It began with a message from a Fireman.
“Just wanted to let you know we attended a fire at a Post Box in Preston, and most of the contents were your bangles and packages – just thought you should know.”
WHO sets fire to a post office box? We’d just spent an entire week sending out a TONNE of Xmas orders, so we knew this was going to hit us pretty hard.
The day before the fire we’d sent packages to 80 customers – that’s 180 bangles - $6,200 worth.
Now I know for some bigger companies, that may not be a big deal – but for a small business like ours? That's a LOT of bangles.
How could we replace it all? What would this mean for our Christmas sales? Were any of the orders salvageable or were they all fried?
We needed answers – so we called Australia Post. (Well, Lauren called while I listened).
And this is where it starts to get interesting.
On the first call they told us they had no record of a fire, and even if there was a fire all they could do was send us 10 stamps to replace what we’d lost.
They wanted to give us $10 worth of stamps to replace $6,200 worth of bangles, plus $180 in postage, plus $40 in envelopes.Right.
“Uhhhh excuse me, but that’s completely insufficient”, Lauren told Mr. Australia Post. “Giving us 10 stamps doesn’t even replace a fraction of the postage costs.”
Compensation was the least of our worries though. Our biggest concern was that our customers might receive damaged bangles. Given the time of a year we knew there was a good chance they’d be Christmas presents, and no one wants to give a half burned bangle as a gift.
Australia Post assured us that when it comes to damaged goods they are NEVER sent on to the customer, but instead they are returned to the sender instead.
“Phew” – we breathed a collective sigh of relief. Thank god for that!
We were told they’d get back to us when they knew more.
They never called us back.
So a few days later we called again.
We NEEDED to know which bangles had to be resent because our customers would be waiting.
They still couldn’t tell us when we’d receive our burnt goods, but reassured us AGAIN that the damaged goods wouldn’t be sent to our customers.
We'd visited the Distribution Centre to try and pick up our burnt packages, but it was closed to the public. What else could we do but wait for our bangles to be returned? Maybe this would all work out okay?
Then we got an email.
“Uh Hi, this may sound odd, but I’ve just received my bangles in the mail – and they look like they’ve been burned?”
OH NO THEY DIDN’T.
UH HUH THEY DID.
We emailed the 80 customers that have might have been affected and we were hit with more than 50 responses.
Women who expected stunning bangles engraved with sayings like "Be the Shiniest Fucking Unicorn in the Room" ended up with burnt scraps - and let's just say these bangles won't be farting glitter anytime soon.
“As you can see, the bangle was badly damaged, and that sucks because I was so excited about it.”
“In all years I've been receiving mail never has this happened! So upset!”
“It’s really strange – everything seems waterlogged and also smells of smoke. It’s almost like the post box was set on fire and put out with water (I have a vivid imagination).”
“Hi, I just received my order and strangely it has been on fire at some point.”
“As you can see in the photo, the envelope must have somehow caught fire and then soaked. The little pouches were still wet and had become moldy. Not sure what the hell happened at Australia Post that day!”
Australia Post had taken it upon themselves to send the destroyed packages to our customers.
They’d been set alight – and then doused in water – so customers were receiving bangles and bags that were burnt, mouldy, smoky and waterlogged.
After we’d asked them not too.
After they’d promised us they never would because it’s against their policy.
After we visited their Distribution Centre to try and get our burnt packages back.
After 4 very long and painful phone calls with everyone telling us “All damaged goods will be sent back to you.” And we triple checked our postal address.
After we filed case after case and spoke to senior managers who never called us back.
We couldn't believe it.
And after yet another failed phone call - we decided we'd share this story.
Firstly, to apologise to our customers.
We are SO incredibly sorry you received packages that looked the way they did. We know that for many of you our bangles represent something really special – and to have them arrive is such terrible condition would have been incredibly disappointing. We’re so sorry and we will make sure ALL your bangles are replaced before Christmas!
And secondly, we’re calling out Australia Post.
You are douche canoes of the highest order.
We have been chasing you for answers for 2 weeks now, and every time we were promised a call back – we never received it. No one ever called us to tell us the Post Office Box had been set on fire, and no one (even your most senior managers) called us back when they said they would.
You promised us you’d never send badly damaged goods – and you sent charred remains to our customers.
And look, you're a company that makes $36 million profit a year - so that may not be a big deal for you.
But we aren’t you, Australia Post – we're a small business, and this little bangle company is our entire livelihood – plus we donate a percentage of each bangle sold to help educate girls in Africa too.
We work hard to find our customers and make them happy – and by sending on these burnt remains, you could have lost us 80 amazing customers. Not to mention the ongoing damage to our brand.
Offering us $10 worth of stamps in exchange for everything we lost is a joke. We want to be properly compensated.
Especially since a customer just emailed us to tell us she received a note from Australia Post saying their parcel was burnt "because Be. Bangles didn't pack the items properly and the parcel got caught in Australia Post machinery". Seriously. The nerve!
You need to go back and take a good long hard look at your policies, your procedures and how your staff are trained – because for a company that prides itself on excellent customer service, you seriously dropped the ball here.
ANYWAY. [/End Rant]
To finish on a happier note - we do want to say a huge thank you to all the amazing women who were so gracious with us during this process.
Thank you for your kindness and understanding, and for allowing us to fix what happened.
Some of you even went straight back and purchased another bangle after we told you what had happened.
THANK YOU for being who you are.
You ROCK and we appreciate you so much!
Chantelle and Lauren xx
PS. We didn't expect this blog post to go viral! But it is! To celebrate we're offering 10% off all our bangles - just use the code "firesale" at check out.
Thank you for sharing and tagging Australia Post in your shares!
You girls are the best shiny unicorns in the room, good on you for giving them hell. Received a $50 card from Aus post today which is great, can’t believe they lied about it being a machinery fire though, that’s what they claimed on the plastic bag they delivered the burnt envelope my bangle came in!
Rest assured I remain a loyal customer and will be sure to spend $50+ on Be. Bangles in the future xx
Not the first time ive heard this happen i also run a small buisness and have been affected by australia post ? im sorry this has happened to yous and hope you get some compensation
Truly awful experience I am very surprised to learn of Aus Post’s incompetence especially, as their market share is under fire with the likes of an array of courier services. I have worked with Fastway and I would recommend their services. They offer a $1500 limited liability insurance and securely collect your parcels so damage is very unlikely . They also offer Track & trace visibility for customers too. Aus Post do not deserve your business whatsoever so why not dump them? Alex
Australia Post are an absolute joke. They have lost, delayed and damaged so many things I’ve sent I vowed to not bother with them again. Recently I was forced to send a parcel with them but my scales showed it as 22kg and there’s showed 22.5kg and they sent me away.
I’m grateful for that. I found a company online which will send parcels (Interparcel). You get a choice of couriers at half the cost of Australia Post who deliver in 1/3 of the time. So thanks Australia Post, for saving me the grief and frustration of having to deal with you ever again!
Much love and respect for this. AusPost constantly frustrate me to the odd FB rant on my personal page, and someone shared this story with me.
Love the fact you’ve still got some humour with #firesale, I think I’ll buy my sister and wife something from your site!
ps, if you changed companies, who did you go with? I also use shopify and have been tinkering with readytoship + click & send + sendle, and would appreciate sharing any local knowledge on who works well!
Don’t worry. The CEO will get his $2M bonus for cutting costs.
why on earth would you post them in a street collection box? id take them into a post office and take advantage of free tracking numbers,
I just wanted to say the Fire Department employee who phoned demonstrated the customer service that Aust Post should wish to emulate.
I had a parcel delivered by UPS and the packing was all rumpled and the contents bent. Delivery companies don’t give a .
This is where all online sellers that use Australia post can stand together to give Australia Post a clear message that this is unacceptable. I strongly disagree with Australia Post assuring that they would be returned, but then to send them and to attach such childish notes to the packages just defies logic.
Talk about a dumpster fire of a year. For your team, literally.
Australia Post are the worst. I recommend checking out Sendle – Australian start up determined to do better by Australians and Australian Businesses.
If the parcels weren’t insured, and Australia Post weren’t responsible for the fire, I can’t see how AP were responsible for compensation here.
Really sorry to hear what happened but it’s not surprising to hear AusPost behave this way.
The related increases to postage fees are slowly killing my wife’s mail order business – hand made purses – because we just can’t compete with sellers in Asia who can send a 70gram item for $2 internationally yet AusPost charges $8.
AusPost should be a government service which helps businesses and individuals communicate, not a business trying to constantly increase profits.
How thoughtful of the fireman.
Glad your customers have been so understanding. Please switch delivery service!
Sorry to hear of your troubles.
I notice that AusPost is now saying that something went wrong and are sorry. but to me it wasn’t something that went wrong but their entire system.
off the top of my head their failures were
1 – when box was cleared what ever ( if any ) procedures to deal with it FAILED.
2 – Initial compensation not even equalling 10% of your postage bill , let alone cost of items damaged FAILED
3 – Being told that Auspost would not deliver damaged parcels FAILED
4 – Managers hearing of your story not responding in the time frame they gave – FAILED
Putting aside all the idiocy with sending these packages on, especially when they’d promised they wouldn’t – why do you say Aus Post is obliged to compensate you? How did they cause the fire, or if you agree they didn’t do so, why should they otherwise be responsible for loss caused by it?
Oh my gosh – I’m so sorry this happened but not surprised. I’ve had two big ticket items damaged by AusPost (insured) and they have refused to payout because we “didn’t pack the item sufficiently”. (Note: I was so anxious about the second order that I took it to the post office and had them help me pack it to their requirements). They DID send me new satchels for free, but refuses to fix or reimburse for the damaged items. Actually, I’m still awaiting them to call back as promised.
Shipping expensive items terrifies me and these days and whilst PayPal protects me as a buyer it doesn’t as a seller.
I hope your post is read by AusPost and you are reimbursed. If any other service business did this they’re would be a media outcry
I work for an LPO, as we are small and not queued up like the corporate offices we take extra time & care with our customers. ….but even I am appalled at the delivery service sometimes.
Wow this is so awful to hear and I can only imagine it feels distressing and putting a hamper on Xmas. I feel so sorry for you (and the customers).
Aus Post is a national icon. That something like this can happen is a travesty and inexcusable. Here’s hoping someone takes notice, but, it sounds like the culture there is so toxic there’ll be no saving it.
Classic Australia Post.
For years their level of service has been falling. It’s gotten to the point where they’ve literally stopped delivery staff from being able to do their jobs (if a parcel needs to be signed for and it’s small enough to be sent with the letter carrier, all they can do is toot their horn by your letterbox. If you don’t hear it or if you’re not quick enough, too bad you’ve missed out and have to go in to the PO to pick it up).
I’m really sorry this happened to your business. As a small business owner myself, I completely understand how stressful this situation would have been.
Hi, you don’t need to publish this or even respond but I was wondering if you had any type of insurance to cover your losses. Isn’t that sometimes offered with postage? Anyway, good luck, I hope this gets sorted and you’re not left out of pocket. I can’t help thinking that this happens when you employ people. as Australia Post does, as contractors on thin margins and where following correct procedures cost them money.
Not affiliated at all, but have you considered sendle? (Sendle.com) they’re carbon neutral and have couriers Australia wide.
Please go to consumer affairs or something. To be blunt, this is a fucking joke. It’s already hard enough to run a small business and this is like pouring petrol on a fire and throwing a match.
If there is a silver lining, it could be that people like me who hadn’t heard of your business, read this viral article, visited your site and made a purchase. ?
I hate the way it happened but am glad I found you!
I wasn’t affected by this and I am sorry this happened to you. I in no way support/like Australia post. However, two questions:
1. Why were packages put into a post box, would you not go directly to a store?
2. Why would you even use Australia post? Hopefully you have been able to lock down a deal with a better distributor