Postal Services Complaints and Redress Procedure

Postal Services Complaints and Redress Procedure

Sooner Than Later are authorised in accordance with Section 38 of the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act 2011 to provide Postal Services to our clients. Section 39 of the Act requires us to provide a Code of Practice for our complaints and redress procedure in relation to postal services, in line with Section 43 of the Act.   

  1. Scope

1.1 This Code of Practice relates to the handling and reporting of complaints, and details the point of contact for complaints, means of recording complaints, the time frame for our response to complaints, our procedures for resolving disputes, our remedies and redress options, our procedures to determining where responsibility lies in cases where more than one postal service provider is involved, and our record retention policy in relation to complaints.

1.2 This Code of Practice shall be available via the Sooner Than Later website, at our offices at 24 Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin, or vis request through one of our employees.

1.3 This Code of Practice applies to all verbal and written complaints received by Sooner Than Later in respect of postal services we provide to our customers

  1. Lodging a Complaint

2.1 Sooner Than Later’s clientele generally consists of long-term existing customers as well as new customers with whom a relationship is established prior to the availing of postal services. As such, all our clients have an Account Manager known to them and available to them.

The Account Manager for a client will be the first point of contact in the case of a client wishing to make a complaint in relation to our provision of postal services. A complaint can be made by phone to the Account Manager who will escalate it if necessary. The Account Manager will remain the primary point of contact or the complainant in the event the complaint is escalated.

All employees of Sooner Than Later are issued the Code of Practice as part of the Sooner Than Later Policies & Procedures pack.

If for any reason a client is unsure who to contact in the event of wanting to make a complaint, the following contact information can be used:

Contact Name: Mark Finney

Telephone Number: 01 284 4777

Postal Address: Sooner Than Later, 24 Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

E-mail Address: Mark@soonerthanlater.com

2.2 A complaint can be lodged by:

Contacting your Account Manager by phone on 01-2844777 between the hours of 9am and 1pm and 2pm to 5.30pm Monday-Friday. Outside these hours, a message can be left on our answering machine which will be picked up the following working day.

Contacting your Account Manager by email at their relevant email address. If you are unsure, you can contact Mark Finney (Joint Managing Director) at Mark@Soonerthanlater.com

– Letter addressed to your Account Manager (or Joint MD Mark Finney) at Sooner Than Later, 24 Kill Avenue, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin

– In person (having arranged an appointment with your Account Manager)

2.3 A client may lodge a complaint in line with the following timescales:

– for domestic mail, one calendar month of the date of receipt of a mail item and three calendar months of the date of posting of a mail item

– for international mail, within six calendar months of the date of receipt or posting of a mail item

2.4 All complaints lodged will be acknowledged by Sooner Than Later on the day of receipt in writing by e-mail, unless no contact email was provided, in which case acknowledgement will be provided by letter. This acknowledgement will detail the timescale in which the complaint will be addressed and resolved as well as detailing the steps we will take to achieve same.

2.5 Should any client need assistance in submitting a complaint we will supply such assistance.

3              Complaint Handling and Resolution

3.1 On receipt of the complaint, the relevant Sooner Than Later employee will complete an internal complaint form which will be forwarded to the complainant for their records. If for any reason the complainant is unsatisfied with how the complaint has been recorded, they should flag that dissatisfaction at this stage with the relevant person.

3.2 An initial investigation of the complaint will take place to establish where the responsibility lies in relation to the complaint made. Regardless of the outcome of this, Sooner Than Later will conduct the investigation as an authorised postal service provider and a representative of the client.

Once the investigation has been concluded, the complainant must be notified of the resolution, in line with the timeframes outlined below.

The issues raised will be escalated internally if required.

A final response will be issued to the complainant within the timeframes outlined below.

3.3 Sooner Than Later shall endeavour to investigate and respond to the complaint as soon as reasonably practicable and will make all reasonable efforts to do so. The maximum time frames for resolution are as follows:

-thirty calendar days for mail pieces posted within the State for delivery within the State

-forty calendar days for mail pieces posed within the State for delivery within Europe or to Canada, New Zealand or Australia.

-sixty calendar days for mail pieces posted within the state for delivery to the USA or any other country.

If the complaint is not handled within the original timeframe, the complainant will be advised of the reason for the delay and will be given a revised time frame. Sooner Than Later will respond to all reasonable queries by a complainant regarding any delay in the handling of a complaint. Sooner Than Later may provide some redress to complainants in the event complaints are not dealt with in the response times listed above. Appropriate redress in this instance will be determined in the context of the complaints as they arise.

Sooner Than Later will reply to any queries from a customer regarding a delay caused by failures of a postal service provider operating in another jurisdiction, in handling a complaint, including queries as to the exact reason for the delay.

3.4 Once the complaint form has been completed and approved by the client, the complaint will be forwarded to the production manager, who will investigate the complaint with the team involved with the job. The QC Manager will be included in this process. The issue will be thoroughly investigated, and possible resolutions will be determined. The most appropriate resolution will be communicated to the customer for agreement by their Account Manager. If the customer is satisfied with the resolution, the appropriate action will be taken, and the complaint will be closed out. If the customer is not satisfied with this resolution the issue will be escalated to one of the joint managing directors for further investigation and negotiation with the customer.

If for any reason the customer is not satisfied with the progress of the complaint, he/she may request that the complaint be escalated to one of the joint Managing Directors.

4            Postal Service User Advocate

4.1 At the request of the customer, a person may be appointed by Sooner Than Later to act as a postal service user advocate. The appointed advocate will deal with the complaint in accordance with the provisions of the Complaints and Redress Procedures outlined by Commission for Communications Regulation. This advocate will be independent of Sooner Than Later’s customer service and operations. The customer should request this within thirty days of receiving a final response to his/her complaint. Customers who wish to escalate a complaint which remains unresolved also have the option to send their complaint to the postal service user advocate who will independently assess the complaint.

4.2 Should the customer wish to make such an application they must provide the following information:

– detail of the service under dispute
– the exact issues being disputed
– the reasons why the customer is making a claim or trying to have an issue resolved
– details of any compensation element if relevant
– copies of any supporting relevant documentation, such as emails, letters, etc.

4.3 A final response from the postal service user advocate, including the reasons for the decision, should be provided to the customer no later than thirty calendar days after the first contact unless:

-the postal service user accepts a settlement the postal service provider has offered, or
-the postal service provider gives the postal service user everything claimed for, or
-the postal service provider can provide exceptional circumstances leading to a delay in responding

4.4 In the event that the postal service user advocate finds in favour of the customer, they can request that Sooner Than Later:

-give the customer an apology and detail the reasons for the service failure
-take some practical action that will benefit the customer
-provide compensation in accordance with the code of practice and/or the terms and conditions of the service
-provide compensation for stress, anxiety or inconvenience the postal service user suffered as a result of how the postal provider handled the complaint

5              Remedies and redress

5.1 Where there has been any loss, theft or damage to a mail piece, or a failure of Sooner Than Later to provide a postal service of sufficient quality, Sooner Than Later will place the customer in the position which he, she or it would have been in had there been no such loss, theft, or damage to the mail piece or had there been no failure to provide a postal service of sufficient quality, subject to any force majeure having occurred and excluding all consequential losses.

5.2 The compensation scheme may include:
-a refund of the cost of postage
-recompense for the cost of any wrapping material used in the mail piece
-recompense for any other relevant and reasonable costs incurred

5.3 Compensation payable to the customer may be in the form of stamps to cover postage and/or a financial amount provided it is reasonable and in proportion to the full cost of the mailing

5.4 Customers will not be compensated for any consequential losses or other economic losses arising out of:

-any loss, theft or damage to a mail piece, or
-any failure to provide a postal service of sufficient quality

5.5 These remedies will not be provided for insured items, which offer remedies in accordance with their own terms and conditions

5.6 Where compensation is paid, and/or a refund given, this will be done promptly and in an easily accessible manner which does not impose a charge or any unfair burden on the recipient customer. All compensation or refunds will be in Euro.

6              Procedure for determining responsibility where more than one postal service provider is involved

6.1 Sooner Than Later may subcontract one or more elements of the postal service to another party, who may be another postal service provider, or Sooner Than Later may deliver the mail pieces concerned into the postal network operated by An Post, the current sole designated provider of the universal postal service. Where a complaint concerns a postal service, which has been subcontracted in some such manner, or where the mail pieces have been passed into the postal network operated by An Post, then Sooner Than Later, as the original postal service provider, will be responsible for handling and resolving any such complaint.

7              Retention of records of Complaints

7.1 Sooner Than Later will retain records relating to the complaint for at least one year following its resolution. The records will include key information such as date of complaint, description of complaint, customer details, actions planned/required/carried out to resolve the complaint, and details of the communications with the Customer about the complaint. Copies of the original complaint will also be held.

7.2 On an annual basis, the records of all complaints will be analysed to identify any systematic, recurring or single incident problems and trends to help eliminate the underlying cause of complaints.

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