What happens if a registered mail does not arrive abroad and the post office sends it back to the sender? And what happens if it disappears or gets destroyed during transportation? Do we get a reimbursement of the dispatch fee or for the value of the package? Are we entitled to a compensation in such cases? Consumers often ask these questions during the Arbitration Board of Budapest’s procedure, which indicates that they are not aware of what they can or can not do when a problem arises. In one case, the consumer sent to the recipient – based on his order – garments by mail in a total value of 46 000 HUF. He was able to present a bill about that. The package was not received by the sender but „lost”, so the post office paid a 19 440 HUF lump sum for the damages to the consumer. He did not accepted this however, since he had an additional 27 775 HUF worth of damages. He referred to the fact that he payed an additional 1 215 HUF for the recommended delivery, which means the post office has a responsibility to guarantee that the recipient will get it. The company rejected this claim, so the consumer turned to the Arbitration Board of Budapest. The company’s point of view was that according to the Act on postal services, the value-recognizing service is an additional service, in which case the company have to pay an additional amount based on the prevailing postal tariff and also other fee revisions. The consumer did not take any of these additional services, so in case of „lost” delivery, he can claim damages under points 9.1.3 and 2a of Terms and Conditions of Magyar Posta Co. In this case, the lump sum for the „lost” mail is fifteen times the price of the service. Given the fact that the consumer paid 1215 HUF for the dispatch, the compensation is 15 x 1215 HUF, which is 18225 HUF, with an additional 1215 refund according to point 10 section 1/A of the Terms and Conditions, and any additional requirement to this lump sum is just not justified. In another case, the consumer sent a top priority recommended package to Portugal by mail. Unfortunately, the package did not arrive to the recipient since it was sent back to the consumer with the note „insufficient address”. The feedback showed that the postal address indicated by the consumer did not even exist, this is why it was sent back to the sender. The consumer hasn’t agreed with the business (Magyar Posta Co.) and requested the refund of the 6250 HUF dispatch fee as a compensation, because the post office did not carry out its commitments. In front of the Arbitration Board of Budapest, both of these requests had been rejected, as they have proven to be unfounded. What does the law and the GCC says? According to Act V. of 2013 on the Civil Code, general terms and conditions constitute the terms and conditions, which had been set out by its user primarily and unilaterally, without the other party’s involvement, for the purpose of concluding a number of contracts, and it has not been negotiated individually by the parties. It will become a part of the contract if its applier makes it possible for the other party to be aware of its content before signing the contract and if it is accepted by this other party. According to point 10.3.f of the GCC of Magyar Posta Co., when a mail is returned as undeliverable, the post office will not refund the service fee and these additional services are considered to be carried out. This is also the case if the mail is returned with the note „address can not be identified” or „the recipient is unknown” or „the recipient has moved” or refused to accept the delivery or if the recipient is dead or ceases to exist. According to point 9.1.3 of the GCC of Magyar Posta Co., , for the „destroyed” mail which was booked without any additional service, the company pays a lump sum for the damages. In case of the destruction of the delivery or lost mail this is fifteen times the price of the postal service which has been paid for by the consumer. What should consumers be aware of?
- In order to avoid unpleasant surprises in the future, always write the right and exact address of the recipient on the package, in particular if the package is to be delivered abroad.
- The General Terms and Conditions of Magyar Posta Co. will become part of the contract concluded by the business and the consumer, so consumers should study or inquire about these rules before dispatching a package.
- If you want to dispatch a higher-valued package, you should use „value declaration” as additional service, because this is the only case where you can get back the actual value of the lost package!