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Who’s responsible for undelivered mail? [With Poll]

By 1 December 2011 11

Zed Seselja is shedding a tear for a property owner who didn’t keep the Revenue Office up to date with their movements:

One Canberra resident was hit with a $4,000 bill because the ACT Revenue Office did not follow up on its own undelivered mail notices, and there may be hundreds more facing similar shocks, ACT Opposition Leader Zed Seselja said today.

“Despite the Revenue Office knowing it had the incorrect address for this resident, it made no effort to find the correct address (which was available online) or contact the resident by other means,” Mr Seselja said.

“Instead, the resident was forced to pay the overdue amount and interest in full in order to refinance her home.

“The Revenue Office told the resident it has ‘hundreds’ of returned rates notices each year and can’t follow them all up.

“Not only does this put unsuspecting rate payers into potentially severe financial hardship, the ACT may be missing out on hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential revenue simply because the Revenue Office fails to follow up its own returned mail.

“This situation is both unjust and incompetent, and testament to the ACT Labor Government’s inability to manage revenue. It comes just two years after this government failed to collect $2 million in rates due to a computer glitch.

Unjust and incompetent?

Undelivered Mail

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11 Responses to Who’s responsible for undelivered mail? [With Poll]
#1
Grail11:09 am, 01 Dec 11

My feeling on this poll is that it’s really a case of half and half: ratepayers should keep their details up to date, and the revenue office should take action on returned/undeliverable mail. Something as simple as checking the electoral roll, for example.

I had an issue with my licence being out of date because the registry kept sending the label for my new address to my old address. I had to call in to a Canberra Connect office to fix it up.

It’s not enough to rely on the rate payer to update their address. The Revenue Office (in fact, any creditor or debtor receiving undeliverable returned mail) must take some minimal amount of action on receiving undeliverable mail: something as simple as checking the electoral roll, or attempting to contact the ratepayer via email or calling any phone number they have on record associated with that ratepayer. This should only take five minutes, and that will save a huge backlog of undeliverable mail (and unpaid bills) building up.

The one phone call could prompt the ratepayer to update their contact details with other agencies, thus it would actually be a useful public service. Canberra Connect already provides a “change your address” service to update residential and postal addresses in appropriate registers and accounts. Some people just need a little reminder to take action.

Note that the electoral roll is maintained by the Federal Government, so you need to go through the Australia.gov.au (Adobe Acrobat) Electoral roll form.

#2
p111:17 am, 01 Dec 11

Grail said :

I had an issue with my licence being out of date because the registry kept sending the label for my new address to my old address.

That is pretty special.

#3
Henry8211:58 am, 01 Dec 11

Grail said :

My feeling on this poll is that it’s really a case of half and half: ratepayers should keep their details up to date, and the revenue office should take action on returned/undeliverable mail.

I have to agree. “Googling” my name brings up at least my email address and phone number, either of which could be used to contact me. So technically a 30 second google, and a 2 minute phone call might make the revenue office $4k richer.

#4
AG Canberra12:22 pm, 01 Dec 11

ACT Revenue has outsourced the admin for receipting payments for rates. I know this bexcause they managed to ‘lose’ my rates payment as part of a property settlement. Initially they tried to blame me, then my solicitor, then my bank. Eventually they agreed they did indeed recieve the cheque (why oh why can’t we do EFT for these payments?) but it had been applied to another account by the contractor. So it was really the contractor’s fault.

Apart from fed grants, rates and stamp duty are our biggest earners. It is about time the Gov applied some decent admin to this team and ensured every dollar that is owed is paid in an efficient and timely manner.

#5
Wokie12:30 pm, 01 Dec 11

Although this isn’t to do with this thread, Australia Post cant deliver mail to the correct address even when its addressed correctly! Have an ongoing problem with them delivering mail for 10 years where I don’t get my mail but get mail for a totally different address! Often wonder if they test delivery people for their English skills, ie, being able to read the address on mail and a street directory.

#6
jayskette12:34 pm, 01 Dec 11

jayskette said :

I have to agree. “Googling” my name brings up at least my email address and phone number, either of which could be used to contact me.

You don’t think that should be a concern at all Henry82?

#7
harvyk112:58 pm, 01 Dec 11

AG Canberra said :

Apart from fed grants, rates and stamp duty are our biggest earners. It is about time the Gov applied some decent admin to this team and ensured every dollar that is owed is paid in an efficient and timely manner.

It would be nice to see gov’t departments having the same high standard applied to themselves which they expect of the general population.

As for the question, I believe the RO (and any gov’t dept) should be required to at least attempt to hunt for the correct address. Whilst I have some idea what I might be up for, I don’t keep track when I should be receiving certain letters \ bills. As far as I’m concerned a non-deliverable is indication enough that the department has made a mistake in sending the letter, it shouldn’t be upto me to have to call the department as I have yet to receive a bill which may or may not have yet been sent.

As for keeping records upto date, that’s easier said than done… There are certain departments \ companies which I called last time we moved and I had to re-call multiple times before they actually updated my address. I don’t know if they just have a crappy database system, or simply someone on the end of the phone who is simply thinking about knock off time and how to make the time pass the quickest way possible.

#8
Henry821:05 pm, 01 Dec 11

jayskette said :

You don’t think that should be a concern at all Henry82?

not really, its pretty much the same as having your name in the phone book. If you have a website, ham license, facebook, or even an ABN most of your details are probably available on the internet.

Also, henry isn’t my real name, and 82 has no resemblance to my DOB.

#9
lobster2:26 pm, 01 Dec 11

So wait… How did she actually receive the bill if they were sending it to the incorrect address?

#10
ex-vectis2:38 pm, 01 Dec 11

I am confused.

Did the Revenue know what the residents new address was but wasn`t using it? Or did the revenue just get an `Undelivered` mail returned? Two different things.

If the Revenue had the new address but didnt use it then that is sheer incompetency and I would have walked straight into the nearest solicitors office rather than suffer for their failings.

If, however, the resident had moved and not told the Revenue then on their head be it. Not only should they pay up but also pay the interest. I pay ACT rates for the ACT Legislature to use that money for emptying my bins, maintaining the playgrounds and killing/burying Kangaroo`s along Majura road. Not for chasing lazy folk who move and dont tell…

Could I threfore

#11
Pork Hunt4:38 pm, 01 Dec 11

Henry82 said :

jayskette said :

You don’t think that should be a concern at all Henry82?

not really, its pretty much the same as having your name in the phone book. If you have a website, ham license, facebook, or even an ABN most of your details are probably available on the internet.

Also, henry isn’t my real name, and 82 has no resemblance to my DOB.

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