101 things about me

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Bureaucracy gone mad...

Six weeks ago I bought something over the internet from Canada. I was told my order could take up to six weeks, and so at that estimate, I should have received it no later than this week.

Last Thursday night I decided to have a look at the original confirmation to check the dates and was REALLY annoyed to find the delivery address in the original confirmation was incomplete. As I had filled in an automated form when ordering, I can only imagine it was my mistake and I had not filled the form in properly. Aye aye aye! Everything else was there, including my flat number and my name. The street number however, was missing.

On Friday I contacted Australia Post via their centralised 131-number. I pressed a combination of numbers which EVENTUALLY allowed me the pleasure of speaking to one young lady by the name of Bronwyn. I explained my dilema and asked what my chances were, but she gave me no encouragement and said she believed the parcel would be well on it's return journey to the Northern Hemisphere.

"To put my mind at rest"... I asked if I could be transferred to my local PO to see if the package had managed to arrive there and was patiently waiting for me to collect it having not turned up at my address. She refused to transfer me as requested. In fact, she REFUSED to assist me any further at all. Point blank REFUSED.

She insisted that the PO would be unable to help and that as A MATTER OF PRIVACY she was unable to put me through! Australia Post is a government owned company! Since when am I forbidden to talk to a service provider because I may be intruding on their privacy??? I couldn't believe my ears, but she wouldn't budge. Bloody bureaucracy.

Was this number a help line, or a "stick it up your jacksie" line?

According to my 'helpline buddy' Bronwyn, it would be better if I could drop into my local PO and discuss it in person! Well... yes, that would be nice I suppose - IF I DIDN'T WORK 20KMS AWAY AND THEY WERE OPEN MORE THAN THE STANDARD 9-5, MONDAY TO FRIDAY.

What could I do? Well, I made my frustrations known and finished the call. At this stage everyone in my office had heard my complaint. Certainly they had never seen me so fired up. They all encouraged me to drive the 30 minutes to the PO to resolve the mystery in person, though I decided it would have to wait until the end of the day. In the mean-time, I retried the 'help-line', but, as luck would have it, yep you guessed it, Bronwyn answered. And that was that.

So. I left work early and headed home via the PO. In their defence they were incredibly helpful. "Lovely" Leanne and others searched through all their international racks and discussed my options. They asked if I had called their 131 number and then listened with shaking heads as I told them my story. They apologised for the carry on and they offered me sympathy. They called the 131 number on my behalf, but alas the result remained unchanged. My parcel was still on the missing list.

Two things make this whole situation even MORE frustrating.
1. There are only two blocks of flats in my street and 2. I am the ONLY person with my surname in the ENTIRE city of Melbourne! How can this be so difficult?

I have since contacted the shop in Canada, but it hasn't been returned so far. Canada Post website confirms it was sent, but there is no other tracking recorded.

There is no happy ending. So far in any case. I am hoping that it will turn up, but given my dealing with Australia Post to date, I'm not holding my breath.

I'll keep you 'posted' on any developments!


emma said...

I feel for you...what a bunch of turkeys. My lovely neighbour has a strategy she uses for trying to redeem "frequent flyers" on a flight
(notoriously difficult I hear). She just keeps re-calling the number until she gets a customer service (??) person who puts her on the flight she wants. She swears by this technique. I couldn't be bothered frankly. I'm too easily enraged.

Jodie said...

I love my local post office but when something goes wrong - they want no truck of it. Fingers crossed.

Wanderer said...

Yes I have a love-hate relationship with Australia Post too. I have a post office box but they keep carding small parcels, that is they place a card in my letter-box saying a parcel awaits me at the post office. I have to wait until Saturday morning then queue up for at least 20 minutes. When I get to the counter I get the parcel, usually a CD.

"Do I have to sign for it?" I ask.

"No, it's just ordinary mail," she says.

Then why the h*ll wasn't it placed in my PO box so I can just pick it up at my convenience?

She insists it was too big to fit in my PO box but I get CDs in there all the time.

I complained but it did no good, all they could suggest was to hire a larger box but that would mean more cost and a new number which means I'd have to change all my business stationery as well.

Counting to 10 slowly...

Melanie Gray Augustin said...

Good luck! I had the same problem with the Australia Post hotline a few years ago (when I was still there). After talking to my local post office about it, they gave me their direct line so that I could call them whenever I needed.