Australia Post’s parcel pick-up charge plan is embarrassing

Angus Kidman 3 May 2016 NEWS


Frankly, it's rude to charge for service when your service is so poor.

Australia Post, never likely to top anyone's list of "my favourite Aussie business", kicked another own goal yesterday when it announced plans to start charging people to pick up undelivered parcels.

From August, Australia Post will start charging fees for anyone who has to pick up a parcel from the post office if it has been there more than five days. The fees range from $3 to $9.

Why does this get me riled up so much? In the early 2000s, I was a freelancer and worked from home. I was also mildly addicted to eBay, so there was a steady stream of parcels being delivered. Or more accurately, there was a steady stream of "we tried to deliver something but you weren't in" cards left in my mailbox, even though I was actually home.

Never once did the lazy drongo responsible for deliveries actually try and ring my doorbell. So I'd have to trek to the local post office, where the staff were equally indifferent and would sometimes tell me to come back on another day because they couldn't find my item. Complaining about this lack of service got me nowhere at the time, but you can bet I'd complain even more loudly if someone tried to charge me for the privilege of picking up a package that wasn't delivered properly in the first place.

Australia Post's future is in parcels. We're so unfussed about letters in these email-centric days that even when the price of delivering letters rose from 70 cents to $1 earlier this year and delivery speeds were slowed, no-one cared much. But get between us and our Amazon parcels and there'll be hell to pay. Australians spent $19.3 billion on online shopping in the last year, according to NAB's Online Retail Sales Index. That's a lot of packages that need to be delivered.

And Australia Post certainly needs the income it lost $381 million last year. It has been experimenting with a range of diversifications, across everything from travel money to insurance. But deliveries are still what it's known for. Making that experience more expensive is not going to help, and the end result is likely to be customers choosing alternative couriers or services whenever they can.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

Picture: TK Kurikawa /

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