Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Dear Canada Post:

I have a complaint regarding two Canada Post Employees. One of the employees accepted my money when I have been told it is against Canada Post policy to do so, and the other employee escalated my query call into this complaint letter. I wish to be reimbursed for the money the employee erroneously accepted from me, and to inform you of the glitch in your customer service line.

The Background:

1) On January 29, 2010, I went to Canada Post at 1032 Pape Avenue, Toronto Ontario. I gave the Canada Post Employee there (I do not have this employee’s name, and will refer to her as Pape Employee) a package I wished sent to Alberta. I told her that my package was a bottle of wine, and asked “Can I send wine – do people send wine in the mail?” Before she responded, I continued to explain that I put it in bubble wrap and a cardboard wine container (a cylindrical tube, a little over a foot high and a couple of inches in circumference, which I wrapped in brown paper and addressed to the recipient), hoping that this was a secure enough way to send the wine cross-country. She asked where it is being sent (I confirmed Alberta), then she felt the wrapped wine container and said yes, she thinks it is packaged well enough to be sent, but that just to be safe she will put many “Fragile” stickers on it. We discussed that it is my parents’ 45th wedding anniversary and I wanted to send them a nice bottle of wine, so that I wanted to be as sure as I could it would reach there in time and intact. I decided on and paid for Express Post so it would get there in a couple of days, and it cost me $26.87.

When my parents received the wine, the cork had popped and the wine had leaked into the packaging, so it was not consummable. I called the wine store to determine why that may have happened, and they suggested the wine had been frozen en route.

2) So today (February 3, 2010) I called Canada Post’s customer service line to find out if they could tell me if the wine had been left in the delivery truck overnight and frozen. That is when Chrissy, the customer service agent, told me that Canada Post does not accept wine for delivery because it cannot be guaranteed to arrive safely so it is not insurable. Obviously, given that I had asked Pape Employee if I could send wine, and Pape Employee said I could, the fact Canada Post has a policy against it was news to me.

So I told Chrissy about the conversation with Pape Employee, and said that my package should never have been accepted, thus no money should have been taken from me for delivery.

Chrissy replied that the fact my package was accepted is my responsibility, saying that I should have confirmed with Canada Post whether I could send wine or not. I replied that I did confirm it: with Pape Employee. Chrissy repeated that Canada Post is not responsible because wine is not insurable and it is my responsibility to confirm what can be sent through Canada Post. I asked Chrissy how could I have confirmed it better than by asking a Canada Post employee in person? Chrissy replied that I could call the information line (that I had just called), or gone online to confirm. So I clarified that Canada Post (through Chrissy) is saying that when I receive confirmation from one of their employees in person, I should also then contact another employee by phone or online to confirm the confirmation? Chrissy’s response was “That is one of the options available to you, yes.”

At that point I told Chrissy that my dissatisfaction with Canada Post was snowballing the longer I spoke to her, so I would like to know of another process through which I can lay a complaint rather than going through her. She replied I could go online and gave me the address. So here I am.

The Complaint:

1) I do not want the cost of the wine back (ie. I am not submitting a claim for the contents of the shipped package). I am not disputing the advisability of your policy against accepting wine. I protest the fact that I was charged $26.87 for a service that Canada Post knowingly did not have a good faith basis upon which to claim it could safely provide, thus fraudulently collected money from me, as outlined in more detail below:

• Canada Post’s policy against delivering wine through its system signifies that Canada Post does not want to be responsible for wine because it is aware it cannot in good faith represent that wine will travel intact through its system, thus Canada Post *usually* does not knowingly accept it into its system (by virtue of the fact that my wine *was* accepted knowingly by Canada Post, it cannot be said that Canada Post *never* knowingly accepts wine into its system).


• When asked if I could send wine in the mail, and made clear that the package I was sending that day was wine, I was not informed of Canada Post’s above stated awareness.


• Canada Post knowingly accepted wine, and charged me a fee for delivery (including insurance for up to $100 of the contents’ cost) despite having already established for itself – and based a policy on this knowledge – that it had no reasonable expectation that such a package would reach its destination safely.


• The fact the package did not reach its destination intact was foreseeable by Canada Post. I, on the other hand, had a good faith basis upon which to believe that my package would be safely transported by Canada Post by virtue of the fact that Canada Post accepted $26.87 from me to do so. Acceptance of my package and money by Canada Post in contravention of its own policy fraudulently implied that it had no knowledge or prior expectation that the package would arrive at its destination in any state other than intact.

Had I been advised of the policy based on Canada Post’s knowledge that it has no good faith basis upon which to believe it can deliver wine safely, or indeed had the Pape Employee refused my package as per Canada Post policy to take no responsibility for wine, I would have found another route through which to safely transport my package. Instead, I was fraudulently led to believe I had found an appropriate and safe route through Canada Post, thus looked no further. For the above stated reasons, I protest and request a refund of the cost of delivery of $26.87.

2) When trying to communicate this to Chrissy, I am inclined to suspect that Chrissy was following a script in response. A script that does not allow her to listen to what a customer is saying and respond appropriately. That is the only explanation I can think of for why she would suggest that confirming Canada Post’s policies in person should be reconfirmed by a phone call or online query before Canada Post will take responsibility for its employees’ actions or advice. If this is the case (that Customer Services employees must adhere to a script) at the very least the script should be reviewed. If in fact Chrissy was not limiting herself to a script, you should be aware that she personally escalated *one query* call into these *two complaints*.

I look forward to hearing from you shortly regarding these two matters.


I sent the above to Canada Post today. We'll see what response, if any, I receive. I don't really expect to have my money reimbursed (it was a delivery charge, and the package was technically "delivered") ... but man, did I ever outline a good case for reimbursement, eh?!

(Mom always wanted me to be a lawyer.)

Interestingly, when I spoke to the wine store to figure out what may have happened first (and she suggested perhaps it froze), she asked me to let her know what Canada Post says about it so that she can advise her customers correctly in the future.

When I called the Wine Lady back to say that apparently Canada Post's policy is to not accept wine, even though they accepted mine, she was so sorry to hear that, that she said if I wanted to come in again they may be able to find a way to let me have another bottle gratis! I declined (foolish? I just didn't want to get the bottle and then discover that NO ONE will send it cross country. Then what do I do? Drink it? Not I!), saying that I couldn't do that when it wasn't the wine store's fault. Wine Lady said "I know -- but that's just such an awful thing to have happened. I just feel so bad for you." <-- That, ladies and gentlemen, is customer service. And if I were a wine drinker myself, this store would be my go-to location.

(Anyone in the Toronto area: Wine Rack on 103 Cosburn Avenue = Thumbs Up)


James said...

Interesting article. You might also be interested to know that it is against Canadian law to mail alcohol (wine) across provincial borders. See the following article:

Former VJ Mulligan defies cross-border wine ban (CBC)

Bose said...

Great idea of enabling those who wished to note down their thoughts to do so. Keep blogging..Employee Complaint Form