Australia Post explains 'unacceptable' lost item auction

People are furious over an Australia Post auction for undelivered items as the nation's postal service faces mounting pressure over widespread delays amid unprecedented demand.

Australia Post in Western Australia is advertising an online auction for items which remain uncollected, hitting a nerve with people who've waited weeks to receive their deliveries.

The items include a number of LED TVs, a few cartons of beer, phones and other electronic devices.

While it may seem like a straightforward auction, people on Facebook were angered by it.

“This is totally unacceptable. Most of these items were lost by AP and now they're trying to sell them back to us. How disgraceful,” one woman wrote.

A man is seen posting a parcel at an Australia Post box in Sydney.
Some people have criticised Australia Post over an online auction. Source: AAP (file pic)

Another woman questioned how the items became lost in the first place.

“Now I know all my missing parcels at least do some good in making money for the auction house,” one man wrote.

“I am a lot happier now.”

Australia Post has copped criticism over delays in its service, which in the past few months has been exacerbated by a backlog of items due to Covid-19.

But in this case, the anger is somewhat misguided as Australia Post explained to Yahoo News Australia.

The Australia Post Uncollected Goods Online Auction is pictured.
Some of the items available for purchase. Source: Australia Post

Why packages get auctioned by Australia Post

A spokesperson for Australia Post said it’s the “first priority” to ensure mail is delivered to its intended recipient, but that can only be done if the correct sender and recipient addresses are attached.

“If an item can’t be delivered due to incorrect addressing and can’t be returned to sender, it is sent to a Mail Redistribution Centre (MRC),” the spokesperson said.

“At the MRC, the item will be opened, catalogued and stored for two months. This catalogue is accessible by our contact centre team who will use it to reunite customers with their missing mail.

“If the two-month retention period lapses and the item hasn’t been claimed, all identifying markings are removed and the item will be auctioned with 100 per cent of the proceeds going to charity.”

It is also rare someone might see their item in one of these actions but in any case that does not mean it is lost forever, the spokesperson said.

“While rare, should a customer enquire about an item that they believe belongs to them, our National Customer Contact Centre will work with the customer and if proof or ownership can be established, the item is withdrawn from the auction and returned,” they said.

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