How important is your POB Carded Article Payment?
The revolution that resulted in the establishment of LPOG took root in the escalation of the number of street carded articles, and POB carded articles, during the mid 2000s. During this time many LPOs went from 25 street carded article per week to over 250 per week, and 10 POB parcels per week to 20-50+ per day, and the numbers just kept climbing. At that time there was no remuneration for any parcels delivered via a POB, and a flat rate annual fee (paying around 0.19c if you were lucky) for all the street carded articles you received from contractors. It was the straw that nearly broke our backs, and unified Licensees all over the country to make change happen.
Any Licensee of an LPO today knows that we achieved change. These days we are fairly well remunerated, by comparison, for delivery of carded articles. It was a long and bloody battle for a dedicated band of Licensees, and none of us in that fight will be happy to see that again under threat.
So it is incredibly frustrating to receive notification from Australia Post that up to 15% of current Licensees are putting this payment in jeopardy for all of us, by abusing the process to initiate the payment. So much so that Australia Post is considering reverting to the previous payment strategy where the flat rate MM payment will be used to also cover delivery of ordinary articles via a POB. Letters have started rolling out to these 15% of Licensees across the network, asking for an explanation as to why that LPO's rate of POB carded articles is much higher than a similar LPO. Along with the amount of overpayment that is now under discussion. Its a pretty confronting letter to receive in your morning mail, and LPOG fully supports Australia Post in their call to recover these funds.
If you are not one of the 15% of Licensees who are abusing this payment, you may be as angry as we are, at the idea that we could all lose the right to be paid for the work we do to deliver non barcoded parcels and articles that do not fit into a POB, and need to be carded and delivered over the counter to our box holders, because of the actions of a group of Licensees who think they can abuse our agreement, and cannot be trusted not to cheat the system.
In the interests of protecting our current payment for POB carded articles for the other 85% of Licensees who are following the guidelines, LPOG would like to provide clarification on what is a carded article.
A carded article is one that is not able to fit into the POB it is addressed to. Its that simple. So if it is a large letter, under 500gms, and folds, and fits into a POB, and is collected by the box holder, it is NOT A CARDED ARTICLE, and does not attract any payment, because it is delivered via the POB.
A carded article is a large letter or parcel that does not fit into the POB, or cannot be folded, that requires a card to be placed into the POB, advising the boxholder that they have an article to collect. It is then barcoded and scanned as awaiting collection (possibly) and numbered, dated and managed as it sits on your parcel shelves, until the boxholder comes to collect some time over the next week or 2. It is then swapped for the parcel card and scanned as delivered and walks out of your LPO with the boxholder. This type of article attracts the payment for the additional work of managing that article. We are paid for that work, we are not entitled to receive additional payment if that article is delivered into the POB on the morning it is received in our office.
A street carded article arrives at the LPO via a contractor, and their parcels must have an attempted delivery scan for the Licensee to receive the delivery payment. The contractor must transfer the parcels to the LPO via the correct process for the integrity of that payment process. As long as we all check the contractors scanner, and ensure the correct number of parcels are handed over that payment is fairly well managed most of the time.
Our problem lies with our POB articles, and the fact that many of them do not have any previous scans, and a significant number of Licensees have been applying barcodes to articles that are then sorted to POBs. As per above, anything that has no previous barcodes, and is delivered into a POB does not atteact any additional payment as it is covered under the MMF. Regardless of your opinion of the correct level of MMF payment, a carded article does not fit into a POB, and articles THAT DO FIT INTO A POB, without any barcodes affixed by external parties, should not have any barcode affixed at the LPO, and should not be scanned for additional payments. Doing so is putting our payments at risk.
In the interests of protecting the integrity of our correct delivery payments, and to reduce the potential for abuse, LPOG has agreed to assist Australia Post to refine this payment process to ensure integrity. LPOG will work closely with Australia Post to develop a process that will provide confidence in the payment process to ensure we keep this revenue stream.
Australia Post has an abundance of data warehousing and analytics these days. Benchmarking and averaging is the cornerstone of this business now. So if your numbers do not fit into the average, you will be under intense scrutiny, and you will be dealing with the fall out.
There is no doubt a significant number of Licensees feel aggrieved at having been unfairly paid, or having been trapped in an unfair contract, but that is an issue that must be resolved as a stand alone issue. It cannot be offset by acting contrary to the signed agreement because that could constitute fraud, and that will not be a good place for anyone to go.
The worst case scenario is you are risking the termination of your License on the grounds of potential fraud, or the best case could be the repayment of the estimated overpayment you have generated by incorrectly applying barcodes to mail not qualified to attract a delivery payment.
That is a lot to lose