After the complaints about the post office have increased sharply, the head of the Federal Network Agency, Klaus Müller, calls for a sharper sword for his authority.
"We are currently receiving an unusually large number of complaints," said the network agency president of the German Press Agency in Bonn. "We urge a speedy improvement in the situation." However, the legal possibilities of the authority in the case of late or undelivered letters are limited. "Better legal equipment with sanction options would help us to deal with grievances more effectively."
In Müller's view, improved information and reporting obligations would help in the event of temporary deficiencies so that the Post would become better. These would give the authority the opportunity to impose fines or penalties.
From July to September, 11,500 complaints were received about postal and parcel service providers in Germany, most of which concerned the delivery of letters by Deutsche Post. The three-month value was significantly higher than the total number of all complaints in the first half of the year (8900). If you add up all the complaints from the first three quarters, it is already a third more than in the entire previous year (15,100). The Post justifies the problems in recent months with a high level of sick leave in pandemic times and with the tight labor market.
Müller said that it was recognized that the current corona situation and the labor market posed special challenges for postal service providers, like other industries. "Nevertheless, the legal and contractually agreed quality requirements still apply," he added. "These should be fulfilled as soon as possible."
In the event of serious deficiencies, the Federal Network Agency initiates what is known as an event test. Swiss Post is asked to rectify the defects quickly. The company must respond to this. The regulatory authority cannot do more. The regulatory authority has already carried out 44 occasional checks this year, in 2021 there were only 16 in the whole year. The head of the network agency is now calling for changes. They could be decided in the postal law reform, which is to be addressed in this legislative period. "A reliable postal service is important for all of us," emphasized Müller.
Support for Müller's demand came from the FDP parliamentary group. "The number of complaints continues to rise instead of falling," said the Liberal spokesman for economic policy, Reinhard Houben. The Post lacks decisive measures to tackle the problem. "The group doesn't seem to be taking the situation seriously." Houben is in favor of establishing possible sanctions in the forthcoming postal law reform. That is doable. "The Post is almost a monopolist - without the threat of sanctions, it doesn't seem possible that this group will change." The Post must ensure a high-quality letter service, said Houben.
In view of the wave of complaints, Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the left-wing parliamentary group, even called for the post to be renationalised. "Deutsche Post belongs in public hands," said the politician to the editorial network Germany (RND). The federal government should at least become the majority owner of the Post again in order to be able to determine the course of the company. "Corporate profits and customer service are growing ever wider apart. Some things have gotten worse and many things more expensive at Swiss Post for years, while profits are exploding at the same time."