Marcus from Dublin was delighted when a package bearing his name and his full address was sent from the US – but a whole lot less delighted when it never made it to his house.
“I had been tracking the shipment on the US Postal Service website since I got word that it had been dispatched on August 1st and on August 3rd the shipment had arrived in Ireland,” he writes.
“When the item hadn’t been delivered after a week or so, I checked the An Post parcel tracking service, as the item appeared to remain motionless for days,” he says. On August 24th I contacted An Post again and was informed that the shipment was subject to a customs charge and that I had been sent a postcard outlining the fees.
He notes that this sending of said postcard was an action that would have required his full and correct address, a fact that will duly become pertinent.
“I duly paid online and waited patiently for the delivery of the package. Having waited for some time, I made a further enquiry [last week] to ascertain the whereabouts of the shipment and was informed that the item had been returned to the US as there was insufficient information on the delivery label.
“Now, here’s the rub. The item made it all the way to the Dublin 8 sorting office, approximately 10 minutes walk from our house. So the shipment was clearly identified as a package destined for this part of the country,” he writes.
Marcus concludes his correspondence by saying that if ‘a system is fit for purpose in matters of life and death, I’m guessing it should be fit for the delivery of parcels from the New World?’
“When I questioned why it had made it no further on its journey, it was suggested the shipping address was not present or clear on the package, so it couldn’t be delivered. However, the customs receipt I received clearly listed our Eircode, so it must have been present on the package and in the system.”
He points out that “surely the Eircode system introduced in July 2015 at a cost of €38 million was all that was needed to identify the final destination of such a package? Sadly no. I was informed that the system was still in BETA testing and would be adopted in the future. Furthermore, the system is only used by the emergency services and not the postal service.”
Marcus concludes his correspondence by saying that if “a system is fit for purpose in matters of life and death, I’m guessing it should be fit for the delivery of parcels from the New World?”
‘Such an inconvenience’
We contacted An Post and a spokeswoman said that the it “absolutely hate to see items being returned – it’s such an inconvenience for our customers (and for us)”.
She said that in this case, “it all comes down to the need for a full, correct postal address. This is always required by the delivery postperson to deliver the item. We handle hundreds of thousands of parcels every week, so looking up Eircodes to plan and make deliveries is simply not feasible. Unfortunately, this customer had already received an email (not a postcard) detailing the customs charge due. We apologise for all this inconvenience. The charges have been repaid. An Post uses eircodes to process incoming mail. Eircodes were never designed for use at the delivery stage – a full, correct postal address is required every time.”