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Is Royal Mail’s parcel pick-up service a good idea?

As the pandemic sees online shopping surge, Royal Mail is rolling out its own parcel pick-up service on Wednesday. Will you be making use of it?

Royal Mail has decided to move to collecting parcels with its new Parcel Collect service. You’ll be able to use it Monday to Saturday at charge of 72p, plus any extra postage costs.

It says it’s one of the biggest changes to its daily delivery service since the postbox launched in 1852 – but will it be successful?

Nick Landon, Royal Mail’s Chief Commercial Officer, said:

“Royal Mail Parcel Collect is a fantastic step forward for all of our customers. It makes it easier to use our services than ever before.

Whether you’re up against time and working from home, making a return, selling online or sending a gift to make someone’s day, Royal Mail Parcel Collect is here to help.

The launch of Parcel Collect is part of our commitment to continuously make our services better and more convenient”

Royal Mail is clearly keen to push the benefits, and the feedback we’ve had so far generally looks positive, but there have been a few concerns raised that could impact on the service running smoothly.

What are your thoughts on the Royal Mail's new parcel pick-up service? Will you be trying it out?

Posted by Which? on Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Royal Mail Parcel Collect: your views

Our own Adam Gillett doesn’t want to see those who don’t own a printer excluded from the service:

While we’ve seen a number of others raising concerns over the impact on the posties themselves, From current workload to physically carrying the parcels away from your door (Royal Mail says it can collect up to five parcels per address), will they be able to cope?

On the other hand, there are plenty of upsides. We’ve been told that the service will eliminate the need to drive to a post office, saving time and money, while others have pointed to benefits for older customers; not having to carry heavy parcels or travel to post offices.

John’s mention of safety and security is a good one. As always, we’ll be keeping an eye out for any reports of criminals impersonating the service or trying to take advantage.

What are your thoughts on the new service? Will you be making use of it? Or do you share some of the concerns that have been raised by others?

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Will you be using the Royal Mail's Parcel Collect service?
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Joan says:
9 January 2021

I waited in all day yesterday for Royal Mail to collect 2 large parcels. I’m shielding so didn’t want to go to the PO. Nobody showed up. At 21.00 I got an email telling me that they were unable to collect. I went online again to rebook for the next day, today. But I had to pay the fee again, their no-show did not mean I could just rebook. I am still waiting and frankly can see myself risking the PO queue on Monday otherwise my parcels are never going to go! Stick to Hermes. They are cheaper, too.

has the same experience – 2 re-bookings so that’s a total of 3 times they’ve failed to pick up. You shouldn’t have to re-pay though – the website allows you to simply change the pickup time without paying again

What a truly terrible experience using this….The service was so, so bad, as was trying to navigate the website and various phone calls to try and make a complaint…Nightmare!
I waited and watched for my parcel to be collected and then at 11.03 am I received an e mail stating they tried to but could not collect as there was no parcel in sight. bearing in mind I did not request form a safe place as I don’t have one. Besides, at this time I was outside working on my car and no way did anyone from Royal mail come!

So, I had to then spend a half hour of my time and travel to take my package to the actual post office…Infuriating! So, back at home and at 12.04 my postman knocks with my post and asking for to collect my parcel…lol…He was as bemused as me how they could say they tried to collect…A totol untruth, What is going on??

So, 40 mins on hold to speak with customer service, = advised to make a claim online and that managers do not speak to customers wishing to complain, despite me asking for it to be escalated.

Called back after discovering that my complaint is not possible to report or make a claim against in what is the mine field of their awful online platform. Another 50 mins on hold and then as soon as gave my ref’ they hung up.

Then another 60+ mins , told the advisor I want to speak with a manager and escalate this matter, she rudely told me that managers do not speak to customers and promptly hung up on me….

AWFUL EXPERINCE. Gov’ needs to step in and sort this outfit out, its not on how its so badly managed.

Margaret Barnes says:
15 January 2021

I have used the parcel collection service four or five times now and think it is brilliant. It took me a little while to negotiate the web site on my first visit but now I have worked out what to do and got used to the procedure it seems easy. I posted all my Christmas presents with parcel collect and I have returned mail order goods this way. The friendly postman who delivers my mail collected my parcels each time within the time slot on the allotted day. I held my breath the first time he scanned the barcode on my parcels! It all worked a treat! I shall definitely continue to use the service.

Ruth Kosminsky says:
16 January 2021

I have health problems which include Agoraphobia. The idea of the Post Office coming to me sounded at first a God-send. Until I found out that unless you had a printer; I could not partake in the service. I was incredibly disappointed with this news. I don’t see why I can’t handwrite the label?
I hope against hope that the Post Office will have a major rethink soon. But, I doubt it.

June Adamson says:
19 January 2021

I have used the collection service twice now, mainly because it is cheaper than driving to the nearest drop off or post office, paying for parking and then queuing. Before I used it I asked my regular postman for his views which were positive. Both parcels were delivered promptly. With nearly everyone at home these days it is no problem to have a fluid time for collection or delivery. However, our post van is fairly predictable. I have some valuable documents to send next month and am confident that this is the best option.

Tried three times to have the same parcels picked up. First two times no one came, then today someone came but they didn’t have a van so they couldn’t take the packages (despite it being clear in the booking that is was a medium parcel). Not a great start, trying again tomorrow before I’m obliged to take it to the post office on thurs when the postage labels expire

Had a very good experience. Package picked up the day after my online request (immediate email confirmation thereof by email) by the postman delivering the morning mail.
Very impressed, I will definitely use again since it obviates going to a post office and queueing in close proximity to other customers and worked out cheaper (at least in my case) than other parcel delivery services such as DPD or Hermes.

Toni says:
28 January 2021

Does anyone know how to get a refund for a collection that never happened?

I booked two large letters in on Sunday to be collected Monday. No show. Have used this service numerous times since it launched and it was excellent. Now I can’t rely on it.

Despite calling and emailing I’m still none the wiser how to get a refund online. Oh, and I never once got an email from them confirming the booking, which I understand would make the refund process easier.

I would rather Royal Mail collected mail twice a day from the post boxes instead of the once at any time of day as they do at present. My local postman walks his round with a large heavy pack on his back. I don’t know how he could also be expected to carry packets and parcels. He is a fit young man but I wonder if he will be able to carry such a burden as he gets older.

Toby – Obviously, the load gets lighter along the way but the Royal Mail does provide trollies for posties to use if they wish. Our postie now uses an unmarked van and I have seen others use their own cars. The last collection each day from our nearest post box is stated as being at 9:00 am [or at 7:30 am on Saturdays], which is not terribly convenient. In practice the box is sometimes emptied as late as 11:00 am but if you take a chance on that you can bet it will have been cleared earlier.

Sue Jackson says:
11 May 2021

I’ve had a similar experience to Joan, Friday was supposed to be collection day, no time given and at end of day a noreply email saying they hadn’t been able to pick it up.
Same thing again with the rebook today., so I’ll have to take it to the PO after ll as I’ve already paid the postage.
Maybe they haven’t the capacity to do this service, however it leads to customer dissatisfaction so as it’s so helpful to people I’d suggest in this highly competitive market , they need to keep it, add resources and improve the service.

Dave Watson says:
1 June 2021

On two separate days in the past week I have booked a parcel collection. Neither of them were collected so I had to tramp to the Post Office anyway.

Erika says:
22 June 2021

I used collection service for a couple of times so thought it’s brilliant as everything went well. But seems that it’s to good to be true. Today I have my items collected and later on in the day I received an email swing that collection has failed and I can rebook it!!! There are my items god knows now. Very angry and frustrated!!!

maggi says:
8 December 2021

Same thing happened to me today – the postman took my parcel but didn’t scan it – now i get a message saying he couldn’t collect it because it was too big! But he took it – and now I have no idean how to find out where it is. Erica – did you have any luck tracking yours?

Hi Maggi,

Did you get confirmation eventually? And were the parcels still delivered?
Can you update on what happened in the end? (If you dont mind). The same thing has happened to me today. Theres nothing online with Royal Mail that addresses this issue.

Lorna says:
23 August 2021

Can anyone tell me what the length of the time slots is? I can’t seem to find this information without buying postage first.

I used their service once. I can’t remember what the time slot was, but the parcel was collected by our postie when he delivered our daily post. It was a small parcel and there might be a different arrangement for larger parcels.

You could ask your postie what the arrangements are in your area.

Yesterday (23 August) I received a leaflet informing me that the charge for collecting parcels has been reduced to 30p from 2 August until 26 September. Why not advise potential customers in advance?

Waldy says:
8 September 2021

Used it a couple of times when posting with Tracked 48 which requires a delivery office drop off rather than the local post office. However, the item they were supposed to collect today, is showing as collection attempted. I’m working from home with a dog that barks the house down when anyone comes down our drive. No way we could have missed them if they actually did come to the house.

Have used this service 3 times for returning one parcel to the same website on each occasion. The first time the postman scanned the bar code and I received a confirmation of pick up only to find the parcel still on my doorstep. I then had to arrange for another label from the website concerned and drive to the PO to send it. A postman in a van did turn up later that day to collect the parcel mumbling about the system not working very well. The second time I used it, it worked perfectly. The third time, today, I again received an email confirming collection at 9.15am; the parcel is still sitting on my doorstep at 14.45pm!
My theory is that the postmen or women either don’t have room on their trollies or can’t be bothered. I will wait to see if someone comes to sweep it up later.
It would be a great service if it had been thought through properly!

Thanks for sharing that’s pretty mad. I’ve had this issue last year but only once, I tend to use DPD online and honestly no problem at all sending parcels. Didn’t have the best experience with Royal mails customer service either.

Michèle Noach says:
6 December 2021

Got a flyer advertising the service so yesterday decided to try it. Waited in today till 3pm as advised, (with parcel ready, forms all printed, postage and service fee paid). No one came, no missed-call card, no email, no nothing. I just spent 35 minutes on hold trying to register this no-show, eventually hung up.
Off to post office tomorrow, this service is hopeless. If they’re going to advertise it, at least have a functioning service. This was hugely frustrating and I lost a day in postage terms.

Royal Mail will now bring a label when they collect, if you ask, so you don’t have to have your own printer to use the service.