The Yilan Green Expo’s efforts to promote the event hit a snag after Chunghwa Post Co said the “postcards” it handed out did not meet the post office’s standards for a postcard.
The expo opened on March 30 and runs through May 20. To promote the event, the Yilan County Government printed 6,000 leaf-shaped postcards and sent them — along with an invitation — to township mayors, borough wardens and social organizations across the county.
If the recipient of the invitation sent the postcard to a friend inviting them to participate in the expo, the friend could enter the expo for free, as long as they had the stamped postcard with them.
However, when a woman from Yilan surnamed Liu (劉) went to mail the postcard at the post office, a staff member said the postcard did not meet postal regulations that postcards should be rectangular in shape.
The post office also said the postcard would have to be sent as a letter, costing the sender NT$5 instead of NT$2.50 — the fee for a postcard.
Ministry of Transportation and Communication regulations on postal services state that anything written on a rectangular sheet of paper, maximum 14.8cm by 10.5cm and minimum 14cm by 9cm, and without any cover, is defined as a postcard. The paper should be smooth and level, without protrusions.
The regulations further state that any postcard not printed by Chunghwa Post Co and that does not meet regulations is to be charged as a letter.
Liu accused the post office of using double standards, saying her friend had no problem sending the “leaf postcard” as a postcard, adding that she did not know why she was charged the fee for a letter.
“Did the county government talk with Chunghwa Post over the matter?” Liu asked, adding that the postcard had lost its original meaning because of the argument over the postage fee.
In response, Yilan post office manager Ho Ching-hsi (何清溪) said that regulations exist to ensure smooth processing of postal services, and that the post office had acted in accordance with the law by charging the fee for a letter because the postcard did not fit regulations.
“We can’t take the lead and disregard the law,” Ho said, adding that it would not make sense if post office staff had to make up the difference out of their own pocket or chase down clients for the extra money they needed to pay afterwards.
Kang Li-ho (康立和), deputy director of Yilan’s Department of Agriculture, said it might have been an oversight on the part of the county government.
He said the county had sent a notice to Yilan’s post offices and Chunghwa Post’s headquarters hoping they would help promote the expo.
“If Chunghwa Post insists on charging a higher fee, the county government will make up the difference. We just hope they won’t charge the people extra anymore,” Kang said.
Translated by Jake Chung, staff writer