Post Office suffers disruption after IT failure

The Post Office suffered disruption this week after thousands of branches were hit by a computer crash.

The Post Office suffered disruption this week after thousands of branches were hit by a computer crash.

The problems hit for two 30-minute periods on Monday afternoon, which left some branches unable to handle the usual volume of mail. 

There was a problem with the Horizon system used by Post Offices around the country. The service has now been restored.   

“We are very sorry for the inconvenience this problem has caused customers. We know how important the Post Office is to our customers at all times, but especially at Christmas,” said Kevin Gilliland, network and sales director at the Post Office.

According to reports, staff had to manually calculate the cost of sending goods and then stick on individual stamps on one of the busiest days of the year for the Post Office with Christmas approaching.

About 4,000 branches were affected.

Previous Post Office system problems

The Post Office also suffered a glitch back in July, which meant customers were unable to complete card transactions across all branches.

Debit and credit card transactions using Chip and PIN pads at branch counters and Post Office Card Accounts were affected, with customers unable to complete transactions or access their accounts.

The Horizon system is currently at the centre of a potential legal action against the Post Office. Over 80 sub-postmasters are interested in taking legal action against the Post Office in relation to Horizon, which has allegedly has led to false accounting accusations against them.

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It’s well documented that retailers are having a tough time in the current economic climate and therefore it’s key that any business critical transactions, such a card payments, are running as efficiently as possible at this key trading time.
 
It’s astounding that technical issues actually lead to these kind of faults today and should act as a warning sign to any retailer. This fault is likely down to a network or application issue, which can be so complex and only rectified on a reactive basis that issues only arise when customer facing applications fail.
 
It’s critical that organisations put proactive measures in place to prevent issues before they occur. New solutions are available today that can track issues on a single device, with zero footprint, whilst not costing a fortune. My message to retailers would be that proactive monitoring and troubleshooting is something they can’t afford not to have.

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