Saturday 8 December 2012

Royal Mail proposes 2nd class and small/medium parcel service

7 December 2012 - Edited Press release

Royal Mail announces proposals to change its parcels range

  • Royal Mail is consulting on changes to its parcels range. The proposals apply to consumers, small non-contract business and franking customers. Currently, there are up to 15 weight bands for parcels. Royal Mail’s proposal is to reduce that by more than half to seven weight bands from April 2013
  • The proposal means Royal Mail’s range of parcel products should be easier for consumers to understand and improve choice. They will have the ability for the first time to send parcels between 1kg and 20kg using Royal Mail’s 2nd Class service, with the added option to receive a signature on delivery
  • The proposal also includes introducing two broad parcel categories – small parcels and medium parcels.
The proposals should be easier for consumers to understand and improve choice. They will have the ability for the first time to send parcels between 1kg and 20kg using Royal Mail’s 2nd Class service, with the added option to receive a signature on delivery.

Currently, for items weighing up to 20kg, signature on delivery is only available through 1stClass. We believe the increase in the 2ndClass weight limit to 20kg is a very meaningful addition to customer choice. As a result of this improvement, our Standard Parcels product will be withdrawn.

In addition, Royal Mail’s proposal is to introduce two broad parcel categories – small parcels and medium parcels.  Parcels are priced by weight but the size of a parcel has an impact on the cost of collecting, transporting, sorting and delivering an item.

Changes to compensation levels for untracked and Recorded Signed For items

Royal Mail intends to change its compensation arrangements to bring them more in line with other postal companies. It is our intention to increase the maximum compensation payable for loss or damage of Recorded Signed For items from £46 to £50. These are items for which a signature is collected on delivery and a proof of posting receipt is provided.

Alongside this, it is our intention to reduce compensation for loss or damage of items sent using our untracked 1stand 2ndClass stamped mail and parcels from £46 to £20. Many countries do not offer any compensation for loss or damage of untracked items, including Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

We will continue to pay compensation for delayed items and the limit will be unchanged. The changes will ensure that Royal Mail provides proportionate and reasonable compensation based on the service used and postage paid.

I doubt that there will be much impact on stamps and collecting, although there may well be an option for 2nd class small parcels on Post and Go machines.

In the letter service, the Packets are anything over 353 x 250 x 25mm, and 2nd class (for which Recorded Signed For is available) is limited to 1 kg.

The new proposals will introduce

Small parcels - items that weigh up to 2kg and are no larger than 450mm x 350mm x 80mm in size; and

Medium parcels - items that have dimensions larger than the small parcels size but no bigger than 610mm x 460mm x 460mm, and up to 20kg in weight.

Under the proposals, items larger than the medium parcel size (610mm x 460mm x 460mm) or over 20kg in weight will no longer be delivered through the Royal Mail letter service as Packets, but will be sent by ParcelForce.  Recorded Signed For will not therefore be available for the larger-sized items.

Although this is supposed to provide extra services and simplify the service, there seems to be a degree of overlap with the Packet rates - customers will have to compare the options carefully.


  1. Typical Royal Mail; Increase the compensation payout by £4.00, and then reduce the payout on non tracked items by £26. The compensation payout has traditionally been 100 x thr cost of a first class stamps, so ut should be £60. When will Royal Mail take the responsibility for their own shortcomings and inefficiencies? If they did, may be more care would be taken of other people's goods.

    1. I suspect Royal Mail have decided to combat false claims. (Would that PayPal would do the same!)

      If the item posted is covered only by a certificate of posting, why should Royal Mail pay out £60 with no proof of contents. There are multiple problems.

      If you buy something on eBay and the seller sends it, but you don't get it, you can get your money back, but the seller can't unless it's tracked. And if a buyer CLAIMS non-delivery for something that isn't tracked, then the seller has to swallow the loss even if the goods were actually received - because there is no proof either way.

      Of course there are things sent through the post that are not in the course of business. But I suspect there are too many fraudulent claims just as there are with insurance, and in the case of untracked post the sender isn't even paying for insurance.

    2. I'm gald you mentioned Paypal, whose policy is so one sided in favour of the buyer to be unbelievable. Buyers who choose non-trackable services should forfoit their right to compensation in the same way that sellers who do likewise have money taken away from them. Royal Mail, in their efforts to combat fraud, shouold operate a system where dealers with a proven track record of honesty, such as yoursleves, should be compensated to the full when the fault is Royal Mail's irrespective of the service chosen. That might focus their attention on more care when handling other people's property. We have preferential treatment for those on benefits over Christmas; let's have preferential treatment for regular honest customers as well.

    3. In UK law, the seller is responsible for supplying a buyer who has paid. There is no more to it than that. Many casual sellers think that once they post something - job done - and if it's lost in the post that's not their problem.

      It is. If the item is not supplied to the customer, then he is entitled to a replacement or refund. The supplier cannot prove whether or not the customer received the item unless it is tracked. The supplier has to refund or replace. Even Royal Mail can't tell. It's down to the honesty of the buyer.

    4. Maybe Royal Mail and others couriers should insist on a mandatory service whereby all items over a certain value are sent by a tracked system, and inexpensively. In these days of computeristaion, it shouldn't be too expensive once such systems are set up, and they probabky are set up already. The system, and law as it is is open to abuse. It would also ensure that everyone is playing on a level playing field

  2. Great!
    That will surely impact on their service.

  3. I expect the recorded and special delivery stamps to be re issued as the proposal is that they will be renamed "Royal Mail Signed For" and "Royal Mail Special Delivery Gauranteed by 1PM" (What a mouth full)

    The weight limit for the 1PM service will also be increased to 20kg but I can see no mention of the 9AM service unless I am missing something.

    It does look as many details still need confirming for example what service does a rolled package go under a small or medium parcel ????

    1. I don't see why the Recorded Signed For stamps NEED to be reissued in new colours, as there are plenty in stock and the colour matches the branding. Very many offices don't use them: they use the Horizon labels instead. Only people who regularly use the service will use the stamps.

      But come the spring we will find out!

  4. Regarding quality of service from the Royal Mail, yesterday I sent 3 packets of about 1.5kg via the Special Delivery before 9am service from West Wales. Postage costs were £24.75, £24.75 and £20.45 all to one address near Aylesbury. Unbelievably none have arrived before 9AM or now before even 1pm. Speaking to customer services I'm told to wait another couple of days to see if they turn up, but dont worry sir you can claim for non delivery. So with the compensation I can claim for the postage costs if the parcels turn up (£69) or £150 provided I put original receipts for the items inside the parcels but then I dont get the postal charges back ? So you send an item worth £50 on a £24 service but you only get back £50 if they dont deliver by the agreed time and they lose it anyway?
    As this is their premium service and its the 10th 'before 9am SD' parcel I have had to claim this year with this service is , it really is 'pants'. Reading the small print they dont have to deliver before 9am, it can be upto 9:30 which they have tried to wriggle out of paying compensation.


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