Pricewatch reader queries: Delivery box sends reader up the wall
An Post delivery box didn’t close properly. Plus: more sneaky supermarket tricks
An Post said it gets its delivery boxes from a supplier, and doesn’t check them before shipping. Photograph: Bryan O’Brien
Supermarkets may move an item from a regular spot, forcing the customer to go around the store looking for it. Photograph: iStockphoto
Just over three weeks ago Brian Loftus from Galway bought a delivery box from An Post and paid €68.95 for it. The idea is a good one: the easy-to-install box can accommodate parcels and mail so you don’t miss out on deliveries if you’re not home when the postman comes calling.
“After spending quite a while putting the box on the wall, I observed that the supports for the door opening were strained,” our reader writes. “The one on the right side was considerably bent. The door would not close flush and the box also had a large scrape on it internally. It was a nightmare to install due to inferior-quality polished screws.”
So he made a complaint and requested a replacement, which he got, but to his “dismay the box had the same issues but only worse. The right support is extremely bent, the left is strained, the bag containing the delivery box had a hole in it from being torn, the door doesn’t close properly and the box has been in use before as the rear of the box is marked all around the four holes where it attached to the wall. Clearly I received a used delivery box or perhaps a demonstration model.”
He asked his postman to have a look at the delivery box and say “he was in total agreement that the box was damaged”.
When he contacted An Post again he was told that they get the boxes from a supplier so they don’t check them before they are shipped. “Clearly this is an abdication of responsibility. An Post are selling them, and therefore they are responsible. I asked if I was to get another replacement could this be checked before it was sent to me.”
When he said he wanted a defective-free replacement, he was told An Post couldn’t guarantee that.
“I rang to complain, and after a lengthy delay I got to speak to someone who was pleasant, but said he couldn’t help. He was not familiar with the product. He said they had no complaints to date and that ‘lightning doesn’t strike twice’. After a lengthy discussion, he spoke to his manager, and informed me that he shouldn’t be talking to me at all. He said the issue had to be dealt with by the Delivery Box section of An Post.
Our reader says the whole idea of getting the product was so he could get parcels even if he is at work. “But now I am at impasse with defective goods sitting in my kitchen. What is frustrating is that nobody I have spoken to at An Post is sufficiently familiar with the product. It would seem they are prepared to offer a replacement but can’t give me any assurance that the next box I will receive will not have the same fault. I don’t want my money back. I would greatly benefit from a product like this, as I can’t be at home to receive parcels, like all of us who have jobs. I just want a product free from defects. Nobody I spoke to at An Post could clarify if these supports I refer to are meant to be straight or bent. If they are meant to be bent, then why does the door of the delivery box not close properly?”
We contacted An Post and received the following statement: “We apologise unreservedly for the poor service and inconvenience experienced by Mr Loftus on this occasion. Our Delivery Box manager has arranged for immediate installation of a new delivery box at his address, and we have taken steps to ensure consistency of customer care for Delivery Box customers.”
More sneaky supermarket tricks
Our article on supermarket tricks prompted many readers to get in touch. “I have one more you might consider,” says Dan Donovan. “Have you ever noticed that an item you usually find in one particular aisle, on one particular shelf, is no longer there? It is not on a shelf above or below. It is not elsewhere in the same aisle. No sign, no information provided. It has been moved to somewhere totally different in the shop. The first time I encountered this action, I thought the shop had discontinued selling the item. But I found, by accident that day, it had been moved. This may be a variation of the “wild egg chase” – while you are looking for the lost item, you will see something else and pick it up to buy as well.”
A reader called Frank had a variation on that theme. “It’s sneaky the way shops will stock a branded product in a prominent position and then overnight replace it with an own-brand version, hoping to encourage people to buy more of the retailer’s more profitable own-brand offerings.”