Monday, 10 May 2021

Unexplained delays and invalid charges - the 'new normal'?

When I received a letter last week (7 May) postmarked 6 April, I just put it down to 'one of those things". The stamp is an Olympic definitive, so not current (but valid) so maybe it just got delayed somewhere between Preston and Norfolk.

Posted Lancashire 6 April, delivered Norfolk 7 May 2021 - no obvious reason.

But today I had an email from regular contributor RW who forked out a £2 unpaid item charge for this:

Letter posted Milton Keynes October 2020 - delivered Devon 10 May 2021, after payment of £2 'No postage paid' penalty.

Until recently there was a Royal Mail webpage which showed the complete range of special stamps (from 1964?) issued, at rmspecialstamps.com which is now longer functioning although it is still linked from here http://500years.royalmailgroup.com/about/

If only Revenue Protection had access to that, or some sort of index as is contained in the Gibbons Concise catalogue they might not make these silly mistakes and delay letters while they decided.  

I suspect my Olympic one was put aside so that somebody could check it 'when they had time' and they then passed it on without comment having decided that there was somebody working there for more than 8 years who remembered it.

UPDATE 11 May.  My thanks to GONJ who sent this cover, properly stamped to a customer.  "A large letter 79g so 96p and over paid by ½p, the initial report of non receipt after 10 days was followed the next day by a surcharge card."

April 2021 example of properly paid letter marked as 'Underpaid', but with no indication as to which stamp was not counted.   

It took over an hour with different branches of Royal Mail's customer services team for the sender to get this sorted out.  A standard apology and 6 x 1st class stamps will be sent to the addressee (who paid the fee) although this is not an admission of any error.


Have you had similar problems with mail being delayed when old stamps are used?  Let us know.


11 comments:

  1. I poster a letter on 6 April from Norfolk to London using one of the Queen booklet 1st stamps (issued 29 March). It was stamped by Norwich Mail Centre on 6 April, arriving on 28th April. Not even an old stamp and like you, I put it down to one of those things.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Not as funny as using a 1d Black 1st class commemorative on a letter I handed in at a local post office last week. Counter clerk noted it only had "One Penny" on the stamp and asked for the balance!! They had never seen this commemorative and totally unaware of its significance.
    Doug (Enfield)

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  3. Surely Royal Mail could invest in a recognition app . Not only would it aid their staff but collectors and dealers alike

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They have one, and it is used. But I suspect it doesn't go back as far as usable stamps, and it may be that as they add new ones on they drop old ones off, although digital storage and access shouldn't be a real problem.

      Delete
  4. "INVALID STAMP" for the Pine Marten 1ST might be because the stamp looks battered, especially top right corner, as if it has been reused.

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  5. Even when you post things there is a problem of Post Office staff not knowing about stamps. Many is the time I have been told that you cannot send recorded delivery 2nd class and I used to know by heart which bit of the postage rate leaflet to point at. More recently, to wit Friday, I went to post a book abroad. The postmaster objected that it had some 1st Class NVIs on it so had too few stamps because they did not count: NVIs are only for use within the UK...I pointed out that this had not been mentioned when I had shelled out my 85p fees so he took the parcel and postmarked it. He then warned me that 'some jobsworth further down the line' may send it back to me. Where do they get these ideas from?

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  6. The UK introduced NVI stamps in 1989 and at first they were not valid on International Mail. The Universal Posta Union approved such use by all countries using such stamps in 1995. I know there is no problem as I have sent letters and small packets to countries such as Russia and the USA using such stamps. BUT - I always write the total value of the stamps in the top left hand corner of an envelope. Doug (Enfield)

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  7. Though not all Post Office staff know it it's surely a fact that 2nd and 1st NVIs can be used as part payment of postage on anything, but what about 2nd Large, 1st Large and 1st Signed For stamps ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes everything can be used for anything including special delivery on international mail.

      Possibly Royal Mail would prefer we didn’t, but it’s nice for international customers to get these on their orders.

      Delete
    2. Yes everything can be used for anything including special delivery on international mail.

      Possibly Royal Mail would prefer we didn’t, but it’s nice for international customers to get these on their orders.

      Delete
    3. Ian,
      Thanks for that.
      I quite often send Small Parcels Second Class at £3.20 now so it could be
      1st Large (£1.29) + 2 x 1st (2x85p) + 20p + 1p
      or
      1st Large Signed For (£2.69) + 50p + 1p.

      Delete

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