The South African Post Office is retarded.

I’ve never previously had anything major against the SAPO. Sure they’re expensive and the service isn’t amazing, but it’s not that bad. It’s just recently now that I’m getting annoyed.

Firstly my PO Box is up for renewal, and on the little letter I got in my post it very nicely told me that I can pay in one of 3 ways, either in person in cash (pass), online on the SAPO website or online with Kalahari.net (win!). So obviously a few days after I got the invoice I hopped onto Kalahari.net and spent 20min searching for a link to pay for my PO Box, eventually googling the term, and being linked to a Kalahari.net page which said payments are closed and would reopen on 1 October (it was now the 15th). So I did the logical thing and sent an email off to Kalahari.net who told me the service was not available this year and I’d have to make other arrangements.

Fine, so I went onto the SAPO website to pay there, but it required signing up for an account and some other PT which I wasn’t lus for at the time, so I passed it off till this last weekend when I found the invoice sitting in my draw. So I hop online go to the SAPO website which has a link to www.epostal.co.za which I click and the website is offline, not responding… So I leave it and Monday morning they must have restarted the website, cause the website is running again.

So Monday when I get home from work I go to the website and create an account, then they send you an activation e-mail. So I wait a bit for the email to arrive, but it doesn’t. Activation e-mails are generally instantaneous, this one took 12 hours. So I get home today and I login and create a new password, now to renew my postbox! Or not. It seems you have to link your post box to your account (sure makes sense) so they ask you for your account number. I have searched all my paperwork relating to my PO Box that I have ever received and nowhere does it indicate an account number. They very nicely offer you the alternative to input your PO Box number, ZIP code and ID which I do, and apparently it can’t find my account, so they give a number to phone. But it’s 18:30 and the office hours only stretch till 17:30 apparently, so I am left stranded until tomorrow.

The second axe I have to grind is the their website stability. As I mentioned early their epostal website wasn’t running this weekend, and this has been the norm throughout this year. I visit the SAPO and SpeedServices websites on a fairly regular basis and at least half the time the websites are down/out of order or respond painfully slowly, so that my tracking number look up times out.

Postage fees. I’ve received quite a few packages from Hong Kong, via ebay, and I always have a look at the stamps on the items, and not once has the postage exceeded the equivalent of R10. So then why, for me to return a product to Hong Kong does it cost me a flat rate of R90 + a cost per weight amount?

I’ve also just received a letter from CapeMail, supposedly all post to and from the Cape goes through that office in the GoodWood area. Anyway, the letter mentions something about a package that they have their waiting for me to make a payment to cover import duties or something. Now I’ve been waiting for a package for almost 2 months now, which I believe to be this package. The letter gives the instructions that I can go collect the package there, or pay the amount (without any banking details given) and fax through proof and they will send the package to my local post office.

So I look to see how much I have to pay, and no where is there written an amount, however someone has crossed out “R0.00” with a permanent marker for some reason. Again I have to wait till tomorrow to phone and figure this out. To go and fetch this item in Goodwood will cost me more in time and money than the R10 I paid for the product in the first place.

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