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Is Royal Mail giving us a third class service?

Snail carrying mail

Our Royal Mail investigation has revealed how we’re getting a patchy and inconsistent service. If ‘while you were out’ cards and other people’s post are regularly dropping on your doormat, you’re not alone…

Royal Mail is to be privatised, but for the moment we’re all still receiving or sending items via our national postal service.

Not that there’s much that’s ‘Royal’ about it, according to most of the 500+ Which? members who contacted us during our research into the service.

Problems with the post

Admittedly you’re more likely to get in touch if you’ve had a bad experience than if you’ve had a good one. But we also asked 2,210 people to keep postal diaries over two weeks – completing 34,500 diaries in all – and they reported problems too.

Of these, 16% got a ‘while you were out’ card when they were in and 6% saw the card come through the letterbox without a knock on the door. This didn’t surprise us after many of you told us a similar story in a previous Conversation last year.

And when we surveyed 2,500 members of the general public we found that seven in ten had got someone else’s post in the last year, and over half of them hadn’t got post in the time they were expecting it.

Bring back the golden days

It all seems a far cry from the memory one Which? member had of four deliveries per day in the 1930s, or from the 1960’s experience of being able to post a letter in the morning and get a reply by the next morning.

But there was lots of praise for individual posties, and a significant minority had only good things to say about Royal Mail. There were heart-warming stories of postmen and postwomen battling through snow drifts, chatting on the doorstep, working out when post was incorrectly addressed – going the literal and figurative extra mile.

So how do you find Royal Mail? Do these findings surprise you – or ring true? What do you think of it being privatised in the future?

Royal Mail meets my expectations:

Disagree (45%, 459 Votes)

Agree (41%, 416 Votes)

Neither agree nor disagree (13%, 136 Votes)

Total Voters: 1,010

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Comments
Guest
Sue UK says:
29 August 2012

For Richards Dilks….
the process of complaint you itemised included 4 steps…. each one best served by putting the complaint in writing…but then you need on those four occasions to rely on Royal Mail actually delivering your letter each time!!!

I have lost count of the numerous and still ongoimg number of times that mail sent to and from me goes missing, let alone gets delivered to the wrong address even when correctly addressed, including to and from HMRC, TAX CREDITS, ORANGE MOBILE PHONE, and my employer the Probation Service.

And I’ve also several times had a ‘ you were out’ card left for me, without even a knock on the door, when I’ve actually been waiting in specifically for the delivery, having organised as best I could to have delivery happen on my days off, which as a busy working professional who shops online extensively, for even from Amazon’s grocery section, I’m a dab hand at home delivery organisation.

Communal area postboxes? Scuse me…don’t think so…… a doddle for offenders to steal the mail…..
Delivery to neighbours….. nope….. postage is paid for delivery to MY home….and it isn’t convenient nor even safe for me or elderly or disabled people to carry large or heavy packages from their neighbours…. jeeezz…. even tripping over because you can’t see the ground properly could put an elderly person in hospital with a broken hip.

How well do you really know your neighbours? Especially in certain areas. You live alone…just home from work, maybe winter…dark and raining cats and dogs…..you call to collect…neighbour invites you in while he gets it…. front door closes behind you…. NOPE

As I mentioned… I work with offenders, and thanks to my local housing agency, now even have two Class A substance users living in two seperate properties within spitting distance…..want them to offer to take in my packages or have any communal access…. NOPE

I want WHAT I PAY FOR from ANY delivery/courier company……door to door service. If I pay for it, I expect it.

I don’t go into a coffee shop, pay for a coffee and then expect to have to go and collect it from the locksmith’s shop next door!!

I work hard for my money in a very dangerous job, even regularly have policemen say they wouldn’t do my job without a stab vest, CS gas and handcuffs handy….plenty of frontline staff in the MOJ, NHS Emergency Services, MOD etc put their lives on the line every shift ……. to be able to pay our bills AND provide a service to the public which helps keep selfsame public safer and alive……

I get so sick of whinging workers……. get a grip…. do the job the public are paying you to do with their very hard earned money. And deliver my mail and parcels to me and others when I’ve paid you to do so!

Guest
Sue UK says:
29 August 2012

Oh and want to collect from our local depot….. well now….. that’s a 12 miles round trip to an out of the way business park before 1pm …for the elderly, chonically sick or disabled, or mums’ with baby in pushchair who needs feeding and a nap fitting in, who don’t have their own transport to go and get to….or those whose transport method is a bicycle…….would need to make a several hours by bus round trip, and on the return carry a heavy or bulky package……and if any relatives that they have living nearby with cars are at work and can’t help…. well….. what a palaver eh?!
SO ALWAYS PHONE the depot or go online to RM website and request a redelivery!

Guest
Fred says:
29 August 2012

NO NO NO a completly mad idea I will happily go to the sorting office rather than have mail left with a neighbour.

Fred

Guest
Natalie says:
11 September 2012

Apparently Royal Mail automatically leave your parcels/packages with your neighbours now. The first I heard of Royal Mail’s decision was when I received notification from them 1 week after it came into effect. I tried to register to get a sticker for my postbox saying that I do not want items leaving with my neighbours (I live in a block of flats in London) but the website crashed every time I submitted the form.

I received a “while you were out” card yesterday – it has my name, part of my address and the date on it plus a tick to say it was a packet and another to say it was too large to fit through the letterbox. The boxes to say where it was left (e.g. with a neighbour or in a “safe place”) are blank and there is no item number or delivery officer information on the form. I suppose this item is now lost forever!

Why can’t Royal Mail simply deliver items to you when you are in or else follow your instructions (leave in a safe place, with a neighbour, or return to depot) when you are out and leave a fully completed card so you know where it is?

This new “service” is a terrible idea – it might work in idyllic, rural villages where neighbours know (and like) one another but in inner city areas it is a recipe for disaster.

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Guest

Natalie

“Why can’t Royal Mail simply deliver items to you when you are in or else follow your instructions (leave in a safe place, with a neighbour, or return to depot) when you are out and leave a fully completed card so you know where it is?”

It is cost and time – postmen have to walk at 4 mph to deliver mail – Other delivery systems cherry pick the delivery area – RM have to deliver everywhere for a universal cost.

I do not like the automatic “leave it with neighbour” system so I applied to opt out of it – RM sent me a sticker to sick on my door to tell the postman (who is not necessarily the same one every day) I have opted out. So it means I will have to go to the Sorting Office to pick up undelivered parcels ( I certainly do not want parcels delivered to my neighbours) But in general past experience shows I will be in when RM calls. I found that special instructions to the post man doesn’t work because the postman is rarely the same on a daily basis.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
14 November 2012

we don’t automatically do it, it often takes longer for us to do that than take it back to the office.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
9 July 2013

Why the thumbs down, it is the truth?

Guest

I was one of the earliest contributors to this site, describing my bad experiences with the Royal Mail. I have also been through the complaints system, which isn’t fit for purpose. I have every sympathy with Natalie; her experiences match mine.

My local service is still very poor: last week a parcel wasn’t delivered and returned to sender because Parcelforce couldn’t find the house, which is ridiculous; and yesterday two packages weren’t delivered at different times, one a Special Delivery. On each occasion the house bell wasn’t rung. I am now looking forward to a visit to the Delivery Office, where public parking is banned and where the counter staff are surly and express disbelief when you complain.

Do Which? monitor this site and are they going to follow up their previous report?

Guest
harvies says:
11 September 2012

i do think that if we ask when we order anything, we make sure that the company does not use the royal mail then we may have a fighting chance.

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Guest

While I on the other hand would choose retailer who use Royal Mail and Parcel Force, I get perfect service from them in my locality compared to other couriers.

It does seem to vary according to locality

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Guest

I have heard more horror stories from people using other carriers – and they still use a “leave with neighbour” system. So far RM has been my best choice – very few problems – though there were more when I was not retired – but then I had nice neighbours (I now am usually in when RM calls) Though I also work in the evenings well after RM deliveries.

Guest

With regard to the last two comments: my sister, who doesn’t live in the same area as me, has the same problems & doesn’t do business with companies who use Parcelforce; and the fact that some areas get a good service from Royal Mail surely indicates complete management failure in the areas that don’t.

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Guest

I wonder if Royal Fails “problems” stem from the fact that many people who can remember the service they were getting 10, 20, 30 years ago, aren’t seeing the same level service now.

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Guest

In all honesty the only real difference I’ve noticed is the delivery always used to be before 8 am – Now it can be at any time before 2 pm. Other than that they seem to be as polite – though the Sorting Office rarely picks up the phone now. Sending an email seems to be fruitless.

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Guest

I have observed the change in delivery times. My main problem now is the number of times I’ve had to complain about the Royal Fail folding post, especially when the items are clearly marked Do Not Bend and these items even come from the Royal Mail themselves. 10 even 20 years ago, when I had a smaller letterbox I had no folded post. Yes I ended fitting a longer letterbox at my expense to help them, if only they’d turn the mail 90 degrees, it would have fitted in the smaller mailbox. So short of having no door I’m still expecting my post to be folded.

And it took 5 complaints about still getting junk mail when I’d signed up to the Royal Mail opt out service. Luckily that now seems to have stopped.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
14 November 2012

Have to agree there William and most Postmen do not like it. Richard, we start 2 hours later than when I first started 14 years ago and will more than likely get even later soon, rounds are twice the size and we have less staff than before so it is no surprise that you have noticed a change in delivery times, also with one postman you may be at the start of the round, with another you may be at the end of the round depending on what is best for each postman.

Guest
lee chambers says:
9 July 2013

Obviously. And if the royal mail stopped pushing their advertising/mailing list rubbish through my door they could probably carry more letters making only the deliveries that they are paid to do and lightening my recycle bin. Bye bye royal fail, good ridden’s to bad rubbish.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
16 July 2013

it is not Royal Mails rubbish we put through the door it is paid for by advertisers and is a vital part of our income, yes we could carry more letters if people sent them.

Guest

There is something in what William says; the mail used to be a lot better and a lot cheaper. But the crucial point is that many of us are paying a lot of money for a service that we are not getting. We are talking about people who are getting paid to deliver parcels and can’t be bothered to do it and managers who are paid to manage and don’t do it. What on earth do they think they are being paid for?

Guest
Andres says:
27 September 2012

I have been working from home today because I was waiting a delivery from amazon.co.uk.

This was not my favourite option to have the delivery home and I have had nothing delivered at home in over 1 year because Royal Mail service is appaling – at least in the Leytonstone area. They just leave a “Something for you” card without even ringing the bell or knocking.

Today, I have been checking the website every one hour or so to track it, and I also went to check the phyisical mailbox at least twice in the morning. And at some point, here it is, the “Something for you” card.

The timestamp was FALSE. They DID NOT ARRIVE AT 12:02. They arrived later, and left in a FALSE “Something for you” card saying that I wasn’t there.

FALSE. FALSE. They did not knock on the door. By the way, on the same morning I received another item from a private courier, who actually bothered to ring the bell.

It’s not the first time since I live here – it has been happening regularly. I called the complaint line, and they told me that they are going to advise their staff to follow the procedure.

Now I’m going to get my package 2 days later, because I cannot work from home again tomorrow. I subscribed to Amazon Prime to get my packages delivered the day after, not 3 days after.

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Guest

I have been working from home today because I was waiting a delivery from amazon.co.uk.

This was not my favourite option to have the delivery home and I have had nothing delivered at home in over 1 year because Royal Mail service is appaling – at least in the Leytonstone area. They just leave a “Something for you” card without even ringing the bell or knocking.

Today, I have been checking the website every one hour or so to track it, and I also went to check the phyisical mailbox at least twice in the morning. And at some point, here it is, the “Something for you” card.

The timestamp was FALSE. They DID NOT ARRIVE AT 12:02. They arrived later, and left in a FALSE “Something for you” card saying that I wasn’t there.

FALSE. FALSE. They did not knock on the door. By the way, on the same morning I received another item from a private courier, who actually bothered to ring the bell.

It’s not the first time since I live here – it has been happening regularly. I called the complaint line, and they told me that they are going to advise their staff to follow the procedure.

Now I’m going to get my package 2 days later, because I cannot work from home again tomorrow. I subscribed to Amazon Prime to get my packages delivered the day after, not 3 days after.

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Guest
Guest

I’m fed up with this. I can’t remember when this site opened, but I have used it to comment adversely about Royal Mail several times and been through their tortuous complaints process. Nothing seems to change; however much we moan doesn’t seem to make any difference. I recently asked whether Which? monitor the site. If they do are they going to follow up their previous report? If they do, the comments provide rish material. More importantly, do Royal Mail monitor the site? If they do, what are they doing to sort out their organisation? If they don’t, why not? This would indicate that the top management of Royal Mail don’t care about the quality of service they provide to the customers who pay for it.

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Guest

Hello Tony, yes we are aware of your comments. Since we have thousands of Conversations we tend to keep a closer eye on more recent discussions. We have posted quite a few Royal Mail Convos since this one, featuring some of the comments made here, you may find these are more active: https://conversation.which.co.uk/tag/royal-mail/ I shall ask our researchers to see whether they are planning another Royal Mail investigation.

Guest
lee chambers says:
9 July 2013

Royal fail want to sell up for big money that can be pocketed by mp’s with the added bonus that it is no longer their responsibility. The NHS is going the same way – welcome to corporate Britain !!!

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Guest

I am so impressed by Royal Mail compared with certain courier services that any company using Royal Mail is more likely to get my business. Many eBay sellers do use Royal Mail, though it annoys me that it’s invariably First Class. I usually don’t need First Class and would prefer a Second Class option.

There are plenty of others who are very happy with Royal Mail, but obviously the quality of service varies as there are some who are very unhappy.

I recently complained to Royal Mail when the area in which I live was selected for delivery to neighbours. I’m happy to take part but feel strongly that it should be opt-in rather than opt-out. I received a prompt reply offering to put my email on their website.

Years ago I received a letter that had been surcharged because the corner with the correct stamp had been turned over. The postman found this funny and did not charge me. I wrote to Customer Services and received a prompt apology and a book of First Class stamps.

Two complaints to Royal Mail in my life. I wish I could share my excellent service from Royal Mail with Tony et al.

Guest

With regard to wavechange’s surcharge story, this week I was surcharged £1.09 because an ordinary-sized birhday card had a badge attached to it which wouldn’t go through the very narrow slot in Royal Mail’s template; the envelope otherwise would have gone through easily. Of course, this involved another car trip to the delivery office where public parking is banned. It is almost as if the organisation has a deliberate policy of alienating its customers.

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Guest

Richard has mentioned a well known problem and it would help if manufacturers of these cards put a warning on the packaging to indicate that they need postage for a ‘large letter’. I have a box of manilla envelopes that are are slightly too big to post A5 magazines, etc., so they are used for hand-delivered ones. I did prefer just weighing items before posting them and not also having to measure their size in three dimensions.

My local Royal Mail depot is nearby, there is never a problem parking and the only time I’ve seen it busy is at Christmas. Nothing to complain about, though I appreciate that some are not so lucky.

It would help if Royal Mail and other delivery services got together to provide shared facilities for people to collect mail and packages if they are out. That way, more depots could be provided. With more people buying goods online and with many buying and selling secondhand goods via eBay, etc. there is a need. They should be provided with parking and be on bus routes.

Guest
Tony says:
18 October 2012

Has anybody attempted to use the Royal Mail’s website to make a complaint? I tried and failed, but then my IT skills aren’t the greatest. Instead I am using snailmail to register yet another complaint about a non-delivered package. Enjoyed a visit to the delivery office where I was able to read 3(!) notices on the wall warning against abusing staff. I wonder why they need 3 notices! I was also able to admire a new, and, no doubt,expensive barrier preventing customers parking in the delivery office car park.

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Guest

I took exception to being expected to opt-out of delivery to a neighbour. I am happy to get involved, but feel that it should be opt-in rather than opt-out. I think I used the Royal Mail website and had a prompt and helpful exchange of email with Michelle at Ofcom.

Sadly, some people cannot behave in a civil manner and these warnings are needed. Speak to anyone who has to deal with the public and they will explain the problem.

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Guest

Years ago I could phone my local sorting office to arrange a re-delivery of a parcel with no problem at all – Now they do not answer the phone – Some time ago I tried to get a redelivery by e-mail to the website – after a day and a half of sending e-mails – the ONLY response was that the parcel was at the sorting office – even though the red card stated I could arrange a redelivery. – My numerous complaints were unanswered. The people at the sorting office at the counter are polite and helpful

I instantly applied for an opt out sticker for non delivered parcels – the tiny sticker arrived rapidly – can only say that so far all parcels have been delivered properly.

As a teacher I can confirm that a great many parents and children are incredibly rude and totally uncooperative towards most teachers. I don’t have the problem because years ago I showed convincingly that I could – using my armed forces unarmed combat skills – have anyone in my very slum school (except possibly a similarly trained person) writhing on the floor in agony using two fingers – and then break their foot.easily. Somehow this demonstration stopped all but polite cooperation – (sometimes called “respect”) 🙂

Guest
Duncan Day says:
14 November 2012

The amount of times I have stood on a door step banging on doors and windows for 5 minutes before writing a card out only to be chased down the street by the customer saying they didn’t hear me or the times I have seen the customers through the window but refuse to come to the door so the customer has to take some of the blame too.

Guest
lee chambers says:
9 July 2013

Your required to knock once, loud enough to be heard, and then leave the card. Not bang on peoples windows ?! why not apply some common sense.

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Guest

Perhaps it would help if more people fitted doorbells. I have a friend who has a cordless bell, which she puts outside the door when working in the back garden, mainly to avoid missing the postman.

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Guest

We have an excellent and easy-to-press bell-push [it even has “Press” printed on it] and it creates a perfect ding-dong. But the postie will not use it – he prefers to tip-tap on our door with his little finger. Of course, the door is much thicker than he thinks, so we barely hear it. If I don’t run downstairs within five seconds he discovers that he can get the letters and packets through the letter box by separating the bundle into manageable batches. This is a minor irritation. The postal delivery service is usually very good and the posties are mostly friendly and efficient.

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Guest

Duncan,

You should not bang repeatedly on doors and especially not on windows. It can make people justifiably aggressive and could put you in danger.

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Guest

I live in South Yorkshire and I’ve several times seen statistics showing we get the worst postal service in the country.

I’ve got to say that in 44 years I’ve only ever had one problem with the delivery service, and that was a long time ago (1987).

I do have a very large volume of mail so it surprises me that, if the Royal Mail really is as bad as everyone says, I’ve not had many more.

Are we really sure things are as bad as we say?

I don’t understand this mismatch between statistics, hearsay and experience.

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Guest

@dave, I’d happily swap the postal service I get with what you describe. I dream of having a service like that. If you want to experience it yourself start collecting 1st day covers, and see how long before they’ve been bent down the middle, when clearly marked Do not Bend. As an aside, I bought a 1st day cover from New Zealand last week it arrived within 4 days and there was a piece of card in the letter to stiffen it. I’ve suggested the Royal Fail do that on numerous occasions but sadly with no joy. I dream of parcels from play.com arriving within 4 days, again I’m frequently disappointed. Several years ago things would take around 3 days, not not any more. Post Mon- Fri delivered anytime from 09:00 – 14:30, on a Saturday 99% of the time around 09:05. A few years ago post would always be between 07:00 – 07:30 Mon-Sat. I could go on but I’ll stop there.

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Guest

I am one of the lucky ones, like Dave. Sometimes envelopes can get a bit battered and some of the posties fold envelopes before pushing them through the letterbox, but nothing has ever been damaged. Frequently, items ordered online are delivered the next day.

When ordering online I favour traders who use Royal Mail. I have had fun with various delivery services, including one that dropped an expensive external hard drive over a six foot fence into my back garden and did not even leave a note to inform me.

Over the years, I have had a fantastic milkman, a couple of mediocre ones and one who was so unreliable that I stopped having milk delivered. There is a lot of luck involved and I have always been lucky with Royal Mail.

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Guest

I agree with Wavechange and I certainly actively boycott organisations who use the alternative delivery services, having had extremely bad experiences with the likes of FedEx, HDN, THT and so on. This has included fragile high value objects being dropped into the wheelie bin – on bin day! (FeDEx and HDN), a small dry stone wall being pushed over by a HDN driver trying to force a 20kg sack of bird seed between the wall and an iron fence, 20 3m lengths of galvanised steel conduit being left on the public highway by a Tufnell’s driver and various small items from Next catalogue being launched over a 6 foot iron gate onto the concrete yard … not all fo them clothing and some of them breakables.

By contrast the Royal Mail’s worst offence has been to take back to the sorting office a small number of items which had been marked “If out please leave at side gate” – but I’d rather fetch a few that could have been left than have things taken by the bin men, broken or my property damaged by delivery people.

Re William’s point about FDC’s – I do actually collect a few of these – less snow than I used to – and all mine are purchased from the Post Office at Bletchley Park (Station X). All have arrived next day from ordering, or the day after issue in the case of advanced orders, and touch wood none have yet been damaged or dirty.

Wavechange is right though: it is luck of the draw in many ways, but I really can’t understand how diabolical the service seems to be for some people: it’s quite ridiculous taht there shoudl be such a variation in standards, even within only a mile or two.

Guest

Various people have referred to the the fact that it is a matter of luck whether one gets a good postal service or not. Of course, it shouldn’t be like this. Royal Mail are supposed to provide a national service and we have a right to expect uniformly high standards. Put another way, if some delivery offices can provide a good service, why can’t they all? When is the Royal Mail going to sort this out? If they analyse the complaints they get, they must have a pretty good idea which are the underperforming delivery offices. If they don’t analyse the complaints they get, why not?

There are problems with letter deliveries, but the main problems are with packages and parcels. Royal Mail seems to be making a profit now because of the increase in online shopping and it seems likely that the volume of parcel deliveries will continue rising. Unless something is done about the quality of Royal Mail deliveries in some areas, there will be a crisis.

I accept the points made about the poor quality of some private carriers, which is compounded by the remoteness of some of their depots, but that doesn’t invalidate serious criticisms of the Royal Mail.

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Guest

Perhaps Royal Mail could provide details of the number of complaints they receive, which would help identify offices that are performing poorly. If RM is unwilling to provide this information, a Freedom of Information request could be made.

I suspect that some people may be slightly exaggerating their problems because of bad experiences in the past. Maybe Tesco and Microsoft are not quite as bad as I think they are. 🙂

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Guest

Well I for one, have given up complaining to Royal Fail. It makes no difference whatsoever. And chances are many other people don’t complain either. Now if they offered more than a packet of 1st class stamps, I could be tempted to complain more often.

One time I did try, I just ask what “targets are the delivery people working against” and was told that’s not appropriate to discuss here, kinda explains why we get problems, I suspect targets are to take some blame.

They’re just so dismissive about complaints, “oh there’s a lot of other couriers operating in the is area, it probably isn’t us”, Yet they offer no comeback to the “do they deliver items with a Royal Mail frank on them then ?”. And I like your idea of publishing complaints.

Guest

Complaining on this site may be excellent therapy, but it obviously isn’t making any difference to the service. If the Royal Mail isn’t taking complaints seriously, what about Which? taking some action? What about Which? putting in a Freedom of Information request seeking a breakdown of complaints by delivery office?

If Which? aren’t going to use the wealth of material that has built up on this site, I don’t think I can be bothered to comment any more.

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Guest

Tony

You are concerned about the inefficiency of the service offered by Royal Mail. Dave and I think it is fantastic and so do some others – though I concede that you are in the majority.

My hobby horse is the Sale of Goods Act. It is very difficult to get retailers to face up to their obligations. As a result, we dispose of mountains of faulty goods, some of which have failed just after the warranty has expired. This costs consumers money and is bad for the environment. I want Which? to deal with this problem, possibly by pushing for a ten year parts & labour warranty on all major purchases.

We are all clamouring for Which? to take up our concerns, as you will see if you read through the Conversations. It’s obvious that Which? has limited resources and therefore cannot tackle all the problems we would like it to. It is still useful for us to be able to discuss a broad range of issues and to me it is evident how certain discussions have helped with Which? campaigns.

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Guest

Hello Tony, thanks for your comment. We are keeping an eye on the comments made here – I have passed your idea for an FOI request to our research team. We do have more recent Royal Mail debates running as well if you’re interested: https://conversation.which.co.uk/tag/royal-mail/

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Guest

Patrick

I suggested asking for information before submitting an FOI request. I know one organisation that has invited people to do this because they have had to deal with many FOI requests, which involves extra work. It also seems courtesy to ask first.

Guest
Nichola says:
15 November 2012

Wish i had service like @Dave i live in exeter its beyond a joke!! I had two parcels go missing last month. A parcel sent from relative in Weymouth not that far away only took 3months to be delivered. Back in july had 3 other parcels go missing. Its not just parcels having issues with letters. Postmen folding small letters that clearly will fit through letter box. Important letter i sent to Inland Revenue i ended up having to post 3 times before they recieved it. Considering its me having to pay the 60p stamp each time. So now when sending packages i use courier i get a better service. With xmas coming up i shop a lot online, im trying to buy gifts ideally from websites using couriers and not royal mail its fustrating

Guest

Thanks for referring me to the other site, Patrick. How depressing to find even more dissatisfied customers!

As I’ve said before, this problem will only get worse as parcel deliveries increase. Private contractors seem just as bad as the Royal Mail.

Can anyone think of another industry where you pay for a service you don’t get?

Guest
Uzume says:
30 November 2012

The problem with ‘drop post with a neighbour’ is, let’s say the morning postie wakes your neighbour up to deliver your parcel (I have had the postie knock on the door at 6.40am before, 7am being the earliest they are meant to). Then another post van has a parcel and the same neighbours are bothered for a second time. Over Xmas this could happen several times per week potentially.

I have several sets of neighbours, all of whom work except the older people some of whom are disabled. I do not want my neighbours feeling obligated in this way and \i do not want to be constantly apologising when several parcels arrive from different carriers of vans.

There is a perfectly workable re-delivery system in place and I should have the option to use it if I wish to. I much prefer choosing a day when I am in to have things delivered to me. Royal Mail need to look at how THEY can best serve their CUSTOMERS! For example, stop only delivering 9-5 when many people are at work. Why not employ people to deliver up to 8pm or have a means by which to specify a timed service for an extra fee. My sorting office is only open 7am to 12.30pm each day. How does that benefit working people? It is also based in the most difficult to access part of town.

The key is to look at your service first, before expecting your customers and their neighbours to solve your performance problems!

Guest
Duncan Day says:
4 December 2012

Uzume, you do have the option of using the redelivery system, you just need to get a sticker from Royal Mail saying that you do not want anything left at a neighbours or are not willing to accept items for other people then the item will be returned to the Delivery Office and then you can rearrange delivery.

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Guest

Royal Mail are giving a very inconsistent service. 2 weeks ago I was posted a DVD which took 7 days to arrive, this week a different DVD from the same company has taken only 4 days. 10 years ago they’d have taken 2-3 days from the same company.

Oh, and I’m still getting my post bend even when clearly marked “Do not bend”.

And this must be the first Saturday in ages that the posted hasn’t arrived before 9am, today is was gone 12:30. I wish I knew what time of the day the post was going to arrive it seems to be anywhere between 8am and 3pm although I have had post delivered at 5pm once this year.

Here’s hoping they up their game for 2013.

Guest

2 Decembers ago I was waiting on a parcel from Royal Mail , checked the website and tracked it – it said it had been delivered. Phoned the local depot and let the phone ring for 22 mins eventually was answered. Put on hold and was then told that they had it there and that someone would deliver it in 5 mins( weird or what) . Sure enough it came within 5 mins and the guy was most apologetic and said he didn’t know how that could happen since they were barcode tracked.next morning I went out to my car and all 4 tyres had been slashed. Conclusion : person originally delivering parcel couldn’t be bothered delivering item for what ever reason ( lazyness , theft or whatever ) when I phoned he either got caught lying or someone else covered for him ( guy that came to house with parcel ) . To teach me a lesson he then slashed my tyres , THANK YOU ROYAL MAIL .

Guest
Tony says:
9 January 2013

I have been complaining on this site about the Royal Mail service since the Which? report came out. I agree the private sector doesn’t necessarily do any better, but today I had a totally different experience.
We placed a modest online order a couple of days ago. We were emailed yesterday and informed on what day the parcel would be delivered with an option to make alternative arrangements if this wasn’t convenient. Today, the day of delivery, an online tracking system told us in which one-hour time slot the parcel would be delivered and it was delivered on time. Well done the company concerned: Interlink Express. They provided a professional service, in contrast to the Royal Mail, who get away with not providing a service which the customer pays for.

If all internet suppliers only used carriers of this calibre, the Royal Mail would be forced to raise its game.

Guest
Sue UK says:
9 January 2013

I’ve continued to have problem with Royal Mail over The last month with more than one lost order and traders on Amazon are obviously having problems viz a vis …..
“Thank you for your e-mail.
We are sorry to hear you still have not received order 98484405, we do feel there must have been a problem with Royal Mail on the day your order was dispatched as you are not the first customer to express a lost order.  We are currently in conversations with Royal Mail to try and get to the bottom of what happened on this day. ”

But I get s
excellent serive from Interlink… and Parcel Force. The latter..parcel force is Now a seperate company toRoyal Mail, and unlike Royal Mail, when I’m out, it leaves my parcels at the local subpost office, thereby saving me a 16 mile round trip to collect a parcel from Royal Mail’s nearest sorting office!!!!!

So I now post my own parcels by Parcel Force too.

Guest
Marian says:
19 January 2013

I had an ipod go missing (stolen?) in the post over xmas. When I claimed compensation, they sent me a book of stamps as compensation! I am about to take it further but I do get the impression that the Royal Mail are untouchable and I dont hold out much hope of proper compensation

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

I do think this is worth pursuing, Marian. An expensive item should require a signature, so you could have a claim against the retailer, assuming that you were the recipient rather than the sender of the iPod. It is worth insuring high value items sent by post.

Some years ago, I ordered an expensive Apple computer for use at work and it failed to arrive. Neither Apple or the courier (not Royal Mail) would offer any compensation because a signature had been provided. After I demanded an investigation, we discovered that several other orders from Apple had not been delivered to the members of staff who had placed the orders. In each case the signature was the same, but the name did not correspond with anyone employed in the organisation, making it likely that there was some scam involving the courier. The losses were written off but two signatories were appointed for all computer equipment and that immediately stopped the problem with Apple products going missing.

Another problem is that online retailers often do little to conceal what packages contain. With high value products that just invites theft.

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Guest

Ordinary post only ever has 1 book of 1st class stamps as compensation ( and that I think is just a good will gesture). If you bought from a shop and they posted it to you, then your claim is with them, and under the distance selling regulations they should send you a replacement. If however it was a gift sent by a friend then they should have used special delivery.

However, I think its unfair that the customer should have to pay for a higher level post just because the Royal Fail can’t be trusted to do there job properly.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

From the RM website, for standard parcels:

For lost or damaged items that have an intrinsic (monetary) value, with evidence of posting with Royal Mail (such as a certificate of posting) and evidence of value (such as an invoice or receipt) you will be entitled to a postage refund plus compensation for actual loss up to the value of the item, or the sumd of £46, whichever is the lowest.

Compensation up to £2500 is also available if you use the Special Delivery™ Next Day service.

Apart from the lack of proof reading, I’m happy with this. Other insurers may offer a better deal. If better compensation was available, I expect the prices would go up.

It would be good if RM had proof read the information on their website. 🙂

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@Marian.
In addition to Wavechange’s comments could I add that using other couriers is statistically more likely to result in loss and failure to compensate than using Royal Mail.
By chance I have first hand experience of exactly the same situation as you, but using the Yodel service, in November of last year. I too bought an iPad, which was sent by Royal Mail on the next day special delivery service. It arrived at 07:40 the next day and I signed for it. However in the same order I had ordered iPad accessories, totalling a sum of over £200, which were sent by Yodel, also supposedly for next day delivery. None of the accessories arrived, but Yodel’s tracking website showed that they had been “Delivered via letterbox”. They certainly had not been so I took it up with the supplier, who apologised and offered to send replacements. I accepted the offer, and the identical thing happened (again it was Yodel). I took this up again and the supplier tried to suggest that I was trying to defraud them but agreed to send the items a third and final time. I suggested that they sent them by Royal Mail, like the iPad, but they refused citing “not economically viable” (i.e. Yodel was cheaper for them). Again the items failed to arrive and so I reported this but said I didn’t want the items sent again. I wanted to cancel the order. When my credit card statement arrived I found that I had been charged THREE times for the missing items. I took this up with the suppliers who told me that Yodel had reported the items had been signed for and therefore they could not accept my claim of non delivery. I then sent them printed screen shots of the Yodel tracking website showing “delivered via letterbox” (no mention of signature) at which point the supplier agreed that signatures could not have been obtained, but after 2 weeks had still not refunded my credit card. I had to resort to the Credit Card issuers’ fraud department to get my money back and I would strongly suspect that the supplier never will get the goods back nor any compensation from Yodel.

All in all, I’d rather have Royal Mail any way of the week, imperfections accepted.

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Guest

Anyone else notice Royal Fail has “upgraded” their website over the weekend ? They’ve very conveniently managed to lose the opt out of direct marketing door 2 door details.

And yes I’m still getting that stuff (after 9 or 10 complaints). Although the postman did knock on the door this morning and ask for the pile he just mailed me back. He seemed surprised that there was no “note” on my delivery frame, which I’ve been assured by the area manager was there and the woman I spoke to at the out out service last week was told was there only last week.

Sigh.

Profile photo of baravalle
Guest

Since I moved to Wanstead, I have almost never received my packages – only “While you were out” cards. Some of those cards have fake hours too.

I have already complained a few times to Royal Mail – with no effect. For months I have been having all my packages sent to work, and last week I decided to test the service again and having a package delivered at home.

Today both myself and my girlfriend where at home, and we received a “While you were out card”.

The Royal Mail Postal Review Panel has rejected my previous complain – saying that there is no reason to believe that the postman had not rang the bell.

Well, the postman is a liar, the Leytonstone branch is most likely managed in a fraudulent way and Royal Mail doesn’t have proper quality checking procedures.

Not sure if it will have any effect, but it’s pathetic that I cannot receive packages at home, unless they fit in the mailbox – whether I am at home or not.

Guest
Janice abrahart says:
17 April 2013

I do ebaying and went to post office with 4 small parcels and asked for proof of posting and was told I am limited to 3 parcels with proof of posting at a time.so now I have to do a tour of the town if I have more than 3 parcels to differant post offices.Is this normal practice or is our local post office just been stroppy, and if so am I in the right to do 3 parcels then get back in the queue and do another 3 ect.I do all my ebaying on a laptop so do not have printers to print off proof of posting

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Guest

You can use a printer with any laptop, and wireless printers are most convenient unless you use the laptop in one place. Print the form, complete the details for each parcel, and get it stamped.

Why do you want to keep other customers waiting just to suit your own needs?

Guest
Tony says:
17 April 2013

Janice: I thought I could no longer be surprised by Royal Mail, but your story is extraordinary. Doesn’t this ridiculous organisation understand it is in a competitive market and needs to adapt to the internet age?

Guest
NEVERDEN says:
3 May 2013

I use Royal Mail a lot as we have an E-bay shop and post everything by recorded / signed for. RM have lost quite a few items and try everything they can to wriggle out of paying. However I really lost it big time with them yesterday as they want me to prove how much a centre cap cost that I sold on E-bay. We are in the business of breaking cars. They seem to think that if I paid 50p for the item (although with breaking cars I can’t quantify how much each item costs me) that this is all I will get back from the. I put in the bill of sale, surely my loss is the £5 that I had sold the item for and then had to refund the customer? They said that if I didn’t respond within 10 days they would close the case – they didn’t even have the decency to offer to refund the postage paid for the lost item! Is this usual? I have needless to say after having a heated exchange on the phone sent a stinky letter! We are not talking about much money overall but it is the principle.

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Guest

Just found a delivery card, which is strange as I’ve been in all day. The postie must have the quietest knock ever. (assuming he bothered to bring the item)

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Guest

Oh and one other thing, the card no longer Sorry, you were out. It now says “Something for you”, who do they think they’re kidding changing the name.

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Perhaps it is simply being honest. After all, we know that some people are at home when the cards are left.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

Do you fancy swapping postmen? Mine bangs the letterbox very loudly when putting things through. I have no doubt that he is at my door!

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I can always hear when he delivers post, as it sounds like world war 3 is starting in my letterbox (and the post can be several feet from the door when I pick it up), yet when he needs to knock, he taps very quietly.

Profile photo of Kareem Hassan
Guest

Happened many times with me get Something For You cards through letterbox while i`m in the house and there is a bell – which i bought specially for RM deliveries – and postman never ring door bell … just soft knocking and end of story.

I noticed once card been handed from VAN driver to postman who deliver letters and small items to put it through my door and never bother to come up to put it himself – ofcourse he do not like me or my items , so my big item was sent back to post office to collect it from there or it never left the office at all – so i go to pick up my letters to get a lovely red surprise saying there is – some times ARE – item(s) waiting me in post office and ironic thing that it said i need to go collect it after 24 hours.

Few one or two items lost … one arrived 10 days late dirty and creased one big item lost…post man was kind and nice tried to see what is happening in his postoffice and YES he found big box with name and address and post code all clear and nice to see by eyes dumped in post office shelf saying it was there 10 days ago!!!!!!! he wrote card for me and drop it saying all details even left me note with postoffice number and date the parcel arrived in office…i did call them and they did not have answer why item with name and address still in office and never appear here in my house!!!!

Before that few weeks i did complaint online to RM about cards been left for me while i was inside the house with no door bell rang at all for few times they said will see what is happening and they feel sorry FOR ME , i did complaint again weeks later about items lost in same period of time which is not normal at all !!!!! they came back with silly excuse saying VAN driver found no entry to my building after 11am coz service buzzer not working after 11!!!!!!!!!

Normally and happened before alot when service not working they buzzer me directly and i did open door no problems …anyway RM service gone badly after i did complaint like if it was in purpose and punishment from someone coz i did contact RM customer service.

Postman is great guy and work hard .. but VAN driver…sorry..he does not deserve the job and their manager did talk to me and trying to find words and excuse and promised to resolve my problem …great .. BUT she forgot to ask my name and address :/ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry its long reply .. just frustrated 😐

Guest
David says:
11 June 2013

Im a postman and have been for 23 years, I work hard and have been stressed for a long time.
I see both sides.
I know for a fact that some not all hide behind their door when I knock and they wont open the door
until I write a card out which frustrates me and they then tell me a stack of lies about where they were and what they were doing, its also frustrating when its lashing down with rain and this happens,
and with the uk thats often nowadays.
In other cases I knock hard and get a lot of abuse saying why cant you knock abit softer so I do and then they say I never knocked, I just wrote a card out, this is where the grey area is.
When a postman/woman knocks at a door or presses a bell, how do we know where the person indoors is going to be at that moment, behind the door the noise shocks the customer but upstairs in the attic with the hoover on, they might be thankful I knock loudly.
Its a no win thing and if anyone is to blame its the government who make cuts, put pressure on Royal Mail bosses who put pressure on us so we get so stressed we cant actually do the job properly anymore, we cant go sick because they bang on our doors wanting us back to work,more stress again.
I would also like to add we have had 2 heart attacks and 1 stroke in our office, thats how bad things are in this country, does anybody care? course not.
It has to be about give and take, no one is perfect, try to see both sides and understand.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

Well put, thank you.

I cannot believe that your boss comes knocking on your door when you are ill. That is disgraceful.

Guest
lee chambers says:
9 July 2013

irrespective as to why the customer was ‘hiding’, their actions are not your concern at all! Another thing dont bang on peoples door, you have no right, no knock politely.

[This comment has been edited for breaking our guidelines. Be polite to other commenters and don’t make things personal. Thanks, mods.]

Guest
lee chambers says:
9 July 2013

I think the problem is largely due to Royal mail being greedy sods and asking their post men to do to much for a small slave wage. Royal mail should stick to sending letters only as they have failed miserably attempting to compete with courier services that have invested in their infer structure appropriately. Royal mail = greedy, post man = overworked and underpaid (although a % of the workers must be thieves).

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A few years ago, Royal Mail were exposed as allowing scam bulk mail to be sent from an address in Greater London (I think it was Greenford). Despite assurances, they are still allowing this. I received a scam letter from a company in Mexico pretending to publish an exhibitors’ directory. This must be a very successful fraud (the directory does not exist and the hapless “exhibitor” is charged 900 euros for his “entry”) because it has been going for at least 30 years! Letters, at least in the UK, are sent from this post office address in Greenford. The man behind the scam calls himself Oscar Romero.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

POSTMAN MISTREATS MAIL

I just can’t believe what I saw!

My regular postman recently tried to deliver to someone in my road an item that was too thick to go through the letterbox; the residents were out. Instead of attempting delivery to a neighbour or taking the item away, he dropped the item onto the ground and then repeatedly stamped on it. He then forcibly shoved the item through the letterbox, taking at least half a minute to get it through.

I had thought about complaining, but then I doubt that Royal Mail would care and do anything about it. Yes, they might apologise and say that they will discipline the postman, but I really do not trust RM.

This is the same postman, by the way, who delivers mail carelessly and noisily; it’s a wonder that my letterbox flap (and that of others) is still hanging on.

This man has done nothing to alleviate the bad image that RM has. I doubt that things will get any better with privatisation.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
16 July 2013

please report him, he gives the rest of us a bad name. Believe it or not the very large majority of us really care about the job and the service we provide but people like this and a management that wants to erode our service keeps setting us back.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

It was by no means intended as a general comment on Royal Mail, merely about the behaviour of one individual.

In many organisations there will be some bad apples amongst all the good ones.

Guest
Duncan Day says:
16 July 2013

granted but he still needs reporting.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

Done. I will keep you informed if anything comes out of this.

Profile photo of Louis
Guest

I have now received a reply from RM, so this is an update. I will copy the RM reply and my response into the next post.

As you can see below, RM is as useful as a chocolate teapot. All the negative comments on this forum seem justified.

Sorry, Duncan Day, but no hard working and good ‘on the ground’ employee like you can make up for an organisation whose infrastructure is rotten.

You will also notice that I have made RM aware that I was going to post to this forum. I suggest that we email RM customer services en masse. Thousands of voices are louder than just one.

I will email Which? suggesting an investigation into RM and an article in the magazine.

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Guest

Royal Mail:

“Thank you for contacting Royal Mail. I was sorry to hear of an incident you witnessed regarding a postman “stomping” on a neighbour’s package. I can appreciate the concern and your reason to contact us.

However, I would like to explain that under our license agreements we are obliged to ensure that all complaints are submitted by the person that encountered the problem. In this case, that would be the neighbour who received the item. I understand that you are unhappy with the service but the reason for this is so that the information we feedback as a complaint is as accurate as possible.

If the recipient contacts us regarding the complaint then we will be more than happy to log the complaint. I understand this may not be the response you wanted but hopefully my explanation will be satisfactory. If you do want to contact us again then feel free to do so and we will endeavour to help wherever possible.”

Louis:

“Thank you for getting back to me quickly. I am unhappy with your response and I would like to take my complaint further. Please advise me on the procedure.

I do not speak to the neighbours in question, so how can they know about the problem and tell you, as they were out? You state that, “so that the information we feedback as a complaint is as accurate as possible”. How more accurate can it be than from someone who saw what was going on?

I cannot help thinking that you are hiding behind a smokescreen of bureaucracy, to protect unacceptable behaviour by one of your employees.

Just to make you aware, I belong to Which? Conversation. This is a forum of thousands of people who discuss topical issues. One hot topic at the moment is the atrocious service received from Royal Mail.

I will post your reply and my response to you on this forum.”

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Guest

Before Margaret Thatcher we had the finest postal service in the world, five deliveries a day in central London, three a day in outer London. Our current postal service is one of the worst in the civilized world. I just had a book sent to me by second class mail which has not arrived three weeks later, I would never send ANYTHING second class, it is as uncertain as expecting to win the lottery. There have been several exposés of the postal service on TV and I know of several police investigations of valuables being stolen. The post office is rotten from top to bottom, from sloppy recruitment of untrustworthy individuals to appallingly low pay for the postmen who do an excellent job.

Guest
Em says:
16 July 2013

>>> I would never send ANYTHING second class, it is as uncertain as expecting to win the lottery. <<<

Tell you what then. I will send you a 2nd class letter. If it arrives, you pay me £1 Million. If it doesn't, I'll willing give you a few £'s.

P.S. Margaret Thatcher died earlier this year. We need to find someone else to blame for everything that is wrong with Britain.

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Guest

The fact that Margaret Thatcher is dead does not make her any less liable for ruining the postal service. When I left this country for the USA we had the finest postal service in the world and she had just become prime minister, when I returned four years later, she was still prime minister and our postal service was as bad as that of the USA maybe worse.

Profile photo of wavechange
Guest

Some of us are still enjoying excellent service. RM just need to sort out the poor areas.