True Story: Singpost Finally Explains What Happens To Lost Mail In Singapore

17 November 2016

You’ve got mail!

SingPost receives and delivers 60,000 to 70,000 packages a day.

And it goes without saying that things go wrong at times. Here’s why and how it happens.

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It’s not always SingPost’s fault

Sometimes mail, whether from overseas or sent locally, does not reach recipients because the sender did not clearly indicate the address. In some cases, the packaging has been damaged when it arrives in Singapore, and the recipient’s address cannot be made out.

Such items are held for three months and when customers approach SingPost about missing mail, staff will first check to see if their package is among them.

Beyond this, however, the odds of tracking down a package are small.

On their part, senders should write complete addresses and provide their details should the packages be undelivered, he said. Packaging should also be appropriate so it does not tear.


The mystery behind overseas mail

SingPost said parcels from overseas, no matter the kind of postal service used and whether the parcel is registered or not, are handled as basic mail and cannot be tracked. “Technically, we can’t even declare something is ‘lost’ because we cannot be certain if the item is indeed in our system,” said Ms Loo.

Even though registered articles from overseas come with a tracking number, scanning the items to determine where they are may not be required at every stage, so it can be difficult to pinpoint the items’ exact location, Ms Loo added.

The same happens for items posted overseas from Singapore.


Stranger things 

During a visit to the SingPost mail processing facility in Paya Lebar last month, The Straits Times saw wedding cards without addresses, and packaging with rubber bands that cannot be put through sorting machines.

At a unit for items that could not be delivered because they had fallen out of their packaging or had incomplete addresses were a pair of Timberland boots, a pair of Adidas sneakers, a ring in a box, and various small items.

Also amongst the mail that SingPost has received: A pair of green men’s briefs, fresh flowers, fresh spring onions with an address label, an inflated balloon, a dollar bill from the United States with an address written on it.

Letters to God and Santa Claus, too. 

While the balloon, underwear, spring onions and flowers were sent as they had complete addresses, the US dollar bill was not because it did not have a full address.


How has your experience with Singapore’s postal services been like?


By Jalelah Abu Baker, The Straits Times, November 2016

Like this? Read more living in Singapore stories here.


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