Thursday 7 March 2013

IMPORTANT NEWS FOR UK SENDERS - and their customers!

As noted earlier, UK inland and international postage rates will change on Tuesday 2 April 2013. 

{updated} There are plans by Royal Mail (see below) for international mail to be priced in a similar way to inland (Pricing in Proportion) and it has been suggested that this is a hidden change to take effect from 2 April.  However we have now been told that the change will be introduced at a later date:

From a reliable source in PO Ltd:
"This size limit for 'letters' is not part of the changes for the 2nd April and the 'Tariff Leaflets' do not include any reference to this.

No communications to POs have been issued for size checking of international items."

{Original Blogpost}
The new rates leaflet is available on Royal Mail's website, but some key information is not included on that leaflet, and that directly relates to this discussion. Enclosures per se are no longer a problem, nor a factor in determining whether the item is a letter or a small packet.

The leaflet includes a guide to sizes. For Inland items this is the familiar PIP for letters and large letters, with new information about the new small/medium/large packets:

For International items the following guidance is given:

But earlier this year Royal Mail published a consultation paper on the Overseas Letter Post Scheme 2013. There's one every year and it enables them to consult on things that they don't need Oftel approval for but which they do consider they ought to ask about. However, they had no responses on this carefully hidden consultation paper. And here we find the distinction between Letters and Small Packets.

When asked to clarify when this took effect, Royal Mail said that it was 2 April.  But in their 'Recent Changes to Terms and Conditions' I found this:

The new dimensions driven definition of formats will not be applied immediately. Customers will be given time in which to adapt to the change and will be informed before the new pricing methodology comes into force.

So it's not in the rate leaflet, and 'customers will be informed' before it comes into force.  It remains to be seen whether and how Post Office branches will deal with this.  If past experience is anything to go by, each Post Office branch will use it's own interpretation of the rules, as described in this discussion on the Stampboards forum.

Watch this post for updates on this topic.

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