National Post Office IT failure halts business

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If you were hoping to post your eCommerce parcels at a Post Office today you may need to either delay your visit or use an alternative carrier. It would appear that the Post Office computer systems have crashed with my local Post Office having closed for the day and others that have remained open dealing in stamps and cash transactions only.

Tamebay Editor Dan Wilson has an unsuccessful trip to the Post Office
Of course it couldn’t happen on a worse day of the month if like me you were going to buy car tax. Traditionally on the first of the month there’s a queue out of the door so expect the Post Offices to be busier than ever tomorrow. I won’t be in the queue, I’ve given up and will buy my car tax online.

The Post Office have tweeted that they’re “aware of a problem affecting most of our branches” and that “hopefully they will be back to normal soon”, but I wouldn’t hold out too many hopes that they’ll be back up and running any time soon as it would appear to be a National IT failure.

1/3/12 15.51hrs Edited to add: The Post Office have tweeted a few minutes ago that they’ve solved their problems and are back up and running again.

1/2/12 16.59 Edited to add:The Post Office network is now fully restored and they have issued the following statement:

Post Offices across the network are again working normally today after a computer problem which had earlier affected branches nationwide for several hours.

A Post Office spokesman said: “We apologise to all our customers for the service problems experienced in our branches and the inconvenience this may have caused. Services have now fully been restored and customers are able to complete all transactions across the Post Office network. We are continuing to monitor the situation closely to make sure our services remain available as normal.
“Post Office branches remained open and arrangements were put in place to ensure that special cash payments were made to pensioners and benefit claimants using the Post Office Card Account. Post Office ATMs, Post & Go services and Paystation bill payment and E-top up transactions were unaffected by this problem.”

I’m not so sure that all Post Offices remained open, mine certainly didn’t and neither did Dan’s local Post Office. The staff might have stayed at work but they battened down the hatches and locked the doors rather than face their customers.

5 Responses

  1. Did you know that all Post Office branch phone numbers are x-directory. That’s customer service 21st centuary stylee.

  2. It is not the fact that they have a problem it is how they deal with it. My local office just has a notice saying “Closed until further notice due to a technical problem”. Obviously I and others then set off in search of another office only to find the same situation applies there – time wasted and frustration. Only when I rang the so called national customer services number (an exploitative 0845 telephone number) am I told that this is a national problem.

    Obviously with the office closed, staff should have been available to stand outside and give customers advice but being the Post Office no chance of a customer orientated response.

    The national customer service representative said when I telephoned and described my experience that she thought the service given was satisfactory!

    Role on privatisation.

  3. I bet a few heads are near to rolling at the RM and the IT firm they employed to update their systems. It’s been a bit of a disaster over the last six months and I don’t think I can remember an IT implementation (apart from the London Ambulnace system in 1992) that has been as wide reachingly terrible as this, when it goes down it tends to disable the entire network including post offices, OBA and the front-end website.

    Terrbile terrible way to do business in this day and age.

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