May I rant?

The expression goes “The Customer is always right.” Of course, that’s not true because sometimes the customer is an abusive jerk trying to rip you off. However, if you have a good customer and you want to keep them as a customer you want to give them excellent service.

Unless you’re Canada Post.*  Canada Post provides two kinds of services. One is the traditional put a stamp on it and send it service. The other is similar to a courier with faster delivery, tracking numbers and the like. With the stamp service, expectations are really low; if you want to go cheap and you don’t care if it gets there then that’s the service you use. With the courier-like service, expectations are high.

A couple weeks ago, my son sold his camera online. The buyer was out of town so for shipping he was going to use Canada Post. I was helping him, using my PayPal account to receive the funds. I’m new to PayPal but it seemed like the funds were sent to us – we received a notice that we were to confirm that we had shipped the camera. Yes, it has been a huge learning experience for both of us.

After he paid Canada Post for the shipping – $100 – we went back to PayPal only I noticed that something wasn’t right. I called them and my suspicions were confirmed, the buyer was scamming us, even sending counterfeit PayPal confirmations. Our priority became stopping the shipment of the camera. We might be out $100 but if my son could get the camera back he could at least salvage something from this experience. We went to the local post office the very next day but we were out of luck.

So I called Canada Post’s tracking service with our tracking number.

What I discovered is, at Canada Post, their mandate is not “The Customer is Always Right” rather it’s the policy that’s always right; even when that means they are taking the side of the criminal – aiding and abetting fraud. You see, even though we sent the package at a cost of $100, and even though we had the tracking number, and even though we could show that we were victims of fraud, they wouldn’t cancel the delivery and return the package to us. Instead, they told us to call the police and file a complaint; only the police can intervene and have the package stopped.

Now at this point, their system was reporting that the package was still in our city.  We begged them to hold it while we initiating the call with the police. No can do – it’s policy.  We called the police, they were very prompt and contacted Canada Post immediately. Two thumbs up for them. However, at that point their position was the matter is closed.

Later that day, Canada Post contacted my son with a reference number and said the package would be returned to him. That was two weeks ago. We checked the tracking site again and it indicated the package was leaving the country. When I called them yesterday, I was told we might as well consider the camera a lost cause.

The part that burns me the most, is the answers I received when I was talking with one of the Canada Post reps. I asked two things: technically speaking, could he push a button and make the shipment stop and, who else I could speak with who had the ability to make critical decisions. The answers: yes but he wouldn’t do it because of policy, and, regarding the ability to escalate our call, no, they are unwilling to do anything to help their customer and they have no policy to escalate a customer’s concern.

Boooo, Canada Post, booooo.

*For those outside Canada, Canada Post is a government owned monopoly. We have other couriers in Canada – UPS, FedEx, etc. – but in a small community like ours Canada Post is the easy option for sending stuff.