Return to spender: lost mail on sale Downunder

Fri Nov 20, 2009 11:17am EST
 
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By Jehane Sharah

CANBERRA (Reuters Life!) - Six wedding dresses, a didgeridoo, a toupee and a massage table are among thousands of items lost in Australia's mail system in the past year and now being sold for charity after nobody claimed them.

Australia Post said the six wedding dresses would be sold in Melbourne Sunday, where organizers are expecting to raise around A$60,000.

"I think most have been worn once and they might have been sent to the cleaners and just never returned. It's a shame," Australia Post spokeswoman Melanie Ward told Reuters.

Around a million letters and parcels become lost in the post each year in Australia's most populous state of New South Wales because they don't have the correct name and address, or return to sender details.

Australia Post auctions off the lost items if they are not claimed, with the proceeds going to a range of charities. Australian laws allow the post office to open packages in order to find the sender or recipients.

"It's just so important, especially for wedding dresses, for people to put the correct address or at least include the right return address so we can get it back to them," Ward said. "Obviously a wedding dress is something you want to hang on to."

The auctions are held across Australia twice a year. In Sydney, items under the hammer include Cuban cigars, French champagne, designer shoes and designer handbags.

A similar auction in the northern Queensland state raised A$12,000 for charity, with buyers for all 460 items, including a toupee, a bull whip, and a tattoo set.

(Editing by James Grubel)