The Samoa Post has responded to criticisms of their services after a member of the public received an opened mail.
In doing so, the Post says they are willing to address and clarify any concern customers may have on their mail items as soon as they receive them.
The offer is made in a statement issued by the Samoa Post with regards to a customer who expressed her disappointment with how her mail was handled.
The woman said when she received her post card from Australia, it was already opened. Another issue was a Christmas card that was sent through the mail on December 8th, 2017, was only received last week.
She said that has happened to her before. It led to her and her family halting all use of the mail service to send or receive important documents or items.
However, according to the statement issued by the Samoa Post, there were postal items received from overseas postal administrations that were torn, opened, partially opened, wet and damaged.
“These were due to mail handling and transmission throughout their journey from the office of origin, transit points, to the office of destination,” the statement reads.
“In addition, postal items went through automatic cancelling/sorting machines in developed countries, before they arrive to Samoa,” says the statement.
The Samoa Post also laid out their operational procedures.
1. All mail items received torn, opened, partially opened, wet or in damaged with condition, are repaired at the office of destination, with the corresponding notation stamped on the items, indicating the condition of arrival;
2. They are date stamped, signifying date of arrival in Samoa, and signed by two postal officials, as witness on the condition of arrival;
3. Torn letters are inserted into plastic bags and stapled, for security and to ensure they are delivered to addressees, in an acceptable condition; and
4. Samoa Post officials do not open any mail items, as alleged in the article.
Questions sent to the Samoa Post on how they can ensure no repetition of such issues have not been answered as of press time.
The disappointed customer told the Samoa Observer that her mail was opened.
“This is what I received last week,” the concerned citizen explained, showing the letter.
“It arrived like this. It was sent on the 8th of December last year and we just got it last week and when we got it, it was all torn up and wrapped in this plastic bag."
“It say’s over here ‘received open in Apia’, initial Mark, Witness – Whoever. They cannot do that. I didn’t sort of put this inside, I received it like this."
“This is a big thing; you read a lot of things about the Post Office. The first issue is that they opened it and then they put it inside and stapled it, the second issue is that it arrived very late.”
The unhappy citizen explained that the same issue happened to her two years ago, her trust for S.P.O. withered away.
“So what we did before with our credit card and other important mail, we mail it to New Zealand before we bring it back,” she said.
“We don’t want to bring it over here anymore because we don’t get the mail. We don’t want to get mails delivered here anymore."
“But this is from my cousin in Australia who always sends Christmas cards every year. And I thought ‘where is this year’s Christmas card’ because this time we didn’t receive anything."
“Now that we actually did get it, it has already been opened.”
She adds she suspects people opened up the mail hoping to find money.
“I think at one time they found that people have been opening mail at the place where they store all the mail and then throw away the envelopes,” she said.
“This has happened to me before, two years ago, which is why we refuse to send important items through the mail now."
“This is not done in Australia, it is done here or where they store the mail here."
“I think the only reason they do this is that they think that there is money inside. So they open it and try.”