/ Home & Energy

Has your post been hit by delays?

Royal Mail has been experiencing delivery delays over the last few weeks as its staff have been affected by the pandemic. Has your post not turned up?

If you’re waiting on a long-overdue parcel from Royal Mail, you might be in one of the 28 areas that’s had Covid postal delays due to workers being off sick or self-isolating.

Royal Mail released a list of postcodes on Tuesday that are likely to receive limited service due to coronavirus.

Some have complained they’ve had to wait as many as three weeks for their post to arrive, while others were thankful to receive some belated Christmas cheer!

This has led to some concernt that vaccination letters may arrive late (please remember to watch out for scam attempts), but the vaccine deployment minister Nadhim Zahawi has said that the government is working with Royal Mail to prioritise those letters.

Your delivery rights

Though it’s best to be patient with post at the moment, you do have rights in some instances to ask for your money back.

If you paid extra for nominated-day delivery and your parcel doesn’t arrive on the agreed date, you can ask to have the extra money you spent on special delivery reimbursed back to you.

And if your parcel doesn’t arrive after 30 days, you can cancel the order and ask for a full refund.

Your rights are with the retailer you bought from, rather than with Royal Mail, so be sure to contact the store if you think you’re entitled to a refund.

Has your post been affected?

Has your Christmas gift still not arrived? Do you have a ‘next-day delivery’ parcel caught up with the delays?

Christmas cards still at large?

Whether you’re in one of the affected areas, or live in another postcode that’s experienced issues, let us know in the comments.

Are you receiving your post less regularly during the winter lockdown?
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Frances M Lynch says:
15 January 2021

Yes – I live in Finsbury Park, North London and we have had serious delays – things posted to us in mid November did not arrive in time for Christmas and in some cases have not arrived at all.
I have been chasing parcels for some time and of course Christmas cards came this week!
I know that our local office has problems as our postie tells us about folk being off due to covid and there being cages of parcels and letters they haven’t even sorted yet from well before Christmas.
I am so grateful to postal workers for doing this job at this time – so really have no complaints – things will hopefully all arrive one day.

Chris Darby says:
15 January 2021

I live in Finsbury Park, North London. I still have not received items I ordered in mid November. I am also waiting for birthday/Christmas gifts which were posted to me in the second week of December – I know of at least 3 items that are still missing. I was also due to receive flowers that were to be delivered on 12th December and no sign of those.
I had quite a number of Christmas cards that arrived last week.
Have had no deliveries of any post this week and I am going to be really disappointed if these gifts never turn up.
I do understand the difficulties due to Covid and generally the mail delivery workers do a sterling job but it does all seem to have gone completely pear shaped the last few months.

Our road has not received post for more than 4 weeks. Other roads nearby have had to wait for 3 weeks at least. There is no sign of a postie on our road in IG8 served by Debden sorting office since Royal Mail sold and closed the Woodford sorting office. While we appreciate that Covid 19 has caused problems we note that refuse collection, grocery deliveries, on line parcels have managed to continue as timetabled and that our stretched NHS still provides care. We are waiting for important documents that could not be emailed and replacement cards that have expired. Compared to deaths, bankruptcies etc this is unimportant but it should be possible to rectify this issue with good management. Where can we complain and put pressure on Royal Mail

Kevin of West Thurrock says:
15 January 2021

The Service Update published in 15th Jan lists RM15, South Ockendon, as an area with limited delivery service. But I live in RM20, West Thurrock, and have had no letter post since 22nd December. I understand that the Grays Delivery Office, based in RM17, was badly affected by COVID just before Christmas. And has had to its public counter and go onto a rotating area delivery schedule. Understandable, by why are RM16, 17, 18, 19 and RM20 missing from the list, as they are also affected by a lack of deliveries from the Grays Office?

FF1600 says:
15 January 2021

I’m in RM17, working from home I’ve been able to see the post delivery in my street has only been twice since early December. The local sorting office has been hit badly, as reported by the Thurrock Nub News website, with staff ill and/or having to isolate, and sadly their longest serving postman has passed away due to Covid

I live in Dalston and we received all our Christmas cards (posted by friends and relatives at beginning of December) on 6th January, which was the first letter post we received for a month. Then nothing more until 14 January when two further Christmas cards arrived! One item which had been posted on 8th December was not delivered because the sender had put insufficient postage on it. Our 6th Jan delivery included a card from the sorting office stating that it could not be delivered and offering a way to pay the fee and arrange redelivery. Unfortunately, there was also a footnote on the card (dated 10 December) which stated that they would only hold items for 18 days and then they would be returned to sender. Of course, the 18 day deadline had expired by the time I received the Post Office card. The sender (my sister) has never received the item back, so it has apparently disappeared into a black hole! It contained gift cards which she is attempting to cancel with the supplier.

Richard Bunce says:
15 January 2021

Where I live in Enfield, we’ve been averaging about one delivery per week probably since mid December, though it only became really obvious after Christmas. I thought it wasn’t very good, but reading others’ comments we seem to be doing better than a lot of the other places on the RM list.

It’s quite bad here in SE13 – Lewisham.

Our first delivery after 23 December was 6 January when another 5 Xmas cards arrived, all franked before 20 Dec. It is slowly improving as this week we’ve had 3 deliveries.

Interestingly the cards received on the 12th were posted in USA on 18 Dec and in Inverness on 14 Dec. It’s quite haphazard. On the 13th received a few more cards and today (15th) a magazine I should have received before Christmas and a letter posted just two days ago, 2nd class!

Worryingly still awaiting my repeat prescription. Will it arrive in time?

I bought an article through Amazon which was delivered from the German company. It was unsuitable and I returned it by arrangement and using the same packaging with a return label supplied by the company. I posted the package at Barnsley (South Yorks) post office on the 8th June 2020 but it has never been received in Germany. The post office accept they received it say the responsibility for packages lay with Parcel Force. The totally unhelpful Parcel Force, having been supplied with the post office receipt and a copy of the return label merely referred me back to the German company advising that they should refer the issue to their couriers. They tell me they have done so but have been told, in turn, that Parcel Force should resolve the matter. The German company still haven’t received the package 6 months on. Parcel Force have been totally negative and quite clearly have no idea about customer care. After several emails, they have since failed/refused to answer my queries and here I am, £34 out of pocket and seven months after sending the article back. I have just exhausted my supply of patience in dealing with our so-called top quality and efficient services. I got the impression that they just don’t give a damn. There is no wonder that there are so many alternative couriers about.

My experience with Parcel Force is akin to patting a rabid dog. Our experience has been they lie, are utterly inefficient and are generally the worst at when they pretend to do.

It was only a year or two ago that Parcelforce had any form of automatic parcel recognition and sorting process, and had no idea what was [or where it was] in their system. One can only speculate how such inefficiency persisted within a heavily unionised operation with such a progressive workforce.

The cold blast of competition is starting to reform things as they have been losing market share to the likes of DPD, DHL, Hermes, Yodel, Amazon Direct, etc. Parcelforce’s tracking system is still well behind the curve compared with other carriers as they have been so slow to embrace digital technology.

Daphne Ledward-Hands says:
15 January 2021

I bought a dog DNA test through Amazon (Mars Veterinary/Wisdom Panel and posted it to the laboratories in Denmark the week before Christmas. The company say they haven’t received it (15 Jan). Maybe it’s still on its way?

Yes sporadic delivery’s in the Grays area (RM16), because of a covid. Up to recently been every two to three weeks approximately, however this may be down to weekly now as had one last Friday and one to day. We ordered two pairs of glasses from an online specs provider back in November. They finally were sent out just 1 day apart, just before Christmas and I guess it’s luck but one pair arrived next day, the other pair, well, have yet to be seen, some three weeks later along with expected birthday cards, although last Friday, 8 Jan, we did receive what I think were the rest of our Christmas cards.

Caroline Starkey says:
15 January 2021

I live in Streatham, South London.
Postal delivery is intermittent, with some letters / packages delayed by up to month. I’m still, waiting for a small package sent 1st class post just before Christmas.
I spoke to my local postal worker, and he mentioned very poor working conditions at the sorting office – with little space to socially distance, high (and increasing) workload, staff shortages, and lack of interest/concern from managers…
Delays are not caused by our postal workers, many who work excessive hours (in my area some workers have been with the Post Office for many years), but by poor management and poor ‘systems’.

Woodford Green IG8. We have had no post since Xmas Eve except the odd parcel. Debden Sorting Office claims to be short of 40% staff but annual leave, normal sickness,training etc would not cover that level. It is said that many staff are either isolating or sick with Covid but I wonder why there should be such high levels of infection and whether the management put adequate social distancing measures in at work. Very frustrating when credit card and other bills are so severely delayed.

William Huston says:
15 January 2021

Here in Chelmsford (CM2 post code) we’re still waiting for Christmas cards and birthday cards that were posted in good time (supposedly) before Christmas. I’ve contacted my MP and local councillor for help to resolve this problem. My local councillor has been very helpful but the delays still remain.

I have had a problem with the Redirection Service from London SW20 to BH25. The Service has been Intermittent over the last few months. The new owners forwarded three Xmas cards but another card I know was sent to London has not been delivered to me. I complained to Royal Mail about the Redirection Service and received a reply that the issue has been reported to the local delivery office and the manager will take appropriate steps to prevent this happening again. However, it is impossible for me to know whether further items have not been delivered. I paid £69 for one year’s Service.

We live in Nottingham and we sent 4 calendars out to various bits of the country. One arrived the next day but 3 have not arrived yet. They were sent on 16th December.
Colchester is quite a black spot for deliveries.

As far as I know the virus thrives best in cold weather; global warming therefore should help reduce its effect.

I don’t know how my comment arrived here or where the comment it was responding to is to be found. It was in response to someone claiming that global warming was causing the pandemic (and someone who was also claiming to be very energy efficient).

I live in Waford which is not one of the 28 designated areas where Royal Mail are admitting poor service. However for the last eight or nine months we have been getting one delivery per week (or very occassionally two) Is that what Royal Mail classes as a normal satisfactory service now if we’re not on the list? It’s strange that while all companies will have been hit by sickness and self-isolation at this time, I douby many operating in the free market (as opposed to Royal Mail’s virtual monopoly on letter post) will have offered their customers such a huge drop in performance levels.

Royal Mail does not have a virtual monopoly on letter post. Other companies sort business mail and then give it to Royal Mail to deliver ie. ‘delivering the last mile’. They do not deliver it as it costs too much and is actually a loss-maker for Royal Mail as they have to deliver it to every corner of the UK under the Universal Service Obligation. This is where other companies were allowed to ‘cherry-pick’ the profitable areas of letter distribution from Royal Mail when it was privatised.

The delays do not surprise me. Talking to my postman, parcels are double that of last Christmas and now with yet another lockdown – it has just escalated again. A lot of the delivery offices simply do not have the capacity for such large unexpected increases and now a lot of the staff who are having to work in close proximity in offices crammed to the max with postage are having to isolate, it just cannot take this amount of pressure. Yes, it could be managed better, but all I can say is fair play to the posties, they’re working flat out and certainly earn their money. I’d hope that people who moan that they are on furlough would volunteer to help out.

Post arrives daily here. Some Christmas cards arrived late but that was probably because they were posted late.

Riccardo says:
15 January 2021

I live in the N1 postcode area. Since early December I have been having issues with mail (not) delivered by Royal Mail. I have cancelled two subscriptions as there is no point subscribing to something that never arrives. All other delivery companies like DPD, Hermes and Amazon are delivering on time or before time. Local shops are always well stocked with the magazines that I was due to receive through Royal Mail. I have had no Royal Mail deliveries since before Christmas, and only very few in the weeks before then. I cannot understand why Royal Mail is so affected by Covid while other businesses are working perfectly well. I think that Covid is providing an excuse for doing a very bad job in a regulated business. I think that Which? should make a supercomplaint to the relevant authority. It used to be next day delivery, then next week delivery, then next fortnight delivery, then monthly delivery, and now no delivery at all.

My last two deliveries from Amazon were significantly late. Maybe they were affected by Covid absentees – although no reasons were given. Hermes did not achieve the delivery I had paid for before Christmas. It is not just Royal Mail, I would suggest.