World of Coins

Collecting coins => The law, breaking it, international shipping => Topic started by: Rasmus on April 06, 2010, 08:53:08 PM

Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Rasmus on April 06, 2010, 08:53:08 PM
I got today (6.4.2010) a letter with some coins.  :D

Only wonder is that it was posted on Santiago, Republica Dominicana at July 14th 2006.
According my Excel it took only 1392 days to arrive.
It bears labels from South African and Russian Post. Also "Exam By" rest is unreadable.

Estonian Post label is arrived at 05.04.2010.

Any similar experience?

BTW nothing was lost, all coins were there

 
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: RHM22 on April 06, 2010, 09:30:10 PM
Wow, almost 4 years shipping time! The most I've ever waited for any overseas package was about 2 months.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Prosit on April 06, 2010, 10:26:59 PM
Me too, maybe up to 90 days for something from Italy to Texas.  I think that package was sent by runner though.

Dale

Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: tsm on April 06, 2010, 11:46:55 PM
The fact that it arrived, even after that amount of time, is amazing!
Longest I can remember was about three months for surface delivery of a book from Malaysia to Wisconsin, which did not seem too bad at the time...
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on April 07, 2010, 12:33:21 AM
BTW nothing was lost, all coins were there

Now that is the most amazing part of the story in my opinion. :) Great for you! And no, I have never experienced anything like that. One time I got a letter from the US two months or so after it was mailed. The envelope had a big "Mal encaminado" stamp from El Salvador ...

Of course some items arrive late because they spend quite a bit of time with German customs before I get them. But we're talking weeks here, not months or even years. Another postal mystery is why sometimes even a letter without a house number (mailed to "Blablastr." only instead of "Blablastr. 77") arrives here just fine, while on other occasions letters sent to "Blablastr. 75" are returned with an "Undeliverable" stamp. OK, not really a mystery but I still find it surprising. :)

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on April 07, 2010, 01:40:19 AM
My father collected stamps, but he had a weakness for this sort of stories. He had a small collection of delayed mail, some because of war, others because the aircraft they were in crashed and two Italian enveloppes that just reflected supreme chaos and inability to deliver mail (which may be a prerequisite to having great coffee). None contained anything but a letter. They were delayed at least a year, the record was 18 years (1942-1960) for an enveloppe that had been sent from the Netherlands Indies, opened by Japanese censors, transferred to the Red Cross, opened by Russian censors and British censors and finally delivered in the Netherlands by the time the Netherlands Indies had long become Indonesia...

Peter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Austrokiwi on April 07, 2010, 07:39:17 AM
Here in Austria the longest I have experienced is four months Canada to Vienna. Actually with tracking it was clear the package only too 5 days to get to Vienna. The rest of the time was waisted by Customs. Of course they hadn't realised that the package was tracked and when I complained about the delay they immediately tried to blame the postal service. 
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 07, 2010, 06:37:46 PM
4 Years is just amazing! :o I wonder how did it go to South Africa,though. :D

None of my letters have taken such a long time.Letter sent by Rasmus took about a month,other letters have taken two weeks on an average.

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Afrasi on April 08, 2010, 01:57:34 PM
My record is 3 months from South Africa to Germany. Not so bad! Did anyone of you ever try to cross the Sahara by foot?  ;D

 
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on January 11, 2015, 02:04:45 PM
Latest wonder; this time by Deutsche Post! :D

A friend of mine had sent me a letter on November 20, 2014 by Registered Post. About month later, the letter landed up in Jakarta, Indonesia. :o It was then forwarded to New Delhi which took only three days. The story didn't end there, the letter was with Mumbai Customs for 3 weeks or so; finally received it yesterday!

I guess the Deutsche Post person at the sorting facility mistook IND mentioned in my address as Indonesia, hence the goof up. German sellers usually mention Indien or India in the address, not sure why abbreviation was mentioned this time...

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on January 11, 2015, 02:18:54 PM
German shippers love to precede the zip code by a country identification. Instead of 91300, they will write FR-91300 with the name of the town and country following. This is 100% superfluous but mostly only slightly confusing. However, since postal sorters would have had a better job if they had paid more attention in school, it may not work as intended and achieve the opposite of what they want.

Peter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on January 11, 2015, 02:21:03 PM
Ah, but it does not take misinterpreted country codes to slow shipping down. A while ago I ordered a portable power outlet from a company in the US. According to the packing slip, they shipped it on 13 Nov 2014 (package, sent via DHL Global Mail). It arrived here on 7 Jan 2015. ::)

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on January 11, 2015, 02:33:48 PM
Indeed not. When I complained about a package that arrived with much delay, the lady of the Post Office pointed out to me that according to French regulations, the town name may not be underlined and the underlining on my package (from outside France) was to blame for the delay. :D

Peter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on January 11, 2015, 02:35:32 PM
German shippers love to precede the zip code by a country identification.

In Germany that was a perfectly OK way of adding the destination country until 1999, see here (https://www.deutschepost.de/de/b/briefe-ins-ausland/laenderkuerzel-laendercode.html). (For European countries, and provided the post codes had basically the same structure as here, i.e. digits only, code preceding the city name.)

Problem was that many would use the "license plate code" (which was actually what the postal service recommended!), not an ISO code. So you would see "F" for France, or "A" for Austria. Of course, if you add the country name in the last line, using the code makes no sense. But old habits die hard. ;)

Side note: Andorra is one of the few places in the world where the country code (AD) is part of the post code. Those are the leading characters, followed by three digits ...

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Afrasi on January 11, 2015, 02:54:00 PM
It is absolutely helpful to make both, putting the country's name IN GERMAN below the address AND adding the license plate number in front of the zip code ! ! !

I do not live in Paris, Hamburg or London, but in a very small village in the nowhere of Northern Germany. At first my local post office has to recognize TWO things: a) the letter being INTERNATIONAL mail b) to which country should it be sent

This is not so easy as all you metropolitan people think!  ;)
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on January 11, 2015, 05:39:33 PM
It is absolutely helpful to make both, putting the country's name IN GERMAN below the address AND adding the license plate number in front of the zip code ! ! !

Just do not use Deutsche Post's services then. ;)  From the link in my previous post: "Die Angabe der Länderkürzel vor der Postleitzahl bei der Adressangabe auf Briefen und Paketen wurde offiziell am 1. September 1999 abgeschafft."

Christian
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on January 12, 2015, 05:08:25 AM
Wow, hadn't thought that my post will be responsible for so much of discussion. ;D Anyway, it's always nice to know the legal side of what we consider as 'simple' or 'common sense'...

I have also noticed that many of the German (and also Dutch) collectors / dealers do not mention their address on the letter (Or a very short address). In India, they won't even accept my letter if I haven't mentioned my address, sometimes they ask me to add contact number too. ::) I have to add my address on custom declaration form as well; which is not the case with German (or any other) version of the form.

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on January 12, 2015, 09:16:33 AM
My dad, who until he retired was a university academic, once received an extremely delayed letter containing an academic paper reprint (this was in the 1980s, well before email and PDFs) from someone in Leningrad. When the package eventually reached him, he saw that the sender had simply written my dad's name followed by "University of Birmingham, Birmingham". The package showed evidence of having been sent to Birmingham, Alabama and been returned as undeliverable. It was then opened by the Soviet postal service, presumably in an attempt to discover who had sent it (there was no sender's address on the outside, and as it turned out none on the inside either). It was then resealed, but this time by state security as the seal had sword-and-shield KGB rubber stamp marks all along it, and sent to Birmingham, UK, where it found its intended recipient.

As to the whims of postal workers... The guy in charge of the mail room at my last job in the UK completely failed to get the reason why one if at all possible should write the local detail of the address in a form that local postal workers can read. I was sending a package to a museum in Kiev. I therefore addressed it in Cyrillic and in "backwards" order (Russia and many former Soviet republics start with the macro element and work down to the micro, so you get country (if needed), town, street, building, personal name), ending with UKRAINE in English at the bottom, where the UK postal service would expect the country to be. This guy complained that the Royal Mail wouldn't be able to read "all those funny squiggles". No amount of explaining that they didn't need to know the bits in Ukrainian, but that the Ukrainian postman may well not read Latin text, would convince him...
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: malj1 on January 12, 2015, 10:57:07 AM
Now a couple of good stories too.  ;D

A book posted in Wales in time for the Saturday evening mail collection arrived here with me in Australia on the Monday morning!

A piece of computer hardware posted from Florida USA arrived with me here six days later.  8)
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: bagerap on January 12, 2015, 01:20:34 PM
Two years ago I posted a coin in Dorset on Wednesday and it arrived in Boise Idaho on the following day. Not bad for £1.28
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on January 13, 2015, 07:32:00 AM
A friend of mine from Athens posted a letter for me on Monday morning (Athens time) and it was with me on Wednesday afternoon (Indian time).

On the other hand, I had posted a letter to a Kolkata based collector by speed post which took over one week to reach!

Aditya
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 11, 2015, 06:16:58 PM
Another unusual experience of modern postal service...

A friend of mine had sent me a letter from Germany. The letter landed up in Milan, Italy instead. :o That was bit worrisome for me, as Italy is not known to be one of the safest places to send coins to or receive from via post. Fortunately, it arrived in perfect condition, took about 3 days more than usual though. 8)

I think person working at the sorting center of Deutsche Post got confused between Indien and Italien. First Indonesia and now Italy! Wow! I wonder how many Austria bound letters are sent to Australia and vice-versa? ;)

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 11, 2015, 07:16:37 PM
I have a coin currently on it's way to me from India to UK, posted a month ago it's tracking shows it is in New York  :o
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Afrasi on April 11, 2015, 08:37:54 PM
A letter sent by me on the 27th arrived in South Africa at the 28th.  :o    :D    ::)

Ok, I did send it on the 27th of Dec 2014 and it did arrive on the 28th of March 2015.
His letter started at the 29Th of March.
Now I wait for the postman crossing the Sahara again - this time northward bound!  ;D
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 08:52:05 AM
I wonder how many Austria bound letters are sent to Australia and vice-versa? ;)


It had happened to me twice.
The lady at Antwerp Post Office told me to write "AUSTRIA (EUROPE)" in future.
It happened third time when I forgot to follow her advice.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 12, 2015, 09:30:00 AM
It has happened to my wife's father in respect of Rotherham and Rotterdam. Whatever the UK Royal Mail may think, they are not the same place. It is somewhat perplexing that they chose to deliver to Rotterdam when it said Rotherham on the envelope and the letter was posted in Sheffield. Sheffield is about 12 km away from Rotherham.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 12, 2015, 10:40:34 AM
Modern post sorting offices have technology to read postcodes or zip codes etc rather than actual addresses so such errors should not occur. If I type the postcode for my actual house into Google Earth it zooms right in to where I live so how come the international post offices can't manage to do the same thing & read the postcode  ???
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on April 12, 2015, 10:52:45 AM
While postal employees who can read (about half of them, judging from these stories) can read foreign postal codes also, machine reading capabilities are more widespread, but also more limited. Dutch machines have no problem with a sequence of four figures and two letters but reject everything else, while French machines do fine with five figures, but cannot possibly understand four figures and two letters. For this reason, the Dutch administration maintained that my car was not insured, while the French administration was sure it wasn't my car. It actually took a complaint to the EU Commission, a court session and a judge to figure it out.

Peter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 10:58:17 AM
Modern post sorting offices have technology to read postcodes or zip codes etc rather than actual addresses so such errors should not occur. If I type the postcode for my actual house into Google Earth it zooms right in to where I live so how come the international post offices can't manage to do the same thing & read the postcode  ???

Post code are not international.
They are country specific.
Sometimes, US sites ask for ZIP code ( 5 numeric)  and even when you feed  other country, UK ( 6 alpha numeric) or Belgium ( 4 numeric) is not accepted.
India has 6 numeric PIN code.

Sooner or later, there has to be international agreement on standardization.
Incidentally, even where there is a postal standardization, things do not work.
Recorded or registered letters  are assigned a two letter alpha code ( for type of letter) followed with a 9 digit number and end with country of origin (two letter alpha code).
No where the destination code is mentioned.
Try tracking a international letter and you will understand the issues involved.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 12, 2015, 11:21:57 AM
Post code are not international.

Recorded or registered letters  are assigned a two letter alpha code ( for type of letter) followed with a 9 digit number and end with country of origin (two letter alpha code).
No where the destination code is mentioned.
Try tracking a international letter and you will understand the issues involved.

Well the destination code is written by the sender as part of the address on the packet & is read electronically unless it's written badly, at least it works that way in the UK
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 11:35:45 AM
Well the destination code is written by the sender as part of the address on the packet & is read electronically unless it's written badly, at least it works that way in the UK

Yes, it works perfectly within the country.
We are talking of international mail here.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on April 12, 2015, 12:18:55 PM
Sooner or later, there has to be international agreement on standardization.

I hope not. My Dutch bank account number had 8 digits. My father's bank account had 7 digits. They were not more difficult to remember than a phone number. Now, thanks to European standardisation, I need a BIC of 8 digits and an IBAN of 18 digits, 3 times as many as before. Extrapolating that to postal codes would yield postal codes of 15 to 18 digits!

Peter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 12, 2015, 01:51:11 PM
Modern post sorting offices have technology to read postcodes or zip codes etc rather than actual addresses so such errors should not occur. If I type the postcode for my actual house into Google Earth it zooms right in to where I live so how come the international post offices can't manage to do the same thing & read the postcode  ???

This occurred some time ago so could well be before (reliable) machine readers.

I would also caution against implementing some kind of pan-European postcode system just for its own sake. The most important disadvantage is that I don't see that resulting improvements in postal accuracy (if any) would be in proportion to the huge cost and the unwieldiness that Peter mentions.

More specifically, postcodes are used for different things in different countries and have different levels of accuracy depending on the other preconditions for postal delivery in the country in question.

The UK postcode is extremely accurate, such that you can address a letter to personal name, house number/name and postcode and it will get there. It is also accurate enough to be used for a wide range of other things like car and home insurance. On the other hand, it needs to be that accurate, because the rest of the UK's postal address system is completely chaotic. Houses sometimes have names, sometimes numbers. House numbering is sometimes up one side of the street and down the other, sometimes odds on one side, evens on the other. 13 is sometimes missing. Chunks of numbering are sometimes missing because a bunch of houses were destroyed in WW2 and then replaced with something other than housing. Acacia Street, Acacia Crescent, Acacia Close and Acacia Avenue are all different roads and can often be located next to each other. (Compare the US, where the suffix (street, crescent etc.) is mostly irrelevant and it's the first part that matters.) There is no uniformly agreed way of displaying building numbers on the actual buildings. Counties/other administrative divisions can be pre-1974, 1974-1996, post-1996 or absent entirely.

The Swedish postcode (5 digits) is much less accurate by itself, but within Sweden there are no two postal districts with the same name, and within a given postal district there are no two streets with the same name (ignoring the "suffix" element).

Imposing a one-size-fits-all system would require significant (and therefore costly and confusing) changes to addresses throughout the EU.

Providing the destination country is clearly marked on the envelope, you don't need automatic sorting equipment that can distinguish a Swedish from a British postcode - it just needs to read the country. For international mail, the postcode doesn't need to be read until the letter reaches the destination country. It could be useful to have an internationally accepted abbreviation for European countries analogous to that used by the USPS for US states, but only if it was recognised and implemented everywhere. Part of the problem with this is that there are so many subtly different one-, two- or three-letter country abbreviations in use for different purposes - vehicle number plates, languages, internet TLDs, postal services, sports competitions, you name it: they all use their own separate variant. So long as that's the case you'll get people using the "wrong" one on letters, and that's before you factor in the people who object to "UK" in relation to Northern Ireland or "France" for Corsica and so on.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 01:57:09 PM
Peter, I do not have to remember the18 digits because the card stores everything.
I just have to remember 4 digit pin.

Yes. It is part and parcel of globalisation.
I used to live in a small town and had four digit telephone numbers.
I remembered the telephone numbers of all my friends.
Then the city grew, and we had five digit numbers.
I grew up and moved to a big city with six digit numbers.
Then seven digit numbers.
Then came mobile telephones and we had 10 digit numbers.

As a part of growing up, my memory is no longer as good as it used to be.
I have now separate numbers for iPad, iPhone and desktop internet apart from landline numbers.
Then there are passwords to remember.
Luckily all numbers are stored in mobile phone and I do not sometimes remember some of my own numbers.
Life goes on.

There will methods and solutions to find the way out and cross the bridge when we come to it.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 12, 2015, 01:59:48 PM
Yes, it works perfectly within the country.
We are talking of international mail here.


I'm saying that the postcode is identifiable from anywhere in the world, if Google Earth can identify & locate it then so should worldwide Post centres. My lost coin has turned up in the USA but it's obvious from the address that it should be sent on to UK
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: malj1 on April 12, 2015, 02:05:51 PM
Australia uses a simple four digit post code, this works very well.

Useful too when buying on the internet Australia wide - just add the post code to the box provided and you instantly get the delivery charge.


Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 02:11:16 PM
Part of the problem with this is that there are so many subtly different one-, two- or three-letter country abbreviations in use for different purposes - vehicle number plates, languages, internet TLDs, postal services, sports competitions, you name it: they all use their own separate variant.

Sheer ignorance at post office level is not only link to be blamed.
When I used a standard label for a coin, quite a few of my numismatist friends also were puzzled.
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.
Tell someone IDR and his reaction will be Indian Rupee and never Indonesian Rupiah.

Perhaps machine reading will solve the problem at post office end but what about senders ignorance?
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 02:14:40 PM

if Google Earth can identify & locate it then so should worldwide Post centres.

Google Earth can locate well mapped countries.
I failed while trying to locate a bridge in Krakow, Poland or a Tower in Thiruvananthapuram in India.

I could locate a small shop in Camden Market, London and was really surprised.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on April 12, 2015, 04:04:47 PM
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.

So what does the currency code UAH mean then? ;)

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 12, 2015, 04:10:36 PM
When I used a standard label for a coin, quite a few of my numismatist friends also were puzzled.
1 UKH stands for Ukraine Hryvnia and is got nothing to do with United Kingdom.
Tell someone IDR and his reaction will be Indian Rupee and never Indonesian Rupiah.

In situations like that, the simplest way of avoiding confusion is not to use an abbreviation in the first place. It is a minor source of irritation to me that so many providers of information of various kinds choose to abbreviate things when it is not necessary either for reasons of physical space or computer memory. There have been two periods in recent communications history where more or less any abbreviation is by definition preferable to the full version: when using telegrams, priced by the word or letter, and when writing text messages on a pre-smartphone mobile. Both are largely obsolete now. If you mean "10 rupees" why not write "10 rupees" when directing your observations to an international audience?

As to locating postcodes on Google Maps - it will identify Canadian and British postcodes directly, because they are the only systems using those respective layouts of letters and numbers. US, French, German, Swedish, Italian and no doubt other postal systems use five digits. If you simply type a five-digit postcode into Google Maps you won't get a reliable result. Presuming the given combination of digits actually exists, you will either get a postcode in your own country if your country uses such a postcode system and your Google profile is set to your country's TLD, or it will default to the US. You may get a list of results in a number of countries, but this won't help you decide which is the right one. The country name is therefore essential, whether on Google or at post offices.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 12, 2015, 05:22:33 PM
Another place where the system works perfectly is ISBN, which is a 13 digit code for books.
I do not have any idea how the standardisation is maintained but in most of the countries, an author or a publisher can get an ISBN allotted without any fees or hassles.
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 13, 2015, 07:51:55 AM
It seems that I kept everyone busy before disappearing from the scene. ;D

Any letter sent to India MUST have the pin code mentioned! If you do not mention the pin code, there's a high possibility that its delivery will be delayed or it may get lost too. Many times, employees at the sorting center are not well educated and they may not be able to read the address written in English. In that case, they will only see the pin code and drop the letter in concerned bag for further dispatch. Interesting to note that there are over 100 pin codes for Mumbai city alone (104 if I guess it right) and if you add neighboring metros (Navi Mumbai, Thane, Kalyan etc), the count may go over 200.

Once the letter arrives at post office of desired pin code, the further delivery becomes much easier and the people at the sorting center are usually aware of who lives where and even an incomplete / unreadable address may not be a big issue.

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 13, 2015, 11:06:05 AM
The discussion started with International mail going haywire.

Within any country, the Zip or respective code takes over.
It is international exchange which creates the delay ( with or without loss ).

In India I have heard of a letter from Delhi for Belgium, landing in Belgaum ( small town in South India) even when no code was required and hence no written.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on April 13, 2015, 11:36:41 AM
At least the addresses in the "domestic" format are relatively compact in most countries. For a private address that would be:
FirstName LastName
StreetAddress
PostCode City (or some variation)

Add the country name in a last line, and that's it. In some countries, however, the address is quite long, like five or six lines. If you then added anything like "(the country between A-land and B-land)", it would get even trickier. ;D

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: chrisild on April 13, 2015, 11:44:47 AM
My Dutch bank account number had 8 digits. My father's bank account had 7 digits. They were not more difficult to remember than a phone number. Now, thanks to European standardisation, I need a BIC of 8 digits and an IBAN of 18 digits, 3 times as many as before. Extrapolating that to postal codes would yield postal codes of 15 to 18 digits!

Here in Germany the number looks quite long at first sight but is actually not complicated. My IBAN (German bank) has the country code (2 characters) plus a checksum (2 digits). The remaining 18 digits are simply my old BLZ plus my old account number. And the BIC is not needed anyway, except - until 1 Feb - for payments to SEPA accounts outside Germany.

Don't really see a reason for "standardizing" postal codes. What I could imagine though is some kind of UPU agreement on where the code should be. Maybe before the city name, maybe after it, maybe in an extra line. That may make processing international mail easier, dunno. But that should be it ...

Christian
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: malj1 on April 13, 2015, 11:53:05 AM
This Is how Australia wants our four digit code displayed on handwritten addresses. All envelopes come pre-loaded in this way.
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 13, 2015, 12:03:48 PM
I don't think standardization of postal codes is possible. A small country like Estonia may not need a six digit long postal code while a big, diversified country like India may not find a four digit code sufficient...

I agree that the recent discussion hasn't really been in line with what original topic was, but it's still interesting (and educative too) :) Moderator may split it appropriately. ;)

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Quant.Geek on April 13, 2015, 04:24:04 PM
In this global environment, postal codes should be standardized and should fall into the domain of the ISO (International Standards Organization).  Surprised it hasn't been done yet. 
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 13, 2015, 06:29:02 PM
I think the body responsible for standardisation is UPU ( Universal Postal Union), a body of UNO, with head quarters in Switzerland.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 13, 2015, 07:09:43 PM
In this global environment, postal codes should be standardized and should fall into the domain of the ISO (International Standards Organization).  Surprised it hasn't been done yet.

The problem (and quite possibly the reason you're looking for) is that, unlike say ISBNs for books or internet TLDs, post codes are used by ordinary members of the public of varying degrees of literacy and intelligence and with an overwhelming ignorance of the mechanics of how their own country's postal system works, never mind other countries'. It just isn't possible to get everyone to behave in the same way, even within a country.

Also, before costly and possibly politically unsavoury changes were forced on somewhere, I would expect to see statistically rigorous analysis of the reasons for wrongly delivered or lost mail. Postcodes, or other misunderstandings by postal workers of clearly written addresses, are not the only imaginable cause of significant unreliability. Criminal intent, laziness, illiteracy, overwork can all affect postal workers independently of how the postcode system works. Senders can write illegibly or wrongly, whether a postcode or some other crucial part of the address, and water can render any writing unreadable. Among all these possible causes for postal failure, what percentage of total loss/problems is due to confusion over postcodes? Until we know the answer to that, there's no real justification for further bureaucracy.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 04:06:31 AM
The problem (and quite possibly the reason you're looking for) is that, unlike say ISBNs for books or internet TLDs, post codes are used by ordinary members of the public of varying degrees of literacy and intelligence and with an overwhelming ignorance of the mechanics of how their own country's postal system works, never mind other countries'. It just isn't possible to get everyone to behave in the same way, even within a country.

Not really true.
A well designed system should not expect users to know intricacies of internal systems.
Designing such system is not difficult.
In late 70s, the International Trunk Subscriber Dialling was standardised by ITU! Telecom version of UPU.
Each country was assigned a code, after seeing how many telephones were expected to work in future in that country.
Total code ( after international dialling prefix ) was fixed as 10 digits.
Countries with large number of phones were given shorter code and with less number of telephones,  given longer codes.
Thus USA got 1, UK got 44, India 91, Armenia 374 etc.
Countries were expected to design their own codes within balance digits.
USA went for for Local Access Area codes of three digits followed with balance six digits.
Most of the other countries followed a city or county wise pattern with big cities getting smaller codes and smaller cities getting longer codes.

The arrangement got modified with coming of mobile phones where most countries changed their internal system of coding. The international system remained same except that total size of code+ number was increased to 12 digits.

The system has worked fine. Any person, literate or not, only has to know the number and can make a telephone call.

In international post also, the tracking system was so designed. A tracking number is given but the data is not fed properly. For example, Spain postal or gain station does not feed the weight of the packet but Russian postal authority does. The Indian postal authority does not feed the next point of handing over so packet becomes untraceable. It is the sheer laziness and incompetence that the system was not designed to ensure discipline amongst workers.
In telephone networks, the signalling system was forced to be changed to a newer system of multi frequency signalling rather than pulse signalling. All countries, irrespective of whatever antiquated system they had in switching their own network, were forced to go for new equipment at their international interface. Thus countries like Albania, Cuba changed their system so as to generate and accept international traffic.
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 14, 2015, 05:43:41 AM
The Indian postal authority does not feed the next point of handing over so packet becomes untraceable.

This is 50% correct. ;) Letters sent abroad from India can be traced online. It's true that the tracking website doesn't show the next destination like Deutsche Post, but the letter can be traced at every major stop it has (booking of letter, arrival of the letter at an Indian airport, arrival of the letter in the destination country etc). The link for online tracking is here (http://ipsweb.ptcmysore.gov.in/ipswebtracking/). The same link can be used to track letters sent to India. IMO this is one of the best tracking system I have seen so far (having used number of other similar systems provided by other postal services in the world). Simple design, easy to use, no advertisements, nothing. Just put the tracking code and it loads the result in seconds. Interesting to note that it even shows status of the letter as soon as the letter is booked in the foreign country! 8) I recently had a pleasant surprise when a letter sent from Lithuania was traceable at every junction, right from it's booking in Vilnius to it's release from Indian customs.

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 06:17:59 AM
This is 50% correct. ;) Letters sent abroad from India can be traced online.

0 % correct. Kindly track this letter RL304034127IN.
Where did it go?

I can send many such details.

You want more funny tracking pictures then send me pm
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 14, 2015, 06:20:51 AM
I don't know what's the destination country of your letter but at-least it shows tracking history upto its journey to airport...

We can always show errors in the system (I have had such experiences too) but it's always better to have something than nothing. this facility wasn't available few years back, now at-least we have some system!

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 14, 2015, 10:31:53 AM
This is 50% correct. ;) but the letter can be traced at every major stop it has (booking of letter, arrival of the letter at an Indian airport, arrival of the letter in the destination country etc). The link for online tracking is here (http://ipsweb.ptcmysore.gov.in/ipswebtracking/). The same link can be used to track letters sent to India. IMO this is one of the best tracking systems
Aditya

The above IPS tracking is giving me less info than Indiapost website for my missing packet

 ITEM n° RG182030565IN    new search
Local Date and Time    Country    Location    Event Type    Mail Category    Next Office    Extra Information   
3/9/2015 1:49:23 PM    INDIA    MUMBAI AIR    Receive item at office of exchange (Otb)    Air    unknown       
3/9/2015 2:56:16 PM    INDIA    MUMBAI AIR    Insert item into bag (Otb)    Air    unknown    


Here is the Indiapost tracking for same item now seemingly lost enroute to England

RG182030565IN
   
Booked at   Booked on   Destination   Tariff   Article Type   Delivered at   Delivered on
JODHPUR CHAR RASTA    07/03/2015   Not Available   75.00   fgn-AIR-RL       
   
   
Detailed Track Events for :  RG182030565IN

Date   Time   Office   Event
08/03/2015   02:34:42   AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)   Bag Despatched to MUMBAI (CRC)
07/03/2015   20:51:32   AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)   Article Bagged to MUMBAI (CRC)
07/03/2015   19:48:02   AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)   Bag is Opened
07/03/2015   19:41:35   AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)   Bag is Received
07/03/2015   15:15:01   JODHPUR CHAR RASTA    Bag Despatched to AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)
07/03/2015   15:14:24   JODHPUR CHAR RASTA    Article Bagged to AHMEDABAD RMS (CRC)
07/03/2015   10:38:00   JODHPUR CHAR RASTA    Article Booked   
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 selecting the link provided on the Ebay purchase invoice I get this 'Origin Post is Preparing Shipment' which is apparently a black hole where post can disappear for months according to complaints on the net  >:D
RG182030565IN-

Courier:
India Post

Status:
Accepted ; In transit: Delivered

Processed Through Sort Facility

Mar-12-15, 18:56 PM, ISC NEW YORK NY(USPS)

Origin Post is Preparing Shipment
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 14, 2015, 10:45:45 AM
That's really strange...I notice that the India Post tracking link you are providing can't be used for letters sent to India, it can be used only for letters which are booked in India.. ::)

The tracking service eBay provides is not reliable IMO...Provides wrong information most of the times. I don't see any reason for your letter to reach NY. May be some mistake.

Ideally, you should be able to track your letter on Royal Mail's website once it lands in UK. But it doesn't happen. It works well with French Post, USPS etc.

Aditya

Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 14, 2015, 11:41:42 AM

 I don't see any reason for your letter to reach NY. May be some mistake.

Aditya


I have a suspicion that the sender made a mistake & possibly put US instead of UK, particularly so i as I have to pay in  $ USD
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 14, 2015, 11:50:33 AM

I have a suspicion that the sender made a mistake & possibly put US instead of UK, particularly so i as I have to pay in  $ USD

Don't tell me that you have to write 'United States of America' on the letter instead of USA! :o

For UK, I always write 'United Kingdom' (but not Great Britain :P) but not so for America. Only USA!

Aditya
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 02:31:29 PM
it's always better to have something than nothing. this facility wasn't available few years back, now at-least we have some system!

You may be happy / satisfied with the system since it did not exist few years back.
Here is current system in Russia and shows full details including weight of the letter
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 14, 2015, 03:59:48 PM
Well, surprise surprise my packet arrived today, :D forwarded from the USA to UK because the sender put USA & other peculiarities on the envelope.
Someone in US mail wrote a large UK on the label  ;D
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 04:35:50 PM
An image of the packet would be of great interest.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: capnbirdseye on April 14, 2015, 04:59:19 PM
An image of the packet would be of great interest.


Here it is, I blocked out my address & phone number they also put on,  also covered sellers i.d
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 05:29:41 PM
In other words, some one in USA could decode that the place existed in UK.

What if it had landed in a place where the employee of receiving  country was as knowledgable as sending country's employees :-)
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 14, 2015, 06:22:31 PM
Not really true.
A well designed system should not expect users to know intricacies of internal systems.
Designing such system is not difficult.
In late 70s, the International Trunk Subscriber Dialling was standardised by ITU! Telecom version of UPU.
Each country was assigned a code...

The parallel with telecoms doesn't really work. It doesn't matter what international agreements have been reached or how many digits phone numbers should have - if you dial wrong, you won't get through. You will have direct evidence of your error immediately and will either redial correctly or seek help if you don't understand what the problem is. Either way, apart from inconvenience and time, you probably won't experience material loss.

With the post, you don't know whether something's gone wrong until it doesn't get delivered, which in many cases is too late as the item has got irretrievably lost. There is no feedback on how you address your package at the point at which it leaves your hands, unlike with a phone call. The more detail you can give, even if it's not in the destination country's standard format, the more likely it is your letter will arrive as intended. As I mentioned above in the UK you can send to a house number and postcode, but if the latter is wrong even by one digit or letter, it will get irretrievably lost. Write the whole address in a way a human postal worker can understand, and a wrong postcode will be overridden by the rest of the address (admittedly possibly after a delay).

Furthermore, phone numbers are numeric only, and all technical systems in the world use the same number system even if for certain more literary uses non-western numerals are used in some places. Addresses are alphanumeric and are subject to linguistic and alphabetic ignorance on the part of senders and deliverers/sorters.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 14, 2015, 07:17:04 PM
In Belgium, every resident is allotted a 11 digit number.
In central database, it has my current postal address and the same must be updated if I move to another location.
If Belgium was given a 3 digit code, My postal address will become a 14 digit code.

In a case of letter, I can send my 14 digit code to the sender and rest everything can be taken care by linked computers.

After all, my bank account is also nothing but a series of codes, duly recorded in chip of the credit card I carry.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: FosseWay on April 14, 2015, 07:39:58 PM
In Belgium, every resident is allotted a 11 digit number.
In central database, it has my current postal address and the same must be updated if I move to another location.

Sweden has a similar system, and I have to have a postal address linked to my personnummer (10 digits, 6 of which are my DoB) to which official communications such as tax declarations, voting cards, speeding tickets and suchlike can be sent. But that doesn't preclude my having further addresses if I wish. I may choose to get an online retailer to send a parcel to my work because I will reliably be there to sign for it. People may choose to get certain mail sent to their parents' (not relevant to me as my parents live in a different country, but in principle). Certain classes of temporary visitor (students, tourists, people on shorter business secondments) don't need a Swedish personnummer but still need to be able to receive mail.

And even with the ubiquity of the Swedish personnummer I would not particularly want it plastered over every last mailing I receive for all and sundry to see, take note of and attempt to empty my bank account with.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Pabitra on April 15, 2015, 02:09:27 AM
And even with the ubiquity of the Swedish personnummer I would not particularly want it plastered over every last mailing I receive for all and sundry to see, take note of and attempt to empty my bank account with.

This number is so ubiquitous that no one attempts to hide it at all. One has to show this card every time you book a train or bus ticket, take delivery of registered articles or items received from a courier or even when you pick up the medicine from the chemist for which insurance company is paying. Entry to local events and museums where one gets free entry being a local resident, also needs the card to be presented. The number is linked to the bank account number but not really used for operating it.

I think we need to be understand this modern systems and try to adopt it to make old system like postal system to be improved.

After all we all participate in this forum where our identity, location, messages are all criss crossing the
world spanning network using some bits of addresses, stored in some computer with open access to other computers.
Title: Re: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Figleaf on April 15, 2015, 09:38:31 PM
After all we all participate in this forum where our identity, location, messages are all criss crossing the
world spanning network using some bits of addresses, stored in some computer with open access to other computers.

Fortunately not so. What is known about your identity is what you give away yourself. You can use any handle you please, you can hide your email address. The only thing administrators know with a degree of certainty of all members is in which country they are, but even in that field, there are errors. We do not store information on our members. We discourage practices that provide enough information about our members to identify them and we remove email addresses from posts.

Peter
Title: Wonders of modern postal service
Post by: Bimat on April 17, 2015, 05:44:37 PM
Latest experience of India Post :D

A friend of mine sent me a letter from Greece on April 6th (coin ordered on behalf of a friend). The letter arrived in Mumbai on April 8, released by customs the next day (April 9). Everything went well up to this stage. However, the person at the sorting center forwarded it to city with the pin code abc3de instead of abc2de (mistake in 4th digit of pin code) on the same day, which is hardly 5 kilometers from where I live. The wrong recipient (post office) received the letter on April 13th, found that it's not their letter and they forwarded it to my city on the same day. It took another 3 days to travel ~5km and finally received the letter yesterday! In short, it took more time to travel 5 km than to travel few thousand kilometers (Athens => Mumbai)! :o

Aditya