Your PO Box Is About To Become More Expensive

Australia Post has announced a price-hike for post office boxes and locked bags beginning next month (1 February). The new prices apply to all PO box sizes, plus common boxes, private bags, mail bags and corporate boxes. There is also mounting speculation that AP might start charging for deliveries and increase the cost of stamps as well.

Photo: Australia Post

From 1 February, the cost of post office boxes and locked bags will rise by an average of 7 per cent across the country. A medium post office, for example, will now cost $163; a rise of $12. (Customers who pay on time will receive a smaller fee increase of around 3 per cent.)

AP is blaming the price-hike on mounting costs relating to raw materials, delivery, transport and energy.

"Like many businesses, we are operating in a challenging economic environment," Australia Post explained in a statement. "We understand price increases are never easy for our customers, and the decision to implement this change has been arrived at after serious consideration."

The new standard service rates are listed in the table below:

The struggling government-owned corporation is looking for various ways to return its traditional mail business to profitability in the wake of falling letter volumes and higher operational costs.

In a recent survey, Australia Post asked customers if they would prefer to have their post delivered three times a week, or pay an annual $30 fee for daily delivery. This led to criticism from businesses and welfare groups, although AP has since denied that it plans to introduce any such fee.

Whatever AP is planning, it's safe to say that the PO box price revision is unlikely to make much difference to the corporation's bottom line. Don't be surprised is more services get price-hikes in the near future.

You can find out more about the price hikes by paying a visit to the Australia Post website.


Comments

    And here's me thinking that all my Internet Shopping deliveries were money in the bank for AusPost!
    I would have thought that falling letter volumes were more than offset by (presumably) higher margin and vastly increased parcel volumes?

      Indeed it has. As I said, it's looking for various ways to return its traditional mail business to profitability.

        Surely this would do the opposite though? What incentive do I have to send traditional mail anymore. Or is this targeted towards making more money from businesses? Most of my bills come online, bank statements etc. Personally I have very little need for traditional mail.

      It is my understanding that incoming international parcels are paid for using an international treaty made by the postal union based in Switzerland. I understand that it's been argued that these don't cover the costs that Australia Post has since many of the signatories live in small countries, unlike Australia.

      This would mean that the parcels that are making AusPost money are those shipped inside the country, which explains why those went up substantially not that long ago.

      Of course, it's entirely possible that I'm wrong here and that I added 2 + 2 and came up with 7. YMMV.

      o

        I believe you're right Onno..
        And that's why you can buy a widget from China for $1 with free shipping, but if you buy the same widget from Australia, it's $1 (if you're lucky) plus $5 shipping.

    Struggling government-owned corporation? It is a government-owned corporation so you got that bit right, but struggling? No. Revenue up 15% and profit before and after tax 10% UP

    In 2013
    - All customer and community service indicators have exceeded targets.
    - Group profit of $312 million after tax, up 10.9 per cent on last year - the third consecutive year of profit growth under current Future Ready strategy.
    - Strong performance in non-regulated business produces profit of $648.1 million up 16.7 per cent, with profits from parcels up 29.1 per cent.

    The only part that is "struggling" was Regulated mail with a loss of $218.4 million on the back of another decline of 263 million mail articles (5.4 per cent)

    I am constantly puzzled by the opposition to having mail delivered 3 times per week instead of daily. I can't think of a single situation where waiting one extra day for a letter would cause me problems.

    Can anyone give me a situation where waiting one extra day for mail would cause them hardship?

      Exactly. Who the hell still gets mail. Apart from junk mail.

        I get lots of stuff in the mail. Parcels, usually. But not a lot of written correspondence.

          Would you overly object to not having regular mail delivered 1 day late?
          Personally I wouldn't mind, if I order something from China or HK or similar I expect an average delivery time of 30 days, so 31 wouldn't make a huge difference to me

            I only check my mailbox once a week so wouldn't matter at all to me. But most of the time I get stuff from the US, UK, China and HK within 5 days.

      Well, I can think of a few:
      * Waiting on your bank card to be delivered before going on holiday
      * Losing an extra day to pay for bills, credit cards (it adds up)
      * Trying to send someone a birthday card (usually next day in metro areas)

      That last one isn't hardship, but I'd rather not have that happen (and yes, some people do still send birthday/Christmas/whatever cards).

        1.) Valid
        2.) You aren't losing an extra day, the due date is still the same, you just receive it a day later (i.e. makes no difference - you should be paying it as late as possible anyway)
        3.) Send it earlier

          I think with cards, it's more the idea that, if I send a card, it should arrive the next day.

          And as for bills, yes, I'll concede that this was a weaker point.

            On the 'bills' side of things, it was always amusing when I worked for Telstra billing to receive calls from irate customers saying, "I paid the bloody thing yesterday and today I get another bill saying I haven't! What's wrong with you people?!"
            "Sir, could you check the issue date on that notice for me?"
            "...Oh."

            That'll only get worse. Not that it actually inconveniences anyone.

        * Waiting on your bank card to be delivered before going on holiday
        Seems like an edge case, which could be solved by sending it express post

        * Losing an extra day to pay for bills, credit cards (it adds up)
        Given most bills give you at least 2 weeks to pay, I can't see one day making a difference. If time is that important, I suggest changing to e-billing so you get your bills straight away instead of waiting a day for delivery (hence gaining a day on what we have now)

        * Trying to send someone a birthday card (usually next day in metro areas)
        Because the world will fall apart if someone receives their birthday card the day before, or day after their birthday. Which incidentally, is what will happen now if their birthday falls on a weekend

          Your argument can be made for so many technologies.

          It's convenience over need.

            express post is never really 'express'
            I waited 2 weeks for express post on many occasions

          Sigh. You asked for cases, and you're moving the goal posts now. You didn't say that edge cases were unacceptable. You didn't say that the hardship must not be possible to ameliorate using technology (which, by the way, is every person's prerogative NOT to use). You didn't say that the world have to fall apart because of it - you said hardship, and I gave you examples.

          Let's try this, shall we?

          Seems like an edge case, which could be solved by sending it express post

          If you've ever had a card express posted, you might know that the SLA for it is up to two business days. (Embossing generally only gets done once a day, plus one more for express post, if you're within the express post area - and not everyone is. Also, banks will generally charge for express post, and so that still costs more, right?)

          Given most bills give you at least 2 weeks to pay, I can't see one day making a difference. If time is that important, I suggest changing to e-billing so you get your bills straight away instead of waiting a day for delivery (hence gaining a day on what we have now)

          I'll concede that this is a weaker point, but nevertheless, given the choice, I'd prefer to know sooner, yes? And perhaps, as I said, not everyone prefers the use of technology (I'm choosing to interpret that "you" as standing for "everyone", rather than being directed at (and making assumptions about) me and my preferences), and they should be given the choice, at least, until the government provides internet as they do mail services - that is, freely. Oh, and let's not forget that not all billers provide an electronic option.

          Because the world will fall apart if someone receives their birthday card the day before, or day after their birthday. Which incidentally, is what will happen now if their birthday falls on a weekend

          Currently, your birthday will fall on a non-delivery day two days out of seven. Mail being delivered three times a week, that would make it four days out of seven. I know which I'd prefer. And again, I wouldn't have mentioned it if the original question had been:

          Can anyone give me a situation where waiting one extra day for mail would cause the world to fall apart?

          Last edited 22/01/14 12:06 pm

            My mother, who is 74, waits for specific items of mail to arrive- she knows when her bank statement should arrive, insurance renewals etc. For her, it would be a big inconvenience not to have the mail arrive as she has meticulously organised her life around over the last 25+ years.
            Not everyone is operating in the interweb.

        1. Credit card to be delivered - yep, had this exact issue in December waiting for new credit card to come (old one was expiring that month), and which the annoying credit card company didn't get into the mail until about the 21st of Dec... with all the public holidays around that time, and our rural location, our new cards only just made it by the end of the month (the public holidays making it a bit like a '3x/week delivery')

        Actually it is so often that we get no mail for several days, and then a whole pile in one go (with wildly different postmarked dates) that I kind of wonder if they are already doing this to some extent?

          Waiting until the eleventh hour to order/receive a replacement card for an existing one that one knows is due to expire is just asking for trouble.

          For receiving a heap of mail in one go - are you rural? Also, the post mark is when received by an Australia Post processing centre, right? If it's from all corners of the galaxy, or even, country, then it's possible that they could all reach your residence at the same time with different post marked dates - I'm not a postal expert though, so that is just my thoughts.

          It'd be interesting to know if the different dates bear the same receiving office post mark, which then would show some suspicion.

      Why need it even that often?

      Why not just make it every month? If you can wait a week, you can wait a month.

      I believe it should run 7 days a week. Sure nobody is going to die if we don't have it operating all the time, but...

      Online shopping (and also most businesses operate on a weekend anyway, putting an end to the traditional "weekend") demands the faster/more constant delivery service.

      It's convenient to people, not necessary. Just like a lot of things in our world.

        It's convenient to people, not necessary. Just like a lot of things in our world.

        The question is, how much are you prepared to pay for that convenience? Are you prepared to pay an annual fee, or have the price of stamps increased?

        Personally, I'd rather they save money by making it every second day, and reduce the price of sending parcels if that is making a tidy profit.

          But they aren't charging more.

          All shops should only open for 2 days a week because then they should be able to cut their costs by 3 times as they only have to pay workers for 2 days a week.

          Sure we'll pay extra, but it's for more convenience. It will most likely eventually happen but will probably be more subtle. Even though $30/year isn't a drastic change, especially if it were included in council rates or something.

            From the article:

            There is also mounting speculation that AP might start charging for deliveries and increase the cost of stamps as well.

            In a recent survey, Australia Post asked customers if they would prefer to have their post delivered three times a week, or pay an annual $30 fee for daily delivery.

            They are considering increasing the prices, so the question stands, which would you prefer?

            As for shops, speak to any small business owner who has been around a long time, and they will tell you Sunday trading was one of the worst things to happen. They earn the same amount of money as before, but their expenses have gone up. But obviously they have no choice because all the big shops do it.

              Who arbitrarily decided that everyone needs to work monday to friday?

              "weekends" will eventually become no such thing in my opinion.

              The only reason for penalty rates is for working unusual times, which disadvantages you.

              If more places open on those unusual times, then it's not unusual anymore, which means there is no need for a penalty rate.

              Traditionally everyone works "9-5". If that were the case, when could anybody do anything? On the weekend? Well nobody works on the weekend. After work? Everybody finishes at 5pm.

              It's an old-fashioned tradition which is slowly dying.

              (off topic)
              Small business owners should account for public holidays (not sure if sunday rates is a law) in their prices. Bumping the cost of stock (for example, at a cafe) on just public holidays just annoys people, and probably deters them because of this. If they just distributed the extra cost of a public holiday within their normal prices, consumers wouldn't even notice the extra cents in their items (all year round), and everyone would be happy.

                God, I wish we could abolish weekends and just take two days when we want or need, so that we can actually GET SOME SHIT DONE when we have time off instead everyone all being closed at the same time.

      Bazza with respect you are not managing director of the universe. Your plaintive question makes you seem naive. I am not being mean.

      Never had a rental? .. Lease paperwork, breach notices, eviction notices, among many other things.

      There are still quite a few institutions that rely on home addresses (not PO Boxes or other addresses) as the official place for legalised correspondence.

    I wish it was that cheap! Small box at the Melbourne GPO cost $220 last year from memory, and up to a whopping $246 this year. Extortion.

    $5 or $6 a year isn't what I'd call a hike, a bump maybe.

    I would welcome a more direct user pays type method of home mail delivery because it would give me more leverage to tell the person who rides that little red honda to put the mail into my mailbox properly and not leave it half sticking out. I used to get little flyers in my mailbox every so often from the local police saying "dear resident, your mailbox is not secure etc etc". So, I spent a few hundred installing a serious secure mailbox out the front of my house but half the time the postie leaves the mail half sticking out.

    Well for me, and I dare say a lot of other folk, the (free!) parcel lockers will suffice - http://auspost.com.au/parcels-mail/parcel-lockers.html
    Granted, some limitations (nothing international being the main annoyance) but for anything AusPost domestic it's a "win". My post office only opens office hours in the week and not at all at weekends. And as, shock!, I have a job it's hard to get there. A free locker 24/7 solves both our issues - they don't have to attempt to deliver something when I'm out, I can pick it up at my convenience.

    I'll be paying the extra - I don't want to be giving my home address to whomever I order Ebay stuff from.

    I paid 30 bucks for a PO box last time, though that was in a place with no house delivery. In regards to increased fees, I hope this means some of my mail will actually reach me

    They need to focus on pulling some cost out of the supply chain rather than trying to recover profit and revenue by hiking prices.

    I think the idea of reducing mail street deliveries to three days a week is an excellent step, that will have minimal effect. And plan to reduce that to twice a week in 5 years time.

    Bit miffed that my PO Box price is going up... when really I'm SAVING them money by not having the stuff delivered by a street postie. If they are claiming the cost of fuel, transport etc etc then surely they will be raising the general cost of ALL postage again. Instead of just stinging the PO Box people.

    If they want to raise prices then do it on all the NON-POSTAL products in the "Kwik-E-Mart" style post office shops they run.

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