SINGAPORE: SingPost on Monday (Jan 14) apologised to customers for its "service deterioration" in recent weeks, citing a "tremendously busy" November-December period as the reason for poor service quality.
"It would be fair to state that we have failed to live up to expectations in recent times," said the postal delivery service on its website and in a Facebook post.
In explaining the background to the service deterioration, SingPost said it delivered an average of 3 million mail items a day, but an increase in package volumes for last year's November-December period put additional pressure on its services.
"The November-December peak season was a tremendously busy period for our staff members," said SingPost.
"Due to the increased package volumes – which were beyond forecasts and expectations - our postmen have had to make an average of an additional 20 doorstep deliveries daily.
"All postmen and delivery staff are also working beyond their usual hours to help process and support these volumes."
It added that it hired extra resources, recalled personnel and "activated teams" from the corporate office on Saturdays to meet demand, but service quality "still suffered as a result".
The postal service provider's apology comes after complaints of subpar delivery service.
Netizen Andy Lau said in a Facebook post last month that he had to chase after a delivery man when the man left after knocking at his door for a "few seconds".
"Delivery guy knocked for a few seconds, ran off and left the note before I can answer the door," said Lau. "I sprinted down and camped at his bike until he appeared. Confronted him about it and he couldn't put his words together properly on how he waited for more than 20 minutes."
Meanwhile, a SingPost postman was fired last February after he was found to have thrown away returned letters and direct mail at a condominium.
In a video of the incident taken by a member of the public who confronted the man, the postman can be heard admitting to throwing the mail away. He also complained that he was tired and treated unfairly.
In its post on Monday, SingPost said that there would "inevitably" be employees who "may not act in the best interests of the company".
"We have experienced service failures due to the individual actions of a few employees," it said. "We are aware that this not only reflects badly on our organisation but undermines the hard work, commitment and dedication that the majority of our postal staff are displaying every single day."
"Such behaviour will not be tolerated."
The company added that while its post aimed to provide some background on the challenges it faces, it said that these "are not excuses for the issues that have been raised."
"We value the integrity and trust we have built as an organisation over 160 years and are now focused on rebuilding that trust."
"AM I THE POSTMAN OF MY BLOCK?"
Following SingPost's apology post on Monday, its Facebook page has been inundated with complaints of poor service from other disgruntled netizens.
"Recently I found a stack of letters on top of the letter box," wrote Facebook user Terrence Wang in a comment. "It includes letters addressed to me and a lot of my neighbours. Your useless postman just (left) that whole stack of letters on top of the letter box.
"I got to go door-to-door to deliver the letters to my neighbours. Am I the postman of my block?"
In another comment, Karen Law said: "The delivery man left my packages that are worth more than USD$100 at the door step and forged the recipient's signature. That is totally unacceptable. When I emailed Singpost, I was given a generic reply. What's the point of providing feedback when you won't even acknowledge the issue and answer my questions?"
The 39-year-old, who lives in New Zealand, told Channel NewsAsia that she had ordered some items from a United States website and arranged to have them sent to her mother’s Singapore address via SingPost’s vPost service. The items arrived on Jan 3.
When her parents got home, they found the packages sitting outside the door, said Ms Law.
"When my parents got home, they found the packages sitting outside the door," she said. "Their unit is near the stairway so many people would have seen the packages easily and they could be taken away by anyone!"
When she logged on to the tracking website to view the status of her orders, she found that the packages had been signed for, but the signatures did not belong to either of her parents, according to Ms Law.
“If you go to (the) Speedpost website and key in the tracking numbers … click on ‘view proof of delivery’, you will see the same signature for both packages. That isn't my mum's or dad's signature,” she said.
Facebook user Jonathan Lau told Channel NewsAsia that he had been getting failed delivery notifications from SingPost for "as long as I can remember" - even when someone was actually at home.
"The bell would be silent the whole day and I'll get notifications when I came home," he said. "So I reviewed my CCTV footage and found out that the postman just strolled by, dropping my regular mail together with the failed delivery slips."
"He didn't even have my parcel in hand."
Lau said he then wrote in to SingPost, which according to him followed up to try and explain the situation.
"Best explanation I got was the postman leaves articles in his bike and comes back to get it when someone answers the door."
The postal service eventually got the beat supervisor to "personally oversee" his deliveries, said Lau. "I have not missed a delivery since."
Posting his comment on Facebook, Lau rejected SingPost's explanation about a surge in demand, saying that its issues were a "deep-seated problem that has nothing to do with surge in demand".
Said Lau: "I wrote to say my CCTV footage showed your driver dropping a failed delivery notice without ringing the bell. That he didn't even take my parcel from his bike. That I had received at least 12 failed notifications that past week when someone was always home.
"Your response was not of an acknowledgement of a lapse but rather, you explained that the operating procedures state that he would return to his bike to retrieve my parcel if I had come to the door," he added.
"You didn't even bother explaining why he didn't attempt the deliver by at least ringing the bell."
SingPost's Facebook post in full: