NN Header

Saturday, 13 September 2014

SingPost: slipping standards of service

Since the days of the young, letters sending and waiting for mail by the postboxes was something that was a necessity, if not a mere pasttime. Those were the days that preceded the onslaught of computers and mobile phones, and those were the days when envelopes + stamps were basic essentials lying around one's homes.

I had my fair share of penpals (both local and overseas), and sending of letters, greeting cards and tiny gifts to friends on a very frequent basis.  So, I am no stranger to SingPost's (formerly known as Singapore Post) level of efficiency.

We seldom encountered lost mails or mis-delivered mails (at least my friends and I did not). Even when we made small mistakes pertaining to wrong postal codes, wrong block numbers and even wrong unit numbers at times, the friendly Mr. Postman (who must've been familiar with us because they brought us our mail so frequently?) would simply circle the mistake and correct it in red ink, and our letters still get posted without much issue.

SingPost's Recent Service Lapse #1
I have cut down on using SingPost considerably recently. Having heard many accounts of parcels getting missing, I could not comment since I seldom order things from online, and on the rare occasions I do, I receive my goods in decent order.

However, my recent stint at trying to get a parcel mailed out frustrated me to the max. To cut a long story short, I was mailing that particular parcel out because I could not meet the friend who stays rather far away, and we both have packed schedules. So after the initial meetup, the next best option was to send out the parcel by SingPost's registered articles services.

I tracked the parcel everyday after I visited the post office, and to my surprise, it was declared "Undelivered" a week later. I called up the customer service counter at 1605 a couple of times to inquire, and each time the CSO told me it was a different mistake (ranging from block number to unit number to postal code).

Finally we realized I'd made a single-digit mistake for the postal code, nothing that could have warranted a non-delivery. I mean, SingPost is the postmaster, the source of deriving postal codes from, and the block + unit numbers were accurately printed. If the postman had went down to the respective block, they would've located the unit number and the recipient without any difficulty at all, so did this mean that the postman did not even bother to make a trip down before marking my parcel as "undelieverable"?

The best news was, they were going to send my parcel to the central branch (i.e. Paya Lebar) for me to collect, with a fee of SGD22.00. Yes, I paid money for registered mail that didn't get delivered, and now still had to pay a ludicrous sum of money to retrieve my own parcel? Don't be shocked- most people whom I complained to shared the same sentiments.

No way was I going to bear the brunt of this daylight robbery, hence I bypassed the helpless CSOs and branch managers and wrote to the VP directly. Within days I had a call to apologize and a waiver of the ridiculous $22.00 I knew I would not be paying under any circumstances, and my parcel got mailed out the very next day - successfully.

SingPost's Service Lapse #2
Nearly concurrently, I had another parcel enroute to a client whose office was situated at a Construction Site Office, somewhere very far away in the East.

It was sent as a registered article as well. On the address itself I have written clearly it was a Construction Site Office (in no smaller font than the rest of the lines spelling the address out). I'd also specially formed another line at the bottom of the envelope stating "It is a Construction Site OFFICE, so your postman can drop off at security counter. Do not return to Sender".

A couple of days later, I found the parcel back at my table, with the remark "construction site".

Yes, I know it is a construction site, and the lady at the post office counter knew it too, so if they do not deliver to construction site offices,  we the senders should  be informed before payment was made and a promise to deliver was sealed right?

Furthermore, a construction site office is a well-functioning office with air-conditioning and every other type of imaginable device one could think of - and has its postal code so its a valid site (they do get other supplies such as stationery, pantry supplies, materials etc delivered there too).

SingPost called me back to apologise and promised to get my item delivered. I was even promised that someone from SingPost would come to my office personally to take the rejected parcel and get it delivered to my client smoothly.

After three days of hiatus from the CSO who made me that promise, I called in again, and was informed that it was not do-able because it was a "matter of life and death" for the postman. I wanted to guffaw so badly but shock kept me in place.

Do they not know how a construction site office look like? And I kept trying to reiterate that they could just stop at the security post outside and have my client come out to sign for the package. Hell, I went there for appointment a couple of times, did not even need to change into safety boots or wear helmets, and came out in one piece didnt I??

Nothing seemed to get into the CSO's head, so I had no choice but to speak with the senior management again. The manager in charge immediately apologised on his behalf, and made me the same promise he had, after I explained the situation to her.

Not wanting to risk getting disappointed or any further delays again, I checked out FedEx, DHL and Ta Q Bin, and got the latter to do the job for me. Despite the heavy rain, my parcel was safely delivered to my client with no fuss at all! It might have cost nearly twice the price of what I paid for SingPost's registered article, but the most important thing was that they delivered. Well done, Ta Q Bin!

When has SingPost start becoming so dysfunctional and disappointing? Since it privatised its services or since the days of letting less-than-efficient talents take over? Whatever it is, my faith in them has been lost and I would gladly give other courier services a chance for my future courier needs. Goodbye, Mr. Postman!


  1. I not sure if u read this but i share ur experience for the wrong block number instead of postal code. But i have indicated the corret postal code yet they insist me of paying the fees. Do u mind giving me the VP address i want to write in for waiver

    1. Hi Zhong Ying thank you for reading my post. I do feel your frustration. Apologies but I am not able to divulge the management's contact details. Furthermore my contact might have been outdated by now because this post dates a couple of years back. I do hope their customer care team can assist you.