Australia Post Set to Charge for Parcel Pick-Up

By Julian Thumm | 03 May 2016

Australia Post has announced changes to its parcel pick-up service, which will see customers paying up to $9 to collect parcels from post office locations.

Australia Post has announced a change of service that will see it charging customers up to $9 dollars to pick up undelivered parcels from post office locations. According to Australia Post, the move is designed to give customers more time to collect parcels.

Currently, undelivered parcels are held at post offices for 10 days before being returned to the sender. The change to service means that packages will be held for 30 days before being returned to sender.

The catch is that customers will now have to pay to pick up their packages, with a maximum cost of $9 dollars applicable to packages held for between 16 and 30 days.

Fee structure for proposed parcel pick up service. Source: aupost.com.au

Fee structure for proposed parcel pick up service. Source: aupost.com.au

The proposed changes are set to come in from August 1st.

“Most customers want to pick up their parcel quickly, with 92 per cent of parcels collected within five days,” an Australia Post spokesperson said. “They have told us they want to avoid parcels being returned to sender and they would go out of their way to pick it up sooner to avoid the fee.”

Speaking on 3AW radio, manager of postal services Christine Corbett said that Australia Post had carried out “extensive market research” before proposing the service changes, but that the company will consider dropping the changes if public reaction is negative.

If the company’s social media accounts are anything to go by, then public reaction is indeed negative, with a number of people posting critical comments on the Australia Post Facebook page. Rather than criticising the pick-up charges, social media criticism has been largely focused on Australia Post’s delivery contractors making little attempt to actually deliver packages in the first place.

Source: www.facebook.com/australiapost

Source: www.facebook.com/australiapost

A quick scroll through the company’s Twitter feed shows a host of disgruntled customers complaining about drivers not even attempting parcel deliveries before leaving pick-up cards.

Communication Workers Union Victorian branch spokeswoman Joan Doyle has described the proposed changes as “a price gouge.”

Industry leaders have quickly come out in condemnation of Australia Post’s plans.

Sendle has called on the ACCC to investigate Australia Post’s decision. James Chin Moody, Sendle CEO, said: “We believe that this is unconscionable conduct on behalf of Australia Post. The law is very clear that when one party has superior bargaining strength they cannot use this to extort money from the weaker party.

“By charging a customer up to $9 before they will release a parcel, Australia Post is using undue influence and unfair tactics to force them to pay. What is even worse is that Australia Post has no contract with the receiver, but rather with the sender. They are forcing someone to enter a commercial relationship with them.”

Steve Orenstein, CEO of express delivery provider Zoom2u, said: ““The recent price hike is another clear indication that Australia Post doesn’t understand its business. The real problem is that Australia Post has failed to adapt internal processes and keep pace with the increase in e-commerce deliveries.

“Australia Post hasn’t solved anything with this decision. As e-commerce continues to boom, so will the volume of parcels being stored under this model. There will be no reduction, what will happen is businesses and consumers will now seriously look at the alternatives.”

In January, Australia Post upped the price of regular stamps from 70 cents to $1 in response to dwindling demand for traditional mail services. The company has been working to reinvent its business model to mitigate the decline in traditional letter volumes and capitalise on the e-commerce boom.

In the midst of its transformation strategy, Australia Post announced an 84 percent decline in half year profits in February, with no indication of a return to profitability on the horizon.

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