Post Office wants to dump letters that don't have enough stamps
An Post could end up throwing away letters that don't have enough postage paid on them under new terms it wants to impose on customers.
And consumers could end up insuring letters to carry cash but get nothing back if the mail gets lost.
The regulator Comreg has highlighted a number of serious concerns it has with new terms and conditions proposed by An Post.
It says that some of the new conditions An Post wants to impose are very heavily weighted against customers and would have a "significantly adverse effect on postal service users".
In a consultation paper on the new postal terms and conditions, Comreg highlights particular issues where consumers want to send cash or vouchers in the post.
Comreg said An Post on the one hand appears to prohibit the sending of cash through the post but then permits it if in a secure insured package.
Another clause then states that cash, bank drafts and vouchers can be sent in postal packets to addresses inside and outside the state, but says they are excluded from compensation.
This implied people could pay insurance but would not then get anything back if the item went astray.
"Comreg considers that it would be difficult for postal service users to know whether they can or cannot send money by post and if so in what circumstances this is permitted and what compensation is payable," it said.
An Post is also seeking the right to detain or dispose of underpaid letters and packages rather than delivering them with a surcharge to the recipient, as is currently the practice.
Comreg is also calling foul on this new postal condition, arguing that it gives An Post very wide-ranging discretion and that it is "a fundamental change" to how post has always been treated as the property of the addressee.
This new way of doing business would also allow An Post to open private letters, and would mean that neither the sender nor the recipient might be aware what had happened to their mail.
This is the first time that An Post has drawn up terms and conditions that are subject to regulation
Comreg is now looking for interested parties to have their say on the changes by May 20 before new rules are set.