Canada Post fails to deliver on Xpresspost promise

The following is a firsthand account of how Canada Post , in the words of one of its employees, “failed big time.”

Thinking about sending an envelope via Canada Post’s Xpresspost service? Think again.

On its website, Canada Post declares: “Get it there quickly and affordably with guaranteed on-time delivery.

Truth is, Canada Post can’t always deliver on this promise.

On the afternoon of Oct. 19, I sent an Xpresspost envelope containing timely legal documents from a postal outlet in downtown Montreal destined for an address in Waterloo, Ont. – about 650 km away. The clerk repeatedly assured me the envelope would be delivered the next business day (Oct. 20). Canada Post’s website promises the same for a “regional” Xpresspost delivery like mine.

But, at the end of the business day on Oct. 20, I went online to track the envelope and get a copy of the recipient’s signature scan. To my surprise, it indicated that not only was the envelope not delivered as promised… it was being processed in Edmonton.

That’s right, Canada Post sent an envelope destined to travel from Quebec to Ontario all the way to Alberta for processing.

On Oct. 21, I tracked the envelope again and saw no movement. I called Canada Post’s alleged customer service number and spoke to a woman who seemed to think it was amusing that my envelope ended up more than 3,000 km west of its destination. She said there was little she could do because “it’s the weekend” but assigned me a “ticket” number and assured me someone would contact me on Monday (Oct. 23).

No one contacted me. According to tracking information on the Canada Post website, the envelope was still in Edmonton. I called again and, again, I was told there was no information about the whereabouts or delivery date of my envelope other than what was shown on the website.

Not good enough, I insisted. I was eventually put through to someone who I was told would personally handle my complaint. Her name is allegedly Patricia and she gave me the number to her “direct line.” Patricia also promised she would contact me with an update the following day (Oct. 24).

On Oct. 24, the tracking info showed the envelope had made its way to Kitchener-Waterloo and – finally! – was “out for delivery.” The “expected delivery date” was Oct. 24. Patricia never called me with an update, as promised, but it seemed moot at that point since the envelope was finally on its way to its destination.

At the end of the business day, though, it still had not been delivered, at least according to tracking info on the website.

On Oct. 25, I called Patricia’s “direct line” where I listened to a recorded message informing me that she was in the office from 10 am to 4 pm. and would return my call as soon as possible.

Patricia didn’t call me back. The tracking info on the website now showed the current status, as of Oct. 25, was that the envelope was “out for delivery” on Oct. 24.

So, I called Canada Post’s alleged “customer service” line again and repeated my personal details and tale of woe for quite possibly the sixth time in as many days. I don’t know if the person on the other end of the phone was trying to be helpful because I couldn’t understand a word he or she was saying. I asked to be put through to someone who could speak more clearly.

Another agent came on and spoke much more clearly. I repeated the personal details for a seventh time (and second time in five minutes). After listening to my plight and offering words of comfort (“I can understand why you are frustrated,” she said), she confessed she couldn’t actually help me. She transferred me to a manager.

The manager, to be fair, seemed to want to help. She said she would put me on hold and contact the postal depot in Kitchener to try to track the envelope. I listened to soft jazz instrumental music while on hold for more than 15 minutes before the manager came back with good news… and bad news.

The good news? The envelope was delivered on Oct. 24. The bad news? The carrier had problems with her signature scan device and so the signature wasn’t able to be uploaded into the system.

“We failed big time,” the manager confessed, offering to send me a cheque for $20 (let’s hope it’s not coming by mail!) as well as an official letter attesting that the receiver did, in fact, sign for the envelope.

Shortly after the call ended, I received an email from Canada Post customer service. “Attached is a letter of apology,” it read. But, there was no attachment. Canada Post can’t even deliver a letter via email.

Update: On the afternoon of Oct. 26 – one day after being told the signature scan was lost – the mysterious (and mumbling) Patricia called to say the signature was now viewable on the tracking site.

In summary: One envelope, sent on an overnight 650 km journey, ended up traveling more than 6,000 km over six days. Canada Post needs to give its head a shake – and so does anyone considering using Xpresspost.

From now on, if it really has to get there, it’s going FedEx.