For officials at the General Post Office in Sector 17, China is spelt the way it is spoken — as ‘Chaina’. Balwinder Kaur, a resident of Chandigarh, discovered this the hard way when she posted a parcel of medicines to her mother, who lives at Chaina village near Faridkot in Punjab, only to have the parcel make its way to China instead of Chaina before being returned to Kaur. The consumer forum has now ordered the Chandigarh General Post Office (GPO) to pay Kaur Rs 5,000 for deficiency in services.
A resident of Manimajra, Kaur said she sent blood pressure medicines to her mother through registered post on January 18, 2018, by making a payment of Rs 42. She also gave her mother’s complete address as VPO (village post office) Chaina, Tehsil Jaito, District Faridkot, Punjab, while sending the parcel from the Post Office, Raj Bhawan branch. But to her surprise, her mother never received the parcel and instead it was delivered back to her on January 31.
On tracking the consignment through its number on internet, Kaur was stumped when she found that the parcel had reached Beijing, China, due to wrong sorting at the Post Office. From January 19, 2018, to January 27, 2018, it was sent from Chandigarh to Delhi and then to China before being finally returned to Kaur on January 31. In a formal complaint at the Consumer Forum of Chandigarh, Kaur alleged that the staff did not read the correct address as was written on the registered parcel.
The National Sorting Hub department of General Post Office (GPO) Sector 17, Chandigarh, on its part argued that the Central government or its postal officers are exempted from any liability for loss, wrong delivery, delay or damage to any postal article in course of transmission by post as per Section 6 of the Indian Post Office Act.
The GPO contended that after writing the complete address, the complainant again wrote the words “delivery Chaina”, which created the entire confusion. And the article was dispatched to China instead of Chaina in Faridkot. Thus, there was no deficiency in service or unfair trade practice on its part.
The forum after hearing the arguments held “…instead of apologising for its mistake despite admission of the fact that the parcel was wrongly sent to a wrong destination, the opposite party (GPO) is blaming the complainant and indicating she had deliberately added the last lines/words for reasons best known to her…”
Rapping the GPO, the forum in the judgment stated that the “GPO has shown its negligent and lethargic work culture by taking a plea that due to the heavy rush of work, it has become routine for the delivery staff to read the last lines of the address in order to deliver the articles, while the process demands that the further address be checked only after delivering the parcel to the State or the Country”.
The GPO, the forum said, is required to render fault-free and effective services by delivering an article in time, but it miserably failed to do so. Hence, for not delivering the parcel in question at the correct mentioned address and for unnecessarily forcing the complainant to indulge in litigation, the forum directed the GPO to pay Rs 2,500 to the complainant towards compensation and Rs 2,500 as litigation expenses.