BONN (dpa-AFX) - Tens of thousands of citizens have again complained to a federal authority last year about letters and parcels arriving late or being lost. The number of submissions amounted to 41,589, the Federal Network Agency announced in Bonn on Wednesday. In 2022, there were 43,125 complaints. However, compared to 2021, when there were only around 15,000, the level of complaints is still very high. The opportunity to criticize relates to the entire postal and parcel industry, although 90 percent of complaints are directed against the market leader Deutsche Post, which delivers letters and parcels under the DHL brand.

The supervisory authority had already announced the provisional figure for 2023 in mid-December and has now announced the final annual figure. Several billion letters and parcels are sent in Germany every year, and the proportion of complaints is very low in relation to this.

However, some citizens are also likely to have had negative experiences with letter and parcel delivery, but have not complained to the Bonn authorities. In the past, Swiss Post has justified its deficits by pointing to a high level of sick leave. Trade unionists have complained that the Group has cut staffing levels at some locations in order to reduce costs.

The head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, pointed out that the level of complaints remains high. This shows how important a reliable postal service is to people. "Unfortunately, we have only had very limited opportunities to take action in the event of quality deficiencies," said the former Green politician.

If a large number of complaints are received from an area, the Network Agency initiates what is referred to as an "indication test", which ultimately only amounts to a warning to the postal service. In 2022, there were 86 admonitions; in 2023, this number fell significantly to 35. As part of the current reform of the Postal Act, the supervisory authority is to be given the opportunity to impose fines and penalty payments in future and thus put the Bonn-based company under financial pressure. The reform in question is due to be completed in April and has yet to be approved by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

A Post spokesman pointed out on Wednesday that the number of complaints had fallen and the number of examinations for cause had decreased significantly. He complained that the Network Agency had only forwarded around 15 percent of complaints to the Post. The company was therefore unable to conclusively assess whether it was always a case of quality defects on the part of Deutsche Post. At the same time, he emphasized that every complaint is one too many. "We regret it when customers are not satisfied with our service," said the Post spokesman. "This year, we want to work in particular on delivering the increasingly fluctuating volume of letters and parcels even more reliably and continuing to offer good and legally compliant working conditions for our employees."/wdw/DP/jha