Friday 1 July 2016

Update for Stamp Collectors buying from Royal Mail using Barclays Bank

With apologies to readers who hope to read news about stamps, rather than about Royal Mail's continuing problems, it is time for a further update, following the reports in May (On behalf of ordinary collector customers of Royal Mail's Philatelic Service) and March (Meltdown at Tallents House: things can only get better).

Chris has sent this information regarding how the Royal Mail problems may, or may not, be affecting your bank account.   Many people still use monthly or quarterly paper statements rather than having a more frequent look at their account via online banking.  What follows may come as something of a shock!
Since the introduction of the ‘new’ computer system, there have been numerous problems which are still on going and show no rectification to date.

You will only notice this problem if you pay your direct debits via Barclays Bank. On some occasions the Bureau is requesting the payment, and is taking it, and then almost immediately the payment is refunded into your account. This however is not happening on every transaction, so some transactions are going through as normal. I would say it is very likely that some customers are possibly unaware the transaction has not completed, unless they have looked at their bank statement.  As Customers haven’t received any sort of statement from the Bureau since February, it might be worth warning customers they might expect a one off hefty bill

The Bureau were aware of this problem back in February and thought the problem had been fixed, though in June it reared its head again. When I spoke to the Bureau yesterday re this matter, they were thinking of sending letters to those effected, to make a one off payment of the outstanding amounts they have not collected. This has happened to me on 3 occasions since February.

The Bureau have not made any attempt to re-collect the failed payments.
My prime contact at Royal Mail is now on holiday, and I don't want to burden the hard-working team who are trying to solve these problems by asking for an official statement/comment on this situation.  Last month I was told that on one aspect of the statement/invoice problems they were having a manual investigation of 4,500 records - whether that is 4,500 accounts or 4,500 transactions within just some accounts I don't know: it isn't solved yet.


  1. What a shambles. I'm glad I recently cancelled my standing order.

  2. Wow... am I glad I use Paypal and not a direct debit from a bank (we in Holland would call this a periodic payment).
    And I've been using Internet banking since 1988!!!
    Strange that the British banking world is still stuck on quarterly or half-yearly statements which was the norm when I went to work for the Midland Bank in 1966. Talk about being stuck in a rut!!
    Dutch banks send free 2 weekly statements to both business and private account holders although there is an voluntary option to save a few trees by choosing only digital statements.
    I have to ask myself how people have been sent items from RM without paying for them which I seem to have understood from the comments above. I am made, no FORCED, to remit a Paypal or Creditcard payment before my order has been accepted! And then, of course, cross all fingers and toes that what I've purchased will actually be sent and if so, within a reasonable time from date of issue.

    1. Hi Sue, we aren't stuck on quarterly or half-yearly statements; I get monthly as well as using online banking, but I think bank customers can still choose to get periodic paper statements and a longer interval could be appropriate for an account which is infrequently used.

  3. Steve Wedgbury3 July 2016 at 15:57

    I know what you mean, paid for gutter pairs and mini sheet for 1916, no sign of either, but FDCs arrived on time. ?.

  4. Earlier this year I changed from a continuous credit account, which I periodically topped up via my Barclays visa card, to a direct debit account.

    On 10th May G*** L***, of Philatelic Customer services advised me that I had an outstanding credit which would be refunded and asked for the credit card number. Unfortunately the card in question, that is the one used to top up the account, had been stolen and promptly replaced by Barclays, and it was the number of this card that I supplied. On checking my bank account I was horrified to discover that, far from being credited I had been debited again with the original value of the proposed refund.

    So now the Royal Mail account showed twice the amount due to me. Telephone calls, when answered, revealed that the poor girls answering had little knowledge of what had happened or what to do next..

    Long story short. The direct debit using the new visa card to make my purchases is operational and seems to be working well; as for the matter of actually getting the refund due, the Stamps and Collectible department and I appear to have entered an endless round of musical chairs via e-mails, Facebook messages, and now we've circled back to where it all began.

    I suspect that, as well as problems with the computer system, they have quite considerable organisational difficulties, with no clear lines of responsibility, reporting, or accounting.... Communicating with them is like shooting over a hill in a fog; you never know if there is anyone there at all, let alone whether it is the right one.

    I don't doubt that I am not alone in this, and all other sufferers have my sympathy; but just writing about it brings a measure of relief.

  5. I am seriously thinking of closing my standing order account with them. With me not getting statements I am constantly having to chase up orders, and to check my balance by telephone. If you get put through to the Sunderland "call centre" they are completely clueless.

  6. I ordered 3 items at the beginning of June and paid by Pay Pal. I am still waiting for one item and I was told after contacting them by email (twice) that my item would be delivered in the middle of August.

    1. If that was the World War I Presentation Pack, then you are in the same boat as all other customers: they pack is being reprinted as mentioned elsewhere on this blog.

  7. I need to change my address with the Philatelic Bureau ( as I have always called it ) for my standing order for FDCs and presentation packs. Is this gong to be difficult? And to add insult to injury, yes, I use my Barclays account for all my transactions.


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