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Lost letters bound for U.K. back in St. John’s woman’s mailbox

Cards from Langley, B.C., bound for Clacton-On-Sea in the U.K. ended up in St. John's by mistake. This photo of one of the cards has been altered to protect specific address details.
Mail bound for Clacton-On-Sea in the U.K. from Langley, B.C., twice ended up in a St. John's woman’s mailbox by mistake. This photo of one of the envelopes has been altered to protect specific address details. - Contributed photo

Canada Post locates mail, vows to send it express to England

ST. JOHN'S, N.L. —

When Clare Eagar of St. John’s mistakenly got mail from Langley, B.C., bound for the United Kingdom, her neighbourhood postal outlet wrote a large “England” in permanent marker and attached airmail stickers, but the two cards landed right back in Eagar’s mailbox.

“I am fed up. I just don’t understand,” Eagar said. “It’s really ridiculous.”

The cards, as told in a recent Telegram story, were sent by Linda LeClair of Langley, B.C., to her brother, John Brigden, in Clacton-On-Sea, U.K.

Neither sibling has ever been to Newfoundland and Labrador, but the mail was nonetheless twice delivered to Eagar’s St. John’s address. Unlike Canada with its six-digit postal codes, Essex, England, has seven.

“The only way he is going to get these cards is to fly over to Newfoundland and pick them up." — Clare Eagar

The cards — with best wishes for a wedding anniversary and birthday this month written on the back of the envelopes — had Brigden’s address perfectly hand-printed on the envelopes.

Coincidently, Eagar is British, but has lived in Canada for decades.

“The only way he is going to get these cards is to fly over to Newfoundland and pick them up,” said a frustrated Eagar, who went to the Kenmount Road post office main branch Wednesday, but didn’t find staff there helpful. 

“They told me very sharply there was nothing they could do about it and they had no idea what to do,” Eagar said. 

“I don’t think it’s very good service. It was a complete waste of my time to go up there.”

Instead of putting Eagar in touch with an on-site supervisor, as she requested, she was handed a customer service number, she said.

Canada Post truck. - SaltWire File Photo
Canada Post truck. - SaltWire File Photo

While Eagar said the Canada Post customer service employee was nice, the suggestion was made that the mail’s intended recipient’s forwarding address had not kicked in as a possible explanation for the error.

Eagar then rebutted that neither Brigden nor his sister have ever lived in Newfoundland and Labrador and have no connection, so a forwarding address mix-up was implausible.

Eagar said customer service suggested she put “return to sender” on the cards, but she didn’t want to do that, suspecting they would go astray again. 

So, she went back to her neighbourhood postal outlet.

“I put it on the countertop and (the clerk) just about fell over. ‘What do you mean you got them back again?’” Eagar said.

She said the clerk put a sticky note over the address, securing it with elastic bands, so the sorting department would see the clear instructions to send the cards to England and not St. John’s, and then spoke to the postal employee picking up the mail to reiterate.

The Telegram mailed a copy of The Telegram edition containing the original stray mail story to Brigden this week, and told Eagar we hope she doesn’t get that mail, too.

“Jesus, I hope not,” she said. 

Canada Post, in an emailed statement after an inquiry from The Telegram, said it believes the cards were delivered to the address in St. John’s as a result of human error.

Canada Post said it located the two cards in question and is sending them to the intended recipient in England via Priority/Xpresspost.

It also apologized to its customers in B.C. and England for the delivery issues, and thanked Eagar for assisting in getting the mix-up sorted out.

Twitter: @BarbSweetTweets

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