A frustrated Queensland resident says an irreplaceable, century-old artefact has been destroyed by staff from Australia Post, after her package was "thrown" at her door and arrived with obvious damage to the packaging.
The woman, from Alexandra Hills near Brisbane, ordered a vinyl record from England which was snapped clean in half.
She said the record - a 1927 Parlophone 78 of Allan Priora - was priceless to her, because not only was the famed Australian tenor an international star, he was also her relative.
“He happened to be my great uncle and this record was the very last copy of any of his recordings in existence anywhere in the world,” she told Yahoo News Australia.
The devastated customer said her family had been searching for Priora’s records for years, and were excited to make the rare discovery online.
“My entire extended family were grateful that I was buying it to keep it in the family, and equally angered and upset that, although it had been kept safely all these years in the UK, it was then callously destroyed by some idiot in Australia Post," she said.
“I believe it was likely the delivery guy as he threw it against the door, called out “Australia Post” and bolted up the driveway at a million miles per hour.”
A mark on the package looks suspiciously like a heel print, the customer said, leading her to believe her precious package could also have been stood on.
The woman said an Australia Post employee told her there had been no record of damage to the parcel upon arrival into Australia or her local Capalaba office.
When she contacted the company about the damage, she was told to lodge a claim form in a local office.
“They offered to repay the postage but that was all,” she said.
To add fuel to the fire, the customer received another damaged parcel just two days later - and this time the box was clearly marked "fragile".
Sharing her disappointment to Facebook, she posted photos of the parcel and vented her frustration at the postal service.
“Yet another one!! Look where the damage is this time. Right on the word ‘Fragile’,” she wrote.
A picture of the box shows a large yellow and red fragile sticker, along with an additional, handwritten "fragile" warning.
The parcel had been damaged only a centimetre or two above the word. Despite the marking on the box, the contents of the parcel were undamaged.
Customers shocked by treatment of packages
Other customers were horrified at the treatment of the packages.
“All freight handlers should have more responsibility to the customer. Especially when it comes to fragile items. To wait a week to receive your goods trashed is just not acceptable,” one man said.
“Outrageous Aust Post!!! Absolutely THE WORST mail service on the entire planet,” another said.
Several others said the onus was actually on the sender for not packaging the items correctly.
After a series of negative experiences, the Queensland resident has vowed to never use Australia Post again.
"I will never use Australia Post again because of their lack of staff training in how to handle packages, and their shifting of accountability to the customer," she told Yahoo News.
"We are all heartbroken at their dismissal of us in regard to the broken record but they are completely indifferent about it."
No ‘fragile’ service at Australia Post
Australia Post doesn’t offer a service for fragile items, but says on its website “we’ll always try to handle items with care”.
Most items sent through AusPost come with up to $100 compensation for loss or damage. These claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis.
If an item is valued over $100, customers have the option to purchase Extra Cover, which will provide compensation for loss or damage up to $5000.
An Australia Post spokesperson said it was important to ensure a parcel was properly packed to keep it as safe as possible.
"Our people are working hard to deliver record volumes of parcels and the vast majority arrive safely. We always recommend that parcels are packaged appropriately, with adequate protection such as cushioning around the item to make sure it isn't damaged," the spokesperson said.
"Customers with concerns about their delivery are encouraged to contact us on 13 POST for help and support."
The company says despite not having an official service for delicate objects: “we’ll always try to handle items with care”.
How to package a fragile item
On its website, Australia Post has included suggestions on how to best protect fragile items:
Items should be individually wrapped in tissue paper or newspaper, and put back in the original box it came in (or a similar sized box).
Then, the box should be wrapped in extra cushioning, such as bubble wrap, before it’s packed inside a sturdy mailing box.
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