AUSTRALIA Post has moved to cash in on the boom in online shopping by increasing the price of some pre-paid parcel deliveries by as much as 30%.
Parcels now generate more revenue for Australia Post than letters, with online transactions accounting for seven in 10 parcels sent.
Under the raft of changes, most of which came into effect on Monday, Australia Post has done away with registered post for domestic parcels.
People can instead choose signature on delivery and extra cover as an additional cost on top of regular parcel post.
The cost of getting a signature on delivery has risen sharply from $1 to $2.95.
Registered post will still be available for standard letters.
The price of postage for eBay/Australia Post flat rate satchels and boxes will increase from April 15.
But the humble postage stamp will remain unchanged at 60 cents.
"Following customer feedback, we have streamlined our domestic parcel products to make them more flexible and easier for customers to use," Australia Post said in a statement.
"In addition, more international delivery zones are being introduced to ensure prices for international postage reflect the costs incurred when sending internationally."
International letters will have three zones instead of two, and international parcels will increase from four zones to eight.
Australia Post has come under fire for the price increases, with online retailers claiming it will drive up their costs substantially.
They argue customers will be the big losers as they are forced to pass on the increased costs.
A petition started at charge.org three days ago had attracted more than 2300 signatures as of Monday.
The petition, which was started by Karen White, asks Australian Post to "reconsider the parcel price increases and stop gouging Australians".
Ms White makes the point Australia Post made a profit of $280 million last year.
"It is unacceptable to gouge Australians further by continual price increases," the petition reads.
She claims the price increases , which Australia Post says is less than 7% in most instances, will force many businesses to close.
On Twitter Australia Post was forced to respond to a torrent of criticism.
Australia Post's standard response to the criticism was: "Price rises are never popular. We are operating in a competitive economic environment with increasing costs particularly around delivery, transport and energy. We need to ensure that our business is self-sustaining."