26 December 2023

ACCC orders Australia Post and StarTrack to compensate businesses for lost parcels

| Andrew McLaughlin
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Post deliveryman

The ACCC has ordered Australia Post and StarTrack to compensate businesses for misleading information about lost parcels. Photo: File.

Australia Post and its subsidiary StarTrack (Australia Post Group) have been found liable for about $2.9 million in compensation after admitting they likely engaged in misleading or deceptive conduct over lost parcels.

The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission said Australia Post Group agreed it failed to accept compensation requests, and that it incorrectly advised some business customers that no compensation was available for lost or damaged articles over a four-year period to October 2022.

An ACCC statement says that, as a result, Australia Post Group has undertaken to provide the $2.9 million compensation to about 10,500 affected business contract customers and fewer than 1000 recipients of StarTrack deliveries.

It says that, “under the consumer guarantee rights in the Australian Consumer Law, consumers can request a remedy if a product is not of acceptable quality or a service is not performed with due care and skill, fit for purpose or supplied within a reasonable time”.

“The law exempts certain transport services for the purpose of a business. In October 2018, that exemption was amended with the effect that from that time, consumer guarantee rights applied to the transport of goods to a recipient who is not carrying on a business in relation to the goods.”

It found that “Australia Post Group failed to apply the amended exemption correctly, and on that basis did not accept claims from businesses which had articles lost or damaged in transit”.

READ ALSO Act now to save Australia Post, CEO pleads

In the undertaking, Australia Post Group admitted to the ”Conduct of Concern” over a period from 26 October, 2018, to 31 October, 2022.

“The failure by Australia Post Group to provide business customers with the remedies they were entitled to is extremely concerning, but we acknowledge that Australia Post self-reported this conduct to the ACCC,” Commissioner Liza Carver said.

“We are pleased that Australia Post Group has undertaken to provide compensation for this error and to put systems in place to ensure similar errors are not made in the future.

“Business contract customers who sent goods to customers without a business purpose which were lost or damaged in transit with the Australia Post Group have been entitled, and continue to be entitled, to consumer guarantee rights.”

In the undertaking, Australia Post Group said it would implement a compliance program that included staff training and informing the ACCC about the progress of the compensation program.

The ACCC said many business customers would automatically receive compensation equal to the cost of postage plus interest, and that the Australia Post and StarTrack websites would explain who was eligible for compensation, whether they would need to take action, and a claims portal through which to lodge a claim.

Australia Post Group will also contact the 11,500 business contract customers and receivers of StarTrack deliveries it has identified as potentially affected, and will provide them with automatic remediation or a unique reference number and instructions on how to lodge a claim.

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Well I will be making a formal complain as a parcel addressed to me was found on the side of the road after the delivery van had just delivered another parcel in a the next suburb. No word from Aus Post on why they are yet to inform me that they lost it and an honest member of the public called me to let me know they had it.

The short-term and grasping thinking of so many corporates is finally getting seen as they disregard their customers and treat them as if they don’t matter. One would expect that they realise their income comes from the customers and they can only get it as an ongoing thing if they look after those customers. If they fail to do that, they trash their name and newer more innovative and agile businesses step in.

We need to push government to stop monopoly providers from abusing their customers. Monopolies should not exist and where they do, there’s bullying of customers and competitors. We’ve seen it with Qantas, within the finance and insurance industries, as well as supermarkets (where they compete but copy each other, with collusion possible) but shocking that Australia Post is doing it too.

Wouldn’t it be a nice change if the ACCC did some assessment of petrol prices. 95 near my house is around d $,2.09 but in Jerra it’s $1.85. Owned by the same crowd so the argument cannot pertain to “transport costs” and oil prices have reduced by about $20 per barrell. Time they did something useful and stop going to meetings to ascertain sustainable outcomes on an hollistic level, or buzz words to that affect.

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