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Deutsche Post struggles with rising mail theft
Photo: DPA

Deutsche Post struggles with rising mail theft

Published: 23 Aug 2011 09:05 GMT+02:00
Updated: 23 Aug 2011 09:05 GMT+02:00

“The mail is no longer a sure thing anymore,” said Rainer Wendt, the head of Germany’s DPolG police union.

Offiicials are struggling to get the issue under control – there were at least 700 stolen packages in Berlin in just the year’s first quarter, police said.

National statistics are not publicly released, making the problem even tougher to get a grasp on, although Wendt said there had been 3,240 incidents last year and likely a number of unreported cases.

Deutsche Post, which has been a private company for more than a decade, refused to release theft statistics, saying no postal service would do so willingly.

It’s not clear why the problem seems to be increasing now.

But the German Association for Post, Information Technology and Telecommunications (DVPT), which represents the interests of postal workers, blamed outsourcing.

“Previously the mail service had its own personnel in operation,” said Serkan Antmen, from the DVPT, who said contractors now perform many tasks.

Wendt suggested that poor security practices are to blame. He pointed to insecure corner shops where letters often just sit out in the open.

“My impression is there’s not high demand placed on security,” he said.

Whatever the reasons, it is often intensely frustrating to have packages go missing as Lothar Schäfer from the town of Bad Wildungen in Hesse discovered.

He says three of his shipments have been lost, forcing him to deal with Deutsche Post’s insurance representatives. After lots of haggling, he was compensated for two of the packages.

The Local/DAPD/mdm

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:37 August 23, 2011 by twisted
This is what happens when an organization is a poor employer, pays less than adequate wages and has little respect for its customers. Mail is very much a government function and should go back to being the Bundespost. Get it out of being private company.
11:06 August 23, 2011 by MonkeyMania
I have noticed that it is the norm for any package or A4 sized letter arriving from abroad to have been tampered with. Letters delivered opened and stuck closed back again are a regular feature of Deutsche Post deliveries. It has got to the stage now that I tell anyone sending me anything to use another service as the level of theft and attempted theft has become too frequent with DP. It is a disgraceful way to run a business. If any other business gave such service they would soon be out of business. Can you imagine shopping at a supermarket and every package having already been opened? Imagine going to Mediamarkt and all the packages were opened before you bought them.

What is it with Germany and opened post? Ex Stasi now working for DP maybe? Old habits die hard and maybe Germans accept that post gets opened?
12:58 August 23, 2011 by Bigfoot76
Whomever intercepted my post to Berlin which consisted of € 1500 in the red envelope with a green stripe on the side, please return it at once.
15:52 August 23, 2011 by catjones
If you don't know who is doing the stealing, how can you blame outsourcing?

Maybe if germany moved into the 20th century people would use electronic mail (it's called email) instead of snail mail. As for packages, FedEx.

My deutsche bank insists on mailing me statements that I can view/download online + they charge me for this redundant service.
16:00 August 23, 2011 by MonkeyMania
@catjones We need snail mail also for a variety of reasons such as posting documents to be signed, legal documents etc. Educational material often needs to be send via snail mail. To stop using snail mail is like saying to people who use the train and get robbed should fly instead.

Whether the theft takes place when the post is outsourced or within DP's network is irrelevant to the customer who has paid DP to deliver something. DP cannot hide behind the excuse that it wasn't them.
20:06 August 23, 2011 by Logic Guy
Well, there are problems all over the world, simply because not nearly enough people are about quality.
22:13 August 23, 2011 by Whipmanager
This has happened to me often. My Mother in law used to send us Birthday cards with cash in them to the US. The GErman system was the most trusted, they knew it, and often the letters never arrived. This is nothing new.
03:23 August 24, 2011 by vonSchwerin
Let's not forget mail that is not stolen, but rather lost. Since DP took over DHL, international package delivery has gotten worse. The fact is that Deutsche Post is DHL inside of Germany (or the other way round), but outside of Germany DHL is a private company not affiliated with the national post.

If a DP-DHL package gets lost on its way to the USA or Canada, don't expect any understanding or assistance from USPS or Canada Post. They simply don't get it that a DHL package from Germany *is* regular post. Instead, it's very delayed (at best) or the dead end warehouse (at worst).
09:33 August 25, 2011 by heyheyhey
@whipmanager or whpmgr,

How do you know that the theft didn't happen in the states?

Oh yah, you are an expert about everything, right?
14:32 August 25, 2011 by ibth123
I worked for the Deutsche Post fuer years, your comments show that you don't know much. The letters get ripped open by maschines a lot of times, you don't send cash through the mail, nor cards, the maschines don't like them and tear them up. Besides there are thieves there like everywhere else.

It is the same with the US Postal Service. And parcels break open because of poor wrapping, or just get stolen.
01:05 August 26, 2011 by MonkeyMania
Strange how it is always the letters that look like the contain something valuable that arrived open. The malfunctioning machines must have a sixth sense.
13:24 August 26, 2011 by JDee
The bankers steal, the governments steal, the corporations steal and don't pay their taxes, what do you think postmen think? The problem is at the top
17:27 August 26, 2011 by MonkeyMania
@jdee: So it is ok for DP employees to open customers letters and steal?
15:33 October 24, 2011 by Robert Sterling
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
07:50 November 7, 2011 by GordonH
HELP!

I am a New Zealander and recently had a parcel sent to me by registered mail from Germany via Deutche Post. Deutche Post have lost the parcel. They are saying that it has arrived in New Zealand - but THEIR system does not record its arrival - instead it is saying ithas been sent to Frankfurt for dispatch to New Zealand.

They are being MOST UNHELPFUL with the email queries. I am getting nowhere with them.

Can somebody tell me how to escalate my query - and now complaint - to someone who might be able to get them to own up to loosing the parcel and doing something about it.

I am glad that I do not have to deal with such bad service and poor behaviour like this in New Zealand. Here agencies such as the postal service do actually know what service means. If I was waiting for a parcel for 2 months in New Zealand somebody would be getting sacked.

I hope someone can help.
21:49 December 19, 2012 by Timonardo
Yes this is very concerning. About 10% of the parcels sent to me from abroad during last four years in two major german cities have never reached me. Some containing valuables have been ripped open, contents disappeared, basically empty envelope delivered. One hears these stories more and more, it is VERY COMMON and it's obvious that the MAIN CAUSE of this is THEFT. There is really no wiggle room about "machines ripping post" or "human errors", that's bunch of bolony. I have I've worked within the post service (not in germany) and I know how easily mail could be stolen. The tracking numbers don't hinder theft in any way, because ultimately it's always word against word and it seems that in Germany the postal workers word always issues more weight than any electronic tracking document. Once a thief in the postal system finds out that some parcels contain valuable or even cash, then that address is definitely scanned for further cash. Especially lucrative season for mail thieves is christmas, the abundance of parcels that come through the long delivery chain open up many golden opportunities for thieves. German Post does very, very, very little to overcome this problem, they don't address this problem at all in post offices, they only refer to subcontractors (Lieferanten) and they disclose no information about those subcontractors. Any foreign tracking numbers or even printed chain of events until disappearance are valueless because germans only accept german documents. There is a phone service which is useless. Police is useless, the police does nothing about it.. I'm aligned to be thinking that the problem is already so HUGE that it cannot be a few bad apples, it must a systematic and coordinated criminal effort of multiple post officials on various levels of the organization. And this christmas they are getting a very, very, very fat christmas bonus.
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