Are Australia Post conducting a scam?

Posted: November 28, 2008 in Uncategorized

The dramas over the Australia Post company, First Direct Solutions, continues.

I received the documentation in the post that required I furnish particular identification details before revealing who they have sold my details to. Stay tuned for details once I have a response to that.

I am still receiving letters from various bodies as personally addressed mail, begging for money. I have begun contacting them to get myself removed from their various databases. The Fred Hollows Foundation was one of them. I asked if they obtained my details from the Australia Post company, First Direct Solutions. No, they assured me, they had no dealings with that company, giving me the name and contact number for the company that they had purchased a mailing list from. Guess who it turned out to be. That’s right, it was First Direct Solutions. I contacted the Hollows Foundation again and let them know. The operative I spoke to expressed considerable surprise that they had been dealing with FDS. Apparently there had been a name change in the past, but that apparently occurred before I had completed the Australia Post Lifestyles Survey.

Another charity referred me to yet another mail list distributor who they claim that they purchased their list from. I have telephoned that company several times but only get an answering machine. I have requested removal from their database and requested advice on where they obtained my details from. I am yet to receive any confirmation that they have removed my name from their database and no response to my request for information. I shall give them benefit of the doubt for another few days. Maybe they’re just slack in that office.

So what actually happened? I received an email that encouraged me to take part in Australia Post’s Australian Lifestyles Survey, offering the potential for large cash prizes as an incentive. Was I stupid enough to participate? Yes. Caveat emptor! But having reviewed the survey form yet again, it does not state that Australia Post are using it to create a database that they are then selling on to who knows who, only a bland statement that survey participants ‘may’ be contacted by other businesses. Australia Post is getting two bites at the cherry here. They sell the database and then charge the purchaser postage for all the letters sent out to the persons they select from the database. It is only when you start digging that you really find out what is going on.

I telephoned First Direct Solutions again, asking them how I went about purchasing a copy of the database and what restrictions there are on how I may use the database. I was referred to their website. I checked and am unable to find any such information other than an automated contact point. So I am no wiser as yet.

At the end of the day, I did let myself become blinded by the prospect of scoring some bucks for nothing. How stupid was that! However I wonder just how many other respondents to that survey (FDS claim to have over 400,000 entries in their database) are aware of just what they have actually done? Admittedly FDS did remove my name from the database, but as previously detailed, I had to raise hell on the telephone before they did.

I fail to see how Australia Post can justify acting in this manner. Apart from anything else, how many natural resources are wasted in the junk mail being generated from access to their database?

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