Seek compensation for misdelivery from courier, says SingPost

Reply follows post over $5k parcel reaching customer's rival instead

Ms Lee Qianni, the owner of a women's fashion boutique at Far East Plaza, was expecting a $5,000 parcel from South Korea containing clothes to be delivered to her shop earlier last month.

Instead, it was delivered to her competitor located one floor below her shop. When SingPost was alerted to the blunder, she was offered $20 worth of vouchers as "goodwill".

Ms Lee, 26, took to Facebook last week to air her displeasure; her post has been circulating in online forums. Apart from being upset by the value of the vouchers, she was unhappy the 30kg parcel ended up in the hands of a competitor, who signed for it by mistake and sold off some of the clothes.

Ms Lee told The Straits Times: "My trade secrets have been leaked to my competitor. As there are receipts in the parcel, they will now know where exactly I sourced for my goods."

Ms Lee received about $100 from the competing shop for the items that were already sold when the error was discovered, and recovered about 27kg of her shipment.

The deliveryman who made the mistake - a rookie from third-party service partner Riverwood - has been disciplined, said SingPost.

Ms Lily Loo, SingPost's vice-president for customer care and excellence, clarified in a written reply to ST last week that the vouchers were offered "on a goodwill basis for the inconvenience caused, and this gesture is not intended as a substitute for compensation".

She added that under international postal regulations, compensation should be sought from the courier firm which shipped the parcel out, and that SingPost is helping with the "necessary follow-up".

But Ms Lee countered: "I was tracking the parcel online and I saw that it safely landed in Singapore. If I know it is the fault of SingPost, why should I blame someone else for its mistake?"

Ms Lee admitted she did not buy insurance as it was "expensive" - amounting to over $100 per parcel.

Such costs would eat into the thin margins of her four- month-old business, she claimed.

Meanwhile, SingPost's Ms Loo urged customers to get additional insurance for deliveries requiring higher coverage. She added that it is important to spell out the full contents and exact value of a parcel on consignment forms - just in case a parcel goes missing.

"(For shipments out of Singapore without insurance), the maximum compensation for packages sent under the Express Mail Service is $150, or the declared value of the item, whichever is lower," she said. "The value of items should be declared and higher value items should be insured."

Ms Loo added that SingPost receives, on average, nine complaints every 10 days regarding misdelivery and damage. Some three million items are delivered daily.

waltsim@sph.com.sg