Gone are the days of having to travel to your nearest post office to return a package; at least, that might be the case now that Belgian postal service Bpost has announced it is expanding its service to collect packages directly from customers' homes.
This will be done by mail carriers who usually only deliver packages, leaving it up to customers to return them. However, Bpost launched a pilot project ahead of Valentine's Day this year, testing a collection service, which it rolled out in select municipalities in all three Belgian regions.
The company now has plans to expand the project nationwide level before the end of the year, Bpost spokesperson Veerle Van Mierlo tells Belga, as it has been well received in the municipalities where the service is already being offered.
"The pilot project is going according to plan and people are enthusiastic," Van Mierlo said. The project was originally scheduled to run until 15 April and will now be extended, allowing for further analysis of why parcels are given to mail carriers for return.
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"The intention is then to implement the service on a national level before the end of the year. This will happen from the third quarter at the earliest," Van Mierlo explained.
The municipalities where the system has been rolled out include Mol, Geel, Leuven, Wevelgem, certain parts of Brussels and several towns in Wallonia.
There is a small catch, people can only use the collection service when the mail carrier is already scheduled to deliver something to your door and is physically with the customer, meaning it is not possible to leave a parcel by the letterbox for collection or to order a mail carrier to come and collect it.
All parcels must also be properly stamped and fully labelled if they are to be collected at home.
Bpost hopes the programme will help cut costs by streamlining its parcel delivery operations, while for customers, it would save them a trip to the post office.