Complaints about Royal Mail’s ‘sorry, you were out’ cards have risen by 25% in the past year, and a third of us have received one while we’ve been in. Is it really that hard to knock on the door?
I’m a huge fan of online shopping. It’s often cheaper than shopping on the high street, it saves you trekking to town, and – best of all –websites allow you to buy stuff while wearing your pyjamas.
But if there’s one thing that could put me off purchasing items via the worldwide web, it’s the nightmare I have often faced when they arrive – or, in fact, don’t arrive – on my doorstep.
Countless ‘sorry, you were out’ cards have been shoved through my letterbox – even when I’ve been in. And it seems I’m not the only one who wants to weep each time I get one.
Complaints are on the up
The BBC has reported that complaints about the cards have risen by 25% since 2008-09, and more than 36,000 people contacted Royal Mail with gripes about them last year.
In more than 1,000 cases, Royal Mail ended up paying customers compensation – and it dished out over £8,000 to dissatisfied consumers during the year 2009-10.
This isn’t out of synch with our research. Back in May we surveyed over 2,200 Which? members and found that a third had received a ‘sorry, you were out’ card from Royal Mail/Parcelforce when they were actually in.
Postmen have now been accused of leaving packages at depots and posting the cards through people’s doors simply because they don’t want to carry heavy items as they make their rounds.
This may or may not be true – but I’m certainly not the only person I know who’s been told I was ‘not in’ to receive a package when I was actually sitting on the sofa waiting for it.
Maybe it’s about where you live
London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Reading and Leeds have been highlighted as areas where this problem is particularly common. So perhaps my rage is simply a result of where I live?
My Midlands-based Dad loves his local postie, has a jolly chat with him every morning and is always super-enthusiastic about the standard of service he receives from Royal Mail.
Some postmen apparently claim that, where it’s often the case that nobody is in at an address, there’s little point in taking a heavy package all the way to the door. While this argument is at least vaguely logical, is it good enough when people are paying for items to be delivered in a reliable, timely fashion?