The South African Post Office (SAPO) recently “misplaced” the package of a MyBroadband reader who had ordered a product from an international retailer.
He said he purchased a high-value smartwatch which was also bundled with a number of accessories.
The reader ordered the device, which was shipped from overseas, and traced its progress from the international retailer to SAPO, where it suddenly vanished.
He said this issue was one he encountered relatively often, and he usually applied for a refund from the international retailer citing failed delivery of the item.
This time, however, he pressed the Post Office for information over a period of months to determine what actually happened to the smartwatch.
Battle for information
The reader began a lengthy battle with Post Office support staff querying the location and progress of his delivery, which they said they were not able to assist with.
He eventually contacted the SAPO regional management offices and reached a manager, whom he said told him that the smartwatch was stolen by a Post Office employee.
When he asked for details, this manager said she was unable to divulge any information pertaining to an ongoing investigation.
At this point, it had been around four months since the smartwatch was first shipped to the reader, and he accepted a refund for the failed delivery of the item.
He added that as a regular importer of high-value products, he has had this occur on multiple occasions, but this was the first instance in which he pushed for more information and received confirmation that the package was stolen.
Post Office responds
MyBroadband asked the SA Post Office to confirm whether the smartwatch was stolen, and what recourse would be available to the reader.
“The SA Post Office delivers a volume of more than two million mail and parcel items per day successfully,” said SA Post Office operations group executive Zukiswa Ntsikeni.
“The organisation receives enquiries in relation to items damaged in transit or lost in the region of 0,0004% of this volume.”
“This percentage is on par with industry standards, and items enquired about include parcels and other mail items. The organisation has put measures in place to get this to 0%,” Ntsikeni said.
The Post Office provided a manifest of the parcel which showed that the item ordered by the customer was valued at $20.
“The customer has since lodged a claim for a refund which is being processed to be concluded shortly,” Ntsikeni said.
SAPO did not comment on whether the smartwatch was stolen by a Post Office employee, as allegedly stated by another employee to the affected customer.