Monday 1 March 2021

Anonymous letter - interesting, but not really welcome.

I've just found an envelope and letter which arrived in the middle of last month.  I meant to scan it for the February postmarks subject but then read the letter.

The anonymous sender thought we might be interested, 

"that I have been posting a few letters with 1p stamps on just to test the Royal Mail system, all these letters were delivered within 24 hours of posting.

"It seems many forgery stamps (sic) are around, why is it that Royal Mail seems unable to monitor what goes through the post in spite of all the security measures on current stamps.

"What is the point of having any security if it isn't checked." (sic)


Another 1p stamp was attached to the letter!

What our correspondent fails to appreciate is that Royal Mail have a lot more to worry about at present than a few pennies on these experiments.  

With numerous local sorting offices and most mail centres affected by Covid-19-related absences over the last 12 months, and with your delivery postman working multiple rounds and extra hours during (including Sunday) to get letters and online-ordered parcels delivered, the effort involved in sticking a surcharge sticker on this, writing a 'something to pay' card, and then dealing with me when I go to look at it to find out whether it is worth paying for, is all extra work that they would rather not have to do.  

The manpower cost of all the above - and processing the payment - is worth more than the £1.50 that Royal Mail would charge.

As you can imagine I would have been mightily cheesed-off if a charge had been raised - it's bad enough when an innocent mistake is made and I actually want what is in the letter.

So whoever you are, you have proved your point - please desist and let the hardworking post-men and -women get on with delivering real post.


  1. Well said Ian. It's such a pity that some think that such experiments indicate major issues. While underpayment and reuse should be picked up, the reality is post offices have bigger issues to deal with, with most of their income coming from parcels and unstamped business mail.

  2. Well said Ian & spot on with your reasoning about surcharging the items during the covid 19 lockdown. I was a postie in the days when we collected cash from the customers for underpaid items. It was a pain in the **** then.

  3. I was charged a fee of £1.50 for a letter with a 2nd class Stamp on just because the sender put a thicker card in so it did not get bent going through to Mail system.RW

    1. No, you were charged a fee of £1.50 because the sender put a thicker card in so it did not get bent going through to Mail system and failed to appreciate that this made it over 5mm thick. This made the Large Letter rate applicable - as it has done for the last 12 years - and so it was 30p underpaid. Rather than chase small varying amounts Royal Mail introduced flat-rate charges for short- and non-payment in 2015.

      If this was recently, then you were unlucky.

  4. If you REALLY REALLY feel the need to test the system, why choose now of all times? Royal Mail have actually been excellent in our area, throughout the pandemic.

    Instead of criticising, I think we should applaud Royal Mail for delivering these letters in 24 hours!

    (Did I just say that? Applaud Royal Mail? Yes I did!)

  5. That is just shocking.

    While I do quite like the stories of postal experiments, e.g. W. Reginald Bray, or the ones in the US mentioned on the improbable research website a few years back trying to send items not packaged - I think to do that with the current events would not be a good idea.

    Humour though might be appreciated. Those lovely envelopes beautifully/artistically addressed by Tolhurst, or other mailart, ...

    I have sent the occasional letter overseas outside Europe via International Economy/Surface Mail, and think some arrived via airmail, but that is at Royal Mail's discretion...

  6. If your 'correspondent' really wanted "to test the Royal Mail system," then he/she should have sent underpaid items to him/herself (or to others who had agreed to receive them) and accepted the consequences by coughing up if the system picked up on the underpayment.

    As it is, if I receive any similar item in the future, I will now be less likely to accept it as a genuine error.

    I hope that local newspapers in the Croydon 'area' pick up on this story, and publicise the individual's actions - even with the 'anonymising' all-capitals style, the handwriting is distinctive (esp. the "Y" in the postcode) and it might be possible to bring the offender to book.

    1. I hadn't considered that but what is done is done.

      Regarding your comment on the next two issues, I can't publish what you wrote or reply to it but would agree that " 'classic' might refer to the original works of literature rather than yet more populist stamps based on TV series"

      This won't be a tv or film link.

  7. I would concur entirely......RM staff have "worked their najjers off" to keep deliveries regular.....even though it means one doesn't often get the same "roundspersons" from one week to the next....none of the usual "faces" have turned up wearing their shorts yet and I'm suffering withdrawl systems having not seen my favourite "young parcels van lady for simply ages!!!

  8. Instead of putting Royal Mail to the test during a pandemic, I'd rather say well done for consistently delivering (along with Deutsche Post) my letters to Germany in 3 days....except a letter last week which only took two days to reach Hamburg for the standard £1.70 Europe letter rate....Well done Royal Mail!

    1. I agree with this as my letter to the Netherlands the other week took 3 days from the UK so well done Royal Mail and the Dutch Post. Over the past year Royal Mail have done a great job of getting the mail delivered.


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