Monday, 7 March 2016

Meltdown at Tallents House: things can only get better

I suppose we ought to have some sympathy for Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles. They spend what must have been a huge sum of money (you can't upgrade a computer system without spending money) and despite postponing the implementation by several months the system is causing their customers – and therefore their staff – considerable difficulties.

This is what they wrote to ordinary collectors in January:

As you may recall, we wrote to you recently about forthcoming changes to the Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles computer system. Before implementing the proposed changes we undertook rigorous testing, which identified the need for further improvements and led us to delay the upgrade. We took this decision in order to avoid any adverse effects on your stamps and collectibles orders and to safeguard the security of your information.

Safeguarding the security of your information means that they no longer keep your credit card details on the own database – which is a good safeguard if their system is ever hacked. Instead, when you make a payment you are asked to key in your card number, expiry date, and security code. This is a reasonable system, though I know of no other organisation that operates in this way.

The problem is it takes time. Telephone calls take longer. That means that other callers are kept waiting for longer, and when they do get through the customers naturally complain about the delay and have a general gripe about the organisation. The staff have been dealing with this very patiently, professionally and politely, but of course this moaning also takes time and makes the calls longer, leading to more delays for the people who still haven't got through. Several people have reported holding on listening to the music for over 50 minutes. How useful speaker-phones are, allowing you to make a brew or do the crossword whilst waiting!

Apparently it doesn't only affect collectors as small businesses and corner shops which order direct for resale are also experiencing delays in answering calls. My newsagent can't keep his phone tied up to Edinburgh as it prevents him from taking credit card payments and receiving incoming calls: 10 minutes is about as long as he can give them, so he is running out of stamps – part of his stock which he would normally receive the day after ordering them. No wonder that customers are buying their stamps (and cards) from supermarkets instead.

As promised, the new Despatch Note provides clearer information, but it doesn't explain why certain items are not included. For one of my orders, the item ordered was out of stock and not being replenished, but this was not mentioned.  At the very least you would expect a purchasing system to put an 'O/S' entry on the Despatch Note, or mark that line 'to follow'. [I'm told that this was an exception; most stamps are either 'in stock', 'to be replenished', or 'not yet issued'. ]

On the other hand you may not have received a Despatch Note because you are still waiting for stamps which are on standing order. I know of two people who have received their Royal Mail 500 stamps and the miniature sheet, but who are still waiting for the 1d Red booklet, generic sheet and PSB issued the next day!

In response to my questions regarding their system Fraser Chisholm, Royal Mail Head of Customer Marketing, wrote:
First and foremost can I apologise to our customers for the service received from Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles at the moment.  This is certainly not the level of service we seek to give our customers.

We are currently moving to a new computer system which has given us challenges as we implement new more financially compliant procedures and measures to safeguard our customers personal data.  We are working hard to put this right, we are giving our agents additional training and moving staff from across the Royal Mail business to answer our customer enquiries. 

Things are improving and I ask customers to bear with us at this time of transition. 
In response to my point about items missing from the Despatch Notes, he wrote:
We are continuing to work on this issue, as we do see it a the correct way to communicate.  However there are other priorities at the moment and we will deal with this issue at the appropriate time.

I'm sure all will be well before much longer.  I hope so for the sake of the staff who seem to be as frustrated as many of the customers are.  In the meantime, if you need to contact Tallents House about items missing from your orders I suggest you email philatelic.enquiries@royalmail.com – it will save you from listening to all that music, and save the staff from listening to your justified moans – you could even ask them to phone you when they have a free moment.

UPDATE 13 April
I know this won't be any consolation to collector-customers of Royal Mail as we registered dealers have a separate email address to use, but... 
2 orders placed 6 April, delivered 9th and 12th;
simple supplementary order placed 11 April delivered 13th;
I hope collectors will report when they see service returned to acceptable levels as well.

UPDATE 1 JULY: readers - especially Barclays Bank customers - will be interested in the latest:
http://blog.norphil.co.uk/2016/07/update-for-stamp-collectors-buying-from.html

27 comments:

  1. My last order from them placed over the phone and via eBay, saw each item group being sent separate from the others (Greetings sheet, retail book and Machin retail book and Heritage set, P&G and 1st Christmas book), as you mention, each dispatch note/invoice made no reference to the other items.

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    1. I had the same. Ordered several items which arrived in 4 separate envelopes over several days. No mention on the despatch notes of the other items.

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  2. I had the same. I ordered several items by post. They arrived in 4 envelopes over several days. No mention of the other items on the invoice.

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  3. Tried to phone them today (8th March) but held on for 50 minutes (music was so boring I couldn't listen any longer). Clearly they have a problem. I have a letter from them about renewing my Bulletin subscription that makes no sense!! No doubt they will be wondering why subscriptions are lapsing and nobody is renewing!!
    Doug (Enfield)

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  4. I was going to ask today if they had problems and low behold there is a post. Tried several times but I dont have time to sit there waiting.
    I have a querry over the RM500 series. I was never sent an advice note for one lot then money out of my bank does not tally up and items are not individually listed like they used to be I have to guess what my regular order consists of :(. If they had taken money out twice for both sets I might be able to find the error better.

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  5. With these new Despatch Notes it would be VERY useful to know what my current balance is after a particular issue. I also query why I'm getting Order Advice Notes on forth coming issues? Is it that my account does NOT have enough funds? Could we have an online method of paying in money to our accounts rather than hanging on the phone day after day? Use of the Royal Mail site could be improved enormously by being able to order stamps that are on the stock list and not just the limited choice the Royal Mail offers (and NO I don't want to use the POST).

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  6. Penelope 'Penny' Black13 March 2016 at 11:51

    Rather than items being missing from an Order Advice Note, my gripe is that - presumably due to the same problems with their 'upgraded' computer system - Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles ADDED an order for the recent "Penny Red" Prestige Stamp Book FDC (but with a Regular Order discount, so presumably the same will happen for future PSB FDCs), even though I have never ordered a similar item in the past.

    So far, Royal Mail has chosen to ignore multiple e-mails, and 'snail mail' letters (both to Tallents House and to Moya Greene, Royal Mail CEO).

    It's not a lot of money at stake (less than £10), but presuming that my exoperience was not unique, all of those small sums would add up.

    Next step will seem to have to be efforts (through the courts) to have Royal Mail's entitlement to process Direct Debit payments suspended, on the grounds of fraud.... (Given that no order existed for the product supplied, I feel justified in considering that it is intended as a gift!)

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  7. Penfold (but you can call me "Penny") Black13 March 2016 at 11:55

    Am I being a cynic to think that Fraser Chisholm's (Royal Mail Head of Customer Marketing) mention of "other priorities at the moment" is a reference to maximising shareholder profits, in part through understaffing and inadequate testing of a much-vaunted and long-awaited new computer system?

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    1. Stamps and Collectables contribution to Royal Mail overall profits is minor.

      A question for you: if you are diversifying a business to sell pricey souvenir collectables to a non-core group (ie not to stamp collectors), people who will buy online and who are used to instant gratification as so many online buyers are these days, would you ensure that you were geared up to achieve 24/48-hour despatch or would you assume that your new (and hopefully repeat) customer will wait 28 days for delivery?

      And would you have a call-centre which answers within seconds/minutes or keep people waiting for 30-50 minutes?

      Delete
  8. I reported my 8th March experience (above) and until today have had no luck getting through as each time I've been holding for about 30 minutes before giving up. My email of the 8th still hasn't been answered. On the 15th I tried later in the day at 15:38 and was on hold until 16:20 when again I gave up. Today (16th) I decided a lunchtime phone call and called at 12:02 and unexpectedly got through at 12:26!! My query related to the Bulletin subscription which had, according to a letter I received, expired despite always having it on standing order and was shown on my February statement as part of 'future standing orders'. The stamps on that statement have been received. It appears that the Bulletin must be renewed 'manually' on the 'new' system. However, I now can see why it takes so long to get through. Once you have requested your items (in my case the Bulletin) they connect you to their server (that's their words) and you then enter your bank details via your telephone keypad. I can see it is more secure in that they are not holding your bank details for this type of transaction. BUT I presume they still have your details so that they can service standing orders for stamp and stamp products? Obviously I could have renewed my Bulletin subscription on-line but clearly there is some confusion between the old and new systems which hasn't been thought through. The person I spoke to still had to check whether I had already paid as per my statement dated 4th Feb.
    Doug (Enfield)

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  9. I have been waiting over 1 month for a refund, after waiting 30 mins on the phone this morning I am told that these are 1 month in arrears, and appear to be least of Royal Mail's problems. As with others e mails and letters just get ignored or get a generated stock reply. NOT good enough RM sorry.

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  10. hhmmmm.... I've just read through all the comments and replies and have to agree with most if not all.
    I have been waiting since mid February for RM to contact me about missing FDC's (all Tallents House) and what to do with the wrong ones they sent for Royal Mail 500 issue and the P&G Heritage Transport.
    Likewise I am still waiting for their solution to the problem of them sending THREE Tallents House FDC's when only 2 were ordered whilst I am still missing the Winton cover for Humanitarians issue.
    All the definitives (Regional and 105p) mint arrived OK a couple of weeks ago but only 4 covers instead of the 15 ordered.
    I am holding onto my heart for what they will ship for the Shakespeare issue and am wondering if I should go back to buying via eBay and spending a little more money instead of applying directly to Royal Mail.
    If my husband and I had run our wire production business of 40 years in the same fashion, we would never have been able to sell is so lucratively back in 2008!!
    I live in Holland and have sent at least 2 messages to Royal Mail over the last 2 years asking WHY they ship each cover individually instead of putting everything into one package. Because the covers are only sent in a regular envelop there is always the risk of damaged corners or even folds before the item reaches me. RM have had to ship extra covers when this has happened which defeats any profit they might be trying to make.
    The only items which arrive in ONE envelop are the mint stamps/sheets. And I've stopped trying to make sense of the dispatch note which comes with the mint items - it doesn't make sense!! I tend to make my own notes on the original order which I keep on file in my PC to show me what and when an item has arrived as I can't rely on the RM dispatch note to tell me what is still outstanding.
    I tried phoning RM this afternoon as there is only radio silence regarding my 5 emails since February but gave up after 55 minutes. Living outside the UK means I will have a hefty phone bill to pay next month as I am not entitled to 'free phone' calls! At first I quite enjoyed the classica muzak but it started wearing very thin after a while as it was just one section of a piece on a loop. Now I'm stuck with the notes in my head!!
    I am a small private collector and have been happy with my albums which have grown in width and numbers since I was 7 years old.
    I stopped collecting Dutch issues back in 2012 as they had gotten silly with only 4 or maybe 5 small issues each year coupled to additional sheets of 10 different stamps (20 different stamps on a card for the Christmas issue!). As I had been saving both mint and cancelled issues, the growing amount of 'sheets' started making a huge hole in my bank balance. So I quit.
    I love the British stamps for the most part and all the events they cover but I have a feeling that if RM doesn't pull it's socks up soon, I will shut my UK albums down and save my pennies and energy for the various holes in my collection.
    And I suppose the biggest insult is that we customers are asked to pay in full before a stamp is issued. I used to use my credit card but changed my method to Paypal as I can make a claim for non-arrival/damage much easier. I agree that it's perhaps not a very good idea for large companies to keep creditcard details in their database as these are targeted more than say my individual PC. Saying that a well spoken Indian tried his best to scam me a few weeks ago but I cut him off and said I worked with an iPad and he must be off his head insisting I have Microsoft problems!! I might be female and was once blond but it will take a bit more than his patter to con me out of my pension and hard earned pennies!!

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    1. To update my original comment, I can now inform the readers of this blog that my RM500 and Post & Go back orders plus the one missing FDC from the Humanitarians issue have now successfully been delivered together with apologies for any and all inconvenience caused. I personally think this may have in some way been the result of a gentle push from Ian after he informed me he had passed my comment on this site on to 'someone' in Royal Mail which then resulted in an almost immediate email to me from a Mr.Kennedy in Edinburgh. This man seems to have wielded some magic and been able to initiate immediate replacements for all the missing covers since February. I am only now waiting for the last 2 covers (one Definitive and one N.Ireland Definitive) which were never sent with the rest of the order which arrived on 2 different days and all in seperate envelopes.
      My Shakespeare order arrived in timely good order (read complete!) and I now have to wait and see what they do with my QEII 90th birthday order.
      I do have some sympathy for the Royal Mail, especially those on the front desk as they will bear the brunt of each customer's chagrin and annoyance but also feel someone desperately needs to return to the drawing board and figure out why things went and are still going wrong and build up barriers to put things right.
      I have also received two seperate emails from RM which were actually replies to my original messages sent over a month ago through 'normal' channels. I get it - the new system has failed miserably!! I keep reading about high demand and subsequent slow responses from RM which is all well and good but to be able to purchase anything from Royal Mail means paying up front and often long before a new stamp set is actually issued. It wouldn't surprise me to hear that some of the larger customers start legal proceedings against RM as they are clearly not keeping their side of the purchase agreement!
      I was told in one of these later emails that 'something' had gone wrong with the input of my order and the person responsible for 'picking' it chose the wrong FDC's to send. I have to ask myself if this message was CYA (cover your arse) information or the mistakes made human or system error. Either way it's been an infuriating couple of months and I seem to have racked up quite some hours both writing and reading emails.
      The nearly an hour on hold phone call was generously compensated by Mr.Kennedy with a 100% refund on my Humanitarians order but I have to wonder about the hundreds of others who experienced something similar and if they ever saw reimbursement.
      No doubt we will all read about a huge dip in the RM profits and loss account later this year!!

      Delete
  11. Things are improving! It took ONLY 35 mins to get through this morning. Of course I got no satisfactory answers when I did.

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  12. Today I tried again to contact Tallents House, following numerous aborted phone calls and unanswered E-mails, and spoke to a “real” person in a matter of seconds, I don’t know if I was just lucky but they said they had sorted things out and were getting back to normal. We are all quick to moan but I would like to say today they were most helpful. Stuart

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  13. The new system does not dispatch blank First Day Envelopes until day of issue, this just makes life difficult for subscribers who do not know what they will get or when. (6 Envelopes for the RM 500 arrived this week... very useful!). No replacements for missing envelopes (and this is a regular occurrence) will be sent out until at least two weeks after issue day.
    People who have a variable direct debit have for years charged any additional purchases over regular orders to the direct debit. The new system can't do that so you have to block the line while card details are given for individual purchases.
    If this is progress I for one would prefer it if they did not bother.

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  14. I wanted to increase my standing order but was left on hold listening to their awful music for 20 minutes plus. When I did get through the person I spoke to had been drafted in to help and could not find all my standing requirements list on the computer, even though I have been receiving them for nearly 40 years. He looked at my orders and saw that indeed I have been receiving them. He said he would get a colleague to ring me in about 10 minutes. An hour later I am still waiting.

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  15. I haven't the funds or inclination to try to contact RM by telephone from Holland so keep sending emails to someone in Edinburgh. This person (he shall remain nameless!!) seemed happy and willing enough to reply during first weeks/months of contact but had since exhibited only radio silence. I suppose he's got fed up with me prattling on about the wrong covers being sent if they are sent at all.
    I'm happy to inform you that the last and final cover for the Definitive issues arrived a couple of weeks ago - it only took RM 2 months to get that one right and the Animail issue order arrived over a period of 2 days without a hitch.
    But I'm still waiting for 3 replacement covers for the QE90 issue.
    I received a multitude of covers for the stamp set all with Windsor cancellation whereas I had ordered only one Windsor and TWO Edinburgh. Replacements were promised over 3 weeks ago and I'm still waiting. I
    suppose I will have to wait another 3 or 4 weeks for a replacement PSB Definitive pane cover Windsor cancellation to arrive as RM decided to turn the tables and send THREE Tallents House covers instead of the 2 ordered!!
    I've stopped offering to return the 'wrong' covers and try to sell them on to others via a couple of Internet sites.
    I would use some strong language here but it might not be accepted by Norphil so I'll keep a lid on my temper tantrum!!

    I've placed ordered for Pink Floyd and the WWI issues and will sit back and see if someone has finally managed to write corrective computer code so that the 'amount' input works on the web page form as it should (I was told about a month ago there was an error on the Internet input which was the reason RM had made such a mess of most of my orders this year).
    I don't have the luxury of being able to purchase the stamps, mini-sheets and covers I want for my collection anywhere else for the same price as that which I pay at RM. The Dutch stamps and coins stores tend not to cover special needs when it comes to 'foreign' items and eBay sellers can often exaggerate their prices, obviously to cover their eBay/Paypal costs, as well as ask extremely silly shipping charges. I really won't pay 11 quid to have a couple of covers sent to me!!! That's just being unreasonable and is nothing short of insulting to us buyers living outside UK boundaries.

    I suspect that if the 'leaves' have their way in a couple of weeks time when Joe Blogs and his family vote in the upcoming referendum, then I'll see postage rise even higher than it is now!!
    Perhaps it will be time for me to call a halt on my British stamp collection at the end of this year and call it a day?
    It's been, up until now, a truly annus horibilus and dear RM has a long way to go to regain trust and possibly custom from her trustworthy clients!

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  16. I have telephoned Edinburgh at regular intervals since they failed to provide me with the prestige booklets for the Queen's birthday which I paid for about three months ago. They have now failed to deliver the WWI prestige booklets, and I am still waiting for the Queen. As a standing order customer of over 20 years, I have never seen such poor service and have never heard so many lame excuses. I will not be sending any more money until something turns up as they have had an amount approaching £70 of my cash and I have nothing to show for it.

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  17. As I said in an earlier post, I don't try to make contact by phone to RM as it costs me an arm and a leg calling from Holland.
    So I can only use emails and I truly believe that the snails in our garden move faster!!
    Case in point is one remaining FDC with a Windsor cancellation for the QE90 issue which has failed to arrive even though I did receive THREE with Tallents House cancellation (only TWO were ordered!!)
    It seems to take the RM staff exactly TWO weeks to reply to an email and the one contact I did have a while back seems to have delegated his correspondence or has in fact found new employment and left RM. And I wouldn't blame him either!
    All of my QE90 order arrived in dribs and drabs between 29th April through to 15th June and I still can't close the book on it. I was told in my last email from RM that someone from their 'escalation' staff would be contacting me about the cover but that they couldn't tell me when this would be. I have calculated it will be another 2 weeks before this happens and then another 2 weeks (if I'm very lucky) before said cover arrives.

    I am unfortunate in that I don't have many options in Holland to purchase GB issues as and when they come onto the market. I used to focus on eBay but am sometimes astounded as to the prices being asked, sometimes up to 50% more than face value. So I grit my teeth and continue to order what I want directly from RM although I do use another address for the special Machins and PSB covers.

    I spent over 71 quid on 7th June for my WWI order and have yet to receive any of the items I paid for even though a trustworthy eBayer has already sent some extra covers and my 'special' contact told me that he had put my PSB covers in the post yesterday. So if the dealers can deliver either immediately or within a reasonable span of time from date of issue, then why can't RM?

    Yes I know you can all tell me that I'll have to wait a bit longer for my letters from the UK but actually this just isn't so as items from my trustworthy eBayer take a maximum of 3 days between him receiving my Paypal payment and the items arriving on my doormat.

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  18. Each time I receive stamps they are double by the postman/woman,can a piece of cardboard not be put into the envelope to stop them getting bent double rendering them almost useless.

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    1. This is not really the place for an extensive discussion on delivery practices but sendings from Tallents House should be in envelopes marked 'Please do not bend'. If the stamps are damaged on arrival then you should complain to Customer Services at TH and get replacements, and get a freepost address or envelope to return the damaged ones. All the deliveries we have are packed with board but that does not stop them being bent in the mail sack. You could also speak nicely to the postman!

      Of course if you are writing about deliveries from other sources then forget what I wrote above!

      Delete
    2. I have never received anything from Tallents House which has been folded during it's journey through not only the Royal Mail nor the Dutch PostNL systems.

      I would however agree that something could be done to stiffen any and all envelopes RM send to private customers. My mint stamps and/or mini-sheets arrive mostly, but not always, with a covering packing note and contained in a black approval card whilst all FDC's arrive only in a normal weight window envelop together with the FDC insert card. Neither packaging is optimal in my opinion and I have once or twice suggested to Tallents House that their products might sustain less damage if they were packed together as one order in a cardboard backed or stiffened envelope rather than in individual and flimsy envelops. My suggestions were never taken on board and I have had to resort to emailing complaints about damaged FDC corners and then go through the process of waiting for RM to ship replacements which may or may not also arrived with damaged corners.

      I would also point out to 'Eddie' that even a cover shipped in a stiffened envelop can sustain damage when this is opened. Most dealers and FDC sellers use a 16,2 x 23,7 cm stiffened envelope which is only millimetres longer than the average British FDC/cover and these need tremendous care when opening so as not to cut into the contents. I mostly use a very thin and sharp opener but will sometimes resort to using an extremely thin Stanley knife with which I cut sideways along the flap rather than on the edge of the envelop.

      It's been such a long time now since I received ANYTHING from Tallents House (I'm still waiting for the QE90 issue to be completed and have to date received nothing by post or email relating to The Great War issue) that I can't actually remember if the envelops are marked 'Please do not bend'!!!!

      Delete
  19. Almost correct Royal Mail!!!!
    My Pink Floyd order arrived in Holland in 7 individual and undamaged envelops today even though I'm still waiting for the previous issue order for The Great War. Very quick service for a change!!
    I say almost because I had ordered 2 covers each (stamps and mini-sheet) with Tallents House cancellation and only 1 each with a Granchester cancellation.
    RM decided to send just 1 cover of stamps with Tallents House cancellation plus TWO with a Granchester cancellation!!
    As I use one extra cover of stamps/mini-sheets for my Fine Used collection, this isn't such a huge mistake and I can live with it.
    But it still goes to show that mistakes are STILL being made!
    When will they get their act together?
    But hey - hats off Royal Mail - Pink Floyd has been delivered in a very timely fashion so I won't moan too much.
    Now how about sending me my Great War order as well as completing my QE90 order!!

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  20. It is clear that Royal Mail is a complete and utter disaster. I thought I might be alone in my frustration and anger at the appalling service I have received over the last 6 months but reading other comments from their customers - or should
    that be EX customers - I see I am far from alone. I have been collecting UK stamps for 60 years, both definitives and commemoratives. When it became clear a few years ago that RM was starting to issue ridiculous numbers of commemoratives simply to make money I reduced my standing order to definitives only. I have been emailing them at philatelic_enquiries@royalmail.com since May this year in connection with some missing country issues of 22 March and have received nothing but automated replies. It would appear that no humans work at RM any more. Living in South Africa, it is bad enough to have to put up with the endless theft in the local postal system without the added crap from RM.

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  21. @ anonymous in South Africa......Try this email address - philatelicpriority@royalmail.com...... this was recently given to me to use for contact by someone higher up in the food chain than the general help desk boffins and I seem to get through to him quicker than by going through the addresses listed on the Royal Mail website.
    The last couple of orders seem to have been delivered without problems so perhaps, and I'm not holding my breath here, RM has finally got their act together for the moment. It appears most problems occur when they have complicated issues with stamps, mini-sheets, retail booklets and PSB's... the demand seems to over-power them and their system goes into overdrive! I'll be interested to see how calmly they deal the the next issue of Mr.Men & Little Misses!
    I'm still waiting for my original order of WWI, paid for in June, to be completed as one FDC with mini-sheet has still failed to arrive. By chance, whilst I was ordering some extra items to use as 'singles', I saw the self same cover listed. So I ordered it!! I will try to sell the originally ordered cover if it ever arrives and otherwise hope RM will eventually issue a refund. Guess what? The extra ordered WWI FDC with mini-sheet arrived safe and sound yesterday with absolutely no problems!!!! If you know, then I know!! Isn't this strange? I was told last that my 'back order' would be on a first come first serve basis - not a good working practice if you ask me. But I circumnavigated around their system an have obtained said cover without any problems whatsoever!
    I agree with you about the number of commemoratives - for this reason I stopped collecting the Dutch issues back in 2012. Others collectors like me are getting a bit fed up at the rising costs of all the 'larger' issues - I have to ask myself if it's really necessary to have so many variations to one theme,
    I was forced to go on the hunt a month or so ago when I realized that, according to my Stanley Gibbons Concise, I was missing certain Star Wars stamps which apparently had a slightly different perforation to those issued on the mini-sheet. They look exactly the same on the pane as they do on the sheet and I defy anyone to show me the difference without use of a microscope! I suppose whilst RM continues to use different printers for different parts of an issue, then we collectors will be forced to spend over and above what is sensible to keep our collections up to date!
    Sadly, anonymous from South Africa, it's not only RM who no longer have humans working for them but many other companies too even here in the Netherlands. I avoid telephone contact if I can but was forced last week to use this method of communication with our main postal company (PostNL) and had to work through THREE different automated menu's before I was eventually put on hold (it started off by telling me there were 5 waiting in front of me!!) Their automatic package system had managed for the 5th time this year to mangle something I had neatly packaged and sent through the post and were demanding extra payment as it would no longer pass through a letterbox and would have to be delivered as a parcel at higher costs PLUS administration fees!! And, for the 5th time this year, I was told to ignore the fine as it was their fault!!
    I admit I'm a bit anti standing orders with anyone up to and including my bankers. I prefer to have the reins in my own grubby little hands and make either mental notes or physical reminders on my Mac to check to see if the latest issues are ready to order. The only thing I have automated is my monthly tax payment!!

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  22. We are getting close to the end of this year and I am pleased to report that my orders from Royal Mail are almost close to being perfect. Almost - my Mr.Tickle FDC arrived with the corner of one of the stamps folded where it hadn't been sufficiently glued. A fast email to my RM contact, together with a photo of said damage, initiated an immediate same day response in which I was told a new FDC would be sent straight away and could I please return the damaged one. Other than this, all my recent orders since have arrived on time and exactly as paid for. It's taken quite a while but some of my confidence in Royal Mail is slowly being restored and I will continue to buy the bulk of my collection via them as I have been doing for the last years. I can now only say 'well done Royal Mail for sorting out your problems' and hope that next year is less fraught (*_*)

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