Paris, 21 October 2011
Since 1 January 2011, postal service users can submit to ARCEP complaints that could not be satisfactorily resolved using the procedures put in place by postal-service providers. Before submitting their complaints to ARCEP, users must have exhausted all avenues of appeal offered by the postal providers; in the case of La Poste, they must first have submitted their complaint to La Poste's Complaints Ombudsman.
In this context, ARCEP received a complaint about La Poste's parcels service on 6 July 2011 and noted that La Poste's procedures for delivering parcels against signature were not satisfactory in many respects, especially in that they do not allow La Poste customers to express reservations at the time of delivery.
Firstly, in a section of its website devoted to questions frequently asked by its customers, La Poste seems to prohibit the expression of reservations upon receipt of an item. In ARCEP's opinion, there is no textual basis for any such prohibition.
Furthermore, ARCEP highlights contradictions between the text of the terms and conditions of sale and the information available on La Poste's website, as regards the option available to customers of asking for the parcel to be made available at a postal facility so it can be opened in the presence of a member of postal staff.
Lastly, ARCEP notes that La Poste did not comply with its internal procedures for the delivery of parcels against signature, by failing to obtain the customer's signature on an identifiable document.
Besides eliminating all contradictions in the information provided to the public, ARCEP thus deems it essential that La Poste improve its procedures for delivering parcels against signature, especially in respect of the conditions under which the person accepting the item can state any reservations at the time of delivery. Specifically a section on the delivery bill should allow customers to record any reservations. In actual fact, the lodging of reservations, in conjunction with the signature of the person accepting the item could constitute proof of the fact that any damage noted did not occur after delivery of the item.
ARCEP feels that these changes are necessary to ensure that consumers are fully informed and to permit proper application of the liability system provided for in the Law of 20 May 2005.