I discovered yesterday that Australia Post feels it's just fine to fail to deliver one parcel out of every fifty it handles. Well, specifically they said "98% success rate". They also told me that since the parcel in question wasn't sent by registered post, in short I could stick it up my arse.
Apparently it doesn't matter that the parcel was addressed correctly and had sufficient postage. It didn't arrive, yet it got returned to sender as "unclaimed" and the sender was charged a fee for that privilege. They will have to pay again to resend the parcel, even though they did everything right the first time.
I actually went in after about two weeks and asked if they could check out the back in case the parcel was there but the card hadn't been placed in my PO Box (you know, because people are human and shit happens). They refused point blank to walk the three metres and check. I made the tactical error of mentioning Ebay and after that the already-sour expression went to sucking-ten-lemons-all-out-bitch-stare. I hate the new staff member at my Post Office, she's a slack bitch who shouldn't be in a customer service job. But I digress.
In essence, Australia Post don't care about Parcel Post. If they lose your parcel they won't even try to find it (that's their official policy). If you want AP to actually make any guarantees, let's say you think perhaps they might deliver it, you have to pay quite a bit more and send everything by Registered Post. Express Post *might* be better, but they were pretty cagey about whether the tracking number can actually be used to track anything.
No matter what you do, never admit that the parcel has anything to do with Ebay. Apparently if you have ever so much as looked at Ebay, AP will immediately refuse to help you. Probably not an official policy, but the staff attitude is pretty clear since I got that from the manager as well (lemon-face did an immediate flick pass to the manager when I came in to discuss the problem). Doesn't matter that the origin of the parcel makes no difference to whether it can make it through the post - to them Ebay = all bets are off.
So... all up, I'm not really surprised. I think it's stupid but not surprising that AP actively promotes the risks of its cheap service. Why stupid? Well, they're saying 'our service is so unreliable, you better pay for insurance for when we fuck up...'. Why then should I trust the same people to get things right, just because the satchel is a different colour? But it's not surprising - they want you to pay more to send stuff.
Ahh well. I guess I shouldn't expect people to do their jobs any more. I am inconveniencing them, after all. They should just get paid for turning up.
Now I wait and see if the parcel arrives the second time around, since the Ebay seller was a bit too enthusiastic and has already resent the parcel. Would have preferred to get it sent by Express Post but hey.
Update (2005.04.17): On the second attempt, the parcel turned up almost immediately. Parcel Post, addressed the same way, same everything just a different day. My gut feeling: the bloody thing DID sit out the back of the Post Office, mislabelled or something; but they didn't want to admit to it.