Friday, February 11, 2011

La Poste and "customer service"

My hatred of La Poste has reached a new level. I didn’t think it was even possible to hate them even more than I did when they royally screwed up opening my bank account this fall. But I do. I hate them SO MUCH MORE!  I truly believe they should all be fired and replaced by people who 1. have a brain 2. know how to do the job and 3. might actually want to work.

I’ve already alluded to my current post office problems once on this blog, but I was hoping to never get to the point of actually breaking and writing about this f****d up dilemma. However, thanks to the post office, I have reached that point today and my anger is overwhelming me. I feel an uncontrollable rage and an unbelievable desire to scream and shout at a postal worker and then to punch one (or five) in the face. Instead, to try to avoid going to jail, I am hoping to release my anger here. However, if this doesn’t satisfy my desire to bitch and moan about those idiots, don’t be surprised if you hear a story in the news about a crazy American who goes postal on La Poste.

***Warning: This will be long, and possibly full of expletives, as well as a lot of other angry language. Proceed with caution.

Back in December (yes…2 MONTHS ago…Dec. 16 to be exact) my friend in the US sent me a Christmas package. I was very excited at the prospect of getting a Christmas package and I waited anxiously for it to arrive. However, knowing La Poste and with all the snow and bad weather in both the US and Europe, I expected it to arrive late and therefore was not surprised when it didn’t arrive before Christmas.

January comes around and still no package. M friend messages me on Facebook to ask if I got it, and I responded that I hadn’t and I wanted to know the tracking number so we could look it up and see where it was. For some reason, Facebook didn’t feel like functioning and she never got my response. So, about a week later she messaged me again, and this time it worked, and that is when all the problems began.

She sent me the tracking number, and upon investigation using the USPS tracking service I discovered that the package had supposedly been delivered to my apartment on Dec. 27, Dec. 28 and Jan. 13. Hmmm…I thought. That’s odd. La Poste tried to deliver 3 times!?!

So I figured I should get my butt on in to the KB post office to find out what was up and to pick up my package. On Jan. 22 I went in armed with a printed copy of the USPS tracking information, hoping for the best, but with a very bad feeling in my stomach. The first guy I talked to wasn’t very helpful and just said the package had never been at this post office and passed it off to another colleague, who was surprisingly very nice. However, niceness (the first time I’ve ever experienced it at La Poste) didn’t pay off, and after trying to search for the package using the US number in their computer system, asking his boss, and physically searching for the package all he could tell me was that he didn’t know, he couldn’t get any information without having the French number for the package, he didn’t know why the USPS had so much information when the French had none and that he didn’t remember seeing a package with my name on it in the post office. He also added that I would have to call the number for le service international to see if I could get the French number and find out where the package was.

Of course, I went in on a Saturday, and the phone number is only open during the week, so I had to wait till Monday to call. Once I reached them, they were able to give me the French number, using the US number, in less than a minute (why couldn’t my post office do that???) and they informed me that the package was still at the KB poste.

So on Wednesday, when I had time, I went back, armed with the US number and the French number. The mean guy who I had talked to first on Saturday was unfortunately working and he recognized me immediately. Our conversation went something like this:

Mean Postal Worker: You spoke to my colleague the other day.
Me: Yes, I did and he told me to call a number, which I did, and they insisted that the package is, in fact, here.
MPW: Well, we’ve never seen your package here.
Me: Well, they say it’s here.
MPW: I can’t do anything for you with the US number.
Me: Well, I happen to have the French number right here.
MPW: Oh. Let me look. (types away at the keyboard) Oh, here it is. (prints out the tracking info from the French system) Look, it was here but it isn’t anymore. They tried to deliver it on Dec. 27 and then they brought it here. You never came to pick it up, so on Jan. 13 it was returned to the sender. Look, on Jan. 13 it was at Moissy Cramayel, which is 20 kilometers from here.
Me: Yes, well, I never came to pick it up because I didn’t know it was here because I never received the delivery slip.
MPW: (famous Gallic shrug that makes you want to kill them all)
Me: Well, who is going to pay for this package to return to France once it arrives in the US?
MPW: I dunno.
Me: Because clearly it should be La Poste since you failed to do your job.
MPW: (handing me a paper) You can fill out this form and mail it in to file a complaint. (he turns away)
Me: (storm out of the post office loudly muttering about the stupid f***ing idiotic postal workers)

After my miserable second encounter with the post office I returned home and called the international services number again to complain and find out where my package was, if it was still in France and if it could be returned to my address. After a lot of anger on my part they explained that they couldn’t do anything else because coliposte is in charge of international package deliveries and I would have to fill out a complaint form on their website. However, since I was not the one who paid to send the package, they told me I could only complain about not receiving the delivery slip and that my friend would have to go into her post office in the US to make a complaint that the US would then send on to France to be treated (genius considering the fact that the US did their part of the job and France is the one who failed). They could not tell me if the package was still in France, but that it was very likely that it was (why can’t their tracking system tell me where the package is!?!?!).

And now, the misery of trying to make a complaint. I went to the website to fill in the complaint form on Thursday. After spending about an hour writing a nicely worded and just rude enough complaint I pushed the send button and, surprise, surprise, the service wasn’t working. Since it was late, I decided to retry on Friday. Friday comes and I push the send button again and surprise, surprise this time the service is working, but the message that you include can be no more than 600 characters (really, 600 characters to state your case, explain the problem and make your complaint when you have no number to call???). Nice of them to say that on the form…my amazing message was 1,600 characters. So, I had to reword and edit without losing the meaning of the message and without cutting out any of the most vital points, while still including some of the nastier comments to keep them on their toes. About an hour later I push send again, and of course, the service isn’t working. Finally, after about 15 minutes of pushing the send button, it finally went through and I received a speedy confirmation that they had received my complaint and they would treat it quickly and get back to me. This was Jan. 28.

On my friend’s side, she went to her post office the following Monday, and after a few phone calls and transfers she was able to request an inquiry into the package’s whereabouts. However, the USPS informed her it would take La Poste about 17 days to conduct the inquiry and if she hadn’t heard anything in 24 days, to call back.

Fast forward to today. I arrive home and check my mailbox. I have a strange looking letter from La Poste. I tear it open and it is a letter asking me to fill out a form and send it back, pertaining to my friend’s request for an inquiry. Ok, great. A little strange that they want me to confirm by mail that I never received the package, but whatever. Then I turn on my computer and check my email. My long awaited response from coliposte has finally arrived! I click on it with excitement only to find a worthless form letter that doesn’t respond at all to my complaint, to any of the questions that I asked, or even to the box that I checked on the form to indicate the reason for my complaint. I mean, does "Les recherches effectuées par nos services indiquent que votre colis a été mis à disposition durant 15 jours consécutifs dans votre bureau de poste habituel. Au-delà de ce délai, comme précisé dans nos conditions générales de vente, tout colis non réceptionné par son destinataire, est retourné à l’expéditeur" (basically, your package was waiting for you at your post office for 15 days, as required by our rules, and was then returned to the sender) really respond to a complaint marked "absence d’avis de mise en instance"? No, it doesn’t! Sounds to me like they are trying to throw the blame on me because I never thought to go in to get the package that I didn’t even know was there! Also sounds like they didn’t even bother to read my complaint…And really, the fact that they said that if I didn’t find this response satisfactory, I could send in another complaint using the online form just makes me even more furious. Why the hell can’t I just call someone!?!?!

So, in a fit of rage I started writing this now extremely long post and then stopped mid-post to send in two more online forms complaining about the online form itself and the quality of their “relation client”. Maybe in 2 weeks I’ll have form letter responses to those too…

And so now I hate La Poste with a burning passion and all I freaking want is to call up a damn number and to scream at some idiot until they tell me where my package is, or at least call this distribution center at Moissy Cramayel to see if it is still there (because there is no public phone number for me to call, apparently, though I might try the regular post office there tomorrow) because I don’t really believe that it has left French soil since it was supposedly returned to the sender on Jan. 13 and last I checked it didn’t take a month to send a package to the US!

In all reality I’m starting to think I will never see the package and I’m really starting to believe that some evil French postal worker saw the contents and took it home and that they have eaten all of the wonderful American goodies that were meant for my stomach and now all I want is to make La Poste suffer. I might just send in a complaint every day until they finally do something to make up for their stupidity and inability to function.

***if you read all of this, I thank and applaud you.  It made me feel a little better to get all that out, but I won't feel 100% better until I'm munching on my American goodies!


  1. hahahhaa :D nice one... you really hate la poste :P I also live in france and yes they are quite lazy. sometimes when I'm home and waiting for my package, they would not ring the doorbell or knock on the door, the will just leave a piece of paper saying that I was not at home.

  2. Hello, Thank you for sharing your experiences with La Poste. I was desperately waiting for my documents for 2 months and nothing appeared in my mailbox. This is first experience with receiving mails from France using La Poste. It was frustrating and caused me great anxieties for those 2 months. I hated them too!

  3. I despise la poste too. They have a terrible attitude. I lived in France for three years and most times I went there, I was treated as though I were a pain. They immediately act like you're bothering them, when it's their job to help you! And they are wholly incompetent! I received 1 out of 5 packages that had been sent to me over the years I lived there, and no one is accountable or responsible for any lost mail, any absurd blockages on bank accounts (at la banque postale), and if you express any dissatisfaction with the fact that they treat you like a dog, they just turn their backs on you. No one cares and the best you'll get is to be launched into the bureaucratic void of phone numbers and websites that only waste your time.

  4. I am in the midst of a huge problem with them- I sent 2 colissimo international packages to the US in the last week on 2 different days. They were both very important as they were merchandise sent to clients. They were both given to the same poste in my area which is actually a small distribution center with one guichet.It is always the same man there; Well neither package is tracbable. When I entered both numbers on their site they came up as "invalid". I went back to the poste and they printed out a "traceo" for each that showed the history and all each package showed was " entréé dans le reseau"; No trace of each after that. No addresses etc. Many angry calls later to their international coli dept etc has produced different explanations from every person I have spoken to.I have now filed 2 claims. They had no information about either coli other than the tracking number and the dates and time each was left at the poste.( I had to give them addresses,weight of packages ,etc by phone when filing my complaint today)They have no idea where they are.I am livid and dont know what to tell my clients- This is very hurtful to my business and reputation. I have not heard anything back yet and am outraged. They took my money, my merchandise and poof - vanished with no proof it ever left the poste.

  5. Thank you.I have a similar problem and your post made me feel better.
    I have every sympathy for you. Maybe my lost champagne bucket will be delivered to you by mistake. If it is you are welcome to it. Enjoy it. Good luck.

    1. Good luck to you trying to find a solution. I know how difficult it can be and I sympathize. I'll let you know if I receive a random champagne bucket in the mail!

  6. It's awesome for me to have a website, which is useful designed for my experience.

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