The problem with NZ Post ParcelPod

For some people, getting stuff delivered can be a bit of a pain if you don’t have a good reliable delivery location.  If you have a work or business address then typically someone is available to take receipt and sign for packages and items that are being carried by a courier company.   I see that a lot of New Zealand online stores do advise customers to use a business address for deliveries in order to avoid the dreaded “card-to-call” when a delivery is attempted to a residential address any nobody is home.

How about another option? Over the Christmas period last year I had a look at and signed-up for New Zealand Post’s ParcelPod trial.  In a nutshell NZ Post have a number of secure locations nationwide where you can have packages delivered.  The pods work similarly to lockers in gyms and recreation centres in that they are shared between users and accessed using a code.  Customers receive a text message and/or email notification that a delivery has arrived along with the code required to open a Pod. The whole process is automated from the users point of view and you have a couple of days to pick up the package anytime 24/7.

I was travelling around the country at Christmas time and was due back in my hometown in a few days.  On my time off I noticed that JB Hi-Fi were running a really good deal on the original Microsoft Surface RT tablet.  I’ve used both Apple and Android tablets extensively and thought this would be a great opportunity to have a look what Microsoft is doing in tablets in a cost effective way.  For under $300 it looked like an excellent deal.

Within minutes of opening up the JB Hi-Fi website I had dropped this tablet in to my shopping cart and was ready to proceed to payment.  I thought this was great, a new tablet and I will be able to try out this nifty new ParcelPod service!  Boy was I in for a disappointment.

The primary courier company that JB Hi-Fi uses is Poste Haste Couriers.  Post Haste are a direct competitor to NZ Post, the ones running the ParcelPod system.  On that note Poste Haste simply refuses to deliver to a NZ Post ParcelPod.  I’m not an expert on the delivery system but I didn’t see any logistical reason why Poste Haste Couriers could not deliver to the ParcelPod.  The address is a physical address like any other.

My enquiries started with NZ Post and the response from the staff member I spoke with on the phone was “we can’t make them deliver to us”.  My next port of call was to speak with Poste Haste Couriers.  The response from them was a flat out “no, we don’t deliver to NZ Post ParcelPods”.  My package had been sitting in one of their distribution centres for 3 days in their “problem” pile.

Fortunately for me I was back home by then and Poste Haste redirected the package to my home address.  I had waited at home for a day to receive the re-delivered package.  In hindsight I could have probably asked to pick it up but their system showed the package bouncing around their mail system so much I thought it best not to interfere further.

So that’s briefly what happened, but what am I actually ranting about?

The problem I see here is that if you order something from an online store or otherwise and that company uses Poste Haste or another competitor which refuses to deliver to a ParcelPod.  Some online stores tell you which courier company they use but many do not. Some may use a variety of companies so it could be a real hit or miss if you order something and the company concerned has not formed an agreement with NZ Post to deliver to the Pods.

I had a look in depth on the ParcelPod site and they do not provide any list of couriers who will not deliver to them (Update: list of compatible couriers now found on website).  To NZ Post’s credit they do clearly indicate that this is a trial only and I’m a guinea pig in their test.  The trial is currently open and anyone can sign-up for it on the NZ Post website.  It’s a very reasonable $5 for 3 months or $10 for 6 months.  NZ Post says that this is a nominal charge simply to test the payment system.  I would expect if they went beyond trial status on this that they would probably bump up the fee.

On a side note I gave JB Hi-Fi a call just to let them know that the primary courier company they use simply won’t deliver to these Pods.  The person I spoke with indicated to me that they would look at adding a note on their website about ParcelPods.  That was in December.  It appears to me that they haven’t added anything to their already quite extensive shipping and delivery web page.

Who is at fault here?  NZ Post, Poste Haste, or JB Hi-Fi?  To be honest this seems to fit in to that nice little box of it being nobody’s fault.  Without a lot of motivation to improve the system its quite likely nothing will be done to rectify the situation.  I plan to reach out to some of New Zealand’s courier companies to find out who will and who won’t deliver to a ParcelPod.

5 Things Orcon don’t tell you about their fibre connections

1. You can’t have a static/fixed IP address yet.

2. You can keep using all your jackpoints. Orcon tells you that you need to plug your phone in to your Genius and if you have DECT or other wireless extensions you can use them to allow multiple phones to function.  In fact, you can have Chorus feed the phone connection from your Genius back to your existing splitter and distribute the line between all your extensions.  Everything works as before!

3. Orcon might provision your UFB connection without checking that Chorus have completed the install.  If you’re moving from Orcon DSL to UFB Fibre you might find your existing connection cut off at some arbitrary point when they consider you should be up and running.  I’ve had Orcon Provisioning tell me that they did this to me!

4. The install might take more then one day if Chorus have issues piping the fibre down to your location.

5. There is a known issue with the Orcon Genius firmware version 1400.  This is causing a regular loss of connectivity for UFB customers.  Orcon states that they will be releasing an update to resolve these problems.

What is the Registry Lock status on a Domain Name?

After recently moving my Domain name to a new provider I completed a quick evaluation of some of the “value-added” services that you can use with a registered domain name.  Typical services such as Secret Registration, Domain-Locking, contact managers, and priority support options all surfaced.

Perhaps one less popular option I came across was the Registry-Lock status that can be placed on a domain name.  You may be more familiar with the commonly used Registrar-Lock option which prevents a domain name from being transferred-out to another provider without the lock first being removed.

In contrast, the Registry-Lock facility appears to be an option that very few accredited domain registrars provide to their customers.  A recent inquiry to DynDNS (a major DNS provider that is also an accredited domain registrar) resulted in a response indicating that such a service was not required nor available from them.  It appears that other Domain providers tend to differ on the subject with a small subset actively advertising the service.  In my Research I immediately found a few companies advertising the Registry-Lock on their websites; Verisign, Buydomains.com, and Neustar Registry Services. Continue reading