Liability of postal operators for incorrectly performed postal services
Postal services are subject to gradual liberalization, which contributes to increased competition between operators providing this type of service. For the average Kowalski, such a situation has many advantages (including lowering prices), as well as disadvantages. It turns out that economic activity in this area is often undertaken by entities whose experience in the industry may differ from the desired standard. As a result, there are situations when the provided postal services do not meet the consumer's expectations. An example of such events is a lost letter or delivery of a damaged or opened package. What is the liability of postal operators? Let's check.
Postal services - legal basis
Postal services are provided under civil law obligations. Upon acceptance of the parcel, the postal operator is obliged to perform the services with due diligence on the terms and conditions specified in the contract.
If the operator fails to properly perform the contract, he is subject to liability under Chapter 8 of the Postal Law. The indicated provision refers to the provisions contained in the Civil Code, unless specific provisions provide otherwise.
Liability of postal operators for the shipment
The operator is responsible for improperly performed postal services. The legislator made it possible for the aggrieved parties to demand an appropriate amount for the damage suffered as a result of non-performance or improper performance of an obligation (lack of or improper delivery of the shipment).
The postal operator bears contractual liability for the performance of the postal service. What does it mean? In practice, this entails covering - as part of redressing the damage - losses suffered by the consumer and the reimbursement of any lost profits that he could have obtained had he not been harmed. The operator's responsibility is thus fully formed.
The above rule does not apply to public operators who provide, inter alia, universal services.
Public operator postal services - what compensation?
In the case of classic mailing with confirmation of postage and receipt, it should not be difficult to prove the damage and demonstrate the causal link between the behavior of the public postal operator and the resulting damage on the part of the customer. In such a case, the amount of compensation is limited by law.
Pursuant to Art. 58 of the Postal Law, as a result of non-performance or improper performance of universal postal services, a dissatisfied customer may demand compensation:
- for the loss of a postal parcel - in the amount requested by the sender, but not higher than ten times the fee charged for sending it;
- for the loss of a registered item - in the amount requested by the sender, but not higher than fifty times the fee charged by the designated operator for treating the item as a registered item;
- for loss of contents or damage to a postal parcel or registered mail - in the amount requested by the sender or in the amount of the usual value of the lost or damaged items, but not higher than the maximum amount of compensation referred to in point 1 or 2;
- for a loss of the contents of a shipment with insured value - in the amount of the normal value of the lost items (but no more than the declared value of the shipment);
- for the loss of an insured item - in the amount requested by the sender, but not higher than the declared value of the item;
- for damage to the contents of an insured parcel - in the amount of the normal value of the items whose damage was found (but no more than the declared value of the parcel).
The improper performance of the universal postal service may also result in a potential claim for damages, in particular when the delivery of the letter item registered in the fastest category took place later than four days after its sending.In such a case, the amount of compensation shall be the difference between the charge for the fastest category letter item in a given weight range and the charge for such item which is not the fastest category item in the same weight range.
Compensation for postal services other than universal services
For non-performance or improper performance of a postal service that is not a universal service, a dissatisfied customer is entitled to compensation:
- for loss, partial loss or damage to a postal item other than a shipment of correspondence - in the amount not higher than the normal value of the lost or damaged items;
- for loss, partial loss or damage to an insured postal item - in the amount requested by the sender, but not higher than the declared value of the item;
- for the loss of an item of correspondence - in the amount of ten times the fee for the service, but not less than fifty times the fee for treating a letter item as a registered item, specified in the universal service price list;
- for delay in delivery of the postal item in relation to the guaranteed delivery date - in the amount not exceeding twice the service fee
- unless the provisions of the regulations for the provision of postal services in the amount of compensation are more favorable.
The amounts due for unpaid compensations and the reimbursement of the fee for the unperformed postal service, including universal postal service, are subject to statutory interest. The interest is then due from:
- in which the 30-day period for the payment of compensation has expired, counted from the date of acceptance of the complaint or
- from the date of delivery of the request for payment.
Non-performed or improperly performed postal services are subject to special provisions. In the case of non-public postal operators, the provisions apply, inter alia, Of the Civil Code. The issue of liability for damages in public entities is regulated by the postal law.