Key points
  • Australia Post and subsidary StarTrack expect to compensate business contract customers and some parcel recpients a total of $2.9 million
  • The group was found to have incorrectly applied an amended exemption to consumer law 
  • Impacted customers will be contacted within a fortnight, or automatically compensated

The national postal service and its subsidiary, StarTrack, expect to remediate as many as 11,500 customers for parcels lost or damaged between October 2018 and October 2022.

It comes after Australia Post self-reported what was found to likely have been misleading or deceptive conduct to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) earlier this year.

The postal service provider failed to correctly apply an amendment to Australian Consumer Law made in 2018.

According to an ACCC statement, the amendment stated that “consumer guarantee rights applied to the transport of goods to a recipient who is not carrying on a business in relation to the goods”.

Following the amendment, Australia Post and StarTrack failed to accept business contract customers’ claims that the postal service providers had lost or damaged goods sent to customers without a business purpose.

The two companies also incorrectly told some businesses that they weren’t eligible to receive compensation.

“The failure by Australia Post Group to provide business customers with the remedies they were entitled to is extremely concerning, but we acknowledge that Australia Post self-reported this conduct to the ACCC,” ACCC Commissioner Liza Carver said.

“We are pleased that Australia Post Group has undertaken to provide compensation for this error and to put systems in place to ensure similar errors are not made in the future.”

Around 10,500 Australia Post business contract customers and fewer than 1,000 StarTrack delivery recipients were caught up in the failure, with many to receive automatic compensation.

Australia Post has apologised to impacted customers.

It also reassured the public that the related parcels accounted for less than 0.01% of those moved through the Australia Port and StarTrack networks during the four-year period.

“We know the important role we play in the community, particularly supporting our business customers, and have corrected our processes to make sure this doesn’t happen again.” said Gary Starr, Australia Post executive general manager of parcel, post, and e-commerce services.

Impacted customers will be contacted in regards to compensation within a fortnight, or will be automatically compensated.

If a customer is contacted by Australia Post, they will need to submit their claim within six months from the time they’re contacted.

A claims portal has been made available on the companies' websites.

The ACCC is also warning customers that scammers might take advantage of the news.

It urges Australians to hang up on callers offering to help them with a refund and to never give anyone access to computers or bank accounts, or provide personal information to unexpected callers.

Neither Australia Post or StarTrack will send clickable links or phone numbers, nor will they ask for email or text message responses.

Image by Di Weng on Unsplash.