How Would You Improve Aussie Delivery Services?

Shopping online may well be cheaper, but one big barrier to having everything delivered is the variable and expensive nature of postal and delivery services in Australia. A survey of eBay sellers confirms that people selling goods aren't thrilled with the system either, but how should it be improved?

Picture by RubyGoes

The eBay shipping report surveyed 1,015 local sellers for their thoughts on delivery issues. The biggest complaint from the seller perspective was cost; just 26 per cent thought current rates were reasonable, and many highlighted cheaper rates available in regional cities such as Hong Kong as a major barrier. Asked to suggest improvements, the most popular options were cheaper rates, better shipping options for bulky items and improved tracking services.

Aside from technology improvements such as postal delivery lockers, I'd like to see a proper service ethic with Australia Post's delivery staff. The delivery person in my area never bothers to actually knock on the door and see if someone is home to accept a package; they just dump a "You weren't in" card in the mailbox. I don't bother having stuff sent to my home address any more, because Australia Post apparently can't be bothered employing people who actually want to do the job properly. What improvements would you recommend? Tell us in the comments.


Comments

    I'm hoping Australia Post adopts the Postal Delivery Locker long term, I'm part of the trial and and it's been great. Working in the CBD and catching Public Transport meant that getting large parcels to the office could be an issue. The Parcel Locker has been great in terms of the convenience of 24*7 and SMS / Email updates on when parcels are ready and confirmation that I have picked them up.

    I've had many a "you're not in" card dumped in my mailbox while I've been home. The cards usually have a completely illegible tracking code scrawled on it and usually the wrong post office for collection. Why they don't have a portable printer I'll never know. That could also be used to identify time the delivery person was there.

    I've also had items dropped over my fence into a muddy garden during a downpour when I have a perfectly serviceable front verendah. Again, I've usually been home when the delivery was made.

      You know you can report the guy for doing that. When you go to pick up the parcel, you simply tell the person behind the desk that you were home all day & there wasn't ever a knock at the door, and that you found the "you're not in" card in your letter box. It happened to me a little while ago and i mentioned it just in passing, and the guy behind the counter said he would look into it. I don't know if that means any real action was taken, but it sounds good...

        I've tried that Michael. The response I got from the counter worker was "I'm sorry but they are a contractor and we have no control over them". If you want to complain don't bother telling the guys behind the counter, go higher up.

          What you need to do is call up Australia POST, make a complaint and they'll give you a number. Write this number down and keep it in a safe place. If you keep getting the same problem, continue to make complaints with the same number and it gets escalated. I ended up getting the manager of the local distrbution centre deliver my items personally, with many appoligies.

          The staff at the POST office either can't do anything about it, or don't care. The people running the Wembley store in WA clearly don't want to know and do not care.

          Mike & Michael -

          The vast majority of postmen are dedicated staff who service their clients properly. However in your cases I would suggest taking each matter up with Post's Customer Service line on 13 1318, reporting the issue and when it occurred. In these matters, timely reporting is most effective.

          When you report your complaint this way , the matter becomes part of an official enquiry at the local level and feedback to you is generally provided within 48 hours. There may be a legitimate reason for not leaving your item at the door or in the mailbox, however a warning or disciplinary action may occur if one is not provided.

      Yesterday we had a 'you're not in' card dropped in out letterbox. We went to collect the package, and on the way home realised it wasn't for us - it was a different street address in a different suburb. The only similarity was the person had the same (very common) last name as my partner.

      If they don't check the street address to deliver to or that the parcel recipients name matches your ID, something is wrong with the system.

        I made complaints about these guy. A supervisor turned up some time later to ask me to sign a letter saying that the service had improved when it hadn't - and in fact I had another scribbled card from that morning to show him.

        I told him I wasn't going to sign it, and I think he was going to cry.

      We've had the same thing. At home, come up at 9:30am, card in the mailbox saying that they tried to deliver at 10am and to go the local post office after 4pm.
      Complained about five times in person ( filled in the complaint form).

      The delivery drive must have got in trouble, they came tearing down our drive, honked the horn really loud (loud enough to get the neighbours out on their back verandah), then left a burn out on our driveway. Had to make another complaint - wondering if we're going to get a special delivery... Had to start looking into security cameras for the gate and the driveway now.

      The worst one:

      We had one delivery driver decided to have a whizz in our driveway, my wife came and saw him doing his business. Then he blamed my wife for taking too long to come to the door. Complained and they just relocated him to a different area. Hopefully you don't get that dude doing his business at your place.

      DHL drivers - professional, courteous, always buzz the gate. Carry the packages into the house. It's a pity that DHL has the afternoon run outsourced to Australia - pretty crappy. We've asked them to delay the package and deliver them next morning.

    I wouldn't drop in a card on a Wednesday, dated for the Tuesday and say it was left because I was out when I've been in waiting for a parcel all day.

    I wouldn't throw an expensive 'FRAGILE' parcel over my fence into my garden.

    I wouldn't leave a similarly expensive parcel (that needed a signature) just on my porch.

    I wouldn't put two items addressed to two different people in my household on one missed delivery card - meaning that if I went to pick up one they wouldn't return the card (as they need) so that the other guy could pick up his parcel.

    I wouldn't charge three times the price to send stuff to Europe as it does the other way around either now I think about it.

    The usual principle of business applies: you get what you pay for. Aus Post is cheap and basic service and proper couriers cost a bit more. And with big stuff you are talking about a mail system so there will always be limits. There are no doubt improvements to be made but are you willing to pay for them through higher fees? Sounds like you want both cheaper and better....good luck.

      You must be a loaded if you think Aus Post is cheap.

        must be loaded *

          it's about what it costs to provide the service not what you can afford to pay. Aus Post is at the cheapest, lowest service end of the market. proper couriers are of varying quality and price but the two are usually linked.

      Sometimes you don't have a choice of which postage service to use. Mostly on Ebay it Aust Post.

    I think the 24/7 lockers are basically just the way to go for most things. I'm never home during the week (working obviously) meaning there's never anyone home to pick up anything.
    I think needing to take a whole day off in the hopes the delivery person will come to your door instead of throwing down a 'You weren't home' card is ludicrous.

      That's because you don't know the real TRUTH. They have limited room in their bikes so those cards pre- filled in back at the post office and the cards are then added to the letters. Don't let them BS you we have a 3rd worl delivery system

    unfortunately the only way to imporve postal services in aus is to kick auspost into line, they are ridiculous and charge a premium for being ridiculous and other courier companies know this and charge a premium to be slightly better

    ive watched a parcel guy leave a card in my letterbox without even checking if i was home, ive had packages left on my easily visible doorstep, ive had packages jammed between my fly screen and actual door, ive had the fly screen left wide open with the package propped against it for all to see and the two worst, ive had a package poorly thrown at me because i happened to be near my driveway when the guy turned up so he thought why walk when i could just throw this package and ive had a package left in the pouring rain

    luckily for me on all but one of these occasions nothing has been damaged or ruined but in the one case there was damage, no one is willing to take responsibility, the post office representative (news agent) just said "oh went arent auspost, go to a real post office" the real post office just said "we dont handle complaints or damage issues call the head office" and of course the head office guys barely spoke english and just fobbed me off with a "sorry we take no liability but we will look into it bye"

    just recently infact we had multiple envelopes with cards/letters in them turn up sliced open at the bottom, in an obvious attempt to check for cash, now these letters only travelled within state in TASMANIA so from one major city to the only other major city, 2 post offices and 2 postal centers at the most, figuring out exactly who handled those letters would have been very very easy and yet through 3 phone calls to auspost it turns out "they have no way to find out who did it but an email would be sent to the postal centers, an email yea thatll fix it

    someone needs to bring auspost into line and hold them to some standards instead of allowing them to raise the cost fo everything and do nothing with the extra money, once that happens other companies will be forced to lower their prices to compete its simple as that really

    note: ive had absolutly zero issues with packages handled by courier companies and have found them to be generally high standard places hence my only gripe with them being cost

      so you're saying that aus post is cheap and low service versus couriers who give good service but charge more? Amazing how everyone expects good quality to not come at a cost these days...

    I'm getting sick to death of "Sorry we missed you" Happened to me AGAIN yesterday. This is not on - Whats the point of them delivering packages when they have no intent of GASP even knocking on the door???!!

    I have rung Auspost and complained numerous times with no result - I shall be contacting the ombudsman from now on.

    Lockers are a great idea, but Post Offices staying open a little later than 5:00pm would be a bonus. Imagine if the closing time was 7:00pm, it would mean most of us could pick up our eagerly awaited stuff the same day (yes, I have also had the card-in-the-letterbox while I was at home. Grrr.).

    The Aus Post contractor who does deliveries in my area is probably the best I've ever seen - honks his horn as he pulls up to my address (giving me heaps of time to get to the door) - and he's not some half drunk moron who owns a van.

    The place I lived previously, I'd know I had a delivery either when I checked my mailbox (for a missed delivery, despite me not being able to leave the house), or when I heard a thud on my front porch as he threw my parcel over the fence!

    Also, Aus Post likes to put packages that are addressed to the same address (even if there's different names on the parcels) together, usually using tape, as they pay their contractors per item - even though the people sending the packages still pay full price (then pass that on to the consumer).

    Like majority of the comments here i also have a lazy postman in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane. Often leaves cards without even ringing the door bell, the woman at the local post office told me that this was their policy if there were running late, however i find it hard to believe that writing on a card takes less time than ringing the door bell.

    A bit of care and pride in their job wouldn't hurt anyone. If it says Fragile thats because it is!

    Another way they can certainly improve is with their tracking. I often buy from the states and UPS especially has amazing tracking, every time the parcel does anything it seems as though it is scanned and reported. Although there are is a lot more involved in getting a parcel from o/s it would be nice if there was more than just 'parcel received' and 'onboard with driver'.

    I think that as other companies grow such as fastway and star track we will see some healthy competition and services will improve.

    Open parcel pickup locations (post offices, post shops) later and on weekends. Some are, more should be.

      This drives me crazy.

      I have a post office an eight minute walk from my house, it's open til 530 and in Saturdays.

      It's super convienent.

      But all of our packages are diverted to the next suburb over, (a ten minute drive) and they aren't open in a Saturday.

      Yeah this is my biggest gripe with Australia Post. We work most days so a "sorry i missed you" is how we get most of our parcels (when i dont get them sent to my office). This isnt a problem unless they deliver it on a friday in which case you need to wait untill Monday morning to pick it and you dont have the weekend to use the parts.

    After hours delivery service. It costs a few $$ more but you can nominate the time you want it delivered. Most people work 5-9, why would I want a delivery driver to go to my house repeatedly when I am not home.
    They could also do after hours boxes. You get an SMS saying that this post office has it in this lockable box. This lockable box can contain multiple packages and can only be opened with a pin. Each delivery would go to its own lockable box. This would allow for after hours pickup also.

    Transitional PO boxes. Go into a post office with your ID and request that all mail for your address (including packages) be held at a transitional PO box at a location of your choosing. Get a text message with the box number when a package arrives with the PIN. That PO box will continue to accumulate your mail until you show up to collect it or until you go 6 weeks without recieving mail at which time it'll be RTS'd. 24 hour self collection. Central panel where you put your pin that tells you which box to collect from so they can shuffle your stuff if it gets too much for the first box, and photo capture of collector before release so no need to sign for a package.

    Like everyone else, I've SEEN the delivery guy walk to my letter box, put in the 'you weren't home card' get back in his vehicle and drive away without getting my package out or even starting up my driveway letalone knocking.

    I've lost count of the number of times I've tried to get up early or get home early enough to get to the post office and found them closed at times listed as open on their cards, or seen activity within the office but had no-one answer the early collection bell for long enough that I've had to leave so I could get to work. It's just a waste of everyone's time.

    One thing is to do with large objects. If it is being delivered to a block of units, even if it's not a secure block, AusPost policy is to card you even if you are at home. They don't even bother to find out if you're home, they just card you as a matter of course. That needs to change. Either they need to refuse large parcels to units or they need to attempt delivery.. one way or the other I don't care but you can't have it the way it is with more and more unit blocks being built every year. The last time this happened to me, the boxes weren't even that big.. and were certainly not heavy. I carried all 3 boxes in my hands without any problems and my wife could've done the same etc.

    Another thing that needs to change is the ExpressPost/eParcel system. Domestic ExpressPost needs to be overnight between metro areas, no excuses. When they do fail to deliver the next day all that happens is the sender gets a free satchel.. nothing more than that.. There's no real accountability or punishment in this area for failing to deliver on time.

    delivery on saturdays

    It is easy for sellers to blame the delivery service but when I sell something on eBay, I always send it Express Post and the buyer ALWAYS receives it the day after (s)he pays for it. OTOH, things I buy on eBay take up to a week to arrive, even from local Sydney sellers. But compared to buying from Amazon's marketplace, eBay is super-fast. I rarely get anything in less than 3 weeks from amazon and their standard postal charges are very expensive (more than $6 for one CD). So its all relative.

    I've actually bumped into the postman at my letter box, while he put in a "Sorry you weren't here" card in. When I went off at him - because I was, well there and wanted my parcel, he stated that he hadn't brought it with him. What do you mean you hadn't brought it with you? What the hell do you actually get paid to do?

    Also definitely agree that policies for apartment blocks need to be addressed.

    The idea of the lockers is fantastic - and 24 hour access is a great idea, one that has taken way too long to implement.

    On the other hand as much as Aus Post annoys me, Royal Mail in the UK is worse - I don't think anything I have ever sent ever arrived. When it is almost a necessity to get insurance to send anything? That is a problem! (Although at least most of the banks near me were open on Saturdays - wish more in Australia would do that!)

    24/7 package lockers are the way to go.

    How about delivery lockers at our houses? Much better than having to go to a post office to pick up. Aus Post could have a master key. They just drive around now and instead of dropping a card or dropping the pacakage on your porch, they ping it into the delivery locker! Nice one.

    I just get everything delivered to work. I live in a rural area and would never bother getting AusPost to deliver to home. Half the time the contractor can't be bothered to deliver our normal mail - just saves it up until it's enough of an effort for him to get out the van and put it in our mailbox.

    The general feel here is that the problem with parcels delivered through Australia Post is the contractors and store opening hours. It cannot be that hard to find contractors willing to do the job that they cannot keep a stricter control on their actions, it is simple, too many complaints over a period and they loose a bonus. As for the post offices, if the franchise post offices find it viable to be open on a Saturday then surely the government run post offices that dont need to to turn a proffit can be open on at least a Saturday!

    O god.. the entire last paragraph! A million times over!
    Your job is to deliver the package, its not that hard!!!
    Also, I'd love it if aus post stopped playing football with packages... I regularly get stuff shipped from overseas that arrives in a terrible state; and I know its not the overseas postal service that is at fault.

    I run a small, local record label and regularly send vinyl and CDs around in Australia. In the half or so year of operation AUS Post have lost 6 or so items and I now have to send via registered shipping. I know I probably should've in the first place but I wanted to keep things cheap for the fans and hell, it's only a CD.

    It took them 2 weeks to send a CD from Northcote to Springvale (pretty much outter city to the suburbs). Not that far at all. It takes 5 days to send something from the states to here! The customer service is horrible as well.

    Disclaimer: I used to work at Australia Post at their corporate HQ.

    Australia Post hates those idiot contractors who leave cards in your mailbox even if you're home just as much as you do -- but you need to phone Australia Post and report them before they can take any action against the contractor themselves: 13 POST (13 7678).

    They have a process for this scenario and they WILL act on reports made.

      Thanks for letting me know, I'm expecting a package today (well yesterday, but i guess its not coming yesterday :P) if i just get a card I'll call up.

      cheers

    I forgot to mention the postie bending a vinyl shipper in half to fit into a letter box. Thanks for helping me lose money!

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