[AMA] I Used to Work for Auspost

Had a 2 year stint working for Auspost at a big main post office. Was 2IC in the mailroom. Bring on some questions and I'll try to answer some throughout the day!

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    • +1 vote

      CD jewel case full of cocaine, cat organs, grenade shells, fentanyl, gun parts, swords, live bees are boring, crickets, worms, smashed box of wine and 20k cash, list goes on.

      Will not answer the xray question as it is not my AMA

      •  

        Go for it slinky. I've been out of it since 2015

        • +1 vote

          Thanks for the offer but I'll pass on that one! The government Is watching Dons colander

  • +6 votes

    Have you ever thought of running a bottle deposit scheme using a mail van?

    • +2 votes

      the scheme didn't exist back when I worked there

      • +1 vote

        Acceptable answer Postal Employee Tsu-Chan

      • +1 vote
      • +1 vote

        yes, but on Mother's Day, you could drive the
        mail delivery vans interstate (S.A.), and collect your moolah.

  •  

    A while ago I had mail sent to my work address that did not have a mailbox, the mail never arrived and the lpo knew nothing. What happened to my mail?

    •  

      It was lost

    •  

      It was delivered to a different suite in your work building? That happens often where I work now so….

    •  

      Does your work usually have mail delivered by hand and put somewhere ?

      On that particular day the run could have been done by someone who hasn't done it before/run was split due to the postie been sick etc. Postie couldn't find your work/letterbox/business name wasn't on the envelope so marked it as return to sender - insufficient address.

      Happens a little bit due to businesses not having clear numbers/letter boxes/in complete address etc.

      •  

        The business is in the one building, there is a reception and I checked with them but they did laugh at me and said there is no mailbox.

        •  

          Yeah, the onus is on you to have a mail box. Most posties will get off their bikes to hand deliver mail, but if it's a industrial shed, poorly marked etc, it's getting RTS

    •  

      It gets RTS.

  • +1 vote

    I see those green boxes on the streets, sometimes near the postboxes. I was wondering what they are for. I think I saw a postie getting something out of the green box like a spare bag or something?

    •  

      I never came across it while I was working there…but I do see one out of my window and my local walking postie using it to hold piles of letters?

      • +1 vote

        Oh so is this where the postie collects more mail to deliver in the neighbourhood on their run?

        • +3 votes

          You're 100% right. That's where posties mail is store to keep them going. They'll often be green, red or blue and generally without much marking to prevent targeted theft (Who would steal mail? The same people that steal the entire metal Post Box and not just the bag inside). These little boxes ensure the postie doesn't have to drive up to 30-40minutes back to his facility to pick up more mail. We have drivers drop off all their mail for their stops in advance so we can deliver as much mail without delays.

    • +1 vote

      Green? Which state? They are usually red. They are called drop boxes. The postie loads up his motocycle with mail. 15kg x 2 panniers, 5kg front pack, 5 kg top pack, and the rest is bundled and put into drop bags and taken to the drop boxes by couriers. The postie will then complete part of their run and stop at the drop box along the run to pick up more.

      • +1 vote
        • +1 vote

          Red in qld. But yes, that is a drop box. 99% of the population are oblivious to them and would of never seen one before however we all probably drive by one every day.

          •  

            @Slinky0111: Thanks mate
            Very insightful

          •  

            @Slinky0111: Worked in a few places for AP in Qld and they were always green but yeah drop boxes for extra mail posties can't carry initially.

    •  

      Depot bags full of mail articles and spam.

  •  

    Interesting to read about what happens in the mail room.

    I came home to a red card in my mailbox on the 27th of December inviting me to collect a small parcel from my LPO on the 2nd of January. There was no barcode on the card, just my name and date/time filled in. When I got to the LPO they said they couldn't find my parcel.

    The parcel came from overseas and is a5 letter sized. No tracking number. Is there anything I can really do at this stage? Pretty disappointing to make the trip to the post office only to get… nothing at all!

    What do you think could've happened to it and what steps can I take from there?

    •  

      Happened often when the staff on shift couldn't find where another staff in a different shift put it incorrectly away. We had had a look out board where we take the customer's phone number, name and address and in any down time or if the look out pile doesn't shrink the supervisor/2ic would spend the time to look for where it could have gone…like someone misread a letter in the street name or something.

      •  

        They did take all my details but that was a week ago now. I'll keep my hopes up but won't hold my breath!

        Thanks for the reply!

    •  

      It sounds like your postie tried to do the right thing. The parcel obviously didn't fit in your letter box so he carded it and took it to the post office.

      Posties should carry a roll of barcodes with them. 2 matching barcodes. One for the card, one for the parcel. Sounds like the postie skipped this step :/

  •  

    why do delivery agents like startrack still leave parcels on my doorstep in full view of the street, even when a "do not leave - no safe place" order is on the address and a sticker is placed on said packages saying do not leave?

    • +1 vote

      there are plenty of people who work for the company who choose to not read simple instructions

    •  

      Because the scanner allows them to. Any tracked delivery through eparcel with an auspost account you should receive an email/text message letting you know your deliver is on the way. You can choose the option "do not safe drop" and the scanner will update and not let the driver safe drop.

    •  

      "do not leave - no safe place"

      There stickers are invalid delivery instructions. The delivery instructions must be on elad.

  •  

    Do you guys do list item auctions

  • +2 votes

    A friend of mine successfully sent a coconut via aus post with the address written on the shell. Do you think I could send a wheel of cheese?

    •  

      Hmmmm, don't see why not. Bit of a risk though. Check the auspost website to make sure there are no restrictions. Top of my head fruit boxes can't be sent to north Queensland, nor some fruit.

  •  

    A few pointers to keep in mind.

    Couriers/posties are encouraged when leaving a calling card to leave it in the security door, under the door or in the door jam as proof they knocked on the front door.

    If a postie delivers you a Calling card it could be because your article has been at the post office for a week or mor and they are sending you a reminder card. Don't assume they carded it on that day.

    Get a parcel locker! It's free!

    The government mandates w
    Aus post delives letters 97% on time or better. This the the community service agreement. Last few years auspost has has delivered 99.7 to 99.1% on time (don't quote me, off the top of my head). This results in all award staff getting a 8% bonus of pre tax salary.

    •  

      it's easy to reach the target if you make the target very low.

      •  

        That's really high in logistics, actually.

        But it is for the letter service, not carton / parcel. StarTrack would be their 'premium' service for cartons.

        • +1 vote

          What I was referring to was not the 97% on time target.
          But the on time target it self.
          Setting the on time target as 1 week, 2 weeks or 1 month is lot easier to achieve than setting the target to 3 days.

        •  

          another 97% on time service courtesy of Australia Post.
          List night I received two letters sent on 02/01 and 03/01.
          So they were delivered in 6-7 business days.
          The annoying thing is they are time critical that I have to reply back.

    •  

      Our company keeps stats on this. We roughly found that 5% of all Express Post satchels violate the Express Post Guarantee, i.e. 5% of parcels that were supposed to take 1 business day, took 2 or more.
      Therefore, while you say 97% of letters are delivered on time, parcels are not.

  •  

    What shifts do the mail sorters work? Is it still done by hand?

    How does mail redirect work? When I bought a PO Box, they offer a redirect service. How does a sorter know that your mail needs to redirect? Does every letter get entered manually into the system and checked for redirecting?

    How do I prevent parcels from being left on my doorstep? Sometimes it says in tracking information that they have authority to leave it there. But I never gave them that authority. How do I change it so no one is allowed to leave things unattended?

    •  

      I had a 6am-9am shift where all PO BOX mail had to be done by 8:30am. Distribution of mail into the boxes is done by hand. They did trial machine sorting into numerical order but there were a lot of letters slotted in for other post offices (can't be helped, people input the wrong postcode or the machine reads it wrong).

      Mail redirections were done by me. We marked the PO BOX on the inside with the same yellow sticker for redirection and pull the letters out when doing mail distribution to the PO BOXes. I would then take them aside and stick the appropriate label for the redirection and put them back into the system. Most times I can pull them out in the first run of sorting in the morning cause I could remember nearly all of the boxes that required redirection in one go. Big amounts of items I would put them in a mailbag and tie it off with a redirection label, more than 3 letters I would put them into an internal mail envelope and put one redirection label, 1 offs each day get the label placed directly over the address box. Parcels were treated as 1 offs and get scanned back into the system as a redirect as well. The sorting machine prioritises them for sure.

      Slinky answered the parcels thing a few comments back. We both agree that the only way to circumvent it is to get a parcel locker which is still free.

      •  

        So you did 3 hour shifts?

        About the redirections, I mean, how do you know when you see a letter addressed to John Smith of 35 Smith St (but no one else who lives in that address) that it needs to redirect to a PO box? Does the person redirecting know off the top of their head which addresses to redirect? Or does a machine scan the handwriting of every letter being sent to check for redirects?

        •  

          The other way of redirection is out of my knowledge

        •  

          Couple of different ways.

          As you can imagine there are set mail runs. Every mail run has approx 1200 delivery points on the route, give or take.

          The mail is sorted into frames with every delivery point having a slot to slot the mail.

          Mail is sorted off in the morning by the PDO.

          After they have finished sorting the mail, parcels, large letters off they use a redirection folder for that particular run.

          Every day the folder is updated for new directions, cancellations or hold mail.

          The PDO will then go through the folder and check the corresponding slot for redirection mail.

          •  

            @Slinky0111: That would mean there's a LOT of slots? Is each slot one street, or one address?

            •  

              @lostn: Correct. Every slot Is two addresses. | 1 3 | 5 7 | 9 11 | ect. So when slotting the mail you always slot the mail closest to the plastic dividers.

  •  

    Who determines when mail is underpaid?

    Is any consistent process use to determine:

    A) Whether it is let slide and no action is taken
    B) For an invoice to be sent to the sender with a fine+underpaid amount
    C) That the receiver must pay the shortfall prior to receiving the item

    •  

      If the receiver at our post office has an account for reply paid we had to charge them appropriately. Small letter, Large letter (weight), Small Parcel, Med parcel and large parcels. We also had 1 offs to charge to our PO BOX customers where they will get an extra bill in the quarter to cover the shortfall of the sender but we rarely do it. We always prioritised getting the mail/parcels to the receiver as much as possible.

      If the parcel is mark cash on delivery it pretty much was determine by someone up the line that there was a shortfall that had to be paid. They are usually for the street address customers (the ones who live in the area) where we have to send them into the shop to pay at the counter.

      • +1 vote

        I don't understand why the receiver has to pay for the underpaid postage as the sender should have responsibility for that. I feel that it is how Aus Post feels it is the best way to get money. Underpaid postage should be determined when the parcel/letter is lodged or sorted prior to delivery.

        •  

          The addressee can refuse to pay and return to sender.

  •  

    When I was younger I would send letters without buying a stamp. They almost always were delivered.

    What did you do when seeing an unstamped letter? Return to sender, or just deliver it anyway?

    •  

      Answered above, "We always prioritised getting the mail/parcels to the receiver as much as possible."

      Doesn't mean we don't like to RTS if there are other aspects in play.

      •  

        That would mean no one has to buy stamps. Just "forget" to put them on, and don't put sender information on the back so it can't be RTS.

        • +2 votes

          I do want to touch base on this, if you are to send a letter to an address without a stamp, and no Sender information, you'll screw over the person you're sending it to.

          Any underpaid postage has an Underpaid Mail invoice sent to Sender, which is postage + administration costs for having to process it.

          If this item doesn't have Sender details, your recepient will receive a card in the mailbox letting them know they have "more to pay" to collect this letter from the post office. Generally this is the cost of the postage, however this administration fee may also be passed along (roughly $2.50 + postage).

          •  

            @PostieMalone: That's helpful. So I can screw over some companies of ill repute, such as utility companies.

            • +1 vote

              @lostn: Most likely they just won't collect the letter, and then it will taken to our lost mail facility and destroyed.

  •  

    An LPO owner told me a couple of years ago that boxes with "fragile" stickers or tape often seemed to have more damage to them than other parcels. He suggested grumpy aus post staff were intentionally rougher with them. Did you ever notice anything like that?

    • +1 vote

      They often arrived worse for wear at our post office as well. We treat them appropriately at the post office but have no control further up the mail chain if they get crushed by machinery in particular.

    •  

      "fragile" stickers or tape

      Do yourself a favour and don't use the stickers.
      https://auspost.com.au/sending/satchels-and-packaging/packag...

      Marking it 'Fragile' or 'Handle with care' isn't enough
      While we don't actually offer a 'Fragile' service, we'll always try to handle items with care. But writing on your item won't protect it when it's in a mail bag or being processed through sorting equipment.

    • +1 vote

      No, more care is definitely taken with parcels with fragile tape. However unless it's wine/dry ice/glass/oversize/live animals the parcels will still be tipped and sorted by machine.

  •  

    Can we reuse prepaid satchels when we put a new tracking number sticker on them?

    •  

      er so how I understood it…. you can pay for packaging in the shop or packaging with tracking service included on the package. defeats the whole purpose of buying packaging with tracking service included and paying another tracking number on it unless it's over the designated weight or you paid for extra insurance on it.

    • +1 vote

      Yes. After a satchel is used, you can then reuse the satchel as long as you take it back to a post shop to pay for the additional postage and services.

  • +1 vote

    Is the mail room run 24/7?

    •  

      er, not at a post office branch? are you talking about a mail distribution center?

      •  

        Yes distribution center

        •  

          I heard there were night shifts at the distribution centers as there were also job listings for them internally as well.

        •  

          my parcel locker is at my local DC. if I don't pick up parcels quick enough I can get them anytime between 6am on monday and 6pm on friday, so they at least have staff working there all during that time.

        •  

          Yes. Majority of letter facilities are run 24 hours a day across different shifts. Bulk of the staff are 630am and 4pm shifts

  • +1 vote

    I live in an apartment and 9 out of 10 times my parcel gets to delivered to "nearest post station and awaits collection". Never got ring up, I suspect when AU Post see my address, they just don't bother to come by and ship directly to post office?

    • +1 vote

      Can the postie see his bike from where the buzzer is located?? Posties aren't allowed to leave eye sight of their bike.

  •  

    bought an item from overseas from nike…

    livin in MEL…
    how come the parcel came from NL SA port then shipped to MEL passed clearance then went for a trip to SYD?

    Cowandilla SA 07/01/2019 14:17 Received
    Melbourne 08/01/2019 09:23 Customs Cleared
    Melbourne 08/01/2019 13:14 Delayed In Transit
    Sydney Australia 08/01/2019 15:35 SURPLUS
    Sydney Australia 10/01/2019 08:16 Cleared
    Sydney Australia 10/01/2019 10:21 Arrival Scan

    ….

    •  

      Misdirected by someone manually (human error).

      Happens every so often with all sorts of freight.

  • +1 vote

    How is sendle.com impacting on Oz Post..door to door email updates from $6.95..love the larger parcel pricing across Oz as well.

    •  

      $6.95

      $6.80 is only in metro.

      https://try.sendle.com/pricing

      Remote parcel deliveries are charged a simple flat-rate surcharge of $13 (or $11.81 excl. GST) on top of the national rate. See remote rates in full

    • +1 vote

      Sendle contract out their deliveries, a lot of them end up going through AP anyway.

      • +1 vote

        Correct. Or auspost will end up buying them out.

  •  

    Are Australia post staff train to know not everyone has family name listed as last name? I have seen poor international students or non locals trying to explain this to them.

    •  

      Use your passport to collect awaiting articles. Make sure the addressee name is the same as the passport.

    •  

      The asians working at the post office educate the non asians co workers on this.

      P.s I'm asian

      • +2 votes

        P.s I'm asian

        Username checks out.

      •  

        What will happen if the lpo is own by non asian and no staff is asian?

        •  

          I'm not sure what you want to gain from this question. The staff can be open minded enough to be educated by asian customers?? Or not?

  •  

    Thanks for doing this AMA. I'm just wondering about the working hours at a branch. Is sorting usually done early morning? Is overtime common, especially during busy season (Christmas etc)?

    • +1 vote

      Opening hours for the branch was from 7am - 5pm (6pm and 7pm in busy periods or became permanent at my branch) but supervisors are there from 5am to receive the first truck prioritised for the po boxes and locked bags

      I worked the 6am - 9am shift where we had to get the mail and parcels sorted and put away for po box and locked bag customers by 8:30 however we knew the regulars routine sowe always just did it in that order.

      Overtime is common during xmas period but only offered to the staff by the manager or supervisors who demonstrated good services. A few times its been another girl cause she was really good at customer service. Another girl was offered because she did all her allocated tasks during her mailroom shift within the hour and I usually got offered cause I found things really quickly or had good intuition where someone's parcel could be so I even find other staff members parcels that theyre trying to look for while I serve another customer

    • +1 vote

      Auspost runs on overtime. A working day is 7 hr 21 min. Plus half hour unpaid lunch.

      Posties who complete their run and opt to do part of another run (called a split) receive $7 split allowance, $16.11 meal allowance and usually an hour or more overtime at time and a half.

      Mail is sorted into frames from 6am till roughly 930am.

      Gateways, parcel facilities and mail centres also run on bulk overtime. These facilities sort the mail to the different delivery centers.

  • +1 vote

    My old postie did great work and I was going to thank him during Christmas but he left the job. How do I overcome this sadness.

    • +1 vote

      By posting a new thread asking for help of course!

  •  

    What are the consequences of putting more than 500Gms in the 500Gms satchel and putting it in the mailbox. Will it be sent back, will be sender be fined or will the buyer have to play extra. I know they weigh it at the post office but how does it work with the mailbox I always wondered because I always guess the weight.

    •  

      Usually the satchel is designed to only handle 500g and has arrived torn and broken. You have a large chance of the contents inside being lost in the system. Other than that, the addressee is charge to cover the weight shortfall.