AUSTRALIA POST has a large task to fulfill, but that’s no excuse for incompetence.

We’ve come across one story that casts serious doubt on whether it can be trusted to handle parcels that are gun related.

What is an even bigger concern is the fact Australia Post won’t take responsibility for its actions, and try to avoid liability, even where it is clearly at fault.

John loses his scope

In August last year, Queensland shooter John Howard (not his real name, of course…), sent his Steiner GS3-15×50 scope back to the manufacturer for a warranty claim.

He sent it through Australia Post with a tracking number and requiring signature on delivery. The problem is, it was delivered to the wrong PO Box.

After a significant exchange of correspondence, AP admitted:

“As your item required a signature, a card should have been placed into the PO Box informing the owner a parcel is awaiting a signature prior to collection“

… and …

“We have checked the PO Box we believe it was put into, and contacted the box owner, but has not been successful in getting the item back.”

John kept at Australia Post who offered $100 compensation + postage costs to close the case.  John refused.

Aust Post also advised John

“As the parcel contained a firearm component, we have notified the Police and they are looking into this as well”.

By it’s own admission, Australia Post;

  • did not follow its procedure for delivering an item requiring signature on delivery;
  • put the item in the wrong post office box;
  • believed the item was a firearm component that the unknown recipient decided to keep; and
  • reported the matter to Victoria Police.

Where are the police?

John also reported the matter to Victoria Police on 12 October as at that time, the item was simply missing and might have been stolen.

He has not heard back from Victoria Police.

Scopes are arguably accessories, not firearm components, and it would seem Victoria Police might have taken this view.

If anything, this matter not only shows bad handling by AP, but in John’s words, it’s ‘unfounded paranoia’ around firearms.

In fact he asked Australia Post, who, in the organisation, decided the scope was a ‘firearm component’ because he wanted to put them straight, but never received an answer.

Australia Post says scopes are ‘firearm components’

Either way, it’s disappointing to say this but using AP’s tracking system and signature on delivery provides no guarantee that any parcel – whether or not a gun or gun part or accessory – will be delivered to the correct address.

Ombudsman

In the early stages of this matter, John got nowhere with Australia Post. They claimed that their terms and conditions of carriage meant they had no liability for lost items.

After contacting the NSC, John went to the Postal Industry Ombudsman who took the same view as AP.

Australia Post cave in

Determined to hold AP to account, John took the matter to the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (QCAT). The matter was scheduled to be heard on 13 Jan 2022.

However Aust Post settled the claim three days beforehand. The claim covers all of John’s direct costs involved with postage, filing at QCAT – and the retail cost of the lost scope.

John is understandably happy with this – and has this advice for other shooters who find themselves in the same situation.

“I’ve used QCAT once before and that claim was also successful, so I would recommend anyone who has a dispute against a service provider and or company to go down this path. My understanding is all states have a Civil and Admin Tribunal but there is an application fee and there are mixed results going this way, case by case.”

Unfortunately, Tasmania does not have such a body, but other states do.  Our advice is the same as John’s: it is always worth filing at a civil and administrative tribunal if you have access to one.

Using Australia Post

As many of you know, shooters don’t have many options to AP when it comes to shipping firearm related items.

This is unlikely to change, especially for individuals and small businesses who do not have large parcel volumes. Despite these problems, it makes sense that where permitted by law, you continue to use Australia Post and at least use their tracking and signatory services.

You should ask to include the email address of the email address of the receiver when getting the tracking number, so that AP will send tracking updates to them as well.

Other options are to take out extra insurance, which is promoted to cover the loss or damage of your item in transit.

We also suggest that you report any delayed deliveries of anything firearm related to police. Even if just one day late.

9 thoughts on “Shooter forces Australia Post into compo over lost rifle scope

  1. Dano says:

    Prior COVID, no one home and Australia Post left a shotgun at my front door. When I kicked up a fuss they told me “It didn’t look like a gun! You signed for it!” I told them “It’s not supports look like a gun! I didn’t sign for it!” They investigated and advised their delivery driver signed for me. Later they delivered my firearms related products to a PO Box. Problem is I don’t have a PO Box! They advised I needed to take the issue up with the sender! Care factor of Australia Post is zero!

  2. Murray Sanders says:

    I can top that TNT gave my $6000 leather sewing machine to someone else on Christmas Eve , it was a Christmas present for my wife , it magically turned up a week later , and when I picked it up they didn’t want me to sign for it , they didn’t ask for ID , just asked me my name , Glad John had a good outcome

  3. Michael Pattison says:

    Good on you NSC! Great to see you are helping shooters in multiple areas not only in licensing. If only Australia Post were liable for the hourly rate of ‘John’ & the NSC to sort out this fiasco!

  4. mark whiteley says:

    a couple of years ago l had a similar problem with AP when a second hand NF scope l bought went missing twice in their system, it took three months of endless phone calls, given total BS excuses eventually being called a scammer by the AP representative team leader who said they would not pay out the insurance
    l took the case to the ombudsman with undeniable evidence as well as proof of insurance to win the case and have a check for the insurance sent to me, l also asked them for a heartfelt apology that l have in writing on the wall of my gun room,
    before they would hand over the insurance money l had to prove that the scope was worth the insurance amount LOL
    Aussie Post lost my respect

  5. David Barton says:

    Interesting about the Ombudsman – I have had a few Ombudsman complaints over the years and without fail they always find in favour of the Government Department or bureaucrat, irrespective of the facts. They look after their own! The same can be said of Consumer Affairs Victoria! We have huge bureaucracies, chock-full of bureaucrats who do absolutely nothing to protect us from unscrupulous trades-persons or especially government bureaucrats – what’s the bloody point? 🙁

  6. danny109@tpg.com.au says:

    Excellent outcome. Have to say many times in the past parcels have been left on the front door when a signature was required for completion of delivery. Paying for a service but not getting the security that was originally offered by AP.

  7. Eddie says:

    I lost two computers that were sent to me via AP with supposed tracking and signature required.
    In the process I found out that AP have no idea where items are until they are signed for at the other end. I have used the tracking system since as it is nothing but a an AP scam to get extra money out of you. I just send things regular post without notification of what the item is and haven’t had any problems with deliveries that way.

  8. birdonawire says:

    Off topic but, relevant to the current state of the State.
    There is no COVID-19 virus ..there are no viruses per se ..and no vaccination has ever cured or prevented anything..EVER.
    Dr. Tom Cowan –Dr. Andrew Kaufman — Dr. Stefan Lanka — Christine Massey et al.
    Once you find out and know these truths ..you can not unknow it.
    absit omen

  9. Postman Pat says:

    I’ve been a shooter for over 50 years, currently captain of a pistol club. I’ve also worked for AP for the last 22 years. Because of covid, we no longer get a signature. The correct procedure is to ensure the recipient is home and sign on their behalf. Under no circumstances is a signature item to be left unless they are home. Some posties are lazy, the vast majority do the right thing.

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