Is Australia Post run by Amateurs?

Ok, this is getting silly.

Australia Post provides a copy of their Postcode database, which we use to validate shipping addresses in our software.

This database is automatically refreshed on a weekly basis from the data that Australia Post provide on their web site. A couple of weeks ago, this data got corrupted as someone had inserted random blank lines into the CSV file. Not a good look. Of course the database load failed and the postcodes table was wiped out.

Fortunately, we have checks planted into the system, so we picked up the problem pretty quickly and restored a copy of the database from a backup. No big problem.

Today, we received a complaint that customers in the Northern Territory were having problems entering thier postcodes, which all start with zero.

It didn’t take long to discover that the brains trust at Australia Post central have decided to encode the normal 4 digit postcodes beginning with a zero as 3 digit entries. Thus, the postcode ‘0810’ is now stored in the database as ‘810’.

Now this strikes me as being a bit like amateur hour. Do these people know nothing about quality control or testing? We’re not talking about a small corner-shop operation here, but a large government organization responsible for providing a national service. Other people’s businesses actually depend upon this stuff.

So I thought, maybe I should see if there’s anywhere that I can complain about this latest problem. So off the the Australia Post web site I go and guess what????

“Firefox has detected that the server is redirecting the request for this address in a way that will never complete.”

The web site is down. On a Friday evening. Just when everyone has gone home. I wonder if it will be back by Monday?


I rest my case.

First-class morons.


Optimistically, I sent in a report on the bug using their contact form. Needless to say, I have yet to receive any communication from them. I guess their response is “in the mail”.

Further Update (29th April, 2010):

How good is this? What a class operation. Over a month now, and no sign of a reply. And of course the database is still broken.