Tuesday, 13 July 2021

Most expensive Machin definitives being phased out?

I have been informed that all four* of the special purpose non-value indicator stamps are being phased out.

 

According to a reliable source, 

Post Office branches are no longer able to order using stock code, the Special Delivery100 gram has been out of stock for four weeks.  There will be no more printed according to the PO horizon system and both the Special Delivery and Royal Mail Signed For stamps; they will be withdrawn from general sale in POs from 31st October 2021.

* Two are illustrated because I find that pictures help to catch the readers' eyes, better than plain text.

 

Royal Mail have been approached for comment. 

UPDATE 23 July

No comment has been received but according to the Telegraph (in a paywalled story repeated in The Sun)

Simon Thompson, a former executive at Ocado and Apple, has launched a review of Royal Mail’s "whole product suite and offering", The Telegraph reports. 

The six-month review aimed at cost-cutting will examine if customers want expensive tracked, signed-for and special deliveries.

It comes after customers appear to be increasingly happy for parcels to be left in a safe place or with a neighbour.

Royal Mail chairman Keith Williams has already suggested Saturday deliveries could be axed amid a decline in letters.

A final decision is set to be made next year. 

These potential major reductions in services would require the Government to change the law requiring Royal Mail to provide a universal service.

 

As readers will recall there is already (Since 2016) a 'delivery scanned' facility in Horizon and SSK parcel labels which led to Royal Mail removing the need to have such items carry the orange Signed For label

Update 27 July: The story has appeared in several other news outlets, but twisting the story to lead with:

"Royal Mail is planning to scrap Saturday letter deliveries and signed-for parcels under a major shake-up of services.

Any decision to scrap Saturday letter deliveries and signed-for parcels would need changes to the law.

With letter volumes in decline, bosses argue this requirement is outdated and leaves Royal Mail at a disadvantage versus rivals such as DHL and Amazon.

Despite this, Royal Mail bosses are said to want to scrap signed-for parcels because they are expensive to deliver, with many customers happy for packages to be left in a safe place if they are not home, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Ofcom, the communications regulator, has already backed the proposal to scrap Saturday letter deliveries in principle."

 


22 comments:

  1. I assume this includes the RMSF large and the 500g special delivery (neither illustrated)
    Peter T.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sadly this is a portent of how our hobby withers. Fewer and fewer messages are transmitted by means of letters with stamps stuck on because emails, texts & particularly phone calls give instant exchanges. Parcels usually have Horizon labels printed off when the parcels are posted. So the more specialist stamps are disappearing: these; make-up stamps and; next to vanish, although they have largely already; will be the country definitive stamps, I think. My prediction is that by 2030 the use of traditional stamps for postage will have been superseded by some electronic method of payment. So let us enjoy putting pretty commemoratives on our birthday cards and such like while we can. At least we have had a really good year for attractive designs in 2021.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is an interesting prediction but I wonder if the use of traditional stamps will have withered on the branch even before then. I rarely receive mail with traditional postage stamps applied to it unless it is from a philatelic source using old discounted commemoratives or is in the form of a greetings card. I surprise myself by reflecting how rarely I send an item of non-electronic mail now - I just don’t need to. A fair number of countries now just don’t issue any new stamps at all and some just occasionally. There will be a point when it just is not worth postal services producing any more (at the moment we are in a last-ditch phase born out of desperation where large postal services are trying to make as much money as they can from stamps by producing vast numbers of philatelic items in which fewer and fewer collectors can find any merit) but many of the items are no longer sold for use on mail at many post offices just because senders of mail do not need them. The point when postage stamps become completely redundant may be closer than we think.

      Delete
  3. I think I remember that when the Recorded Signed For 1st and 1st Large were issued in 2009 it was thought that they would be followed by Recorded Signed For 2nd and 2nd Large but it never happened.
    So they're going the same way as the 'Make Up' values that haven't been available from many Post Offices for a few years.
    Might they still be available from Royal Mail online ?
    Many of the Special Delivery stamps - valued at £6.85 and £7.65 now - aren't cancelled at the Post Office and are reused which won't happen with their Horizon Label replacements so maybe that's part of the reason.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I think these may be have been a good idea that came after their time.

    My previous local postmaster, a good man, said that he couln't see the point of them. If he had to conduct part of the transaction on Horizon then why not do it all?

    And I share Lars' pessimism on the use of country stamps. I have commented to Ian before about their declining availability. As a spot check, see how many used country stamps you can find for auction online from before say 2015, and then try again after ...

    ReplyDelete
  5. My local Post Office sell Special Delivery stamps to customers who have to supply a Special Delivery envelope for the return. This cannot be done with Horizon labels as these are dated with the day of issue. The way will have to be various stamps to the value of £6.85 or £7.65

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. In a previous job I regularly sent out certificates as Signed For. These were always the same size and weight so a standard price. There wasn't enough traffic to justify a franking machine so a stock of Signed For stamps and a book to record their usage was helpful.

      Delete
    2. And that would generally be quicker for you and the Post Office because they would not have to print the label. If they trusted your data, they wouldn't weigh the items either.

      Delete
  6. Maybe we will get new stamps with the barcode included in the design , that can only be used once ! Another couple of million to be earned from collectors that way and probably the same again in lost revenue each year.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think Gonj is right. In its current Annual Report the Royal Mail mentions stamps only once and that was the experimental 2nd Class ones seen here a couple of weeks ago: half Machin; half bar code.

      Delete
  7. My local Post Office confirms the withdrawal of these Stamps, but is unaware of any replacement values instead. So making up the value to the current rate will be hard if not impossible as they currently do not sell stamps below 10p in value.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was in a post office recently and they did not have special stamps over 1.70

      Delete
  8. I doubt "another couple of million to be earned from collectors" from stamps with the barcode included in the design especially as for the first one ever, and at the larger size making it the biggest change to ordinary definitive since 1840, Royal Mail didn’t even offer a Presentation Pack.
    And I doubt if a barcode included in the design will stop the stamps being reused. Many people will reuse any stamp they've received neither postmarked or scribbled on oblivious to the fact that a barcode means the recipient might be surcharged £2 to receive the item.
    Postmarks have worked perfectly well in preventing the reuse of stamps since 1840 but staff levels at Mail Centres have been reduced and getting the mail through takes priority over ‘handstamping duties’ getting stamps cancelled and delivery post(wo)men having an ever increasing workload means they are less likely to have the time, or inclination, to cancel stamps with a biro or the little wavy-line canceller they were each given about ten years ago.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't think they were given one each; there were some in the delivery offices but small SPBO delivery offices didn't get any. And they are now worn out broken or lost.

      Delete
    2. This may well have been "the biggest change to the ordinary definitive since 1840". However, I used them to send out AGM particulars to the dwindling number of members of our philatelic society just after the stamps were issued, and not ONE person noticed! They all went into the bin!!!

      Delete
    3. Mike, I think this is proper to the 2nd class business sheet with datamatrix code?
      Can't see it as relevant here.

      Delete
  9. Ian,
    It was one each ( and a few spare ) at the SPDO I delivered from.
    Maybe rarer now than mint 95th birthday panes but they've been a useful tool for getting 'fine used' stamps rather than risking a postbox's biro scribble lottery.

    ReplyDelete
  10. The review might well see the end of 'Signed For' ( or 'Recorded Delivery' as I still think of it ) a service that has been replaced somewhat by 'Tracked' and one that lacks the reliability of 'Special Delivery'.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The post office automatically put a barcode sticker on a parcel I recently posted (with stamps on), bypassing the need for recorded delivery, all I needed was a proof of postage. But she did want to know what was inside the parcel and the value.

      Delete
    2. I don't think you are required to detail exactly what is in a package (particularly at a public counter), but they can ask you to confirm that it does not contain any proscribed/forbidden items.

      Delete
  11. Does this new Chief Executive not have any understanding of the service he is running?,
    These particular stamps, especially the "Special Delivery" are genuinely needed.
    Does he think that firms such as Jewellery retailers would be happy to have their packets left with a neighbour?, What a fool!. He would be better employed reviewing the ridiculous and ever increasing issues of Commemorative stamps, the majority of which are never seen on commercial mail.

    ReplyDelete
  12. During the Pandemic, signed for and recorded were just delivered on the mat and recorded on a device by the postman. Perhaps this is part of the reasoning. Saving on printing costs also adds more profit to Royal mails coffers.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading the blog and commenting: please use an identity (name or pseudonym) rather than being Anonymous; it helps us to know which 'anonymous' comments are from the same person to avoid confusion. Comments are moderated to avoid spam, but will be published as soon as possible.