Always get a receipt

Robert Schrire, Fish Hoek

A few months ago, my wife, a pensioner, went to the post office at Long Beach Mall to pay our television license.

She paid in cash and returned home without a receipt, having been told it was not necessary as it had been entered into the system.

Later, we were contacted by a debt collector and told no payment had been received.

My wife returned to Long Beach only to be told that no payment had been made.

The only possible explanation is that the postal clerk stole the money. And with no receipt we have no claim.

The lessons, alas, are clear: you cannot trust even those who work at the post office, always use a credit or debit card when possible, and insist upon a receipt. Trust in the honesty of others can no longer be assumed.

• SA Post Office spokeswoman Emma Tshatsinde responds: One of the major roles that the post office plays is to facilitate connections between government bodies and citizens, such as enabling payments.  We investigate all allegations thoroughly with a view to absolute fairness and transparency.

In cases where there is no paper trail, it is unfortunately not possible to get the bottom of the matter. The point-of-sale system generates a receipt with all the relevant details for every transaction at a post office counter.

We advise customers to insist on a receipt and to make sure they keep the receipt safely as it contains important information they might need later.