Friday, January 29, 2010

Paying $3.95 to have a photocopy certified

On Feb 15th 2010 Australia Post will begin charging AUD$3.95 per page to certify a duplicate as "True Copy". This service has hitherto been free to customers, as is done in pharmacies, police stations, etc. Some places discreetly displays a charity box nearby to enable you to return your gratitude.

Perhaps Australia Post and lawmakers should think through this a little. People will be shocked and disgusted when they hear of this brashness. They will go elsewhere to have their copies certified for free but will still come back to the Post Office for other business because it is an essential service and a monopoly. Perhaps that is just what Australia Post wants: to stop providing this free service by introducing a high price.

Here is my take. If a customer pays for the service, will Australia Post be held accountable for any fraud arising? It is very easy these days to scan a page and then use an image editing software to change a word or two before printing out a "copy". It would be hard for anyone to detect it if the word is buried in a detailed legal contract. Lawmakers should consider doing away with certifying "True Copy". Any organization that requests for a copy should make the copy themselves when presented with the original. In the old days, photocopy machines were big and expensive; these days they are small, cheap, and are in every office. Better still, since everything is computerized these days, the organization that wants a copy should just scan it into their data base. Save the trees. (What happened to the practice of simply stamping "DUPLICATE" over the documents?)

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