20/08/2008 - 22:00

Business posts mail woes

20/08/2008 - 22:00

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Australia Post has denied there is a backlog of mail across Western Australia after it emerged this week that documents sent by Burswood financial advisers Empire Financial Group were taking up to three weeks to reach fund managers.

Australia Post has denied there is a backlog of mail across Western Australia after it emerged this week that documents sent by Burswood financial advisers Empire Financial Group were taking up to three weeks to reach fund managers.

Empire managing director Raymond Pecotic said about 30 clients had been affected by delays since April and that the firm had absorbed thousands of dollars in additional costs as a result.

Mr Pecotic said the firm had resorted to driving documents to fund managers to ensure they arrived on time, and then going back to clients to obtain signatures.

He said because the firm worked to ensure financial strategies and finance applications were sorted by June 30, it had used couriers and registered mail to ensure mail was delivered on time.

"We're not talking about Christmas cards coming a few days late, this is serious client business, we're talking about millions of dollars on behalf of our clients," Mr Pecotic told WA Business News.

"These delays have severe and dire consequences on people's financial situations.

"Now, during our busiest time of year, there's a state of panic where we are pre-empting there will be delays so we're sending documents out via courier, or we're paying $15 to send letters out via registered mail.

"We're absorbing the costs ourselves; we will in no way shape or form pass on these costs to clients, but what's disappointing is Australia Post has on so many occasions denied there is an issue."

In one example, Mr Pecotic said a 'dummy letter' Empire sent to itself took eight days to arrive at the company's own PO box, just one kilometre away.

The letter was posted on June 12, processed on June 19 and eventually delivered on June 20.

General manager of Myaree-based WorldStyle Furniture Wholesaler, Umberto Mondello, said his company also had issues with mail failing to reach its destination on time.

In some instances it had taken up to 25 days for a customer's cheque to arrive, although Mr Mondello said the usual delay was 10 days.

"It's hard to determine whether it's a remitting payment lost in the mail or just someone deliberately delaying paying you," he said.

"It gets to the stage where you start to question your clients and you don't know if it's the postal system or what."

Australia Post WA spokesperson Sheridan Beattie denied there were issues with the state's mailing centres.

"As I am sure you can appreciate, Australia Post is a large organisation, and while we always strive to provide excellent service, because we deal with 21 million items of mail a day, we do understand that occasionally things can go wrong in the very complex, logistical operation that we manage," Ms Beattie said.

"The suggestion that mail is delayed by periods of weeks is concerning and certainly not in line with our recent service results, standards or general trends within our business."

She said an independent audit found that almost 96 per cent of domestic mail was delivered on time or ahead of schedule.

Australia Post's delivery timetable states that a standard letter lodged within the metropolitan area of a state capital city by 6pm, should be delivered within the same city by the next business day.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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