What constitutes a loss in the eyes of POL

Over last Xmas I had a long exchange of emails with Ms Vennells and a Ms vd Bogaard including a telephone conversation with the latter.   I was trying to explain to both of them an error in the HOL system that required the SPMR who experienced the error to make good a loss that had not actually occured.

There is, for the moment, an option in Horizon to print multiple postage labels of the same value should a customer present multiple packets of the same size and weight for postage to the same pricing destination.  This is a key time saving procedure for what are typically ebay or amazon customers.

The error, for whatever reason, occurs when the SPMR requests the system to print X number of labels yet once the process has completed only X – 1 (or more) labels have been printed.  At this stage the system shows that X number of labels have been printed and that the customer is due to pay £Y.

The situation is obvious.  To provide the number of labels the customer requires the SPMR has to print another label (or labels).   For simplicity let us say the label value is £5.   The system therefore wants X * £5 which the customer is willing to pay, plus another £5 for the extra label.

The question then that I put to Ms Vennells and the other one, was who should pay for the reprinting of the missing label.   Of course they denied the system could have been at fault and that it must have been as a result of the SPMR using the same label twice.  A perfectly reasonable explanation because that does indeed happen – sometimes.   Especially when you are printing twenty labels.  The explanation becomes slightly less believable when a SPMR requests 5 labels and only 2 print.   I mean, sometimes you have to laugh at these denials of system failure – more of that coming in the next few weeks.

Anyway back to the point of what constitutes a loss in the eyes of Ms Vennells and that other woman.

They insisted that the SPMR would have to make good the ‘loss’.   So I queried that with them.  The customer arrived with X parcels, paid for X parcels to be sent, and Royal Mail delivered X parcels.   However Royal Mail got paid for delivering X+1 parcel, POL got the commission on the extra label and to rub salt in the wound, the SPMR was also paid commission on the extra label.

Who lost what in this process and who gained?

Royal Mail gained by the £5 less the commission the pay POL.   There was no additional cost involved in terms of delivering a packet that did not exist.  A highly profitable exercise then.

Post Office Ltd gained the commission they received from RMG less the commission they paid the SPMR.

The SPMR lost £5 less the commission he received from POL.

Both POL and RMG are making profit from either a simple mistake by the SPMR or a system error.

I explained all this to the pair of them but they would have none of it – couldn’t be a system error they said (we’ll see about that soon enough) so the SPMR was liable.   At about this point I gave up trying to get them to see sense and explained it really wasn’t a major problem as SPMRs have a wide range of ways they can fraudulently recover the loss from POL.

They seemed to concur with this view point.

This is a widespread problem throughout the network.  It happened in our branch twice.   Can’t say if I recovered the losses generated fraudulently or not.

But consider this – what would be the overall effect if I printed a label, declared it spoiled yet used it all the same.  SOmething you are not meant to do.

Royal Mail would get paid for X packets and deliver them all

POL would get paid commission on X packets

SPMR would get commission on X packets

Voila – system normal – the only difference being?  The SPMR has committed a sackable offence!

Worth going on to the RMG web site and trying to print out a PPI – there RMG give the user the benefit of the doubt and allow them to reprint the label.  SO why don’t POL trust their SPMRs to be honest?

I have this sneaky feeling we will be revisiting this terrible tale in due course or should that be courts?

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