Thursday, 31 March 2022

More thoughts on Royal Mail's 'Stamp Swap Out' scheme and invalidation of current definitives.

Royal Mail annunced details of it's 'Swap-Out' scheme, yesterday, 31 March 2022 a year ahead of what was originally said to be the deadline for exchange. That impeccable timing means that the news has been published in the national and local press on 1 April, ie All Fools Day.

My first 'Thoughts' on 10 February made a number of assumptions and posed a number of questions. Reader contributions from sources in Royal Mail and elsewhere were added, and Royal Mail changed some of the earlier decisions, notably on Christmas stamps.

I'm starting from the assumptions that these will be invalidated:

All Machin definitives since 1971, and £1 values before that;

All Christmas stamps after 2005 when definitive-size started;

Commemoratives, Post and Go*, and Country Definitives≠ will not be invalidated.

Those assumptions leave plenty of grey areas, such as the Long To Reign MS which includes one single definitive and four larger commorative stamps, the Wildings both national and regional, and the greetings/smilers definitive-sized stamps sold in booklets of 6. There are many more.

We also don't know about the country definitives for sure. 


We now know that, in summary, Machin and Country definitives will be invalidated, along with some special definitives, but that Christmas, Commemorative and Special, and Post and Go stamps will NOT and these will not be accepted for trade-in. More on this below.

Terminology. In describing the stamps which will or will not be invalidated Royal Mail have used the terms 'valid (for) postage' and 'valid for swap(-out)', which might have been phrased in a better way. Be sure to understand which is which, and if there is any doubt refer to Royal Mail's doscumentation rather than any other.

Royal Mail will launch an ongoing nationwide awareness programme, that will run throughout the year, to ensure that everyone who wishes to swap out their stamps will have the opportunity to do so. The campaign will include press and radio advertising and a national door drop leaflet delivered to every household in the UK.

There will be a big surplus of these unless RM change!

Mechanics

There are two Swap-out forms, one for consignments worth up to £200 and one for bulk swaps.

For consignments under £200, gummed stamps (ie not self-adhesive) must be stuck to the form. Self-adhesive stamps should remain affixed to their original backing paper.

For bulk consignments, gummed stamps must not be stuck to paper and must instead be clearly batched by the stamp value and colour in clear plastic bags of 50 stamps (less than 50 stamps must be collated together in value order). [1]

Stamps will be swapped on a like-for-like basis, that is 1st class Large unbaroced will be swapped for 1st class Large barcoded.

Stamps for which there is no direct equivalent will be swapped for 2nd class barcoded stamps. [2]

 

Dealers

Some dealers I have spoken to have confirmed that they will trim their Machin stocks according to popularity. It makes sense if you overstocked on some values to liquidate them now, especially if they were purchased at a lower price than the current tariff.

Those dealers who already offer discount postage – and probably some who don't – will offer discounted barcoded stamps after trading-in because they will be hugely overstocked with those.

Another has said that they will consider retiring more quickly and get the benefit of full value for at least the Machin & Country stocks. And that is where life gets difficult – what does he do with £50,000-worth of barcoded 2nd class stamps?


Collectors

If you are a collector, it is time to sort your collection and check all packets and stock-books for mint duplicates, or for gaps in your collection. If you are going to carry on collecting, look out for dealer special offers. 


Details of the mechanics

The stamps which can be exchanged for new barcoded stamps are:

- all Machin definitives, NVI and valued.  This includes ALL NVIs, ie Special Delivery, Signed For, Worldwide 20/40g, Europe 20/40g, Worldwide Postcard, and the dark blue 'E' stamps. 

- the double-head (QV & QE) stamps and the Olympic definitives.

All invalidated


- country definitives are also included in the exchange scheme, although there has not yet been any announcement about barcoding these or any other replacements.  For the present the existing pictorial ones will be exchanged for new barcoded Machins.

Invalidated

- Minisheet or Retail Booklets that contain both Specials plus Machins or Country Definitives will be swapped to the face value of the Minisheet or Retail Booklet. [4]

May be swapped in as a booklet, or
split and only the Machins swapped in.

- Full Prestige Stamps Books are not valid in the Swap Scheme, this is because only a small number of stamps in these books will not be valid for postage with effect from 31 January 2023.

- Definitive panes that are removed from PSBs, will be valid for Swap at the face value of the pane.

Individual definitive panes can be swapped.
 

- Smilers Sheets issued with Country Definitives will be valid for Swap on a like for like basis e.g. 20 x 1st Class English NVI = 20 x 1st Class Barcode stamps. 

Smilers with Country definitives will be invalidated

We think that Smilers with commemorative flags will NOT be invalidated.

- The swap will replace the stamps on a like for like basis and will not compensate for any additional product premium above the face value of the stamps e.g. Presentation Pack & PSB premium.


Stamps which will not be exchanged include all Christmas stamps (reversing the previous statement), all special, commemorative and greetings pictorial stamps whether definitive-size or larger.  

Stamps issued for the Smilers range are special stamps so will remain valid for postage and are not valid for Swap on their own.  (See above regarding Smilers containing Country Definitives.)

Smilers sheet with Greetings stamps remain valid for postage.

Post and Go stamps from Post Office self-serve kiosks remain valid and are not eligible for exchange. [3]

As far as we know all Post & Go stamps remain valid for postage

 

Update 2 April.  Just to make it clear(er), the stamps listed several paragraphs above as being the ones which will be traded in (or swapped out) are the only ones.  This means that the rest are not eligible and will remain valid for postage.  I realise that this does mean a few grey areas as below, but "if it wasn't a regular Machin definitive sold as such" or one which was part of a miniature sheet (eg Long to Reign) or PSB pane, then it remains valid for postage:

Decimal Wildings remain valid for postage.




Grey Areas

Some grey areas remain.

- 1969 Pre-decimal Machin 10p, 20p, 50p £1

- 1999 Profile on Print large 1st class

- 2017 £5 Accession Machin

- 2017 £1 embossed gold Machin ex PSB & MS (the other stamps in the MS will be invalid)

£1 gold embossed - commemorative and valid, or definitive and invalidated?



Postage and losses

Anybody using the scheme can use the address FREEPOST Swap Out.

Royal Mail Terms and Conditions include:

If your Swap Out form and/or non-barcoded stamps are lost in transit to us, we will not consider any claim for loss unless you provide proof of posting and a copy of the original Swap Out form. We therefore recommend that you keep the necessary records.

If you use a bulk Swap Out form for a Swap Out of £200 or more, we recommend sending your Swap Out form using a service with adequate compensation cover for the value of the non-barcoded stamps you are sending to us.

When you send your bulk Swap Out form for a Swap Out exceeding £200 using a Royal Mail delivery service, we will compensate you for the cost of that service by returning additional barcoded stamps equal to the value of your postage cost. Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed is likely to be the most appropriate service to use in most cases. (My highlighting - If you send £1000-worth of stamps using £7.65 special delivery you will receive barcoded stamps to the value of £1007.65.)

UPDATE 6 April:  There are reports that some people using the basic 'Freepost Swapout' address have been refused a proof of posting certificate at the Post Office because there is no postcode. (Other POs have said this is not a problem!)

If you ask Royal Mail to send you a form it comes with a preaddressed prepaid envelope.  If you are sending under £200 using the downloaded form locally printed, use this address to send your package and you should get a proof of posting with no problem.  Remember also to keep a copy of the Swap form in case of losses in either direction.

Royal Mail Swap Out Freepost address.



There could have been another way

As already mentioned dealers who have large stocks of postage in the form of Machin and Country definitives (including the Smilers sheets with country definitivess on) will trade those in for new barcoded stamps. They will then hold more of those than they can possibly use even if they ordinarily sell a lot of stamps for postage.

Likewise collectors trading-in their collections: the only option is to sell them below face value for postage. This must reduce Royal Mail's sales income for the next year at least.

Royal Mail's accounts include a liability represented by 'Stamps in the Hands of the Public' (SITHOP), a reflection of the acknowledgement that a service had been paid for at some time in the past that might be realised some time in the future. This ought to include the stamps in the hands of collectors and dealers, the latter frequently selling those old stamps for postage. The liability currently stands at around £250M in their accounts.

The shiny new barcoded stamps received by dealers who trade in their old stocks will continue to be part of the SITHOP figure. In fact if the current figure is based on historic sales of postage and usages, at annual rates not adjusted for higher prices, then the new figure will be considerably higher.

One option which could have benefitted both the trade and Royal Mail would be an exchange for cash. Royal Mail would save a lot of effort sending out new stamps, for those swapped in, if a cash payment was made instead: they would have had to check what was traded in, but they have to do that anyway. As the dealers would not be able sell their large surpluses of barcoded stamps at full face value, there would wisdom in those dealers taking that cash at a discount on face.

Clearly this is something that Royal Mail's accountants would have to consider as it would be a real cash outflow rather than adjusting a liability. But there is no evidence that this has even been considered.

If this option was available, social and business buyers who would normally have bought from dealers will instead buy from Royal Mail at full value, producing a cash inflow.


Notes

1. A limit of 50 seems low when stamps were issued in sheets of 100. I don't understand the sentence in brackets.

2. “Stamps for which there is no direct equivalent will be swapped for 2nd class barcoded stamps.” I presume this will be aggregated, ie all the stamps without a direct equivalent will be totalled and the total divided by the then value of the 2nd class stamps. While this might make sense for some values, exchange for 1st class stamps or others would be much more useful.

A dealer trading in a sheet of Special Delivery stamps worth £6.85 each will get around 250 x 2nd class stamps! It would make much more sense to provide sheets of £5 stamps and £1.85 stamps.  As one dealer has said, with these new stamps being larger, it will be difficult to put 10 on a small Special Delivery envelope.

3. As this document is addressed to the general public we must assume that this also includes all those at museums and sold direct from Tallents House or at stamp exhibitions or other events.

4. Swappable miniature sheets containing Machin or Country definitives which will become invalidated, some also containing other stamps, include the 2000 Stamp Show, Diamond Jubilee, Long To Reign, End of WW2, Lest We Forget (x3), 2017 Machin Anniversary, Welsh Assembly, Scottish Parliament, Wembley, Robert Burns, 2010 Europhilex. {There may be others!)

 

See also Royal Mail's webpage with the basic details of the scheme & FAQs.

https://www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps

From this page you can see the two forms which will be available, one for up to £200 and the other for bulkier exchanges. 

The full terms and conditions are here (pdf file) https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2022-03/Stamp-Swap-Out-Terms-and-Conditions.pdf





117 comments:

  1. Thank you Ian for your thoughts and guidance. Many more uncertainties remain.

    Are these stamps swapable?
    Decimal Wildings; 1st & 2nd NVIs and nominated values; also 1st NVI Regional/Country Wildings - Miniature Sheets and PSB panes? Large format Machin panes from the Profile on Print PSB?

    How does one submit PSB Machin panes for swap-out? Space for only 2 panes on the 'up to £200' form. Can one enclose more than 1 form in each sending? Surely a £200 lot submitted should, by RM's criteria for compensation, be sent Special Delivery! Or would a 'Proof of Posting' certificate suffice?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I intended to include the Wildings in the 'remaining valid' list, but really everything that isn't in the 'swap' list remains valid - although there are grey areas like Profile on Print.

      Any questions on the mechanics, as you raise, must be referred to Royal Mail.
      Reading between the lines, a proof of posting AND a copy of the form with stamps attached would seem to be all that they will need to compensate, but again that needs clarifying - probably several times and in writing!

      Delete
  2. I just wonder if RM will ever publish the cost to them for this scheme, which will surely be enormous!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, and Yes! It would have been cheaper to give dealers the cash than waste time counting out zillions of 2nd class stamps.

      Delete
    2. It would be cheaper still to use some sort of inky round thing with a date to mark the stamp to show it has been used. Rumour has it that such a device might already be in existence.

      Delete
  3. Has anyone else had problems printing out the (up-to-£200) form?

    I can print the second page (the back of the form), but invariably get a 'printing error' for the first page - a problem which I have never before encountered and which seems to afflict only this file (I can still print everything else) - using my HP DeskJet printer.

    More of an inconvenience than a problem - I can request a form to be sent to me (at even more expense to Royal Mail, who seem to have money to burn (almost as though still nationalised)).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I requested a form yesterday - arrived today including a pre-printed Freepost envelope. Saves me on printing and an envelope...

      Delete
    2. Note 1: I assume this means if you have less than 50 stamps total - but value is over £200 (e.g. 42 x £5 and 3x £1) put them in one bag stacked by value.

      Note 2: I read it the same way you do. So if you trade in a single £1.70 - you get 3x 2nd class for it which is a profit of 34p. Or 19p if you then have to buy a barcoded £1.85 to use. If you trade in a E NVI - you presumably also get 3x 2nd class but actually a barcoded £1.85 might be more useful.

      My question is...

      I have a surplus of Large 1st NVI booklets to Swap Out. Do I get booklets in return or do I get sheets of the barcoded equivalent? If I'm using them for postage, it's not an issue. But I was planning to sell those booklets on eBay. If I sell them now, I'm assuming demand and prices will be lower. If I get booklets back, I can sell those on eBay instead. If I get sheets and part sheets - I can maybe sell a full sheet but not a part sheet (or it will go at a lower price).

      I don't have so much as to lose out a significant amount but dealers might...

      Delete
    3. I've not had issues with printing out the form, but still, I have put in multiple requests too for forms to be sent out to me - it seems one can only order one form at a time, which seems a bit of a waste to me! I could do with 4 or 5 at a time.

      Delete
    4. a. Note 1. The point I have a problem with is "less than 50 stamps must be collated together in value order" - you're putting them in a plastic (or other) bag; they aren't going to stay in any sort of order.

      b. Note 2. Most people will send in a selection of stamps and the value will be totalled and divided by 66p and then rounded up so that you only get 2nd class stamps. Whilst this may convenient for them, it's not convenient for the user. Anybody trading in a sheet of £1.85 stamps, or 25 E stamps will get 70.075 x 2nd class stamps, ie 71.

      That person wanting to send a letter costing £1.85 has 2nd class stamps worth £1.32 which means they need another 53p-worth, ie another three stamps (50+2+1p). No matter how easy it is for Royal Mail, it's going to be mightily inconvenient for users.

      c. I think it's unlikely you will get booklets in return. You'll get 1st Large Letter stamps from sheets. Sheet size is 25+25. I would sell as many as possible on eBay as you can until the end of the year. A lot of ebay sellers will carry on using them. Just make sure they are genuine and not forgeries!

      Delete
    5. Ian,
      Regarding "b" I would have thought that there might have been a choice of Second or First class stamps but then realised that the 'rounding up' would have meant them losing 27p ( 95p less 68p ) more on most of the exchanges.

      Delete
    6. Well.... for the E stamps or 20g Worldwide, the barcoded equivalent is actually the new £1.85 stamp, isn't it?

      The T&C reads "We will replace non-barcoded stamps eligible for swap out with the corresponding barcoded stamps (for example a 2nd class non-barcoded stamp will be replaced with a barcoded 2nd class stamp", but that doesn't mean that they will only exchange NVIs. If you send in a sheet of 15 x 1p stamps, expect to get back a sheet of 25 x 1p barcoded stamps. I will be annoyed if it is otherwise.

      Delete
    7. Ian,
      Yes, my over £200 worth will be mainly First Class, a few dozen Second Class and hundreds from lower values including about forty 1p, thirty 2p and twenty each 5p, 10p and 20p and I understand and hope that I will get useful direct replacements for them rather than being totted up with all the other values from ½p to 60p.
      I've got quite a few cylinder blocks and cylinder booklets from the 1980s that I'm not yet sure if are worth more than face value.

      Delete
    8. Thanks for the feedback Ian...

      I agree it's not exactly convenient. I would use a £1.70 (or in the past E NVI) on a postcard to Europe. Given that barcoded stamps are physically larger; putting 2 or 3 or more on a postcard is not feasible! Which is why I'd prefer barcoded £1.85 to a theoretical profit in 2nd class. But instead I will have to buy some £1.85 and I'll then have an excess of barcoded 2nds as well as of barcoded Large 1sts.

      As for the make-up values. The checklist on the back of the £200 bulk form lists them so I'd also expect sheets or part-sheets of the new barcoded versions. It's only the obsolete values that will be totted up and converted to 2nd Class.

      I'm doing my calculations on the assumption that calculation is done at the new rates from today.

      Delete
  4. According to an email exchange I had with Royal Mail 5-11 March (reproduced below), Post & Go stamps will be part of the swap-out scheme. It seems to depend who you talk to there as to the advice you're given.

    Customer By Service Web (05/03/2022 04.36 PM)
    I have some post & go stamps. Are they still valid for postage?

    Response By E-mail (Rajdip) (08/03/2022 09.16 PM)
    I can confirm that these stamps are currently valid but will need to be used until 31 January as this is the date that all non-barcoded stamps will be phased out. Further information can be found on our website at royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps

    Customer By Service Email (09/03/2022 05.26 PM)
    Thank you for your reply. Will I be able to swap my post and go stamps as I'm unlikely to use them all between now and January.
    I have predominantly Rest of World, up to 20g. If I were able to swap them, what would I get in return?

    Response By E-mail (John Anderson) (11/03/2022 11.11 AM)
    If the stamps do not indicate a value then you will receive stamps to the value of the stamps you sent, so in this case you will receive stamps to cover the value of a 20g letter to the rest of the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kate, As I wrote at the beginning there was a lot of information being provided by Royal Mail when the scheme's details had not been finally settled. Rajdip may have been right but his answer is now wrong. Post and Go remain valid for postage and are not included in the swap scheme as I wrote.

      Post and Go Stamps with an indicator of 20g Rest of the World are also valid for 100g Europe and are worth £1.85 from Monday. They are not included in the swap scheme. STAMPS with a Rest of World indicator must be used or swapped though.

      Delete
  5. I was able to print the first page when using the inline facility of Firefox to view and print the file. When I used Acrobat Reader, the application "hung" when I loaded the file - I didn't even get as far as trying to print it. The PDF file is over 2MB in size, which seems very large even allowing for the pictures of stamps. However, I'm sure that I've handled files larger than this with Acrobat Reader in the past, so I don't think that the size is of itself the problem.

    ReplyDelete
  6. A problem have encountered this morning, when trying to send in some stamp swap out forms by Special Delivery - it seems that the Horizon system won't recognise a "FREEPOST" address, and will reject it. So, a Special Delivery item cannot be accepted! Same goes for Recorded Delivery too. I'm not sending back my stamps, without assurance that they won't be nicked by some errant postie along the way!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The bulk rate (over £200) scheme says:
      "Please send your form using Special Delivery Guaranteed to: Royal Mail, Swap Out, Tallents House, 21 South Gyle Crescent, EDINBURGH, Scotland EH12 9PB."

      If you're sending under £200-worth then you have their assurance that if you keep a copy of the form and a certificate os posting they will treat claims for loss properly. But I agree, it would be good to have the ability to send by SD or RMSF and get the money back.

      Delete
    2. Loughboroughlad2 April 2022 at 19:16

      Ive sent using Special Delivery and stamps, another way of sending surplus commemorative stamps and getting them swapped out for NVIs as RM refund the postage.

      Delete
  7. just been on the RM site to find a solution to the "FREEPOST" address problem not meshing with the Horizon system - they have published an address for swap out, and it seems to be the Philatelic Bureau address in Edinburgh, or a similar one. It says that it is for over £200, but I'm going to use it for lots under £200 until told different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wondered if there would be an issue with the one line address Royal Mail quoted for under £200 swaps and Horizon issuing certificate of posting.

      However, I noticed that on the return envelope RM send if you request a up-to £200 form online the address is:

      Freepost RUCZ-UTGU-AULY
      Royal Mail
      Swap Out
      Tallents House
      21 South Gyle Crescent
      EDINBURGH
      EH12 9GT

      Freepost, yet there is a 1st class indicia on the top right hand corner?

      Delete
  8. Country Definitives - It would be nice for RM to give a response sooner rather than later, as to whether these are going to be Barcoded in the near future, or whether they are being phased out. If they are being Barcoded before the end of the 'swap out' scheme, will we be able to swap like for like Country Definitives (2nd, 1st).

    (Sorry Chris, deleted in error and there's no way of bringing it back apart from posting it myself)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I suspect that Royal Mail would like to phase out the Country definitives but that if they get bad publicity for this from any 'country' they will bring out barcoded Country definitive but only 1st and 2nd class not the overseas rates.
      There was nearly a seven month delay ( 15th February to 7th July 1971 ) with the decimal Country stamps so there's probably no urgency with this now.
      Only three designs ( apart from a miniature sheet each from 2006 to 2009 ) over 64 years suggests not much interest in, or profit from, the Country definitives.

      Delete
  9. Thank you Ian for the comprehensive post. This answers many questions.

    Do you know what the face value of the "E" stamp is after Monday?

    And also will prepaid postal stationary still be valid after the change over?



    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. European rate (E stamp) is £1.85.

      Royal Mail have not mentioned prepaid postal stationery, I see no reason why it should not be usable. (Except perhaps for aerogrammes and registered envelopes which have been a grey area for some time!)

      Delete
  10. So, I purchased a book of 6 first class stamps at my Wilko store and they were the "Queen" rock group book. Can I still use these or have to send them back?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unknown you have until January 2023 to use them so plenty of time.

      Delete
    2. Those shouldn't be invalidated. It's definitive sized but it's a commemorative in the Music Giants series. Or in the RM simplistic explanation it has a picture of "Queen" as opposed to a head of "The Queen".

      Same should apply to the 2013 Tardis and 2018 Iron Throne.

      Delete
    3. They are special stamps not definitives, they remain valid and - as Neil says - so do the Tardis, Iron Throne, 1d black, 1d red, 2d blue etc.

      Delete
  11. I suppose one massive benefit to Royal Mail by flooding the market with 2nd class barcoded stamps will be to destroy the market for forgeries for a year or two.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Probably not. Forged barcoded First and Second class Machins are probably already being printed in China soon to be offered in the usual places in sheets of a hundred at a significant discount. Probably without unique barcodes they are likely to be detected in Mail Centres causing Royal Mail to surcharge the innocent recipients. So nothing much changed really.

      Delete
  12. https://www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps is now saying that country definitives WILL be barcoded but nothing about when or what values. 1st, 2nd, £1.85 and £2.55 would be most likely, I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I Would hope only 2nd and 1st Class, there really is no demand for the others, in fact I question the need for these at all since they are hardly used for postage. Robert

      Delete
    2. If they had made them more widely available to the post offices........ I remember being told by counter clerks in Scotland that the reason people don't buy them is because don't want the 'inconvenience' of gummed stamps and would rather buy Machin booklets! The fact that new ones would be self adhesive may lead to increased use perhaps, maybe we could have regional 1st & 2nd class booklets? Now there's a thought!

      Delete
    3. On a business trip to Dundee (many years back) I was told by a PO counter clerk that nobody had ever asked them for a Scottish definitive before... Maybe it's only SNP voters who want them :-) Come to think of it, I have occasionally seen England definitives in my local (South London) PO but I wouldn't ask for them specifically.

      If most people are buying booklets (from supermarkets and corner shops rather then PO?) then maybe regional variants would be an idea but would local demand justify the cost of separate printings? Some collectors would want all 4.

      @Robert I use the airmail values regularly - on overseas correspondence. In fact, that's a reason for some to prefer a country definitive. Bring back E and W NVI, say I...

      Delete
  13. Well at least now we know about country stamps. The last time (2017) that I found English NVIs on sale was in Foots Cray near Orpington and the postmaster told me that he had ordered them by mistake and that I was the first customer to ask for them specifically. The airmail postcard and letter English ones were always easier to get, but only for a month or so after the price rises. Welsh ones were always easier to buy, in the last decade anyway. I shall reluctantly trade my country definitives in in the hope of getting barcoded ones in exchange.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Since they've only just said there will be barcoded country definitives - maybe hold those for now and swap out later in the year. There's nothing to say you can't make multiple swaps before Jan '23

      Delete
  14. Interestingly, there is NOTHING posted about what overseas collectors can do. While I don't have hundreds of pounds of exctras, I likely have about £100. Do I just say "oh well"?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Terms and Conditions 6.1 includes the sentence:
      International deliveries may take longer, depending on the delivery option(s) available for the destination country.

      Which suggests you can swap out. But you can't use the Freepost address so possibly you'd have to send to the Tallents House address above at whatever the cost is from where you are. Whether you could/would then get that refunded in extra stamps is yet another unanswered question....

      Delete
    2. I think people sending stamps from outside UK would get their postage money back in stamps - much good may that do them! What do they do with the new ones, especially if they are many 2nd class.

      It might be appropriate for overseas holders to use a UK intermediary, albeit at additional cost because you would only get one lot of postage back from RM (ie the postage to send TO Tallents House).

      But the UK intermediary would then be able to dispose of the surplus barcoded stamps without them having to be returned from the other country to the UK.

      Delete
  15. I have raised a number of swap out questions with RM, too numerous to list here. One question is about the use of plastic bags, which is required by their T&Cs. For me to return large numbers of stamps would require 40 or more bags. This conflicts with the Government's policy to reduce the use of plastic. I have also asked if they would refund the cost of the bags! There has to be a more sensible way. Also if you are returning large numbers of Machins you are supposed to stick them to to the form, if your swap out is below £200. This is tricky when you consider that a whole Machin sheet is about A3 in size.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I wonder if RM is going to accept mint stamps with traces of hinge on them. The T&Cs say that the stamps must be returned in the 'same condition as purchased'. This is a rather vague statement. RM will not know what condition the stamps are in when I purchased them. I assume that RM will have to accept mint stamps which are valid for postage, irrespective of hinges, folds etc. But I also assume that they will not accept First Class self adhesives which have been removed from Booklet MG1, as the self adhesive gum has deteriorated. So although they are still valid for postage in this condition (with a glue stick), you can bet they wont swap them (on the argument that they will not be on their original backing).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hinged stamps: Believe me, they aren't going to take them off the form you have stuck them to, to find out if there is a hinge!

      Re MG1: how many have you got that are not still in the book? Use those, send in any whole books as is. That's how books are supposed to be returned.

      People are making difficulties where none exist.

      Large sheets - not quite A3 but yes, gummed sheets of 100 are quite large.

      Delete
    2. TY Ian. I have enough ex MG1 machin stamps to be a difficulty, for me at least.

      My full sheets of gummed Machins are in sheets of 200, which are about 8 cm taller than an A3 sheet. RM needs to be a bit more flexible on swap out rules for these.

      Delete
  17. Hello.

    Thank you for your blog, there is such a lack of information out there.

    Royal mail have really gone off half cocked about this and the grey areas. They seem to make it quite difficult to change the stamps. The fact you have to go to Edinburgh if you have over £2.5k of stamps seems quite absurd. It seems to me they want to make it difficult such that most people wont bother and peoples stamps become worthless and they will loose the liability. It does seem like a very underhand capitalist move. Sorting into bags of 50 is weird too, wouldn't it be easier to just keep the same values in each bag? Do you think they will use it as an excuse for not swapping if you don't do it or make a mistake? Many of my stamps are cut out of booklets, but still on their part of the self adhesive sheet, will they accept this, if it isn't the full booklet/sheet?

    Firstly their terms and conditions pdf seems to be offline now.

    Secondly why they heck have they only given examples and not a full list?

    https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2022-03/Stamp-Images-for-swap-out.pdf

    I use a lot of NVI E, Europe and worldwide stamps (penpals). I see from their example list that the Machin versions (blue E, white Worldwide/Europe up to 20/40g and postcard and worldwide Olympic 2012) are to be swapped. I have maybe a dozen or more of the worldwide/europe up to 40g/postcard in die cut rather than self adhesive. will these be accepted? I have a lot of commemorative E stamps from various sets ~2001-2005, does anyone know if these are still valid? I assume so, but am not sure. Also the 2010 Smilers - Business and Consumer Miniature Sheet No. 67, has two stamps Europe and worldwide. Are these still valid? I see smilers in general should still be valid...

    Furthermore apart from the 1990 double headed Machins, and country definitives do we know for sure which other non straight forwards Machins are to be invalidated? I see the Olympic 2012 worldwide, but does that mean also 1st class Olympic 2012 stamps? I see the castle high values and Britannia £10 are to be invalidated too. As mentioned in your blog wildings seem to be okay (i assume this mean both the make up values from 2002-3 and the country definitives from 2008). There are many other stamps which are the same shape/size as the definitives, such as the 180th Anniversary of the Penny Black Stamp, which I assume are okay.... Are there any other definitive size stamps that you are aware of that they will be trying to cancel?

    Also this does nothing for security since half the stamps will still be valid. Surely the forgers will just move to the commemorative ones? Do you see/think in the near future more stamps will be cancelled?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for my rant and endless questions.

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A lot of people have a lot of questions. Let's answer a few of your points best I can.

      a. "The fact you have to go to Edinburgh if you have over £2.5k of stamps seems quite absurd." £2.5k is the max compensation for SD. If you want to send more, as many do, send many times and get the postage back for each sending.

      b. "Sorting into bags of 50 is weird too, wouldn't it be easier to just keep the same values in each bag?" - You DO keep the same value in each bag; having them in 50s makes counting easier. Odds go separately.

      c. "I have maybe a dozen or more of the worldwide/europe up to 40g/postcard in die cut rather than self adhesive" - If they are diecut they are self-adhesive. This is the only way they were issued. If you mean the ones die-cut through the backing paper as supplied as singles, it might be an idea to put those in a separate bag with an explanatory note as they won't know about that.

      d. "I see the Olympic 2012 worldwide, but does that mean also 1st class Olympic 2012 stamps?" - others have asked, but I'm not sending any more grey areas to RM at present. I think if you sent in 1st class they would be exchanged.

      e. E and WW20g would = £1.85; WW40g = £2.55.

      f. "commemorative E stamps from various sets ~2001-2005, does anyone know if these are still valid?" - yes, same as any other commemorative. Likewise the stamps from Smilers Sheets.

      g. "this does nothing for security since half the stamps will still be valid" - none of the stamps which remain valid has been forged, aside from many Christmas ones as shown previously in the blog.


      d.

      Delete
  18. If anybody is still reading this far down - I got my returns today...

    Form in post Monday. delivered Friday. Normal 1st class envelope.

    Sent booklets of Large 1st - returned sheets of barcoded Large 1st.

    Return address is Sunderland - not Tallents House

    Web address is given as royalmail.com/swapoutsupport which redirects to https://www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps/swap-out-enquiry to report problems

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loughboroughlad8 April 2022 at 13:35

      You have done well Neil. I got one batch of the Thursday the scheme was launched and the other batch on Saturday and not had anything back. However, none of the stamps were as straight forward as yours. One batch was just over £1000 with a good mix of stamps and the other batch was just over £200 again lots of smaller values in that one. Will wait and see what happens.

      Delete
    2. I posted my first batch off on Tuesday 5th (all NVIs) and got my returns today (Sat 9th), all pretty painless really.

      Delete
    3. I sent a number of Sheets of 25 i.e 1p,2p,5p,10p,20p to Tallents House and had them returned from Sunderland with like for like Sheets the only
      trouble I find is that Royal Mail had folded the in half and put in an A5 envelope,RW

      Delete
    4. Four A4 Sheets of stamps received. The despatcher clearly thought they would fit in an A5 size envelope. Then realised they wouldn't, so now I have 4 sheets to exchange, which are all heavily creased. The incompetence is unbelievable, for a department that just deals in stamps. Who are they employing to do this. RM reputation is plummeting.

      Delete
  19. Please be aware that the original Terms and Conditions (now dated 5 April 2022) and 'over £200 swap out form' have been revised to add some extra detail and remove some errors. Still more things to correct, but they are getting there.

    ReplyDelete
  20. I got my 1st return today, sent on the 4th, posted back yesterday, and I made a profit out of RM and not too many 2nd class stamps, so I am happy.

    ReplyDelete
  21. According to Martin Lewis's website (Money Saving Expert) Quote 'If you accidentally send stamps that aren't part of the Swap Out scheme to Royal Mail, it's said it will swap them for barcoded stamps'. Unquote Anyone done this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MSE may well be right, but they have been wrong so many times since this was first announced that I don;t bother reading it any more. [1st and 2nd class stamps to be abolished!]

      Delete
    2. Loughboroughlad16 April 2022 at 14:04

      I can confirm I did this with my first batch where I sent quite a few Wilding definitive stamps and they have been swapped out.

      Delete
  22. Updated terms and conditions link for April 5th 2022

    https://www.royalmail.com/sites/royalmail.com/files/2022-04/Stamp-Swap-Out-Terms-and-Conditions--5-April-2022.pdf

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have received no final response yet from Royal Mail to my various questions (mentioned above), but I predict that they will have to change the requirement to use plastic bags (over £200 T&Cs), as this is both environmentally unfriendly and unnecessary. I am also still waiting for my first swap out returns, after 9 days. I'm not in a hurry for my return but perhaps this is an indication that Royal Mail is under resourced in the swap out team.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loughboroughlad13 April 2022 at 20:24

      I too am waiting for my returns. RM received mine at just after 5am on 1st April. I always thought the 7 days would be ambitious. When the business sheets of the new barcode NVIs were released i purchased them, only for them to come in plastic white bags where they were bent. Weeks have passed and i'm still waiting for the replacements, the last update on Friday was it could take another 28 days.

      Delete
  24. I rang the Royal Mail Customer Service helpline this morning to get some 'below £200' swap out forms and return envelopes. 25 minutes on hold to be told that they can only order one at a time, (like the web order form, which we can all use). I suggested a change and they were sympathetic but unlikeley to do anything. If you have thousands of low value gummed definitives and can only fit about 60 on the back of the swap out form, you are likely to need 50 or more forms. Anybody got a solution to this please (for orders below £200)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I would use an additional blank A4 sheet, but keep the stamps within the boundaries on the form, ie don't fill it from edge to edge.

      Delete
    2. TY Ian. I did suggest that idea during the phone call. It was not very well received. All the agent could offer was that she had not seen the form herself, so she didn't know. I told her that the T&Cs says that the stamps must be stuck in the relevant space within the swap out form, (RM can reject returns which are not in accordance with the T&Cs). I have recommended a change and she said that she would 'feed that through'. (the shredder perhaps!)

      Delete
    3. Bear, can you not print the pages from the link given here, I know you will get top pages that are unwanted but at least the other pages will have the perimeters on them?

      Delete
    4. With a downloaded pdf it is possible to print out just one of the pages.

      Delete
    5. Yes. Thank you. I have printed some, but was hoping to get 50, plus envelopes from Royal Mail! i.e. without using my paper and my ink and envelopes.

      Delete
    6. Another thought which might help someone: if I was going to use my own printer, I would probably just photocopy a partially completed form, which would also save the need to fill in name and address 50 times. By the way , I have seen three different below £200 forms now, all from Royal Mail. (content much the same, some variation in example stamp photos, fonts and box sizes.)

      Delete
  25. I'm not taking any chances; printing both sides of the 'under £200' form and sending off as set out in T&C....

    5.1 To swap out your non-barcoded stamps you must submit a swap out form together with the
    stamps you wish to swap out. Your swap out must comply with these terms and the guidance set out
    on the swap out form...etc.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's my approach too. RM told me that I can go to my local Delivery Office if I want 50 forms. I aksed for the address of the nearest Delivery Office and the address they gave me is only a quarter of a mile away. Unfortunately that one closed about 5 years ago and RM didn't seem to know.

      Delete
  26. Two points - I was told by Adrian on the help line to print as many of the back pages as needed (of the £200 forms) and send them in with one main page as long as the total didn't break the limit. Secondly - any thoughts about Frama labels - still valid?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TY Paul D. Thats good to know. I will still try to get hold of 50 forms, to save my printer ink. It would be helpful if all the RM Customer Service agents gave the same answers.

      Delete
    2. Frama labels (which few now in Stamps & Collectables had heard of) remain valid and are not included in the swap scheme.

      Delete
  27. I received my first return from Royal Mail today. They have disputed the value of the stamps I sent in and have not sent me the full value. I have copies of my return and the stamps I sent, so I will now have to go through a challenge process. I also noticed that the new stamp sheet which I received from RM was folded, which devalues it as a philatilic item. The phone number on the letter I received with the return is for 'Royal Mail Stamps and Collectibles', so you might have hoped they would understand what coolectors want.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Sent off Swap out in excess of £200 on 09/04/22. Barcoded stamps returned on 16/04/22. Total of 1758 stamps sent, received back 1536. None of the E & WW stamps processed, other low valued stamps apart from current low value stamps not processed. Postage not refunded even though the accompanying letter says it has. Some Stamps torn. Royal Mail clearly under pressure

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Just received my £200 and below Swap out. Sent 100 x 1st & 100 x 2nd self adhesive along with 65 other values which were stuck on the back of the form as instructed by the terms and conditions. RM only sent back 2nd and 1st barcoded stamps covering the self-adhesives. Totally ignored the rear of the form (£12.90) What is going on ? RM have a lot to answer for

      Delete
  29. Loughboroughlad16 April 2022 at 13:40

    There are clearly problems at RM processing "Swap-Outs". I initially sent two sets of stamps and have now had the swaps sent to me for both. The first set was for £1,159.52. In the RM letter they confirmed the £1,159.52 had been received and explained they have enclosed £1,120.10 worth of stamps for me plus £10.65 to cover postage. The £10.65 was not included and I am now challenging where the missing £39.42 worth of stamps is plus the missing postage of £10.65. The second batch of £214.56 was more accurate with £214.90 received from RM, but the £7.65 to cover postage costs was not sent again. So with this batch I am challenging where the postage cost is. Looking at other readers issues RM will soon be bogged down with dispute claims.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Email address found on Web for disputing content of Swap Out https://www.royalmail.com/sending/barcoded-stamps/swap-out-enquiry. How quick this is responded to is not clear. Will phone them first as copies of swap out forms cannot be attached.

      Delete
    2. Are you challenging via the online form at ... /swapoutsupport? That is what I am doing but it seems to be quite arduous as you have to list all the stamps you have sent in that order. That's not too bad if you sent 500 1st Class for example, but if you have sent numerous different values plus E and WW NVI's it can take ages to fill in the appeal form. With one of my over £200 orders, I sent in a spreadhseet with the form, which should make it easier for RM to check (no reply on this one yet).
      I don't see a happy ending to this saga. I am doing my best to work WITH Royal Mail and make suggestion which will improve the process for them and customers, but I am not sure if my suggestions are seen by anyone with authority.

      Delete
    3. TY. Chris, the address you gave seems to take you to the same form as at /swapoutsupport. When I completed the form today, I received an email reply which said they hope to reply within 3 working days, or longer when busy. The next working day is Tuesday, so its going to be slow. My first query has had no reply after 10 days, other than a note to say it had been passed to the Philatilic Team.

      Delete
  30. The email I found via online support was .../swap-out-enquiry. I am only submitting the easiest to resolve, which was the lack of £10.65 postage refund. The other 2 are a saga and half. The letters which come with the returned stamps have no reference numbers on them at all. However there is a Customer Reference Number written on the front of the envelope they were returned in. This hopefully should lead them to the original form. Which may speed up things. Though I don't hold out much faith in that, looking at the vast number of stamps not processed. RM would appear completely overwhelmed by the number and variety of denominations and colours that are being sent back for exchange.

    ReplyDelete
  31. As a philatelist/stamp collector of 60 years, could I be naïve (and probably insulting) by asking why such volumes of stamps were in people's possession. Was it to feed the philatelic trade (but nothing has changed - or has it?) or to actually use to post letters and parcels?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't answer your good question for others, or even give a full account of my own collecting habits, because I haven't worked it out for myself! Let's just say it started with a few Machins, then I discovered cylinder blocks, so needed six of each value, then 'dot' and 'no dot' cylinder blocks, then date blocks, colour blocks. Then I got a complete unfolded sheet of 200 Machins, a beautiful item worthy of admiration and study. Then I wanted a 'no dot' sheet of 200. Once the 'new' self adhesives came along there were 12 complete sheets to collect (in some face values) to get all the dot positions. The other day I got a part sheet of the new 1st barcoded stamps and I spent 20 happy minutes examing every detail with a magnifying glass. Mrs Bear was confused; I even surprised myself. Now vast swathes of definitives are about to have their face value completely wiped out by Royal Mail. Time to decide what to keep and what to exchange or sell. 'Machin mania' is about to be replaced with 'Swap Out mania'!
      I would be very interested to hear other views.

      Delete
    2. The simple answer is that not everybody collects just one of each stamp.

      As bear has indicated, there are ways to collect, depending on how full your wallet is, and while few collect whole sheets (storage or display is a problem), many collect in blocks. Now that sheets are only 25/50 stamps, it's easy to store the valued ones.

      I have one customer who collects sheets up to £1 and cylinder blocks of 10 and a single over £1. Many people collect two booklets - cylinder and plain. In the old days of blocks of 10 stamps they were fixed by left or right margins and had MANY different marginal marks. Lots of ways to collect.

      The point now is that for some of these people they see nobody wanting their stamps in the future, and they are of an age when the money might be useful - or put to some other philatelic pursuit - and they can now trade in stamps bought at 25p for 95p, sell them for 65p and have real money rather than be rich in stamps.

      Delete
    3. Added to that, it's worth remembering that the well respected Martin Lewis CBE from Money Saving expert has long encouraged his 12 milion (really!) followers to stock up with NVI's before each Royal Mail price rise. This year's 1st NVI rise was huge. In a strange way the cost of a small parcel has now 'come down'. Although the price used to be £3.20 and it's now £3.35, it's cheaper for me. I used to use three 1st class plus 65p in make up values, now its only 3 first class and 50p! Thank you Martin. He is now reminding his followers to use or swap out. If only 1% of those 12 million complete a swap out form, you can expect huge delays.

      Delete
  32. ROYAL MAIL are you LISTENING!

    So nearly 3 weeks into the Swap Out and utter chaos reigns. Terms and conditions clearly state that all NVI’s, all make up values and International Tariff Stamps since 1971 can be exchanged for the new Barcoded Stamps. Seems straight forward enough. Postage will be refunded for Special Guaranteed Delivery for Swap Outs over £200.

    Clearly the staff at RM think otherwise, looking at the returns to customers. Yes, NVI’s, current make up values (1p, 2p, 5p etc.) being exchanged one for one.
    BUT when it comes to those values that are no longer in print, though are valid for postage, it’s another story. Of the 3 swap out transactions I have made so far:

    1. Over £200 - All NVI’s – Full return. But no postage refund in the way of stamps, even though letter states refunded.
    2. Below £200. 200 NVI’s returned. The further 65 gummed stamps stuck on rear of form totally ignored (13p, 14p, 19p, 26p). Letter even stated there were only 200 stamps returned
    3. Over £200 – All NVI’s (apart from 20 returned). 1958 stamps submitted, 1536 returned. Current denominations swapped, all other values totally ignored: (35p, 37p 65p, £1.88 etc.) All E, E 40g, W Postcard, W40g ignored. Total value not processed £193.81. Yet again no postage refunded.

    Has anybody received any stamps in compensation for the values out of print or a postage refund?

    To think that a vast majority of Swap Out applications at present are from Collectors and the Trade, it doesn’t go well for the coming months. RM will be swamped with complaints before the mad rush by general members of the public towards the end of the year, if the standard of dealing with these applications is not sorted out soonest.

    Someone at RM needs to get a grip and sort this mess out. Staff drafted into deal with the Swap Out would appear to be under prepared and without leadership.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And 'E', and all the other airmail stamps have direct barcoded equivalents; perhaps they need to think harder and remember what they are actually producing.

      I'll get this mentioned in Stamp Magazine if I can.

      Delete
  33. Ian has mentioned (old) stamp booklets. So here is something else to think about, given that soon they won't be valid for postage and will have zero face value. Take for example the 10 x 14p Machin Window booklet. Watching current prices on a popular auction site, I see that you would be left with about 90p after seller fees if you sell there. If you use the stamps for postage (now) you will get £1.40. If you send those stamps to Royal Mail on the Swap Out Scheme, you should get back three Second Class NVIs, currently worth over £2, with no fees to pay. So, as Ian suggests, for some people who dont want to hang on to (some parts of) formerly precious collections, this might be the time to liquidise assets. It is difficult to predict what effect that this is going to have on stamp collectors, future sales of machins, and on stamp dealers. The Swap Out scheme and devaluation of Machins, might prove to be a seismic shift in GB 'definitive' stamp collecting.

    Thinks .. .. must get some more Swap Out forms.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loughboroughlad18 April 2022 at 19:36

      You talk about well known auction sites, the interesting thing is the tax status on the "old-machin" stamps will change from 1st February 2023. VAT is at 0% for all stamps that can be used for postage. As these will no longer be able to be used on postage VAT of 20% will apply. Will this have an impact on what dealers do?

      Delete
    2. Oh, there's a can of worms I don't want to open!

      As you know, probably, there is a separate rate for collectibles of only 5%, although that well-known auction site now tends to apply 5% or nothing. I doubt that many have thought of this - I shall send it to a well-known dealer who IS VAT registered. Thank you!

      Delete
  34. From the Q & A section of Royal Mail's swap out page:

    When does the Stamp Swap Out Scheme end / when do customers need to swap out their non-barcoded stamps by?

    It’s fine to keep using non-barcoded stamps as postage up until 31 January 2023. You can swap out your stamps any time from 31 March 2022 onwards — there is currently no end date as to when you need to swap out your non-barcoded stamps by.

    Based on this I'll keep mine for the time being. There's no rush. And I also think that all commemoratives will suffer the same fate one day.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I received an 'over £200' return today. I had sent in a range of different Machins including many values no longer printed, plus lots of different NVIs including the ones trimmed to the backing paper from presenation packs (which annswers some of the questions above). I also sent in a spreadsheet showing the arithmetic, which RM agreed. I recieved the correct amount (rounded up by 25p). However they did not refund the SSD postage, even though the RM letter said they did. Royal Mail success rate so far: 0%. I will submit an appeal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loughboroughlad19 April 2022 at 11:52

      As I have stated on this blog I have had two 'over £200' returns with a 0% success rate. However, today I called the number on the letter and spoke to Dave who was extremely helpful. He is sending me 28 2nd class stamps to cover postage that wasn't refunded and 58 2nd class stamps to cover the shortfall in stamps they sent to me. He apologised and sorted the issue very efficiently. RM don't seem to be too efficient though as he said I will receive three separate letters with the stamps split between them - what a waste. But at least i'm not out of pocket.

      Delete
    2. TY. Glad to hear of your success. That is v helpful: I will ring next time. This time I wanted it recorded as a complaint. Did Dave say whay the errors had happened and what action RM will be taking to prevent them happening again? Those are the questions which I will be asking.

      Delete
    3. Loughboroughlad19 April 2022 at 18:48

      It was clear from what Dave said there are lots of issues. It sounds like the non-payment of the postage is very common so I assume as its been identified that should be fixed.

      Delete
  36. Royal Mail has said today, by email: "With regards to the use of plastic bags; I can confirm that we would accept the return of large quantities of stamps in alternative packaging methods, such as a cardboard box if this is more suitable for your return."

    I have asked them to reflect this change in the relevant Royal Mail douments, (which includes paragraph 22 of the Terms and Conditions).

    ReplyDelete
  37. I have now had some low value swap outs returned and were all Ok. Another over £200 had no postage so I rang the number on the letter and RM is now going to deal with my 3 incorrect returns in one go, by sending me a number of 2nd NVI in one letter. One of my returns which was sent me from Edinburgh on 14 April, had still not appeared in the records at Sunderland, which made it difficult to challenge. One small order where RM's total value disagreed with mine was solved when she read the entries on her spreadsheet which indicated how many of each value I had sent. They had not recorded the '11 and a half' p stamps I had sent. So you can see why its so important to keep an exact record of what you send. I asked why the problems were ocurring and was just told applogetically that is was a brand new team. I asked if the training and / or supervison were lacking and was told 'Dont know'. As lots of my stamps sheets arrived folded I queried this and was told that my file has now been marked to say that I am a collector, with a request that any future sheets are sent to me unfolded. I must add that the RM help line agent was very helpful, although it took about 30 mins to solve all the problems.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'd think the Royal Mail had heard of OCR...

      It should've been easy enough to divert all the £200+ forms to a small number of staff with additional training who could've scanned the matrix of values/quantities, carried out a quick check against the totals (if OK, no need to recheck the numeric entries), then pass the package and spreadsheet along for stamp checking and replacement issuing.

      Delete
  38. Having read the earlier posts I was rather dreading what I would get back after sending 1,500 stamps in to be swapped. However I was pleasantly surprised. Somehow I under-declared the number of stamps I sent in by 20 apparently, with a shortfall in value of £56.63! Not sure how I did that but they spotted it and send back the correct value of stamps AND the £8.55 I spent on postage. Very impressed.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi,

    I have just received another two batches of swap outs from Royal Mail.

    The first was for 87 stamps total value £12.11 1/2 mailed to them 11/04 there letter dated 14/04 saying the value was actually £12.54 and enclosing stamps to the value of £13.02. (mostly 2nd class - I sent in various fixed value machins).

    The second batch was sent to them on 13/04 and their letter was dated 15/04 but addressed to an entity in London (I'm in Yorkshire) there is no breakdown on the letter of what was sent but it says please find enclosed x number of stamps to the value of £x.xx (not mine). However the stamps enclosed and the despatch note are correct (the have sent mostly 1st and 2nd class for my 1st and 2nd Machins and a few odd values).

    Interestingly the dispatch note with my details on was leading (the letter with the London address on behind), but on the first batch it was the other way round (letter leading).

    ReplyDelete
  40. I have also received some more low value swap returns from Royal Mail. Very accurate on the whole, but the odd variation in how halfpennys are handled, and most of the sheets I got back were folded. One sheet was even folded right through the stamps.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm told that the matter of folded returns is being addressed but would suggest that everybody should ask for them not to be folded as they are for a collector, and mark this clearly on the forms.

      Delete
  41. I got two more returns today, turnaround time certainly improving. One was 100% accurate which was the first one out of four returns. The other one only had the postage missing so called up and they are sorting that for me.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Please can someone advise the approach to take for booklets of gummed machins. I have a quantity of spares to swap out and am presuming that if I go for the under £200 option I have to extract the stamps from the booklets and stick them onto the RM form. However if I go for the over £200 option do I simply bag up booklets to a total of 50 stamps together, bearing in mind some of the booklets have mixed values?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have done what you suggested i.e. remove, separate, stick. Bag up for large orders. I have been told by RM that there is no longer a requirement to use plastic bags. You can use a box. They still ask for stamps to be 'organised'. I think what this means is that we organise stamps in a sensible manner to make things easy for them. With larger orders I print and send a spreadheet listing all the stamps and totals. For small orders I do the arithmetic on the sheet. I think if we take a bit of care in the way we return our stamps, there is less chance that mistakes will be made.

      Delete
  43. One question I don't think has been answered, what can I do with £2,000 of barcoded stamps! I shall never use them up in my lifetime nor probably the next. It is crazy there is no cash swap out scheme. Does anyone have an email address or contact within Royal Mail to ask this question? Thank you

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This was covered in my first 'Thoughts', link in para 1 above (I can't make this clickable: https://blog.norphil.co.uk/2022/02/thoughts-on-royal-mails-invalidation-of.html)

      Reliable sources in the trade indicate that the discount on face value for sales of postage is still holding up at 20-25%.

      This may not be very attractive if you traded in valued stamps; on NVIs you almost certainly made a profit, in some cases a very big profit so can afford to take a hit by selling. I will be contacting local businesses which still use postage stamps on their mail and offering them 2nd class at a discount. It's unfortunate (as ScottK says below) that they didn't exchange for 1st class which some businesses will prefer.

      This will be the way to dispose of them - friends, family, and local businesses. I have been selling old NVI greetings booklet stamps to relatives for years.

      Delete
  44. I thought I would add my experience to the mix. I sent in a package last Tuesday (19th Apr) which included 4,614 stamps of all sorts of values with a total face value of £313.43 plus I used another £7.65 worth for the postage. This morning a large package arrived back to me with 2,640 barcoded stamps of the correct total value, in fact higher by about 20p due to rounding up I imagine. So I can report no problems at all. Done in 7 days and with correct content. The only downside is that it means I still have 1800 1p stamps to use, but then I of course sent in the same amount :-) This is where it would have been nice to have the option to ask for everything to be rounded up and sent back as 1st class....but I'm no worse off.

    ReplyDelete
  45. I have had another 6 returns, all with folded sheets enclosed. One sheet was folded 4 times. The returns were despatched to me 2 days after I spoke to RM, when they said they would mark my account, so that I would receive sheets flat and unfolded. There was one other small error which I will challenge. I am very dissapointed still.

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  46. I posted only one book of 12 x 1st class stamps value £11.40 on 04/04/22 and royal mail incorrectly returned 12 x 2nd barcoded stamps. Letter received 12/04/22 claiming only 2nd class had been sent in. I have photo evidence of the stamp value sent in. I returned incorrect order on 14/04/22 complete with their letter and have had no other reply to date.The question is why exactly have royal mail introduced barcoded stamps at all ? So they can track every one ? I'm sure they have completely under-estimated the public response to swap out.
    The swap out service from my end is extremely bad. 21 calendar days later and royal mail still owe me 12 x 1st class barcoded stamps.

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    1. Just as an update royal mail delivered missing 12 x 1st class barcoded stamps next day on 27/04/22 ! If they had got it right first time then the swap out would have all been done in initial target time of 7 days.

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  47. Although not something I would do but it seems to me the stupidity of the Royal mail swap out situation is laid bare when I state that I could legally submit an under £200 swap out form with a single 1/2 stamp on it for which RM would have to send me a current second-class barcoded making me a net profit of 67 1/2 pence. What would appear sheer lunacy but entirely legal and loss-making to Royal Mail in one fail swoop.

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  48. I received my first return today (26th) which I posted to Royal Mail on the 19th April. Stamps were a bit short of the total that I sent to them and like most other people no postage refund even though I asked for it. A quick phone call to the phone number given on the letter enclosed with my stamps soon put things right and I was told the the missing stamps plus the original postage would be sent out to me in 2nd class stamps within the next 10 days. All the sheets I received were flat and in good condition which did surprise me a bit as I have read of so many returns being folded and damaged. So altogether I was very pleased with the service but what to do with so many 2nd class stamps.

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  49. Please be aware that the Terms and Conditions were reissued on 27 April 22. They still say that plastic bags must be used and that you can't send stamps in boxes. This conflicts with the information that RM previously sent me by email.

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  50. Good evening all,

    A question of "Invalid and Valid 'Non-barcoded' stamps." How will the Royal Mail system be able to Identify those 'Non bar-coded' stamps which are in fact still valid as postage under the new rules. My worry is mailing items using stamps which are Valid 'Non-barcoded' as per Royal Mail's terms, but them being incorrectly invalidated by Royal Mail, and with the recipient being charged for insufficient postage, or the item returned!!

    Tom Watson

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    1. Well Tom, I have been told that RM want to make it as easy as possible for Revenue Protection to judge. Thus all existing Machin definitives and ANY country/regional definitive - Machin and emblem or pictorial - will be invalid. Not much else is invalid. The Castles high values and a few others are being accepted in the swapping scheme, but may not be classed as invalid.

      I hope when the dust has settled and RM do the information leaflet to all households in the autumn they will have determined precisely what will be invalid and will therefore try to ensure that everybody has been told. (That's not to say that everybody will remember, nor that some still won't ask for clarification.)

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  51. Thank you Ian,

    However, my point was not so much about which of the current stamps will be considered as invalid, but more the concern about what will happen in future within the Royal Mail system to ensure that envelopes and packets with the Correct accepted postage affixed are not invalidated by Royal Mail, resulting in the recipient being met with a surcharge, i.e. mail which will is affixed with 'Non barcoded' stamps, but those which will be deemed as still acceptable as valid postage (current Commemoratives and Christmas issues etc). So what I am really asking is: How will Royal Mail systems be able to identify valid 'Non Bar-coded' postage (e.g. current Commemoratives and Christmas issues etc) on Mailed items and not invalidate them. I trust I have worded this better!!


    Regards,

    Tom

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    1. By default, Tom, when those which Revenue Protection departments have been told are invalid are listed, all others are valid.

      Doubtless Royal Mail's mechanised system will still fail to identify some older stamps, as not everything will be in their image database, but when these are thrown out for examination, comparison with the list of INVALID stamps, will reveal their absence, and so they will be valid.

      Or I may be being naive.

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