Missing Mail Mystery

When the Public Good is neglected
Last update: 21 March 2024

All things considered, the mail service in my not-very-remote rural area has been admirable. Until recently.

In December of 2023, I noticed a reduction in the volume of mail. Then it became evident that a parcel had gone missing. On social media, a neighbour voiced concerns. Over following months, reports emerged of mail delivered to wrong addresses, tied to a gate 400 metres from a roadside mail box and left at random Australia Post agencies (with no notification to the addressee). I managed to verify four items of mail that had been despatched to my address, but not delivered (three small parcels and a magazine).

24 February 2024

List in hand, I went in to Cessnock's Australia Post shop. They helpfully provided me with Australia Post's customer service 'phone number. Reports of experience with that avenue are not positive, so I tried something different.

Formal complaint

I managed to lodge details via Australia Post's online form. It seems the option is no longer available (unless you have a tracking number), but I got a response:

Sometimes enquiries can be resolved before we've completed our investigation. If that happens, let us know

8 March

Case closed

And later that day, after I requested that the case be reopened:


So; "contact us if the issue is resolved", then; "case closed because you didn't contact us", followed by "go away". "Customer service" evidently has as little meaning to Australia Post as it does to most corporate entities.

I've given details to my Federal MP. His staff might get a more helpful response.

10 March

Tried messaging Australia Post via their Facebook page:

I've detailed my problem here:
Obviously, something went wrong, not least with Australia Post's communication with its customers.

What's happening? Can any of the missing mail be retrieved (I gather that some went to random AP shops and some to wrong addresses).

11 March

Australia Post's response on Facebook:

Thanks for getting in touch with us to check on the delivery issue you're having. The link you have provided is not working for us, I'm sorry. If you could let us know the details below we will check on the issue and get back to you as soon as possible:

* Your full name if different to your profile.
* Your address, contact  number and email
* Case reference number, any tracking number/s of the items and details of the issue you've had.

We'll complete a privacy check and follow up on this for you.


Yeah, sure. 🙄 My reply:

If you refuse to access the information that I've compiled then this is futile. In what way is the link "not working"? What response do you get when trying it?

I honestly don't believe that the link doesn't work for you. Maybe find someone for whom it does work. Or perhaps try it in unsecured form:

My neighbours also report missing mail. That's why I set up the Web page. The page will be updated to reflect your (non) response.

I've attached an image of the acknowledgement to my enquiry, with reference number. The items in question (four that I know of) were all untracked.

Address: ▊▊ ▊▊▊▊▊ ▊▊▊▊▊ Road, Mount View NSW 2325 (Millfield, if you're using an obsolete database).

(sic) ▊▊▊▊▊▊▊@boxall.name

Phone: ▊▊▊▊▊▊▊▊▊▊

Their response:

Hi David,

Thanks for replying.

The link provided shows an error that this is not inline with our security guidelines, I apologise.

I can see from the case number you provided we had been sent an email to confirm if the items were tracked and delivery address. As they are not tracked we are unable to track their movements through the postal system and investigate what has happened to the particular items.

Any mail that cannot be delivered to the intended address will be returned to sender, assuming that sender details are present. If there are no sender details or we are unable to deliver to that address, your item will be taken to our Returned Mail Centre where we attempt to reunite them with their owner. I have checked with your name and address and I do apologise there is matches. We can check via the content information in case the contents have become loose. Can you provide the description of contents including brands, sizes, colours etc.



I'll admit, by this time I was getting a little bit annoyed:

You mob are evidently determined to evade accountability.
To quote from the web site:
"In December of 2023, I noticed a reduction in the volume of mail. Then it became evident that a parcel had gone missing. On social media, a neighbour voiced concerns. Over following months, reports emerged of mail delivered to wrong addresses, tied to a gate 400 metres from a roadside mail box and left at random Australia Post agencies (with no notification to the addressee)."

You have a problem. Probably many problems.

Reply from office of Federal MP Dan Repacholi:

Thanks for letting me know about the issue and the update over the weekend. I have reached out to Australia Post and asked them to look into this for you.

Following up on neighbour's comments on social media, I realised that my Local Land Services rates notice is among the mail that has not been delivered, so I emailed them at admin.hunter@lls.nsw.gov.au.

13 March

Reply from Australia Post “National Resolutions”:

I refer to your recent approach to Dan Repacholi MP regarding recent issues you have experienced in receiving mail and parcels. As this is an operational matter, it has been referred to Australia Post and I have been asked to investigate and respond on behalf of the corporation on this occasion

From the outset, please accept my sincere apologies for any inconvenience this matter may have caused. Our staff take great pride in the timely, safe and efficient delivery of mail, and I wholeheartedly appreciate that any instance of undelivered mail can be distressing and cause inconvenience for our customers.

I can see we have been trying to reach you from your original case (60264893) but have been getting a bounce back notification from the email address “▊▊▊▊▊▊▊@boxall.name”. In order for us to track these items and investigate what may have contributed to their non-delivery, are you able to please supply the following:

If the tracking numbers are available, we will be able to undertake more targeted investigation based on the movements of the items in question.

I note from a subsequent approach via Facebook you have indicated that the items were all untracked, but that since December you have noticed a reduction in mail volumes. I have raised this for investigation with the Cessnock Delivery Centre on this basis, and to see if anything changed in November which may be contributing to phenomenon you’re describing. As indicated in that Facebook interaction, however, articles which do not possess a unique identifying article number are not trackable. Investigations into the location of delivery of these items is very limited other than to say that articles are delivered as addressed or returned to sender if not able to be delivered.

I will come back to you via email once the Cessnock Delivery Centre has undertaken their investigation.

19 March

Reply from Australia Post “National Resolutions”:

I write to advise that I have conducted investigations with the Cessnock Delivery Centre, which have now concluded, and would like to provide the following update.

Australia Post regrets the obvious frustration and stress caused on this occasion and we are eager to remedy instances of delivery error or failure where these occur. Performance of our Delivery network is measured against a number of key metrics (e.g. first time delivery rate, complaint volumes, scanning compliance) and allows the business to identify trends within the network which may require specific attention. In conjunction with the lodgement of direct customer feedback or complaints, such as yours, we are able to address service shortfalls with an aim to ensuring that corrective action is undertaken and performance improved. In this regard, direct contact to the Customer Contact Centre (CCC) is advised to the relevant delivery facility and customer management system allows us to track complaint volumes which may pertain to a specific outlet, driver, product type etc.

Consistent with the above approach, Australia Post became aware of performance deficiencies in the provision of delivery services in your area. Subsequently, the services of our delivery contract partners were terminated, and the services of a new Business Partner and mail delivery contractor was procured to commence servicing your area. The Cessnock Delivery Centre are working closely with the business partners and delivery contract driver to provide additional training and resources, so they understand the processes involved with roadside contracting services, to prevent issues such as those you and other community members have raised. They have taken steps to ensure the drivers communicate issues promptly so that they can be addressed quickly to avoid any issues for customers.

In addition to the broader actions described above, we have also implemented a mail monitor for a period of one month for your address. This assists us in ensuring that anything arriving at the Delivery Centre is being delivered, which assists in ensuring the delivery contractors are appropriately discharging their duties. At the conclusion of the monitor period, I will request copy from the Delivery Centre to conduct a review and provide my findings. You can anticipate further contact from myself around 24 April 2024 to discuss this further. Anyone else you are aware of who may be experiencing issues should contact Australia Post directly, and we can assist them similarly.

The above said, mail that is tampered with or goes missing from a resident's property after it has been delivered is a criminal matter and customers should immediately report the theft to the police. We urge customers to be vigilant, and to ensure their mail is secure we recommend residents:

In closing, I again offer our apologies for any concern or inconvenience caused. Australia Post is eager to assist in resolving customer complaints and I hope the actions since completed and the advice contained herein provides confidence that we are here to assist.

24 March

My response:

Thanks for that.

It should not have come to this.

When I went in to Cessnock's Australia Post shop in February, I knew that others had been there before me on similar missions. Staff would have known of the issues in my area (at least, somebody there would have known). My enquiry could have been handled then and there. Instead, I was referred to the "customer service" line, which I knew others had tried to no avail. I tried everything else that I could think of (short of a complaint to the ombudsman) before approaching my Federal MP. The best that I can say is that Australia Post is not the worst that I've dealt with.

When things go wrong, affected people should be notified as soon as possible - and kept informed. Simple letterbox drops would do the job. The most likely first point of contact is the postal agency/shop. At the very least, Post Shop staff should have access to information and be authorised to answer questions. At present, the bureaucratic tone of Australia Post's contact arrangements gives the impression that they're trying to evade responsibility.

I've arranged for a number of small packages to be mailed from Sydney. That will give some indication of how the system is working.

25 March

Reply from Australia Post “National Resolutions”:

I acknowledge your feedback with respect to seeking support directly at your local post shop. The reality is that post offices won't always be across issues, and don't have the means to communicate formally and in a way that is recordable and can be drawn upon to assist in identifying and diagnosing issues. As indicated in my prior email, this reporting is exactly what allows for Australia Post to identify trends and understand at a macro-level when and where an issue may exist. This is why it is important to utilize our Customer Contact Centre if or when you experience issues.

By reporting such issues to our Customer Contact centre, we can measure the scale of the issue. This also ensures we have robust records both of communication with customers such as yourself, but also internally with our Delivery Network to understand and track their responses. I also want to stress that while it might seem as though prior complaints from other members within the community occurred to no avail, customer feedback is again a key component in diagnosing issues. I have been able to provide the information in my prior response precisely because the issues were already reported to us, diagnosed, and corrected.

All of this to say that while I acknowledge reporting your issues to members of our customer service team can, at times, feel fruitless, it is exactly this that allows us to assist in understanding and resolving issues in a meaningful way.

As indicated in my last email, we are conducting a mail monitor for your address, and I will reach out to you again at the conclusion. In the interim, if you have any issues receiving your small packets from Sydney, please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.

So a postal agency won't know about issues that have been reported to that postal agency? 😕

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