An ombudsman is an independent person who can investigate and resolve disputes between citizens and government. Around the world more than 120 countries use the ombudsman scheme.
The Postal Industry Ombudsman:
- Is independent and impartial. We do not represent consumers or postal operators
- Sits under the umbrella of the Commonwealth Ombudsman
- Can investigate complaints about registered postal services
- Is not a court or tribunal. While we can recommend an outcome or action, we cannot direct a postal operator to take a particular action.
We investigate complaints under the Ombudsman Act 1976.
Here’s how we work:
The Postal Industry Ombudsman investigates complaints about Australia Post and other registered postal or courier operators.
Our role is to be independent and impartial. There is no charge for making a complaint.
We strive to resolve issues, but we’re not a court or tribunal, so we cannot instruct a postal operator to take a particular action.
However, our resolution rate is high: last year we resolved 91.45 per cent of the complaints we investigated.
We can investigate if:
- Your complaint relates to a postal or courier service provided by Australia Post or a registered Private Postal Operator
- The complaint is made within 12 months of the incident/s that prompted the complaint.
- You have attempted to resolve the issue with company involved and they have been given at least 10 business days to respond.
See Before you lodge a complaint for more details.
We cannot investigate if:
- Your complaint is outside the PIO’s jurisdiction. For example, if it is unrelated to a postal or courier service’s actions
- The complaint is about a company other than Australia Post, or one of our registered Private Postal Operators
- The incident occurred more than 12 months ago
- The complaint is being made by another postal company
- The matter is the subject of a court or tribunal hearing (unless special circumstances exist).
We may decide not to investigate if:
- The complainant is deemed not to have sufficient interest in the matter
- The complaint is frivolous, vexatious or not made in good faith
- Investigation is considered unwarranted given all the circumstances.
Mei ordered a Christmas present for her child from a US merchant, to be delivered via the ShopMate service, which allows people in Australia to receive deliveries from overseas companies that do not offer shipping to Australia. After Mei’s product arrived at the US warehouse, Australia Post advised Mei that the item was over the size limits and could not be shipped to Australia. Mei complained to Australia Post, noting that the dimensions of the item on the merchant’s website suggested that the item was within the advertised limits. Australia Post responded that, despite the information on the merchant’s website, the length of the article exceeded the size limits, and Mei was provided with the options of having the item destroyed for a $5 fee, returned to the sender (at Mei’s expense) or sent to another US address (at Mei’s expense).
Mei requested that Australia Post repack the item to reduce the length; however, Australia Post advised that it had already repacked the item but it could not reduce the length. Mei complained to the PIO stating that Australia Post’s responses did not satisfactorily explain the discrepancy in the length of the item, and that delays in responding to her were preventing the issue from being resolved in time for Christmas. Following our investigation, Australia Post arranged for the article to be delivered via an alternative method at a discount as a gesture of goodwill in recognition of the disappointment Mei experienced in not receiving the goods in time for Christmas.
Want more information? See Frequently Asked Questions on common postal complaints.
What if my issue can’t be resolved?
If you’re not happy with the outcome of our investigation, you can request a review.
Also, there may also be other agencies that may be able to assist with your issue.
For more information about the Commonwealth Ombudsman, including what happens to complaints and what you can expect from the Ombudsman, click here.
The Postal Industry Ombudsman investigates complaints about the provision of a postal or similar service