ppI am going to do anything to help our customers but its getting harder and harder to do that with the costs going up so quickly./ppShe said it was difficult to maintain a business with these ridiculous price hikes and she had considered simply not charging customers the $9 fee./ppHowever, she wont have a choice because head office would keep an electronic record of the parcels./ppThere wouldnt be so many parcels to pick up, she said, if drivers made more of an effort to deliver them rather than bringing the packages back to the post office./pp Late last year, Australia Post copped a storm of criticism after CCTV footage was published showing a courier making no attempt to deliver a residents parcel./ppbUNIMPRESSED/b/ppAnother licensee joined the debate by commenting on a news.com.au article, claiming bosses were out of touch./ppWe are just as unimpressed as customers are, he said. I am not too happy for the decision that has been made from the board room of Australia Post./ppThe fee-free period was too short and the charges too steep, the manager said, who also didnt want to be identified./ppBob Chizzoniti, the director of the Post Office Agents Association, the peak body for small business owners in the postal sector, said Australia Post needed to focus on delivering parcels in the first place./ppThe association had also warned Australia Post that Hold at Post could cause customer angst./ppLicensees and staff serving would be in the front line for customer complaints, Mr Chizzoniti said./ppbBLUNDER/b/ppIt has also emerged Australia Post is sending emails and text messages to customers, with parcels to pick up, stating they will now be charged for picking them up if they are uncollected after five days despite the new fees not coming into effect until August./ppAs far as I could tell the charges were already in place both the SMS and email factually state that fees are in place with no indication at all the charge will not actually apply, a customer who received a communication on Tuesday told news.com.au./ppIts a blunder to not make it clearer to customers that this is a future plan./ppAn Australia Post spokeswoman told news.com.au, we recognise we could have made it clearer the proposed changes would only apply from 1 August. From today, our text and email parcel notifications will be changed to reflect this./ppThe vast majority of parcels were delivered on the first attempt, she said./ppTo prevent customers getting a collection card when they are home, we recently introduced a new knock and call process, which requires our delivery drivers to knock loudly and call out three times before leaving a card./ppHowever, the organisation may have bigger problems with calls for an investigation by the ACCC./ppChief executive of parcel delivery service Sendle, James Chin Moody, said he believed the plan by Australia Post could be seen as unconscionable conduct./ppBy charging a customer before they will release a parcel, Australia Post is using undue influence and unfair tactics to force them to pay./ppThey are forcing someone to enter a commercial relationship with them said Mr Chin Moody./ppAn ACCC spokesman said it did not regulate the delivery of parcels, however whether the proposal breached the Competition Act could be examined. It would not comment on whether it had received any complaints regarding Hold at Post./ppPost Office owners, who have to store peoples parcels, will receive the majority of the proposed fee, an Australia Post spokeswoman told news.com.au. She denied the organisation was unable to levy fees on the parcels recipient. Our terms and conditions cover our relationship with both the sender and receiver of mail./ppbbenedict.this site/b/p