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What if you are waiting in vain for delivery?

Have you ordered goods from the e-shop via Czech Post and are waiting for them in vain? The expected parcel arrived damaged or the package did not arrive at all? What can be done in each situation and what are you entitled to?

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Chapters of the article

Acceptance of the consignment by a neighbour

If you are not at home when the delivery is made, the Czech Post usually deposits the package at the post office. In the case of parcels not intended for your own hands, the parcel can be deposited with a person in the same flat or office, or with another suitable person, typically a neighbour. If the Czech Post has your telephone number, the delivery person can arrange this in advance. However, if you do not find out about this alternative form of delivery and the neighbour delays in delivering the package, you may well suffer damage as a result of his or her actions – for example, you may lose the opportunity to withdraw from the contract and return the goods within the 14-day period.

Insuch a case, the neighbour becomes an unlicensed agent and is liable for the damage caused to you. In the extreme case, you could also sue him for damages. However, if you know that your neighbours are not reliable and you refuse service in this way, you can tell the post office that you do not want this type of service and the post office should accept your wishes.

Only hand-delivered parcels that are marked as such by the sender and parcels with a stated price of more than CZK 10,000 will be delivered. These restrictions also apply to money sent.

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Receiving a damaged parcel

You may automatically assume that the post office is responsible for damaged (or lost) mail. Surprisingly, this is not always the case. The primary distinction to be made is what type of parcel it is:

  • In the case of ordinary mail (it does not matter whether it is a parcel or a letter), the post office is not liable for loss, damage or loss of contents.
  • In the case of loss of a registered mail item, a flat-rate compensation of CZK 500 will be paid, but the Post Office will also reimburse you for damage or loss of contents up to CZK 500.
  • The advantage is that if you sent the parcel in the mode of commercial package or EMS (Express Mail Service), then in case of loss, damage or loss of content you are entitled to compensation up to the price of the package, or the price that was indicated during the shipment(maximum 100 thousand CZK).
  • It is advisable to send the most valuable items (e.g. jewellery or antiques) in the form of a so-called valuable package, for which the price can be specified up to one million crowns.

If you read the above lines and thought of a business plan and are now going to send out parcels with a value of many hundreds of thousands in the hope that one day they will be lost and your money will be replaced, we must disappoint you. The amount of the price quoted should correspond to the actual value of the item inserted, since if the item is lost, the Post Office will only pay damages for the amount the item was worth at the time and place of delivery. You should be able to prove in some way that the parcel was worth the price. This can be done by stating its exact contents and by producing, for example, an invoice showing that it was purchased.

Claims for undelivered or damaged parcels

If you have a problem with the non-delivery of a parcel, or if the parcel has been delivered but in a different condition than you expected, do not hesitate to go to the nearest post office (you can, of course, go to any post office in the Czech Republic). Anyone can complain about the loss of a parcel, i.e. both the addressee and the sender, but it is important to remember that a receipt is required. For both international and domestic parcels, the Post Office is only responsible for parcels whose receipt is recorded by issuing a delivery note. This is proof that you have entered into a postal contract. It is also the easiest way to trace the parcel by the number on the postal delivery note. The sender of the parcel is always informed of the outcome of the complaint. The time limit for handling a domestic complaint is 15 days after receipt, for international shipments up to two months after receipt of the complaint.

If the package arrives but you find it incomplete or damaged when you open it , leave it as you opened it and go to the post office with it. A damage report will be drawn up by the relevant official. It will not be enough to take a broken chandelier out of the box and show it to the post office. In order to assess this type of claim, it is also necessary to assess all the internal and external packaging. From this, it is then possible to conclude whether the sender made a mistake, for example, by not providing sufficient care for the fragile goods.

You should claim for damage as soon as possible, preferably within two working days of delivery. This is because if the parcel is delivered later, it may affect the assessment of liability for damages. The time limit for handling a damage claim is calculated from the time the claim for compensation is made, i.e. from the time the addressee or sender quantifies the damage to the contents.

The parcel was delivered late

Late delivery of a parcel can also be claimed. If the time limit agreed in the postal terms and conditions was not met at the time of delivery, the post office will refund the price according to the valid price list. In the event of a claim, the postage is always refunded to the person who paid the postage at the time of submission, which in most cases is the sender.

All details of parcel claims can be found in the general postal conditions on the Post Office website and also on the Public Administration Portal. If the procedure differs for any of the other services, specific information is given directly in the postal or commercial conditions of the specific service.

Complaint procedure

The Post Office should process the complaint without undue delay, usually within 30 days, but according to the Post Office’s terms and conditions, this is possible within a maximum of three months. Notification of the outcome is sent in writing. If you enter your claim electronically, there is an option to enter your email address to send the result of the claim. The price of the service will be refunded by the Post Office on the day the notification of the result of the claim is sent to the person who paid it to the Post Office.

In the event of damage or loss of the contents of the parcel, the price of the service is refunded together with the payment of compensation (in the event of damage to the parcel, it is paid to the addressee). The funds shall be refunded by the Post Office in the manner agreed at the time of delivery or agreed at the time of the claim. If you have paid the price of the service by card, it will be refunded to your account without cash.

When submitting a claim via the web, it may only be made by a verified customer, i.e. a customer who has submitted a shipment with their customer card and is logged into their account when submitting the claim.

Tip: We have covered complaints about other types of services and product repairs in a separate article.

Rejection of a claim

If the Post Office does not accept your claim for compensation, it is obliged to inform you of this and give its reasoned opinion in writing.

If you disagree with the outcome of the claim, you may file a petition with the Czech Telecommunications Office within one month to initiate proceedings to object to the handling of the claim.
At the same time, you may express your disagreement to the Czech Post and the matter will then be reviewed by the superior establishment.

The last option is the postal ombudsman. The Ombudsman deals with complaints and grievances where customers have exhausted all proper and legal remedies and are still not satisfied with the outcome. However, approaching the ombudsman and lodging objections with the CTU is not excluded.

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Author of the article

JUDr. Ondřej Preuss, Ph.D.

Ondřej is the attorney who came up with the idea of providing legal services online. He's been earning his living through legal services for more than 10 years. He especially likes to help clients who may have given up hope in solving their legal issues at work, for example with real estate transfers or copyright licenses.

  • Law, Ph.D, Pf UK in Prague
  • Law, L’université Nancy-II, Nancy
  • Law, Master’s degree (Mgr.), Pf UK in Prague
  • International Territorial Studies (Bc.), FSV UK in Prague

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