Anyone using Correos postboxes or ‘apartados’ here in Spain should be aware that mail is being returned without warning unless addressed exactly as on documents you initially presented. “This means that if your name is Richard Alan Smith on your passport, for instance, letters from friends who know you as Dick Smith will be returned.” So says local resident Susie Mandrake who is spearheading a campaign to have Correos’ s new rules set aside as she says they are “arbitrary, Draconian, inhumane and totally contrary to the spirit of a public service.”
Under the new rules box-holders pay almost 40 euros for each family member on top of the initial 61 euro fee. “That’s expensive for a family of four or five.” says Susie. “What’s more, apparently letters addressed simply to Mr, or Mr and Mrs without the Christian names are being returned too. Names have to be exactly as on the lists and staff are not even allowed to use a modicum of common sense.”
Complaints are flooding into local Town Halls who say they can do nothing as it is a state service. Susie, who says she has been successfully using the service for 13 years up to now is determined to fight back. “I have been listed as a box co-holder for the last two years and nobody told me when I renewed in January that I had to pay more. I have lost a considerable sum of money as a result of not receiving a letter. I asked back in March if they had a problem with my box number and they said no even though unbeknownst to me they were sending letters back on an almost daily basis. Staff do actually try to help but say their hands are tied because boxes are checked to make sure no letters to non-subscribers get through. Surely, Correos cannot accept payment for a service one minute then change the ground rules later – especially without warning. I think they are in breach of contract. Anyway it’s certainly unjust and a stand must be taken. I will go to the Ombudsman, the Consumer Association, European Courts, the King – whatever it takes.”
If you have any horror stories about how the new rules have affected you please help by contacting Susie on email@example.com. Or you could try writing to SUSAN Mandrake at Apartado 4, Mojacar Pueblo, 04638 Almeria and, fingers crossed, your letter might just get there!