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Retailers bear brunt of shipping complaints as postal backlog bites

Guy Nappa, the chief operating officer of online beauty retailer Oz Hair & Beauty, said the increased delivery times had “obviously resulted in disappointed customers” and the company’s customer service tickets increase more than threefold.

“While the situation is frustrating, it is beyond our control and Australia Post has been very helpful in communicating this message nationwide, so the majority of customers are aware of the situation,” he said.

Wesfarmers-owned online retailer Catch has also noted an increase in customer enquiries and a spokesperson said the business was continuing to monitor the situation closely and had increased its proactive communication to “provide transparency and manage expectations”.

However, not all retailers have been as affected by the postal backlog, with a number of merchants telling The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald they had seen minimal disruption to their networks. Others said they had switched to using alternative shipping partners in an effort to relieve strain on the national postal service.

A spokesperson for Australia Post said the decision to pause parcel collections for three days was “not made lightly” and had achieved its intended purpose of easing the company’s parcel backlog.

The spokesperson also asked customers to be patient as the company worked to get items delivered.

“We know that delays are frustrating, but we kindly ask our customers for their patience while our dedicated people work hard to get parcels to our customers as quickly and safely as possible,” they said.

Last month, Australia Post’s reported volumes were its highest-ever, coming in higher than last the service’s already record-breaking Christmas volumes. More than 50 per cent of Australian households bought something online during the month.

“On any given day we have 500 team members isolating due to COVID-19 and this pause was critical in enabling us to manage these record volumes, keep our people safe and continue delivering for our customers around the country,” they said.

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