Welcome to Sisters In Law, news.com.au’s weekly column solving all of your legal problems. This week, our resident lawyers and real-life sisters Alison and Jillian Barrett from Maurice Blackburn advise about your rights when it comes to deliveries to your home.
I’m having a consistent and annoying problem with parcel deliveries. I get a lot of deliveries to my home address as I run a small side hustle.
However, my business is being impacted by what can only be described as lazy delivery people. I’m home all day every day, yet I get countless notes in my mailbox stating: “We tried to deliver but you weren’t home.”
This is common with Australia Post and private couriers – they’re all doing it.
More recently, I’ve just been getting texts from private couriers to say parcels have been taken to the post office or a shop for me to fetch – not even a note to prove they were in the area.
I pay for delivery but I then end up going around picking up my parcels from various locations which can be as much as a 50-minute walk away.
Once I’ve paid for postage is there any obligation for them to bring it to my address and try to deliver it by ringing my doorbell? – Anna, Victoria
Unfortunately, you’re not the only person impacted by this Anna. If you look at online forums there are many people complaining about this practice, known as ‘carding’.
The good news is that you can do something about it.
As a first step, you can complain to Australia Post and the other private courier companies, setting out:
1. All the dates you have been ‘carded’
2. Confirmation you were home at the time
3. Whether the items were time-sensitive, such as medication
4. How long it took you to collect each item
5. The cost of the delivery
6. Any action you’d like them to take (such as an apology, a commitment to ensure it doesn’t happen again, or a refund of postage costs)
The complaint should be in writing, and make sure you keep a copy.
It is also worth providing a copy of your complaint to the supplier of the goods being delivered so they are aware of the poor service being provided by the courier companies they are using.
The Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman can investigate complaints about four different postal operators: Australia Post, StarTrack, Cheque-Mates, and D&D Mailing Services.
The Ombudsman service is free and impartial.
The Australian Consumer Law provides consumer guarantees which also apply to the delivery of parcels by Australia Post and private couriers, with the exception of deliveries of goods for the purpose of a business, trade, profession or occupation.
These consumer guarantees require that the service will be rendered with due care and skill, which includes parcels being delivered to the location where they are addressed.
If after making a complaint to the courier company there is no improvement, the company doesn’t respond, or they take retaliatory action – such as refusing to deliver to you at all – then you can make an application to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) for an injunction to stop the behaviour or for compensation.
In February 2022, Australia Post was required to pay compensation of more than $3000 in a similar situation as yours where the purchaser was spending 30 minutes each week collecting items that were not delivered correctly.
You can also make an application to VCAT for issues with deliveries of goods for businesses.
For further information, seek specific legal advice.
This legal information is general in nature and should not be regarded as specific legal advice or relied upon. Persons requiring particular legal advice should consult a solicitor.
If you have a legal question you would like Alison and Jillian to answer, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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