Royal Mail - costs more, gives you less

10 December 2012

There seems to be a worrying trend in public service organisations at the moment. Charge more for less! Make people pay through the nose for a lower level of service-that’s the way to make money. London Midland, for example, are still raking in the exact same amount of £millions in Government stipend despite cancelling over 950 trains since mid-October. Now, Royal Mail are getting in on the shafting-the-public act.

Earlier this year, the business came under severe criticism for increasing the price of stamps way beyond the rate of inflation. First class stamps went up from 46 pence to 60 pence and the price of second class stamps from 36 pence to 50 pence. At the same time, no-one reported an increase in service levels, with many people not receiving their mail until late afternoon, or at all if it happened to be raining.

Now, Royal Mail have decided to cut the compensation offered for lost letters. Damaged or lost letters that are untracked (i.e not recorded or Special Delivery) can currently get up to £46 in compensation, but the firm are now ‘consulting’ to more than halve this to £20. The rationale for this has absolutely nothing to do with trying to make the business attractive to private investors in a future flotation, instead Royal Mail said sniffily that they were just trying to be the same as other countries, claiming that many countries including Germany, the Netherlands and the US, do not offer any compensation at all for untracked mail. But quite possibly these countries get their mail a bit quicker. And cheaper- US stamps, for example, currently start at 46 cents.

The announcement was one of a whole host of changes outlined by the taxpayer-owned service company regarding its pricing and services. They are also considering increasing the compensation on recorded items from £46 to £50. ‘Recorded- Signed for’ service costs at least 95p more than standard posting, but even so cannot guarantee the item, posted first class, will arrive the following day. For that you need to pay a minimum of £5.90, almost ten times the cost of a stamp that should do the job.

Royal Mail have already had a few votes in our Worst Company of the Year Award, perhaps they are canvassing for a few more…

23 comments

  • sdutton007
    Since the Royal Mail is a monopoly (and always will be as the infrastructure to create an alternative would be extremely expensive and inpractical), they can do whatever they like. Yes, they are absolutely f*cking useless - but they are trying their very hardest to get even worse! Kudos!
  • postman p.
    SDutton007 like many people havent got a clue, for a start royal mail is no longer a monopoly nor has it been for a long time.. next time you get your post look at the top right corner.. u will see the post marks of rival companies.. tnt, dhl, and a load of other companies which take the bulk letters from the likes of banks/ utilities.. take the lion share of the profit.. and then dump it into royal mail who then have to deliver it because of the uso.
  • jolly r.
    Lots of Post Offices have been closed down, and its getting near impossible to find one that does Car Tax renewal. The closure of Post Offices was due to the fact that they were being subsidised by the government and the government decided it was no longer economically sound to continue on that course. As far as Postage rates are concerned, I believe Royal Mail makes a loss on every letter they deliver !! Personally I think they do a reasonable job but I just wish they wouldn't leave parcels outside my house where any passing tom dick harry can take them !! Maybe they do this to encourage those sending to take out insurance.
  • Alexis
    They never give you an compo anyway and fob you off with a book of stamps.
  • Sicknote
    You can always make the post office work for you; simply pop into your local post office when they're at their busiest and follow these instructions: 1. Grab the biggest jiffy bag you can find; they sell one that you fit a human head into. 2. Wander about the store dropping items into the jiffy bag; remember that expensive shit is better than cheap shit so none of those Rick Astley CD's. 3. When your jiffy bag is fit for bursting seal it up and pop to the counter. 4. When you get to the counter pay for the jiffy bag and tell the assistant that you have some medicines and shit to send your sick granny and ask to borrow a pen. 5. Write your own name but your neighbours address, this is important. 6. Pay the postage and get out of dodge. Now, if you haven't fucked up then a few days later you'll have your neighbour knocking your door with a sack of goodies; if the rozzers knock the door then simply say your neighbour gave you the packet and asked you to post it. Happy robbing you little bastards
  • sdutton007
    @Postman Pat: I'm afraid you are the one who hasn't got a clue. Obviously you are one of the few people foolish enough to still believe the Royal Fail provide a reasonable level of service. Royal Mail is still technically a monopoly because there is not a single other company that is able (or even allowed until a few years ago, by which time it was far too late to even be financially possible) to provide a similar service. And as you yourself said, TNT/DHL/etc still have to give it to the Royal Fail to deliver, so how is that NOT a monopoly? And don't even get me started on the amount of mail that mysteriously goes missing around here...
  • Euan
    Folk expect US mail to take days to just get across town ... at least with Royal Mail you're in with a decent chance of something posted first class arriving the next day.
  • I n.
    Oh its Christmas time and all those lovely coloured envelopes will be so so tempting and I wonder how many will be mysteriously sellotaped up upon arrival if they arrive at all. Bonuses and freebies all round....robbing barstewards!
  • Kevin
    Maybe if we actually paid the amount it costs to provide the service rather than living decades behind the times we'd appreciate things more? Try getting a letter from one end of the country to the other with a courier and see how much they will charge you. If we paid a decent rate (not that people would or could, but if we'd actually paid the true rate) maybe they wouldn't have to take all that money for junk mail. As without that the service would just collapse.
  • Mr M.
    @ kevin That arguement never works, Royal Mails network was financed by our taxes to enable them to get post from one end of the country to the other. If we gave DHL, Fedex and all the rest money to set up something similar I'm sure we would see much more competitive pricing. Also, I'd happily welcome more junk mail every day if it means lower postage costs.
  • sdutton007
    @ Kevin Your entire point is wrong, I'm afraid. Although you did get one thing right: "Try getting a letter from one end of the country to the other with a courier and see how much they will charge you." - yes, for a single item, it would be expensive. But, imagine DHL/TNT/etc had a huge infrastructure built for them at no cost (like Royal Fail did), complete with over 100,000 post boxes, 17,000 post offices, sorting offices, warehouses, vans/lorries, etc and then were delivering 84 million items per day. The price would drop like a stone.
  • ooooer
    Last week I had a small value item sent to me first class. A week later and it still had not arrived. A replacement item went out first class and recorded delivery. Both items arrived together two days later. Sort of had a sinking feeling this would happen. First class is now second class and you need to cough up a further 77p for something approaching first class mail, now.
  • Mr T.
    @sdutton007 Royal Fail! Ha ha! I bet you're a hit with the ladies! The price wouldn't drop like a stone. It would remain at the same level because people already pay that price, like what happens with petrol when oil prices fall - prices don't fall by nearly as much or at speed.
  • Chewbacca
    You're all missing one thing, other companies DO already deliver to home addresses. Granted, it's a trial, and of course it's in London, BUT it proves a point. google "royal mail last mile". Thing is, further deregulation will open up all the lucrative patches (read population dense areas) whilst RM will be lumbered with the rest of the shit. You think stamps are expensive now?
  • sdutton007
    @ Mr Tumble "The price wouldn’t drop like a stone. It would remain at the same level because people already pay that price, like what happens with petrol when oil prices fall – prices don’t fall by nearly as much or at speed." Yes, if they were stupid enough to scare away all of their customers. If they wanted to rival Royal Mail, they would have to drop their prices (and still make plenty of profit).
  • Edinburgh p.
    Customers are paying through the nose??? Are you having a laugh, customers have gotten away with paying less for a stamp than it actually costs to deliver it for DECADES. Royal Mail is finally putting the price upto 60p and folk are complaining?? 60p to send a letter from one end of britain to the other is too much. Don't make me laugh. You STILL have the lowest stamp prices in europe by a mile, it costs something like 1.50 for the same thing in Germany. The public need to take their heads out of their copllective asses and see the bigger picture here. The govenment has pocketed Royal Mails profits and never reinvested in the company, and it brought it to its knees, now we as a company try to run at a profit and folk are complaining. Deary me.
  • sdutton007
    @ Edinburgh postie: Complete and utter horse-shit, but let's just assume that you are correct about "customers have gotten away with paying less for a stamp than it actually costs to deliver it for DECADES." If you want to run a successful business you have to make a PROFIT not a LOSS - even the Royal Mail (who are absolutely appalling IMHO due to the amount of mail that gets lost, is always late, doesn't turn up until after lunchtime, etc). And considering the Royal Mail are still a monopoly (see previous posts) and thus have no direct competition, sending items at a loss would be even more ridiculous.
  • sdutton007
    @ Edinburgh postie (again): "You STILL have the lowest stamp prices in europe by a mile, it costs something like 1.50 for the same thing in Germany." I just looked this up - posting a letter in Germany (95% arrive within 1 day, 99% within 2 days. Compared with Royal Fail's 92.8% of first class arriving on time, although TBH you are lucky if the letter even gets there) costs EUR0.55 - less than 45pence. Your move, postie!
  • Mr T.
    @ sdutton007 in your excited haste to look smug and right you have only quoted the lowest price the German postal service offer, which is only for postcards. If you compare the weight of items (and size in regard to large letters and packets), you will see that on a like for like basis Edinburgh postie was nearer the mark than you. 60p for a 1st class letter up to 100g in the UK and €0.95 for only 21-50g in Germany.
  • sdutton007
    @ Mr Tumble, In your excited haste to try making me look wrong, you have failed completely. Postcards are EUR0.45 and small letters are EUR0.55 (as I said before). For weights such as 50-100g, yes, Germany is more expensive. I'm not claiming that postage is always cheaper over there than the UK (although it is definitely a LOT more reliable and efficient) - I was simply correcting 'Edinburgh postie'.
  • Mr T.
    Sie haben unrecht. Wieder.
  • sdutton007
    @ Mr Tumble Translation: "You are wrong. Again." Well done - you can use a translator! Speak English instead of trying to make yourself sound intelligent! So what mental disorder do you have that makes you think you know more about the postage rates in Germany than the German Post Office does???
  • Santa C.
    Is being German a mental disorder?

What do you think?

Connect with Facebook, Twitter, or just enter your email to sign in and comment.

Your comment