Stacks of mail found near letterboxes at Tampines HDB block overlooked by new postman: SingPost

Facebook user Joanne Li, in a post on April 25, said that she found several letters and parcels addressed to various units inside a "wastepaper ditch" next to the letterboxes. PHOTO: JOANNE LI / FACEBOOK

SINGAPORE - Two stacks of mail found near the letterboxes at a Tampines Housing Board block's void deck on Thursday (April 25) were overlooked by a new postman after the bundle toppled over the letterbox ledge, said SingPost on Friday.

Ms Joanne Li, 30, a manager in the engineering industry, said in a Facebook post on Thursday night that she found several letters and parcels addressed to various units inside a "wastepaper ditch" next to the letterboxes.

The Straits Times understands that the affected block was Block 862A Tampines Street 83.

Ms Li said that she kept the two stacks of mail and told SingPost to contact her to get them back. She also asked them to investigate what had happened.

In response to queries, SingPost said on Friday that it will be retrieving the mail from her and delivering them on Friday evening.

"SingPost thanks Ms Joanne Li for reporting this issue, as well as for safekeeping the mail," the postal service provider said.

SingPost said that from its investigations, it found that the mail items had been handled by a new postman who had joined the company a month ago. He had only just started delivering mail on his own, and "overlooked the bundle of letters placed on the ledge of the letterbox ditch after it toppled over".

The incident occurred a few days after the postman concluded his training, which included classroom lessons and on-the-job training with an experienced buddy-postman, said SingPost.

It added that the company would address the matter with the postman in an appropriate manner.

Ms Li told ST on Friday night that a SingPost officer came to collect the mail from her around 9.30pm.

She said: "They asked me where I found (the mail) and said they would take over from here.

"One of their staff also called me after that to thank me for keeping the mail, and explained that it was not a case of deliberate discarding of mail."

After knowing the reason for the incident, she said that postmen still need to be more careful.

"For our personal mail we need them to handle it with care as it contains personal information and is sensitive," said Ms Li.

In a Facebook update on Friday morning, Ms Li confirmed that SingPost had contacted her.

She wrote on Facebook: "There could be various reasons why this had happened but, honestly, it should not be happening."

Ms Li added that aside from the packages, there were letters that were private and confidential in nature and "you don't want them to be lost just like that".

"There could be people who may make use of your info and do malicious things. If you ever have the same encounter, please be kind to our mails," she said.

In February, SingPost was hit with a $100,000 fine for failing to meet standards on the delivery of basic letters and registered mail here in 2017.

In the following month, it was fined $300,000 - its highest fine to date - for similarly failing to meet regulatory standards here in 2018.

SingPost said that it will be embarking on a fundamental review of its mail operations to raise reliability standards.

This includes hiring 100 more postmen and taking steps to help staff cope with their workloads.

In an interview with The Straits Times in February, SingPost's group chief executive Paul Coutts said that the company is working with the authorities and stakeholders to have larger letter boxes to accommodate growing e-commerce volumes.

It will also be looking at providing more accountability for non-trackable items, such as basic letters.

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