Australia Post has apologised to Beechworth residents after cheques, same-sex marriage ballots and Christmas cards went undelivered for five months.
For almost half a year, the official red Australia Post street box on Junction Road in Beechworth was left untouched, with undelivered mail building up inside.
Beechworth’s Plumbing Plus owner Joanne Westra alerted Australia Post after being contacted by customers with overdue bills who were complaining they had never received an invoice.
Mrs Westra said they were shocked to find out the box had not been emptied or processed in five months.
“We realised because we couldn’t fit our post in there anymore, it was filled to the brim,” she said.
“It’s no wonder we had customers struggling to pay when they weren’t receiving the bill.
“All I’ll say is $50 in compensation and two boxes of stamps isn’t much.”
Mrs Westra said they offer an email invoice system but plenty of customers prefer to receive their bills by post, and the lack of delivery had a big impact on them and others.
“We know of a man whose phone was insured so he got sent a new phone, he sent his old one away to the company only to get a $900 bill because they hadn’t received the old phone – that went on for four months,” Mrs Westra said.
“We’re also aware of Christmas cards, birthday cards and a large cheque an elderly man sent to pay for hay bales that was never received.”
Mrs Westra said in early October a sign was placed on the box saying there was going to be a change to clearing times.
The notice said posties would be clearing the box at 1pm Monday to Friday from October 9.
An Australian Post spokeswoman said they began clearing the post box again three weeks ago when they became aware of the issue.
“Australia Post wholeheartedly apologises for this error,” she said.
“We can confirm all mail has now been delivered with a letter of explanation and an apology.
“This is an isolated incident that occurred when the collection route was handed over to a different team.”