/ Money, Shopping

Are you boxed in to Royal Mail’s PO Box price rises?

Defending Royal Mail is a pretty tough job, especially at the moment. But it’s not just rising stamp prices that have angered many Brits , the ever increasing cost of a PO Box has enraged many too.

Which? Convo editor Patrick Steen wrote about the 80% increase in the cost of a PO Box last year. Back then the price had gone up from £95 to £170.

But now there’s even more to add to the bill, with a PO Box costing £220 from 30 April. That compares to just £62 in 2009!

In short, the price of a PO Box will go up by between 9 and 15% depending on the service, where a basic PO Box service will increase from £170 to £185. That doesn’t sound too bad until you realise that the service will soon be liable to VAT, adding another 20% on top.

You say: stop increasing PO Box prices

We’ve had comments from many of you who run small businesses and use PO Boxes to keep your business and personal correspondence separate. And it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that many of you have been stunned by Royal Mail’s price increases.

Commenter RS reacted by writing:

‘This is frankly obscene! I’m shocked. What am I to do? I run a very small life-style business, a hobby and have printed my PO Box address on all my “products”. I make a pittance each year from this hobby and can’t afford this fee, and yet if I cancel my PO Box I run the risk of losing potential customers, or will no longer receive the very few cheques I get each year.

‘I feel like I have been attacked, mobbed. I do understand that prices need to go up, and usually do go up, but by this much?! This is outrageous!’

Jon shared a similar sentiment:

‘It’s simply monopoly price gouging and everyone should vote with their feet.’

However, Jon Haden had a more tongue-in-cheek approach to the price rise:

‘I’m grateful to Royal Mail for forcing the issue. I ditched my PO box when the price was hiked from £125.75 to £200. That’s a saving £125.75 plus inflation a year. Happy days.’

Royal Mail’s stamping its feet

We all know stamp prices are going up sharply – first-class stamps to 60p from 46p; and second-class stamps to 50p from 36p. Royal Mail says it needs to jack prices up because it has lost £1billion on its ‘core mails’ in the last four years.

And although many of us can stock up on cheaper stamps before 30 April (though be wary of the restricted supply), you can’t do that with a PO Box. You’ll just have to sign up to the higher prices regardless. Maybe that’s just the price we need to pay for Royal Mail to continue offering this service?

Are you affected by Royal Mail’s PO Box price rises? Are you happy to pay more, or will you soon stop using the service altogether?

Steve Sinnott says:
1 August 2014

Since my comment last year I have opted for a green approach = use e-mail to shift contracts and unless there isn’t another way then by post. even got nominated for a green award partly for my no paper approach. RM don’t give a sod about people, over in the States & Canada the people in the postal service take an oath and they are proud of their work and the provision of that service.

here price hikes that are just plain greedy are the norm obviously that’s why I see TNT delivering more frequently ha ha .

Deborah says:
23 August 2014

I have to pay £313.01 for the year to keep my PO box and have between 6 and 8 letters delivered a year. Average cost for delivery per letter is around £40. Each.
This dreadful company has me over a barrel because:
I can’t afford to stop it because it is the address on lots of old correspondence and videos, DVDs etc we sent out years ago.
I need to pay for the delivery service because letters and cheques are so few and far between I can’t travel to the DLO every week to check if something is there – however I have had to contact the CEO twice to complain that they are not even doing that properly – with orders (including conference bookings) waiting for delivery which I don’t know about until customers contact me to ask where their goods are.
I use it because I don’t want to advertise my home address online for security reasons.
This costs at least 3 times more than when I started using the service a few years ago and is daylight robbery.
PLEASE can some entrepreneur come up with an alternative.

Consider a freepost address as a replacement (as mentioned above) – you can hide the first line of your address.
I found that the odd PO BOX return was still routed to my address, even though it was cancelled 6 months ago.

Simon says:
2 September 2014

It’s gone up again. £170.11 for 6 months now, and £313 for a year. The galling thing is they don’t distinguish between a company like BT and a sole trader.

A few years ago it used to be £120 all in (split 50/50 PO Box and forwarding). When you phone them up they come up with some clap trap about other companies not being able to compete and they were forced to put their prices up.

It is daylight robbery. Enough is enough I’m just going to put my home address on my websites and be done with it.

Home Farmer Magazine says:
8 January 2015

We’re based at home and have used a PO Box for 12 years. Having just opened our bill to be faced with £313.01 inc VAT we are now going to ditch it and use our home address. Just hope there are no nutters out there!