Charging for the receipt of Poste restante postal items is prohibited if this is the only option for the person to receive post
The Finnish Transport and Communications Agency Traficom considers that charging for the Poste restante service violates the Postal Act for recipients for whom the service is the only way they can receive post. Traficom requires Posti not to charge for the Poste restante service if this is the only method being used by the customer to receive post.
A Poste restante address is used, for example, by individuals who do not have a permanent address or other ways to receive post. Traficom takes the view that the Poste restante is equivalent to a normal home address for such recipients of post. In such cases, it is not a question of an additional, contract-based service, but rather of an ordinary delivery to a postal address . According to Traficom’s decision, in such situations requiring a separate payment from the recipient before the postal item can be handed over is a violation of the Postal Act.
‘The charge for receiving letters puts those that do not have a permanent address in an unfavourable position in relation to other recipients of post and endangers universal service accessibility. Interpreting the Postal Act in a different manner would also endanger the right to receive communications, which is guaranteed to all by the Constitution of Finland,’ states Merja Saari, Deputy Director.
It is Posti's responsibility to ensure the functioning of the notification procedure throughout the whole country. This notification procedure refers, for example, to the delivery of official decisions through an acknowledgement of receipt. A Poste restante address is used as an official address by individuals who do not have any other permanent address and therefore no other options for receiving postal items. If some recipients have to always pay to receive an acknowledgement of receipt, the effectiveness of the notification procedure is endangered. In practice, charging for these postal items leads to a situation where the notification procedure cannot be implemented in the manner required by the law.
Merja Saari, Deputy Director, merja.saari(at)traficom.fi, tel. +358 (0)29 539 0541
Markus Ström, Legal Counsel, markus.strom(at)traficom.fi, tel. +358 (0)29 539 0686