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Harringay, Haringey - So Good they Spelt it Twice!

Post Office Counters Head Office Respond to Harringay Queue Complaint

Here is a letter I received from Post Office Customer Services, having queried the extremely long queue our local one has been getting recently (sometimes well over an hour's wait, which is not the same in other nearby POs):

Ref: CAS-1373080-L0Y6T3 

Thank you for your email about your experience at the Harringay branch.

I’m sorry to hear that the service you received in the above branch was not of the standard you would expect from the Post Office and our representatives.

Here at the Post Office we expect all our representatives to provide excellent care and service to all our customers, and I'd like to assure you that the experience you described is not the kind of service that should be delivered by our branches.

We always take customers' feedback on board, and rely on it to improve the service we provide both locally and across our network. This feedback is shared internally so we can identify any ongoing issues, and action can be taken where appropriate.

That said, I have called the Branch Manager and he advised the opening hours this week are Mon to Fri 10.00-5.30 and Saturday 10.00-3.00 and Sunday closed.

As from next week the hours are increasing to Mon to Fri 9.00 to 5.30pm and Saturday 9.00-4.00 and Sunday closed.

He advised due to adhering to social distancing they have had two staff members available for service.

I can confirm all complaints are logged against the branch and reported to the Area Manager for further training and monitoring purposes.

I am hopeful that the increased service will meet with your satisfaction.

Thank you again for taking the time to bring this to our attention and please accept our sincere apologies for any inconvenience you may have been caused.

Tags for Forum Posts: harringay post office, post office

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Unfortunately they closed the 'real' Post Office on Green Lanes and as predicted this counter in a shop cannot cover the services and number of customers even before Covid-19. I've given up on going there but well done for trying.

Perhaps you should reply and ask what the normal staffing levels are and what are those that are expected or even contracted for.

The reply from the postmaster at Harringay doesn't match with my own experience. I haven't used that post office much. But, in the times I have been there, I don't think I've ever seem more than two staff members; one on the front counter and the African guy from the old post office at the back.  

I had an interesting chat with the owner of Maqsood about that, while buying stamps from him instead of queuing. He told me that they had bid to take on the P.O., and been offered it, but from what I understand they would have been required to give up other business such as Western Union and courier services and decided against it.  He also said they were told the staffing should be at least 4 at peak times - you're right about the new place, I've never seen more than 2 people in there, and they are always 'socially distant' as one is behind the counter, often sorting parcels. So I don't know what changed to make it so much slower, apart from the very short opening hours. Considering how vital the post service has been in recent months, we've really done very badly on both ends of the system here.

So it sounds like it’s definitely worth feeding back. It doesn’t sound like Post Office Counters ever check whether contractual obligations are being met.

I’d be interested to know if that requirement for four staff at peak times made it into the contract.

I suppose since PO Counters Ltd is now a private company an FOI enquiry wouldn’t get very far. 

OK, I've asked them and will let you know what the reply is.

Here's what they say - apparently there is no minimum staffing requirement:

Thank you for getting in touch with us. The branch is privately owned therefore they are not contracted on how many staff members they have. the contract is to offer Post Office services.

I advised you of the information provided to me when raising your complaint with them.

On a positive great news to increase the hours.

If we can be of any further assistance please don't hesitate to get back in touch with us again by replying to this email or emailing us at customercare@postoffice.co.uk directly.

So someone can use the Post Office brand without any form of customer service guarantee - how utterly pathetic.

It does seem like a very odd way of franchising any service, let alone a key one.

If what you’ve been told is true, it amounts to something of a scandal. I’d have thought it important enough to be flagged up to the two local MPs. I’m not sure how much headspace they’ll have for this right now, but it is an issue that has a particular impact on the least advantaged in our community. 

Yes I note that they only have to 'offer' rather than 'provide' services. I found the tone of this second email a bit dismissive.

According to the CAB's research, Harringay Post Office must be unusually bad. They found that franchised post offices typically have lower queueing times than Crown ones.No wonder your interlocutor at Post Office Counters is feeling secure enough to brush off your question with a bit of a sneer.

The House of Commons have also published a paper on their debate over the issue  (attached). 

I'm not minded to, but there's enough threads there for someone to follow should they want to.


I have just given up on Royal Mail and the Harringay PO.  I find it offensive that if there is more than one person behind the counter, its terrific.   Its a great shame that things have got so bad as the previous PO was terrific for service.

I have some scales and weigh whatever I need to post to avoid a 2 hour queue.  Anything I can't post through the letterbox, I send via Hermes post.   The garage in Stapleton Hall Road is a drop off/pick up venue.

Hermes are very good.   You can track easily and they keep you informed of progress all the time.

Today didn't bother to queue at the Green Lanes PO and went to the one on Crouch End Broadway. There was only a short queue and the lovely staff were all very efficient.  If you can find a way to get there (brisk 35 minute walk each way, anyone? ), I would really recommend it. 



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