Posti submits report to Traficom on execution of postal service

04.03.2024

The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom is responsible for overseeing compliance with the Postal Act (415/2011) and the rules and regulations issued under it. Posti has now submitted its 2023 report to Traficom. This report applies to items covered by the Postal Act.

The universal service covers 3% of all Posti’s printed mail items. For letters, the universal service covers letters paid for by postage stamp. For parcels, international parcels paid for in cash are included in the universal service. In addition to universal service letters, reporting also applies to other addressed mailings, e.g. letters sent by companies.

Newspapers and magazines, unaddressed advertisements and most parcels are not covered by the Postal Act and therefore are not included in this report.

Under the provisions on quality control of postal services, all postal companies are required to annually publish information on the quality of the postal services they provide under the Postal Act.

Fulfillment of the delivery obligation

In areas that are difficult to reach, there was a deviation from the legal collection and delivery frequency in the case of around 100 households (around 185 in 2022). The number varies from season to season depending on factors such as the timetables of the archipelagic vessels. As of October 1, 2023, the maximum permitted number is 500.

Based on special personal needs, 27,627 households were eligible for delivery services for Special Groups (26,793 in 2022). The right applies to persons over 75 years of age and to persons with reduced mobility or functional capacity.

Delivery speed of letters covered by the universal service

The delivery speed requirement based on the Postal Act applies to letters paid for by postage stamp or equivalent cash payment indication, which are generally sent by consumers.

According to the quality standards set out in the Postal Act, domestic letters shall be delivered so that at least 50% of the letters arrive at the latest on the fourth weekday from the day of deposit (J+4) and at least 97% on the fifth weekday (J+5) after the day of deposit.

Of the domestic letters delivered in 2023, 94% arrived by the fourth day and 97.6% by the fifth day. The figures take into account the industrial disputes that affected the delivery speed of the letters in the form of a force majeure in February and December.

The delivery of letters paid for in cash involves more processing steps than the bulk batches sent by businesses. Individually mailed letters are usually left in letterboxes and then picked up to be transported to sorting centers. At sorting centers, postage-stamped letters go through a dedicated processing and sorting procedure.

Inquiries for mailed items

The information on lost and damaged items is based on the information recorded in the account management system. The result, i.e. lost, found or unresolved, is recorded for the inquiries. The classification of inquiries has been changed in 2023 so that contact requests have been recorded as inquiries, which had previously been classified as guidance. Therefore, the figures regarding the number of inquiries are not comparable to 2022.

Unresolved cases include incorrect entries or notifications where it has not been possible to ascertain the arrival of the item in the Posti network. They also include cases where the item may still be on its way or items for which Posti has the handover information but the recipient denies having received the item.

There were 18,343 inquiries concerning ordinary letters (7,152 in 2022), i.e. 0.0051% of the volume sent. Due to the change in the classification of inquiries mentioned above, the figures for 2023 and 2022 are not comparable. Ordinary letters are not tracked. Therefore, their delivery or non-delivery cannot be reliable verified. However, 436 items were recorded as lost. The number of items recovered was 6,382, and the number of items unresolved was 11,525.

Most of the inquiries concerning ordinary letters were related to international items. The number of inquiries is also affected by the EU legislation concerning inbound items subject to customs clearance. Starting from March 15, 2021, electronic advance information has been required from the post office of the country of origin for each item arriving in the country. From July 1, 2021, eCommerce purchases and publications from outside the EU have been subject to customs clearance and VAT. This also increases the number of inquiries for letters.

There were a total of 2,854 (3,373 in 2022) inquiries concerning registered letters, i.e. 0.328% of the volume sent. Of those, 2,321 were recovered and 162 were recorded as lost. The number of unresolved cases was 371.

Damaged letters represented 0.0168% of the total volume. The number also includes items that were damaged before entering Posti’s sorting process. A cover letter addressed to the recipient was attached to damaged mail items.

Parcel inquiries

The information on parcels includes only items covered by the Postal Act, i.e. parcels sent abroad and paid for in cash.

During the year, Posti processed 932 postal parcel inquiries, i.e. 0.51% of the volume sent. A total of 108 parcels were confirmed as lost. The number of items recovered was 773, and the number of unresolved cases was 51.

Linguistic rights and responding to feedback

Posti monitors the fulfillment of linguistic rights through customer feedback and by monitoring the quality of its customer service. No changes have occurred in the service compared to the previous year.

Posti serves customers in Finnish, Swedish and English through multiple channels. Customers can get advice and give feedback through Posti’s website and electronic forms, telephone customer service, online chat, social media and personal service at outlets. Feedback can also be provided by sending a free-form letter to Posti.

Posti’s main information channel is the website www.posti.fi, where almost all bulletins are published in both Finnish and Swedish. In bilingual municipalities, regional bulletins, for example on the grouping of mailboxes or changes to the Service Point network, are given in Finnish and in Swedish.

Feedback on postal services, which is recorded in the system, totaled 21,580 (34,876 in 2022) entries. This number includes all contact requests by telephone, email or chat. Posti’s goal is to process and respond to all customer feedback within 10 working days. On average, feedback was processed in five days.

Posti’s Retail Network

At the end of 2023, Posti had about 3,200 service points in the whole country, of which close to 2,200 were parcel lockers and about 1,000 service points providing in-person service.

What is important to the user of postal services is that the network of service points works well. In addition to full-service outlets, Posti’s Retail Network consisted of various limited-service outlets (postage stamp retailers, mailboxes, pickup points, Parcel Lockers) as well as a home delivery and pickup sign service in certain sparsely populated areas. Parcel redirection service is also available.

At the end of 2023, there were 3,749 mailboxes for outgoing mail around Finland.

Millions of items pass through Posti every weekday. Mail volumes vary greatly depending on the weekday, the time of the month and the season. The needs of sending customers set the pace for postal work. The transport, sorting and delivery of mail items are carried out by around 12,000 postal professionals throughout Finland.

Items delivered incorrectly by other delivery companies

Besides Posti, there are 14 other delivery companies in Finland that deliver letters.

According to the Postal Act, each postal company must provide a service for returning incorrectly delivered mail items.

In addition, the Postal Act requires that postal companies mark their mail items in such a way that they can be distinguished from mail items delivered by other postal companies. Therefore, each letter carries on it the delivery company identifier. Posti’s identifiers are POSTI ECONOMY, PRIORITY and POSTI GREEN.

Instead of Posti, the recipient should have returned the incorrectly delivered items directly to the delivery company responsible for the delivery. Errors can be corrected more quickly when feedback is addressed to the right company.

Traficom maintains a register of the delivery companies and their identifiers.