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Royal Mail wants to drop your post with a neighbour

Neighbours on stamp

Not at home? Royal Mail wants to leave your post with a neighbour. It’s an option I’m sure many will be keen on, but without being able to opt-out or nominate a neighbour, could this be less Royal Mail and more Royal Fail?

If you were expecting a package to be delivered by Royal Mail, but you weren’t at home, would you prefer it to be taken back to the post office, or left with your neighbour?

Personally, I’d prefer the latter. Dragging my way off to the main delivery office, which is a fair few Tube stops away, isn’t really worth the effort – especially if it’s probably little more than a box of choccies.

Good option for absent adressees?

Plus, 76% of those asked in our Royal Mail investigation said their post arrived after 10am, meaning most of us won’t be home to collect our mail.

So is leaving your post with a neighbour a good idea and could it improve your view of the Royal Mail? Our national postal service no doubt needs to improve its image, as 47% of you have so far said that the company doesn’t meet your expectations in our latest poll.

Royal Mail would like to give it a go – if a letter’s too large for your letter box, or your post needs to be signed for, Royal Mail wants your postie to leave it with one of your neighbours. Its own survey has said that this is our preferred location to leave an item if we’re not in.

And really, what’s not to like? Well, there doesn’t appear to be an opt-out option for a start. What if you don’t know or trust your neighbour? As Consumer Focus says, complete with pun, this ‘could open the door to problems’.

Have you got good neighbours?

Shouldn’t you be able to nominate a neighbour you trust? That may sound familiar, as you can already nominate a “safeplace” with Royal Mail. Still, this has its limitations, a safeplace is only offered for tracked post that’s been ordered from a business that’s signed up to this service.

So would you like Royal Mail to drop your post off next door if you’re not in, even if you couldn’t opt-out or nominate a trustworthy neighbour? Private postal services, like DHL, already do this, so why not our national service too?

Commenter Louis has already told us on our previous Conversation that he’d ‘rather go to the sorting office than have stuff left with others’ – but what about you?

Royal Mail’s currently waiting for permission from postal regulator Postcomm to launch the pilot, and it wants to hear from you before it makes a decision, so fire away.

[UPDATE 15 JUNE 2012] – After a successful trial with almost 750,000 homes, Royal Mail is to ask the new postal regulator, Ofcom, whether it can introduce leaving post with a neighbour across the UK. If you don’t want to take part you can opt out by ordering a sticker for your front door from Royal Mail, online or by phone. The sticker will tell your postman not to leave your post with a neighbour. However, you won’t be able to nominate a preferred neighbour.

John Wilson says:
29 August 2012

John Wilson responding again!

If you follow the link below you will see that Ofcom’s closing date for consultation is 12 September. Royal Mail has confirmed they will introduce their ‘Leave With A Neighbour’ scheme without bothering to wait till 12 September!

Here is a copy of an email I’ve sent to Ofcom:

To: Ofcom

Dear Ofcom,

I am a member of the Consumers’ Association (Which?)

Have you seen the response of Which? members to the ‘Conversation’ Which? set up so that its members can state their views on Royal Mail’s proposals for their ‘Delivery to Neighbour Scheme’?

Here is the link.

It seems a sham consultation to me, as Royal Mail have already decided to introduce the new arrangements.

I have received a leaflet through the door from Royal Mail saying they plan to go ahead with the scheme, without bothering to wait for Ofcom’s 12 September closing date for the consultation.

You will see from the Which? Conversation that most of the members who participated have serious reservations about the plan to leave mail with neighbours.

I do hope Ofcom is going to protest at Royal Mail’s decision to go ahead with their proposal without doing you the courtesy of waiting for you to finish your consultation.

I’m copying in Which? members on this email.

Kind Regards

John Wilson

chris says:
30 August 2012

No No No – This is totally unacceptable – we should not accept this being forced on us.

Act now and COMPLAIN to OFCOM – we need to stop this madness. It should be an OPT IN – not opt out procedure!


Not all people have nice neighbours and as for the sticker – I would not want to advertise the fact that I am not in a lot of the time. Why should our neighbours have to be bothered when we have paid for a service – Royal Mail have a Contract to deliver our mail to the correct addressee!
Royal Mail used to be a fantastic icon and one I was proud of. 🙁

madeleine hall says:
30 August 2012

I find this whole scheme an excuse for the bosses at Royal Mail to cut corners to suit themselves..i do not want to put a sticker on my property anywhere..i dont want any of my post left with anyone but me..what if the designated neighbour is not in, the mail wont fit through their letterbox either so the postie goes back to my property and posts another card stating your designated neighbour seems to have popped out..whoops is the postie doing to get paid overtime for all this wasted time..i live in marple bridge cheshire and i dont think the local postie is happy with his job as he never seems to smile so i dont think he needs any more problems within his working day..

And if my neighbour, whom I trust, is not in, does my post go to the next house, which could be one of three whose occupants I scarcely know!?
If Royal Mail made the effort to make collection available at times when people are not at work, the reason it could not be delivered in the first place, this nonsense would not be necessary.
I have to use mail redirection annually and my poor experiences each year leave me with no confidence that this system will work properly.
I should have to ‘opt in’ to such a change.
What chance is there that this procedure, once instigated, will ever be revoked regardless of the problems it causes some customers.
As far as I can tell the Post-Office problems are due mainly to poor management and the employment of undertrained relief staff, and not caused by the regular delivery men and women.

I received a leaflet today to say that where I live has been selected as one of the trial areas for leaving packages with neighbours. This is scheduled to start in late September. The details are at http://www.royalmail.com/out

There is the option to request a door sticker to indicate that you don’t want your items left with a neighbour and this will also ensure that you are not asked to take in mail for a neighbour. Unfortunately there is no option to choose which neighbour, so I think I will put an unofficial sticker asking Royal Mail to leave packages at a couple of neighbours that I know and trust, and are in most of the day.

I don’t know why Royal Mail does not just provide stickers allowing people to opt-in to the scheme – NOT to have to opt-out. If I am asked for feedback, I will say this.

Royal Mail has an opt out scheme – I applied a week ago – awaiting a door sticker to be delivered after receiving notice of the change. received acknowledgement. I wouldn’t trust my next door neighbours with the waste paper. Three years ago it would have been different – My new neighbours are the pits.

After my last message I sent an email to Royal Mail indicating that the opt-out scheme is disgraceful, like any other opt-out scheme.

I would be very supportive of an opt-in scheme and have great neighbours.

The leaflet I have gives an ‘opt-out’ option (though, along with so many others, I still much prefer an ‘opt-in’) however the link where you give your name & address is not an https secured page. Therefore the site is vulnerable to hacking and anyone providing name & address details is open to potential ID fraud.

Not impressed.

Robert Louden says:
23 December 2012

Yes Royal Mail should leave my mail with a neighbour.
I actually put note on my door today saking my postman to leave my parcel in my halway,. I had also asked him in person to do this the previous day. I had I left my door open as I live in a rural area in private grounds and this is not a problem for me. If the parcel was stolen I would accept full responsibility as I understqand this would be MY fault and not the Royal Mails. I am a diaabled pensioner, don’t have a car and need to get two buses to collect undlivered mail rrom the neatest depot. I knew I was being out today to get some Christmas shopping by a friend but was happpy to know that any mail I received would be waiting for me when I got home.To my dismay I got home to find one of those cards in my hallway but no package. I then had to get a taxi to the depot to retrive my package, Point 1 it was my package and therefore MY property. Point 2 I had given precise instructions as what the Royal mail should do with MY property. Point 3 I would in no way hold them responsible for following out MY instructions. But I still had to travel to my nearest, :-), depto to recover MY property. I noticed on the card it was possible to leave any mail in a designated “Safe Place”, GREAT!, But when I checked the RM website I realised I had to pay for this privilage. Well My designated ‘Safe Place’ could be my doorstep, neighbour or greenhouse. That dosen’t matter to them as I have agreed where that should be. The postman chould put a card through my letterbox stating “Your package is in your safe place”. If it goes missing then thats my fault, unless we have a disonest postman but then we would all be in s**t including RM who shouldn’t have employed him in the first place and shouldn’t be handling my mail. I will trust them if thay trust thier staff and trust me in what I say. Is this just another form of ‘elf & saftey” ?

Lesley Rose Wigram says:
17 July 2014

This is disgusting I wasn’t even informed about this! What if it means items are stolen by the designated neighbour? And also what if the neighbour is a predatory type who preys on women, vulnerable people or the elderly -or children? This scheme is putting people in danger.

Chris says:
12 October 2019

8 times i have filled out the card for them telling them to leave with a neighbor if i am not home. Not ONCE has this been done. I have made about ten complaints about it, get the same patronising auto response each time and nothing after that. They are so deep in the hole they dug for themselves they can’t even begin to climb out of it. Issues like this are always a sign of a failing company and i cannot wait for the day it is announced and a more competent, modern company can take over the default postal service for this out of date country!

Crusader says:
8 June 2022

Has this issue really been going on for the last ten years?! It’s the first I’ve heard of it, no-one told me. And I certainly DON’T want any of my neighbours getting their hands on any of my mail, NO chance! I don’t know any of them as I’m not very socially able because of too many appalling problems which make me unpopular so I wouldn’t trust any of the neighbours with my mail and I wouldn’t take in any of their mail either which is only fair. I would much rather go and collect it from the local sorting office in the next town like I’ve already done on several occasions in the past and it’s only about 15 minutes away on the local bus, that’s if it’s something I could carry, otherwise I would have to arrange another delivery and make sure I was in at the required time which of course I would have to know in advance.

I’m not sure the scheme outlined in the Intro to this Conversation ever really got off the ground. It seems now that Royal Mail usually leaves a card and allows the recipient to nominate a day when the item can be re-delivered.

In those cases where Royal Mail is acting as the fulfilment agent for the consignor, it sends an e-mail stating the planned day of delivery but offers the option of changing that to a more convenient date, and it also gives a three-hour time slot within which the delivery will be made. I have found these processes very reliable.

Remember, there is no charge for redelivery by Royal Mail so any texts or e-mails asking for a payment are fraudulent and designed to obtain bank account details.