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Answers on a postcard: a Q&A with bpost

16:39 25/04/2013

The Belgian postal service, bpost, does get a raw deal. True, some of its recent decisions, such as the closure of a half of its post offices between 2006 and 2009, have triggered emotional reactions*. But a lot of unjust criticism is levelled at it, mainly through ignorance, simplification or exaggeration. We submitted a few recurrent questions from our Q&A section to Fred Lens of bpost’s press relations department.


Are there any plans to have deliveries on Saturdays? France, the UK, the Netherlands have them – surely it would make sense for Belgian businesses?

Mail deliveries in Belgium take place from Monday to Friday. Only newspapers and Postograms are delivered on Saturday. There are no plans to introduce mail deliveries on Saturdays, for the simple reason that it wouldn’t be profitable. You may be interested to know that, while the Dutch post has Saturday deliveries, it is currently considering getting rid of Monday deliveries, having worked out that five delivery days is enough.

Who can I turn to when I’m unhappy with my postie (lack of care in the handling of parcels, general unpleasantness etc)? My postman, for example, always leaves “while you were out” cards without bothering to ring the doorbell.

Any unsatisfied customer can contact customer service, either by calling or via our website.

How come sending small packets like books and CDs is so expensive? Sending a book from the UK to Belgium costs about €2; the other way round it’s almost €7!

All our international rates are a combination of Belgian rates and transport costs in each individual country. The latter are negotiated separately for each territory.

Are there alternatives to bpost?

The entire postal market has been deregulated since January 1, 2011. Prior to that, we had several competitors for the deliveries of parcels and unaddressed mail.

Does bpost still have a two-tier delivery system?

All mail is now treated as ‘prior’. The ‘second-class’ option is still available – but not to individuals, only to large mailers such as companies.

* bpost says that 90% of its customers are satisfied with the 'Points-Poste', the concessions -typically found in newsagents and supermarkets - which offer most services available in post offices.

Written by The Bulletin



The introduction to this article declares " a lot of unjust criticism is levelled at [the Belgian postal service], mainly through ignorance, simplification or exaggeration." What is this claim based on? Surely there is also a lot of just criticism as well, particularly from Bulletin readers who are not inherently prone to ignorance, simplification or exaggeration.

Mr. Lens' answer to the question about shipping costs to and from the UK makes no sense at all and should have been challenged by the interviewer. How can "Belgian rates and transport costs" across the same distance be 250% higher in one direction (from Belgium to UK) than in the other??

Apr 29, 2013 14:24

Larry - we referred to the criticism (both just and unjust) found, over a long period of time, on the Q&A.

Mr Lens was asked the same question (about the costs one way versus the other way) several times, and chose to dead-bat said question by referring the interviewer to bpost's rate card, saying the price were "competitive".

One can only assume that Royal Mail has cheaper operational costs through sheer volume...

At any rate, we intend to run another batch of questions to bpost in the near future, so keep 'em coming via the Q&A page.

Apr 30, 2013 12:32