SINGAPORE - When marketing manager Punitha Govindasamy opened the door to receive a parcel last Saturday morning, she got a snappy delivery - but not of the kind she would have liked.
The 45-year-old - who was still in her pyjamas and with messy hair - found herself being photographed by a courier for Speedpost who also took pictures of the interior and exterior of her Clementi flat on his smartphone.
The Singapore Post delivery service introduced a policy at the end of last year of photographing the unit numbers of doors when there is no one home to receive a parcel.
It was extended to all deliveries last month.
In a letter published in The Straits Times on Tuesday, Ms Punitha said: "He said he had been asked to take photos of the customers he is making deliveries to as there have been complaints of missing packages... He went on to take a photo of the unit number of my flat and got me to sign on the mobile app on his phone."
She later told The Straits Times: "I don't like the idea of a stranger having a photo of me and my house. I was concerned about my privacy and safety."
A SingPost customer service officer told her what the courier did was "per our process". However, SingPost told The Straits Times that the courier in question "did not follow proper procedure".
Ms Lim Li Koon, who works in its group communications department, added: "We do not photograph the recipient of the parcel."
Couriers are instructed to take only a photo of the unit number on the door and not the recipient.
"We have immediately addressed this oversight with our staff concerned and have counselled them," she said.
Ms Lim said the number of lost parcels and complaints about them has been falling, even though overall parcel volume has increased.
She did not give figures.
In the case of a wrongly delivered parcel, the photo will allow SingPost to pinpoint where it was sent to. It also serves as proof that a courier attempted a delivery to a customer's doorstep when he was not home.
Other courier companies such as DHL Express Singapore, United Parcel Service and Ta-Q-Bin said they do not have such a policy, and require only a customer's signature upon delivery.
Lawyer Chia Boon Teck said there are currently no laws prohibiting anyone from taking photographs of another person.
The co-managing partner of Chia Wong LLP added: "A typical everyday example would be how private investigators operate."
This article was first published on August 7, 2015.
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