Complaints against Germany’s postal sector soar in first half of 2020

The number of complaints against the postal service in Germany soared above 10,000 in the first half of the year, new figures show.

Complaints against Germany's postal sector soar in first half of 2020
Archive picture shows a DHL employee sorting packets. Photo: DPA

Whether it's letters arriving late or a parcel going missing, it can be frustrating when the postal service doesn't work properly.

And new figures show that in the first half of 2020 many more customers have been complaining about Deutsche Post, Germany's primary postal delivery service, and its competitors in the mail sector.

By the end of June, the Federal Network Agency had received more than 10,000 written complaints, the agency reported on request to FAZ newspaper. In 2019, there were around 8,700 complaints in the same period.

Around half of the reports related to parcels, with delivery problems being the most frequent topic. It comes even though according to parcel service providers, delivery to private households worked better during the height of the coronavirus crisis compared to other periods, because people spent much more time at home.

A total of 35 percent of the complaints were related to letters. In contrast to the parcel sector, the vast majority of complaints here are likely to relate only to the service provided by Deutsche Post, which has a market share in letter delivery of more than 80 percent.

READ ALSO: Why parcel delivery price hikes in Germany are set to be reversed

The rest of the complaints concerned various other problems, such as issues with post offices or letterboxes.

Anyone in Germany who has issues receiving letters or parcels can report it to the Federal Network Agency, which is the regulatory authority responsible for the postal and parcel sector.

However, it remains to be seen whether the increase in the number of complaints will lead to a change in the quality of service.

As The Local reported last year, the country's Economics Ministry “announced a comprehensive revision of the postal law framework” in a bid to improve the service.

The Ministry said that the speed and effectiveness of delivery would be optimized, with possible penalties to the Deutsche Post when these conditions aren't met.

According to its own figures, Deutsche Post delivers about 57 million letters in Germany every working day.


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Can you rely on Sweden’s Postnord to deliver cards and presents on time?

Wednesday marks the last day you can send first class letters or parcels in Sweden and still hope they'll make it in time for Christmas Eve. But how reliable is PostNord, the company which runs Sweden's postal service?

Can you rely on Sweden's Postnord to deliver cards and presents on time?

What can you still send and hope for it to be delivered by Christmas? 

The Christmas deadline for letters and parcels outside of Sweden already passed on December 12th, as has the deadline for ordering anything online and hoping for it to arrive on time, with most e-commerce companies advising customers that anything ordered later than December 19th will not arrive in time. 

But if you’re sending first-class letters, pre-paid parcels, and small packages for delivery through the letterbox, you can still send them up until December 21st. The same goes for other parcel services such as Postnord MyPack Home, PostNord MyPack Home small, PostNord MyPack Collect, and Postpaket parcels.  

And if you’re willing to pay a bit extra, you can send express mail letters, express parcels, and first class ‘varubrev’ small parcels up until December 22nd. 

“Those dates still apply. We have written in a press statement that if you send by those dates you can be pretty sure that they will arrive in time,” Anders Porelius, head of press at PostNord, told The Local on Tuesday. 

But can you trust Postnord to deliver when they say they will? 

Not entirely.

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority, Sweden’s postal regulator, ruled on December 8th that the company was failing to meet its regulatory target of delivering 95 percent of all letters within two working days, with 28 million letters delivered late between June and November. 

An investigative documentary by TV4’s Kalla Fakta (Cold Facts) programme, was sent pictures showing huge piles of late, undelivered letters in one of PostNord’s terminals, and interviewed postal workers who said that they were unable to complete their deliveries now they had been moved from daily to every other day, as they had twice as many letters to deliver on the days when they worked. 

“You get yelled at by the customers, and rightly so, you get yelled at by your bosses, and you scold yourself because you feel like you’re not able to do enough,” said Emilia Leijon, one postal worker. “We pretty much never manage to deliver a whole satchel. There’s too much post and too little time.” 

What is PostNord doing about the delays? 

The Swedish Post and Telecom Authority has given the company until January 30th to carry out an analysis into why it is not managing to meet its targets, and to draw up an action plan of how it is going to improve.