MP Stuart McDonald has taken the Post Office to task amid widespread dissatisfaction with reduced provision in a WH Smith branch in Cumbernauld town centre.
Mr McDonald was responding to our recent coverage which featured claims that vast queues in an understaffed environment are undermining the levels of customer services that locals could reasonably expect.
Fears were also expressed that the set-up can only worsen in the run-up to Christmas.
The branch controversially replaced the town’s Crown post office in Forth Walk which has never found a buyer.
The concerned Scottish Nationalist said: “It’s helpful that the Cumbernauld News have been able to collate these detailed issues and complaints. I intend to write to the Post Office to raise all these concerns with them and find out what will be done to address them.”
Meanwhile MSP Jamie Hepburn added: “It was of course welcome that WH Smith stepped up to ensure there was some post office provision in the town centre, but they need to look at the capacity at their site.
“The real issue of course is that the Post Office were enormously short-sighted in closing their Crown Post Office which had greater capacity in the first place. This was something that many of us raised concerns about at the time, and which it is now incumbent on the Post Office to look at again.”
Billy Lees who is the Chairman of Cumbernauld Community Forum and of Westfield Pensioners said: “We are hearing complaints about this place every day now. All we’ve been left with is a shop now – it can’t rightly be called a post office. There doesn’t seem to be the same problem in the WH Smith branch in Sauchiehall Street.”
One aggrieved reader who went through the formal complaints procedure said that he had done so on behalf of everyone who was being inconvenienced.
He wrote: “It has seemed impossible for the branch manager to provide appropriate cover at any time and day of the year. I am yet to queue for at least 10 to 15 minutes. I am concerned about the well being of the rest of the clientele, especially the elderly.
“Every minute spent in a queue is an unnecessary strain on the health and comfort of people who see the post office as the first port of call for many of their everyday needs.”
He was assured in a letter back that his experience was “not indicative” of the usual levels of service offered and that the Post Office “strives to ensure that all our customers are served in a timely manner. The correspondent said he has not seen any improvement since then.
Last week, the Cumbernauld News compiled a detailed list of complaints about the post office based on feedback from our readers.
The response failed to address these detailed points but went on to state: “We take the concerns customers have raised extremely seriously and we are investigating them with the postmaster to ensure that our service standards are met.”