CHOICE membership

Fun with Auspost

For each of the following, ordered and specified ‘OK to leave’ with the order and I am registered as ‘always OK to leave’ with Auspost. FWIW nothing left at my door has ever gone missing in 15+ years at the address but I allow there could be a first time, someday, maybe.

  1. The sender was unfamiliar with all the ticks for no signature required because they normally require signatures. The special instructions showed ‘OK to leave at front door if house not attended’ but SIGNATURE REQUIRED was shown. Had to go to the post office for that one. When I queried the special instructions and my OK to leave registration they said that if the SIGNATURE REQUIRED is shown that overrides the special instructions box and the OK to leave registration. Understood as explained, but–

  2. My bell rang and it took me all of 10 seconds to walk to the door to find my parcel at the door and the Auspost truck already backed out of the drive. He can move quickly! The label showed “If house not attended DO NOT LEAVE. TAKE TO POST OFFICE. SIGNATURE REQUIRED.” in the special instructions as well as SIGNATURE REQUIRED in its box. I was very pleased to have it left, but. No way will I ever complain about Auspost doing what I asked. However from the sender’s view if the package went missing I wonder what Auspost’s position would have been with a delivery complete in their system but no signature.

  3. Order was shipped by Auspost’s Startrack Express. No email notifications but I knew it was coming from the order tracking details and did not expect tracking info from Startrack anyway, although it was on the Startrack web site. No worries. Order was delivered on schedule but none of that ringing the bell or knocking to disturb me, I just heard a noise in the driveway and voila, a box at the door and nobody to be seen. No worries. But an hour later I get an email from Auspost that a signature was required and it could not be left at the door and I need to go to the post office. The label showed ‘OK to leave at front door if house not attended’ and NO SIGNATURE REQUIRED. The delivery person did it right but it was impressive that Auspost got involved to sent the wrong message.

There is nothing as fine as procedural consistency and all the staff being on the same page, and how hard is it to get notifications right to reflect the delivery? Each time I have had to ‘complain’ to Auspost about a delivery, if the package ever arrived that was all they cared about with this being typical.

I wonder if anyone at Auspost (or anywhere in government) understands ISO9001 where ‘failures’ get recorded and fed back into making improved procedures. Alas, no evidence they do.


I’d bet you signed it - seen that before where a signature is provided, but strangely not the signature of anyone at the delivery address.

What amuses me the most about Australia Post is how they make their sibling - Telstra - look ‘good’ in comparison, something Telstra could never do on their own.

Sadly, like most places, there are some really good people who work there - I know a couple - and anecdotally they are just as frustrated at the dysfunctional mess they see - but these are the workers - seeing much of their work outsourced to the lowest bidder while management eat scones.


And I logged in specifically to make a post about Australia Post! Maybe this should be a separate topic, but here goes. It’s about AP’s not even slightly priority “priority mail”.

On 27 December, I sent this complaint to AP:

“I posted a card from Ellenbrook WA to my sister in Melbourne on Tuesday of last week using priority post. Despite handing it in at the Ellenbrook post office, she received it today (Wednesday). I may as well have put a Christmas stamp on it for the degree of priority it received. I suggest that if this is the best you can do for a 50% premium, then drop “priority” post.”

I received this today (15 January):

"Thank you for contacting us regarding your priorty mail, I am extremely sorry for the delay in responding to your message. We have received a huge amount of enquiries and are doing our best to get back to everyone. My name is Xxxxx and I will be able to assist you today. Shane, priority mail allows 1-4 business days for mail to be delivered, as this parcel was travelling across the country and not to more closers areas, 4 business days for delivery is quiet accurate. I am sorry you were disappoint in the service you received, next time if you are sending something across the country and need it there by a certain date it would be good to use the express service that has a more guaranteed time frame. I hope that this information has helped and that you enjoy the rest of your day. If there is anything else that we can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us again. "

So, assuming every flight from Perth to Melbourne carries mail, and bearing in mind that the Qantas group appears to offer 8 direct flights per day to Melbourne (without taking into account Virgin’s flights), AP presumably has about a dozen opportunities to get an envelope from Perth to Melbourne each day. The best their “priority” mail (with its 50% premium on ordinary mail) can do is up to four (4) working days. In my experience, their “express” mail takes two days.

It seems that Australia Post is now a package delivery service that also carries a few letters.


Our Auspost ‘priority mail’ is not a priority mail service, it is a priority delivery service. All mail seems to get from A to B depots at the same speed except the expensive express class. The difference between the $1.00 stamp and the $1.00 + $0.50 priority delivery sticker is that anything addressed to Melbourne (or Tassie) with a priority sticker does not overnight at Sunshine West or Aberdeer. Just going across Melbourne takes 2-4 days when only a short few years ago it was often 1 and reliably not more than 2 days. Everything without that $0.50 sticker spends time at Sunshine West, Aberdeer, and sometimes both, and we should be thankful they do not charge us storage fees while our mail is held there.

Their ‘service’ levels seem to reflect that to be the case.

What do they provide for the express class? I presume tracking and sorting to put on the next available flight and not overnighting at Sunshine West or Aberdeer.

Someone might know authoritatively, but I suspect the airmail service between Perth and Melbourne would be 1 and maybe 2 flights per day rather than all 8. Consider the arrival time and logistics; it would make little sense for incomings to Melbourne to arrive in certain time windows when there is no hope it could be processed further for some hours. Regardless of the economics and logistics I could not imagine Auspost could get their act together for 8 shipments in one day in these times with government policy where everything needs to turn a profit, not be a service at cost recovery or shudder, be subsidised by taxes.


I’m glad you said that. My perception is that letter delivery times have fallen in a hole over the past decade. Clearly, it’s not just me who thinks that.



That’s not the only thing that seems to have fallen into a hole. I ordered some parts online for my mountain bike a couple of weeks ago and was given the Auspost tracking number. I signed up to receive emails advising progress, supplying AP with various required bits of information about myself, but after a week I hadn’t seen any progress emails, so checked the tracking page again, only to find there were still no entries. I contacted my supplier and they chased it up, getting back to me fairly quickly to tell me that the parcel had been lost by AP. They offered me a refund or to supply the same parts again, I asked for the parts again, and they advised that they had been dispatched last Friday.

The tracking page currently says:

No events yet
Looks like your item hasn’t been scanned yet.
Please try again later. More information on pending status <What does this mean?> (link)

hmmmm, searching for some meaning to all of this, I clicked on their link to discover:

We may have just the answer you’re looking for.
Enter search term
Top answers

Sorry. We are experiencing technical difficulties.
Please try again.

that probably sums their tracking system up quite well!


I found many merchants with volume Auspost shipments print a label and the tracking number, but if it is late in the day and their post ‘service’ has already been by Auspost might not collect it, or if the business posts it themselves they might not actually put it in the ‘box’ until a business day later, and in further out locations sometimes 2 days later. So you have a live tracking number that Auspost has yet to meet with. A merchant told me that, not Ausposts magnificent help…


Contractors used by Australia Post for parcel deliveries are quick to exit aren’t they!

At least the ones that ring the doorbell give us a chance. By fluke I managed to see and yell out to one who was leaving after coming to the door and NOT ringing the bell - I asked why he hadn’t rung the bell and his response was that he had rung a doorbell at a different house one time and no one had answered it; and therefore from his point of view ringing a doorbell was a worse than a waste of time.


Was it a parcel or was it a letter? I don’t think AusPost has correctly identified your issue. They are discussing Parcels you are discussing a card or a letter.

It was a letter - well, a card actually.

I see what you’re saying, but as far as I’m aware, “priority” post applies to letters only, so I assume the parcel reference is a slip of the fingers.

No they are quoting timeframes incorrectly. The AusPost site says that postage between States from a metro area in a Capital City to a metro area in a Capital City priority paid timeframe is estimated to be 2 days. 4 days is the quoted timeframe between country locations of differing States, I have taken a ‘snip’ of the relevant section:

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Hi Shane, something you should know is that AusPost Express Post takes one day less than Priority Mail and ordinary mail is 5-7 business days remembering that weekends they don’t work. the reason I know is I asked one day because Express Post is dearer and when they said it was 3 days instead off 5 I though why pay for the extra because delivery also depends on whether they deliver mail 5 days a week, because where I live that isn’t the case.
also planes are used for all mail I sent something too Melbourne and it went from Brisbane to Sydney by air, through 3 mail centres in Sydney and by truck to Melbourne, not sure why but someone is making a lot off money out off Auspost and it isn’t them.

You are lucky sometimes I get a yell from the garden gate I come to the door and no the guy doesn’t actually come in the gate he stands there and waits for me to walk out to him. Then there’s those that tell me they aren’t allowed to come into the yard when a gate is shut even if I’m home. I do have a driver who actually knows me because he’s delivered before so he comes in and leaves stuff near the front door if I’m not here regardless if there is a signature required or not, other times I find a card i n the letter box even if I’m home and have to go to the Post Office. I’ve even waited for something to be delivered and seen the guy jump out off his van run to the letterbox drop in the card and drive off. When I’ve complained I’ve been told no that doesn’t happen our drivers always make sure no one is home before they do that.
I do have a Post Office Box and I get most things delivered there unless the place they’re are coming from doesn’t allow that and I need to put a street address, funny thing is if your not home it goes to the post office anyway.

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This is definitely true. I have experienced this on many occasions.

My Auspost delivery driver is awesome!! She has been dropping off my parcels for years and most often I am not there. Yes this includes all the ‘must sign’ parcels. On the little machines with the funny stylus, her version of my signature and mine are actually pretty close. Needless to say I buy her Champagne and Chocolates every Christmas.


Quoting a Monty Python line: you should be so lucky
I live in Wagga Wagga approx 65,000 people and all our mail goes by road to Canberra to be sorted and then back by road to be delivered.
When I asked why I was told that when they were buying new sorting machines they could only afford one for the southern area of NSW.
What are the costs involved in all that freight each day every working day of the year.
I think that we could have purchased one by now.


Hi. I guess it depends on which AP page you go to. Their “Calculate postage & delivery times” page provided the same mid-20th century timeframe estimates as the email I received from AP.


Yep. I’ve had the same experience when I lived in the ACT. Guy hops out of his van, drops the card in the letterbox and drives off. Must have spent 30 seconds at each address on his “delivery” round.


Or the response from AP was nothing more than a cut and paste from another complaint! More probable!


Don’t get me started on Australia Post’s lack of service!! We have had endless hassles trying to send and receive parcels over several years. On many occasions parcels have been ‘lost’ and many ‘signed for’ when no one was home to actually sign! I ordered a book from metro Sydney area 5 days ago, and according to the tracking it is now in QLD. I live in Melbourne, why on earth would it have to go to QLD first?! One week and it’s still not here - absolutely useless and over priced service