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Royal Mail Deliveries
Is everybodys mail going missing?
The Grizzler

 1:46 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

We sell low priced widgets through our website. Because of the low price of our widgets, we use Royal Mail first class post as our main carrier.

At the moment they are managing to lose about 10% of our ppi mail. This has been going on since February this year.

Royal Mail put test items in with our mail in April and over a 10 day period 10% went missing also.

Whilst we can claim the cost price of the items back from Royal Mail eventually, it alienates customers and makes our company look unprofessional.

We also now have to have two employees tied up with delivery phone calls and emails every day.

Is anybody else having the same nightmare? Is there any other carrier that is as cheap as Royal Mail for low value light items?



 2:28 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I would tend to use recorded delivery, or royal mail special delvery. Recorded delivery is not that expensive. It is possible that your goods are actualy being delivered, but perhaps some customers like to try it on when they discover they do not have to sign for anything.



 4:43 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Funny you should saythat as a firm im working for currently is having a the same problem and thats with ordinary mail.

By any chance are you in teh east Midlands? Northampton - Milton Keynes area?


 6:43 am on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

We've found Royal Mail to be considerably worse the last few months. We usually post 1st class Recorded, losses aren't as high as 10% but are much higher than they used to be.

It always used to amaze me how much better Royal Mail were than other courier services, *sigh*


 3:06 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

We send all of our post by Special delivery and I'd say that every week at least two of the packages go missing.

Royal Mail can seldom track them past being collected from us, and when they claim to have delivered it, they can't tell you who signed for it or provide a signature.

They stuff we send out are mostly documents which have no monetary value in Royal Mail's eyes so the compensation for lost items is the original postage fee.

Not recommended.


 3:08 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Had some important documents sent out from the UK using 1st class recorded mail. 6 Weeks later they turn up in a terrible mess (ripped, been wet, etc) in a Royal Mail bag and a note saying "Sorry for delay".



 3:35 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I found it more reliable lately - March and April were pathetic - everything late.

Note the news today:


 5:20 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Royal Mail have been driving me crazy for the last couple of weeks, ever since they switched to the single daily delivery. 6 of our local postie's walked out in protest and all hell has broken loose. I receive Special Deliveries every day from one supplier and Recorded Deliveries from 2 others. Today's Special (guaranteed before noon) was eventually delivered at 15.30 by a Royal Mail manager no less! I couldn't quite believe my eyes when he turned up at the door. They seem to have gone into total meltdown. We have had no normal post for several days now either, and my Recorded Deliveries from 2 different suppliers this week seem to have disappeared into the ether.

Having said that I have faired no better with couriers. The last 'next-day' delivery I had from Initial City Link was due on Wednesday and eventually turned up on Saturday. Not my idea of 'next-day'. My supplier who uses Special Delivery has been trialling Amtrak this week, because they're so fed up with Royal Mail, and of the 5 test parcels they sent out only 2 have turned up, so it seems it's not only our beloved Royal Mail who are having problems.

You wouldn't think delivering a parcel could be so difficult...


 5:48 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>>>I would tend to use recorded delivery, or royal mail special delvery. Recorded delivery is not that expensive.

It all adds up though when you send a lot of parcels. I send about 15 a day, and at 64p a pop, it soon adds up. That would be an extra £9.60 on our postage bill every day. It's just not worth it. We offer free postage, and that would either cripple our profits, or we'd have to charge the customer, and they hate paying for postage in my opinion.

I always get a certificate of posting, and we have had a few go missing, but haven't been worth claiming for (£3 or £4 value to us), but maybe I should. If they have to paya out a lot in compensation fees, maybe they will buck their ideas up.

Until, someone starts up a rival to royal mail (excluding carriers), it will always be this bad, as they have no competition)


 6:05 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

TNT are apparently wanting to set up in competition but cannot due to the monopoly that the Royal Mail have. (TNT do post in some countries already - they either are, or are linked to, the Icelandic post system, for example)

The Grizzler

 6:07 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Until, someone starts up a rival to royal mail (excluding carriers), it will always be this bad, as they have no competition)

I completely agree. It would appear that as our company "only" spends £80,000 per year (rather than £100,000) we cannot have an account manager.

I spoke to someone at Royal Mail customer services today and was informed that they do not have a problem. I did however speak to Postwatch yesterday who look after consumers interests and today I received an email saying that there may be a slight delay in investigating my issues as they have received "an unprecedented level of compaints" recently.

I would be interested to know what other companies standard procedures are, for sending replacements that Royal Mail have lost. Do you wait the full 15 days?

Is it better to bite the bullet and send everything by recorded delivery, even low value items?

I believe it's 10 days before you can claim that a special delivery item is lost. What do you do when it doesn't arrive next day and your customer is screaming?


 7:40 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Makes me wonder if this is organised to some extent, run teh RM down into chaos then all public objections to privatisation disappear.

Cunning, very cunning but I can see through it!


 8:12 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

I had the misfortune to return to the UK for a couple of years and most of my mail sent to the US never arrived and mail sent to me was delivered to the empty house next door! I told the postman he was delivering to the wrong house - he apolgized. The next day he continued putting my mail in next doors mailbox!

Some of the services in the UK are run by bafoons! When they mess everthing up they are promoted and assigned the task of cleaning up their own mess!


 9:13 pm on Jul 1, 2004 (gmt 0)

Does anyone actually find that Recorded delivery is any better though? The tracking service is rubbish, until the goods are actually signed for, you can't in fact “track” them. I must say we've always praised Royal Mail for great service but it does appear to be a bit dodgy lately!


 12:02 am on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Again, 1-2 packets being lost each week, and it looks like the only option will be recorded delivery (low ticket items, so this will have to be passed on to the customers).

A new problem has emerged over the last month. A few of our packets have been arriving without postage. This is despite us having proof of posting for each item. Our customers are not happy about having to go to the post office to collect, pay the postage and a £1 fine.

When I confronted Royal mail, they denied it. When I got a customer to post me (!) the card left, the post office investigated, and decided someone must be stealing the postage stickers off the packages.

How will they stop it happening? They don't know
Do they care it makes us look unprefessional. No.

I am not happy, but what can we do? Sure, I can get up to £27 back eventually (months), but I've lost a customers repeat sales for life.


 3:28 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Yesterday royal mail failed to collect, so 100s of customers wondering where there packages are and e-mailing in to ask. Royal Mail have kindly agreed to offer me £5.50 in compensation. If i had sent out a 1000 packages i would still only get £5.50.

I hope all there directors burn in hell.


 4:27 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't get me started! I have lost so many items since they went to the single post delivery. A different postman turns up every single day so it's not surprising they can't find houses. At my home flat tradesmen only get allowed in before nine but now that they deliver when they feel like it in the middle of the day there is no one around to let them in so they can't even leave a card to say they've been!
My solicitor sent my passport to me the other day via Recorded Delivery and it has now been lost!

I also use Businesspost and they are generally very good and have just signed an historic agreement with Royal Mail to use their local sorting offices. It's only for very large businesses at the moment (initially, businesses mailing over 4,000 and, typically, over 10,000, pre-sorted letters a day) but hopefully they'll at least buck up Royal Mail to provide a better service.

The Grizzler

 4:44 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

So is there a real alternative to first class post/first class recorded?

We offer free delivery at the moment and it's a great selling point. We do use Amtrak (who we find very good) and Royal Mail Special delivery also, but Royal Mail lose a couple a week of these too.

I got told yesterday by Royal Mail Customer services that they made £200 million profit last year...

Just goes to show that when there is no competition even a large, outdated and badly run organisation CAN make lots of money...

...meanwhile we pay 2 staff to deal with their cockups day in day out...

Beam me up!


 4:57 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Don't think it will get any better with competition.

It will be worse than the parcel carriers because they'll all be trying to cut costs to the bone so they end up employing people you wouldn't trust to sweep the floor.

We regularly send out large parcels (5kg +) using 3 carriers all of which laughingly offer a "next day service" we are constantly fielding phone calls from irate customers, so we phone the carrier, they then phone the local branch and if we are lucky someone gets back to us the same day. They say "there was no one there so we left a card" this translates from carrier speak to "the driver was a stressed today so he left your parcel on the van".

This is in a sector where there is competition, so introducing competition is not the full answer. We also need to pay more. This insane pressure to do everything as cheaply as possible (fuelled by companies like argos and B & Q) cannot carry on for ever, we shouldn't be competing only on price because when you keep on cutting the price the quality goes down the pan.

Royal mail's problem is that they are way too cheap, so they can't afford to give a good service. The answer is
1) Differential postal rates based on the distance the packet has to go. It is nonsense to charge the same price to deliver 2 streets away as 300 miles away.
2) Forget daily deliveries, I would be happy to receive my mail once a week - it's only bills and junk and they aren't urgent. Anything urgent is done over the phone, fax or email. Nobody really needs a widget that badly that they can't wait a few days, and if they really want it the next day they should be prepared to pay heavily for it.

The Grizzler

 5:23 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Over the last two days, we have advertised next day delivery for £1.91 all overour website.

This is heavily subsidised by ourselves but is an attempt to try and reduce the number of problems.

25% of people have chosen this option at checkout.


Means 25% less problems for us. Suprised that it's not more though to be honest.


 7:13 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

Oh yeah I forgot this.

Took two parcels to the sorting office in Colchester only to be told that they were too heavy to be handed in there and I had to go the post office in the high street.

So I said 'Where do they go too from there then?' - 'oh they come back to here' she said it with a straight face as well.


 7:19 pm on Jul 2, 2004 (gmt 0)

So I said 'Where do they go too from there then?' - 'oh they come back to here' she said it with a straight face as well.

I always wondered where Monty Python got their ideas.


 1:20 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

In the last month, Royal Mail seems slower than usual. Packages from Taiwan via registered mail taking over 10 business days to arrive. Packages to London used to arrive in 5 working days.


 1:45 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Royal Mail has managed to lose about 5% of the parcels I send from Australia. In comparison USPS and all the European postal systems have lost 0%. Are there actual thieves inside Royal Mail or are the parcels just left on doorsteps for passers by to steal? I self insure the parcels so it costs me money and aggravated customers each time this happens.


 8:12 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Thieves in the Royal mail - yes.

I have a relative that worked for an employment agency sending Temp staff to sorting offices (south west London) - Ive heard some real horror story's.


 9:48 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

I may change the wording on the customs declaration to make the item appear less interesting to a potential thief. The customs form must still be a truthful description of the contents but maybe we could make the wording more bland or generic without actually stating the brand or type of widget inside.


 10:07 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

> Does anyone actually find that Recorded delivery is any better though? The tracking service is rubbish, until the goods are actually signed for, you can't in fact “track” them.

Recorded delivery is not tracked at all. It is sent with the regular mail and the first time it is recorded at all is when they have a delivery signature. It is recorded on delivery only. The chances of a recorded delivery package going missing is exactly the same as an ordinary first class. And the extra paid is 65p. The compensation maximum is £28, the same as first class (those who posted different prices earlier - the max you can claim is 100 x Basic Rate of First Class post).

The only service they offer which is actually tracked in special delivery. Other services that are tracked are run by external companies (Parcelforce etc...).

Our post has become more reliable on the one delivery per day - but we have been on that for several months now. It seems to be sorting itself out now - but other areas are suffering as they swap over. You would think they would learn from their mistakes for other areas.

When ours went to one delivery per day, post would arrive at 8:30 one day, 16:30 the next and then 10:00 the next! There was no consistency. Postmen were swapped about. Each postman now does an 'old' one and a half rounds. But it took time to get a regular person. Now it is the same person doing the same round, it has become better.

Give it some time. However, losing customers, money and goods is frustrating. Even if your losing £3, put a claim in. I batch them up and do the forms together. It seems to shock the post office staff when you ask for 18 missing parcel claim forms!


 11:19 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

Not so long ago Royal Mail had the reputuation of being the best and most cost effective postal service in Europe. I used to get my mail at 8 am each morning which included small parcels. Bulkier parcels were delivered typically around 11 am. Always the same people who knew their rounds intimately.

Now my mail arrives about mid day. Initially it was delivered by someone who didn't know the local area and lied to my face when I challenged him about a 'do not bend' envelope containing large photographs which he had doubled up to shove through the letter box. Things have improved recently, but the service is still worse than it was.

Why did our government destroy a great service? We were told it was making a loss, that it needed to be reformed. Oh how I hate ideologues. :(


 11:30 am on Jul 3, 2004 (gmt 0)

'Why did our government destroy a great service? We were told it was making a loss, that it needed to be reformed. Oh how I hate ideologues.'

because they intend to privatise it.

Simple really.

The Grizzler

 11:17 am on Jul 4, 2004 (gmt 0)

Just had a friend round who owns a local post office.

He is convinced that systems are being put in place pre-privatisation to deliberately cause us these headaches.

He tells me that the postal workers know that the situation is dire and that they know what some of the solutions are. However the managers are implementing programmes and ideas that can only make the situation worse.

Just how long are we going to have to endure this?

I will be asking my MP some tough questions tomorrow.

This 52 message thread spans 2 pages: 52 ( [1] 2 > >
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