Saturday, 7 August 2010

UK postal surcharges

A few times, I've sent items out from my website via the local Post Offices (not just the one in the village), where the item has been measured, weighed and - one would assume - the correct postage charged, only to find out that there has been a surcharge on delivery! I've been on the receiving end of this farce too. So I was interested to read this article on the BBC website today -

Call for end to surcharges cause by Post Office errors

Nigel Woods of Consumer Focus said he did not agree that training was much at fault, but said that it was wrong that the price quoted at the counter could be changed later and the recipient surcharged.

So his organisation will talk to the management of Royal Mail and the Post Offices to get things changed.

"We'd like to see if there can be a system in place so when a customer buys a stamp over the counter and the mail gets sent from the post office through the system, when it it is pulled out by revenue protection people, they can see it's been purchased over the counter and will let the mail carry on," said Mr Woods.

"They can then take it up with Post Offices Ltd internally," he suggested.

I agree. Something needs to be done. When an item has been weighed, measured and sent via the post office counter staff, it is a totally different issue to the sender simply putting too few/wrong value stamps on a letter and dropping it in a post box. Exempting anything with a "stamp" created in a Post Office labelling machine would be a good start!


Rosalind said...

I saw that too and agree that it is a silly situation that should(and could) be remedied immediately. I haven't been on the sending or receiving end of that situation but have found anomalies between the Royal Mail website and the local PO. I have packed and weighed and checked price online and then been given a different price at the PO. At first I thought the scales were perhaps out but I checked with the PO and they were getting the same weight as me----just a different price?

Susan Briscoe said...

Yes, I've had something similar quite a few times - I weigh the packed item at home (accurate digital scales) and get a price from the Royal Mail website. Then I take it to the local Post Office, where it is weighted on a scale with a dial! The staff spend half their time trying to work out where the needle on the scale is sitting! Then they charge me more...

You would think in this day and age, the Post Office would have progressed onto digital scales.

It is very annoying. I have to put a reasonable p & p charge on my website, which I work out by weighing the items and packaging on the digital scales & checking against the Royal Mail website, but then sometimes the PO charges slightly less (making me look like I'm overcharging) then other times I end up having to pay more.