Consumer protectionClaims for conciliation in the postal sector increased fourfold

Last week, the conciliation board for postal affairs at the German Federal Network Agency published its 2017 activity report. It includes evaluations and information on consumer complaints regarding the dispatch of letters and parcels that led to a conciliation claim.

These are the central aspects:

  • With a total of 1,001 conciliation requests in 2017, the board received about four times as many requests as in the previous year. In 191 cases, the board reached an amicable settlement through a procedure. However, in 414 cases the postal service provider refused to participate in a conciliation procedure.
  • One reason for this dynamic development, which persists at the beginning of 2018, is the increased volume of parcels due to the growing online trade.
  • The higher number of conciliation requests also demonstrates that consumers often cannot assert themselves against postal service providers without official support.
  • Consumer complaints were mainly about damaged or lost parcels. Most issues related to the liability of concluded transport contracts especially in the light of packaging requirements or the shipping of valuable and sensitive items such as jewelry or perishable goods.

Jochen Homann, president of the German Federal Network Agency, commented: "The conciliation board for postal affairs at the Network Agency has proven to be a successful mediator between customers and companies in cases of conflict. Unfortunately, the majority of companies are denying participation in conciliation procedures in their terms and conditions. This is a bitter setback for consumers. The enormously increasing number of applications alone highlights the necessity for such procedures. New regulations could greatly enhance consumer protection if they helped postal service providers to deal with the dispute resolution cases and claims."

Source: German Federal Network Agency

More information and the report