The Post Office and the Bank

Published March 8, 2012

On the 7th January, I went into town and visited the Post Office and the bank. I remember the date specifically because I had been trying to get to the bank for a couple of weeks, but their opening hours were not coinciding with my free ones, and they also shut over Christmas.

I had to send a letter overseas, and I had to bank a cheque that wasn’t in GBP. Not too hard, you would think. The bank took my cheque and gave me a receipt. The Post Office took a bit of money off me, and gave me a tracking number so I could watch my letter get to its destination. They call it AirSure. Because it goes by air and you can be sure it gets there.

I left town that day thinking I had achieved two things, crossed them off my ever-expanding list.

Roll on two weeks. The money that had been credited to my account disappeared back out again and the cheque was returned to me. Turns out the lady behind the counter had banked it as a Sterling amount when I clearly stated it was not. I had to go back to the bank and hand over the cheque again.

Roll on two months. The tracking told me my letter got to the destination country, but refused to tell me if it had gone any further than hitting the right shore. After several weeks of no movement, the status suddenly did change… to be returned to this country.

Tomorrow, I am going back to the Post Office to try and send the same letter a second time. Should I even bother with AirSure? Because it does go by Air, but you really can’t be sure it gets there. I also have to go to the bank. I wonder if this will be another completely wasted morning.

On the same subject, I submitted a complaint to Royal Mail about the issue with the letter, and received a fairly standard response. It does annoy me when you get a template message reply that just doesn’t coincide with your original query.

“…experience tells us items can take between 20 and 25 days to arrive.”

Yes. Fine. Except I already told you it has been two months. That is 60 days. I can count.

“If the item still hasn’t arrived within these timescales…”

IF? What is this if? The whole point of my message is that it HASN’T.

I totally understand that in a business with as many customers as Royal Mail has, the use of stock answers can save a lot of time and energy. But would it be so bad to have someone glance an eye at the query that was sent in the first place? Maybe personalise the message a bit so that it feels like we’re not bashing our heads against a brick wall.

Maybe just deliver the stupid letter in the first place.

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