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60p first-class stamps!? Royal Mail can set its own prices

Royal Mail is now free to set its own first-class stamp prices. The regulator Ofcom says this action is needed to save Royal Mail’s universal service, but does this have your seal of approval?

We’ll soon find out what Royal Mail’s new freedom will mean in practice. From 30 April the price of a first-class stamp will rise from 46p to 60p. That’s quite a jump, and a record annual rise.

The price of a second-class stamp will also go up, from 36p to 50p. Ofcom has set a cap for second-class stamps at 55p – meaning Royal Mail has packaged it a little bit lower. Plus, this limit could rise with inflation every year.

Sending a large letter will cost 90p (instead of 75p) to post first-class, and 69p (rather than 58p) to send second-class. Parcels and everything else will also go up in price.

Higher prices to save Royal Mail

So, with relaxed controls come higher prices. Moya Greene, Royal Mail chief exec, has said this is needed to protect Royal Mail’s countrywide service:

‘No-one likes to raise prices in the current economic climate but, regretfully, we have no option. Royal Mail provides one of the highest quality postal services in Europe for among the lowest prices.’

There’s no getting away from the fact that people are sending less mail, but the fear is that higher prices will further add to this trend. Ofcom says the average household only spends about the price of chocolate bar (50p) on post per week. And even though Royal Mail delivered 16 billion letters last year, it’s still a loss-making business (£120m lost in 2010-11).

Your Royal Mail views

On Twitter, Dan ‏(@danthegooner) told us he doesn’t think the service is up to scratch:

‘Different postman every day if/when they turn up and numerous “lost” parcels. Never send via Royal Mail if I can. Rather use a courier.’

However, Craig (@craigpberry) thinks the new prices are worth it:

‘60p is hardly expensive! This is a sensible move. Buy cheaper birthday cards if 14p is going to break the bank.’

Almost three quarters of those who voted in our Which? Convo poll said they were against Royal Mail being given the freedom to set its own prices. Commenter Jon Large explained why:

‘I don’t think they should until there’s easier access for the general public to competitors services.’

And Peter Millard thought higher prices would results in fewer people posting letters:

‘Surely, putting up the price of a shrinking service is only going to make the demand for the service even less? Does there not need to be a reduction in prices in order to attract customers?’

As for me, I do still enjoying receiving mail (as long as it’s not junk or bills) but I have had my fair share of bad Royal Mail experiences. The latest was being asked to pay £1.12 for a letter that had been underpaid by the sender – I coughed up the money and the letter arrived ripped in half inside an ‘apology’ bag. I’d have preferred if Royal Mail had left it at the depot.

Still, that’s one case in hundreds of perfectly and promptly delivered post – and maybe it’s worth paying Royal Mail 60p to deliver them?

Comments

Remember when the cost of a stamp was printed on its face?
If this was still the case then on the day charges go up, you would have to pay the new charges from then by the purchase of additional ‘top up stamps’
So this problem would never have arisen.
I would like to know who decided, in the face of practical common sense, to stop printing the price of stamps on them.

The words ‘manufactured crisis’ spring to mind!!!

I bought £45.60 worth of stamps in Tesco at the weekend and could have had more.

The value of investments can go down as well as up, as we are frequently reminded, but it’s a safe bet that the cost of stamps will rise in future.

mary.herbert says:
21 April 2012

It is very disappointing because I posted my Aunty’s Birthday card 3 days before my Aunty’s birthday which was on 16th April, this card was never arrived for my aunty’s birthday. I psted with 1st class stamp postage. unbelieveable, and have already complain to the Royal Mail. Why the Royal Mail put the price up and it is still not right, unimproving at the sort office.

Sean says:
9 May 2012

@Stampsbytext will mean you can buy a stamp via text – so no queues and available 24 hours a day.

Hopefully this means we can save money as well.

William - Bath says:
15 May 2012

Great idea – does this mean no need to queue for ‘stickers’ to put on the envelopes! Wow! About time…

Just met my postman rushing his round in the village, says it takes 4 hours to deliver. what does he do the rest of the day? Is it time and finish? Regularly I have ‘mail that requires a signature’ left at the front door! Where is the management checks!
My local post box, next collection tag at the top of the door, is invariably indicating next day collection whereas the data on the panel on the door states otherwise. Complaining has little effect.
The post is killing itself accelerating the downward slide of the postal service with huge stamp price increases and indifferent service.

Kevin Clark says:
4 May 2013

Terrible service…we posted three parcels over xmas…two of the three never arrived..? it is now June and we have not yet had a satisfactory conclusion…cheques posted out in compensation after approx. 3/4 months were never received either..Royal Mail tells us they have ben cashed..? we have not seen them or banked them.
Investigations still ongoing.
Kevin Clark.

Margaret Anderson says:
6 May 2013

I posted a recorded delivery letter, which never arrived, I tracked it and the comment was, Received but not delivered. so I completed a claim form and I got an apology with the comment “do not know why it wasn’t delivered but here is a book of 1st class stamps, to cover inconvenience, as no money was involved “that’s all you get.

Welcome to my world. If compensation was higher, I’m sure the service would improve, but until it is they have no real incentive to get any better. And heaven help us all once its privatised.

Roger says:
6 May 2013

Consider this: If Royal Mail was a new mail delivery service with post boxes and post offices throughout the UK for sending a small package within 2 days @ 50p and next day at £1 – would you you use this service – of course you would – so why the complaints. Sure there are better services out there, but have you sen the prices!!!

The complaints are because they get the same things wrong, over and over and over again. And they’ve been delivering mail for almost 500 years from when Henry VIII established a “Master of the Posts” in 1516. You’d think they’d have worked out how to do right by now.