Amazon blacklists South Africa’s Post Office

Posted by batman567 on Jul 15th, 2008
Jul 15

RAMPANT theft by Post Office workers has infuriated the internet retailing giant Amazon so much that it will no longer send goods to SA by post.

Anyone wanting to order directly from the US-based website must now pay for a private courier service – adding about R420 to the price of a DVD.

SA’s postal status makes the country the pariah of Africa, since no other country has had postal deliveries scrapped. The only other African country that cannot use the cheapest standard postal service is Nigeria, although Amazon still trusts Nigeria’s post office if buyers pay a slightly higher expedited shipping rate.

The new restriction came in at the weekend, with customers being told the theft rate was so high that goods would no longer be delivered unless they paid a priority shipping rate of $39,99 per order and an incremental $9,99 for each extra item.

Amazon has long distrusted SA’s postal service, and already refuses to deliver high-priced goods such as electronic items or perfumes, restricting shipments to CDs, DVDs and books. Private scamsters have also aggravated the crime rate, as people ordered and received goods but claimed not to have received them, forcing Amazon to send replacement items at its own expense.

The clampdown will benefit Wantitall, a local website that thrives on Amazon’s wariness. Wantitall collates orders for all type of goods and orders them from Amazon, but has them delivered to a warehouse in the US. They are then repacked and sent in bulk via courier to SA.

Amazon’s action is bad for consumers but good news for Wantitall, said its founder Justin Drennan. “Because of the fraud, they have stopped shipping via the standard postal service. Everything is being stolen at the Post Office,” he said.

Drennan said Amazon deliveries were easily targeted because of their distinctive packaging. “Ask how many people have had stuff stolen from Amazon and it’s massive. Amazon was reshipping things at its own cost but it’s had enough,” he said. “People were also ordering DVDs and telling Amazon they hadn’t received them. They are saying we are as crooked as they thought we were.”

Wantitall mainly handles the high-priced items that Amazon does not deliver to SA.

No one from the Post Office would comment yesterday. Its executives have been trying to clean up its image by improving systems, and reported a 69% reduction in theft last year.

Compliments of Business Day – 15 July 2008

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