The customer is always right… Unless they’re a Post Office Customer

So it’s that time of the week again… When I get our Proof of Postings (POPs) and Postage Receipts (PRs) from the Post office, and try to reconcile them with the cheque that was written.

It’s true they are kind enough to work on a weekly basis so we aren’t writing a cheque every day, but we initially left a float so they should never be out of pocket.

What is also true though, is that if THEY make an error, which happens regularly, (mostly errors in the sums which throws the amounts out) it is very hard to get them to deal with it because they are sure they NEVER make a mistake!

This mistake though, is much worse and when it happened the first time I was gobsmacked…

Firstly, by way of explanation, I print out an A4 sheet daily with all of the names and addresses on, relating to the parcels, to serve as proof of posting and this hopefully makes their life easier. They just check off each name to the parcel.

When I get the POPs back, they have stapled the PR for that day to the A4 sheet for that day. Simple, well it should be. They also print out, and I’m not sure why, a separate proof of posting for any ‘signed for’ parcels (SFPOP), which looks exactly like a postage receipt until you read it. When I reconcile the cheque with the receipts, I un-staple the PR from the POP, (because accountant needs the PR, but not the POP, and if I left them together we would have to hire a lorry to take the end of year accounts to his office) then file the PRs pertaining to the cheque with an itemised printout and cheque number on, and file the POPs in another folder to be shredded every six months or so.

So… This more serious mistake is that they forget to give me the Postage Receipt. The PR that is evidence for the accountant when he does our taxes. I know. It’s nothing really in the grand scheme of things, but here’s how things played out the first time…

I got the envelope back, put the PRs/POPs in date order then proceeded to split one from the other. At this point I re-staple any of their SFPOPs for ‘signed for’ to the A4 POP. This is when I realised there was a receipt missing for a particular day. I was provisionally able to reconcile as there is a running total on the weekly envelope of each day’s PR amount being deducted from our float, so I did that but put all of the paperwork for the missing receipt day (A4 sheet, and a SFPOP) aside to be taken to the post office.

The next day came and I gave my husband the paperwork we did have and asked him to get a ‘duplicate receipt’, as I assumed they had printed one off but mislaid it before it got to us, otherwise they wouldn’t have known the amount for the day. When my husband got there and asked for the receipt the word ‘duplicate’ was immediately jumped on, and C didn’t have the ammo to fire back because he’s not the book keeper. The next thing they jumped on was the staple mark on both the A4 sheet, and the SFPOP, where I had split the SFPOP from the A4 thinking it was the receipt, then re-stapled when I realised it was the SFPOP. “Why is this staple mark here???!” The post office person said in an accusatory tone, implying that we had removed the receipt for some nefarious reason. This argument went on for a while, with other customers waiting, and although C didn’t have all of the info with regards to my book keeping he stood his ground and didn’t leave the counter until he had a receipt for the amount that was needed, but he was very upset and embarrassed at the way he’d been talked to, especially when you consider that we, as customers spend a five figure sum with them every year.

Fast forward to today, and there is another missing PR. I have let a couple slide previously because we didn’t want the hassle, but any more and the accountant will be shouting at me.

So… I have explained on a note why I split the paperwork, and then sometimes re attach. I have gone into great detail. I have tried to cover every eventuality. I have done all this for someone who works at a Post Office counter. Whatever happened to the customer is always right?? To give you an idea of the attitude…

The receipts sometimes don’t tally with the cheque. I know the discrepancy amount. I know how they made the error (normally on running total – writing a receipt amount incorrectly, subtracting incorrectly, or just mixing numbers up, for example writing … 49 instead of 94) and I want to reimburse them or be reimbursed depending on the error, but they refuse to believe that they make an error and it seems no one double checks the figures. When the error is substantially not in our favour I’ll fight that too, but for now I let it go, as they won’t listen.

Please wish my husband luck as he toddles off to the post office with today’s parcels and a load of paperwork that he needs to get a PR for. Let’s hope he doesn’t have to fight too hard to get what he should have been given in the first place. If they had done their job right.


The customer is always right… Unless they’re a Post Office Customer

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