The SA Post Office has made consumers wish they never bought discounted goods from Chinese online retailers.
Many are scrambling to cancel online orders from wish.com‚ which offers cut-rate prices by shipping directly from manufacturers in China‚ as the post office’s new handling fee is more than double the cost of purchases.
Shoppers had been enjoying free shipping and no hidden extra costs on their purchases‚ which were delivered directly to their doors‚ until they received a “slip” from the post office‚ informing them that parcels would only be released at a cost of R24 each.
Preshina Moodley is one of hundreds of online shoppers who took to social media this week to complain about a handling fee that the SA Post office “sprung” on them.
Moodley paid about R600 for 33 items from wish.com but now has to fork out more than R700 to release the discounted baking supplies.
“I am now trying to cancel some of the items that may have not arrived in South Africa. It would be cheaper to do so than pay the handling fee‚” Moodley said.
Shoppers have accused the post office of trying to make extra money from the surge in online purchases from wish.com and many of its affiliates.
The SA Post Office noted a “dramatic and sudden increase” in the number of items arriving from China‚ with some categories of mail having risen by 400% compared to a year ago.
But head of mail operations Mark van Rensburg said the handling fee was not new.
“The handling fee on postal parcels imported from abroad is not new and was charged in the previous years. The handling fee is meant to offset the cost of parcel sorting‚ processing‚ assessment for import duty and transport‚” he said.
“The Post Office has discovered that the fee was not consistently charged in the past.”
Van Rensburg said only KwaZulu-Natal post office users were unhappy with the fee.
“Post Office users are comfortable with the handling fee‚ and only in KwaZulu-Natal have we received noteworthy feedback from customers who stated that they did not pay a clearance fee in the past.”