Friday 15 March 2024

Royal Mail Tracked® - a new service coming to a Post Office near you.

A new service was shown in this year's new Postal Rates leaflet. Referred to in the main heading as UK Tracked, but branded as Royal Mail Tracked® this offers yet another level of protection/tracking for mail within the UK. It also seems to offer a better option for posting packages to customers!

This service did not start on 2 April as suggested by the rates leaflet. See new post for more news.

A recap

Existing services are UK Guaranteed, branded as Special Delivery with 9am and 1pm and Saturday Guarantees, with various optional levels of compensation, and weights starting at 100g.  Minimum price will be £7.95 from 2 April 2024.

The other current service is UK Signed which we all know as Royal Mail Signed For. Many members of the public think that as this has a barcode it can be tracked, but the original branding described it exactly - Recorded Delivery.  Nothing more, nothing less - a signature on delivery (probably).  This mail is handled in just the same way as UK Standard 1st & 2nd class mail and is subject to just the same delays. There is no penalty for not delivering within the regulator's targets and so no pressure on delivery office managers to get delivery done.

Minimum price for 1st class is £3.05 (Large £3.80), 2nd class £2.55 (Large £3.25): from 2 April compensation is reducing from £50 to £20.

New Service

Royal Mail Tracked provides photo-proof of delivery and compensation up to £150.   Currently this service is only available with online postage, although once paid online labels can be printed at Post Offices.   Labels like this are produced

The Tracked24 service provides

    •    Tracking to delivery point
    •    Photo on delivery
    •    SMS or email notifications to recipients
    •    Next working day delivery aim
    •    Compensation cover up to £150
    •    Change your delivery options before delivery is attempted

Tracked48 aims to deliver in 2-3 working days, but otherwise the same services.

This is the service which will now be available at Post Offices on demand.  At this stage branches don't know much about it but it seems that whilst normally Horizon labels will be used (and a new code, perhaps?), it will also be possible to prepay in stamps before you leave home!

There is no rate for letters (although letters may be sent at the Large Letter rate) the lowest price is £3.50 for a Large Letter up to 750g for Tracked24 and £2.70 for Tracked48.  The signed option costs more.

So how does this compare with existing services?

The cheapest way to send a letter will still be under a pound at 85p (2nd class) and £1.35 (1st class).  

But for dealers sending out orders, or collectors sending (say) first day covers to the postmarking centres or selling on online platforms, this could be a much better option than Royal Mail Signed For.  EBay, for example, prefer items to be tracked - and Signed For doesn't involve tracking.

If a signature is not obtained every time, or is so illegible as not to indicate who actually signed for the package, then what use is Signed For?

Prices for 750 grammes (I have compared Tracked48 with 2nd class and Tracked 24 with 1st.):

2nd class: standard - £2.70;  signed for - £4.40;  Tracked48 - £2.70;   Tracked48 with signature - £4.40.

1st class:  standard - £3.50;  signed for - £5.20;  Tracked24 - £3.50;   Tracked24 with signature - £5.20.

So rather than send packages by 1st class Signed For (when we don't actually need a signature) we can send them by Tracked48 for 80p less or Tracked24 for the same amount as standard post. 

Yes, you can get your 750g mail Tracked without paying any extra!   

A basic 2nd class Signed For letter at £2.55 is only 15p less than Tracked48 without signature. Similarly a 100g 1st class Signed For Large Letter at £3.80 is 60p less than Tracked 48 with signature but much more than Tracked 48 without.

If tracking is preferable to a signature then 15p is a reasonable price to pay.

Impact on Services

Services will only be impacted if people take advantage of this new option - and if I have understood everything correctly!

Post Office branches will deal with more over the counter work than previously. Even if you take Standard Letters into branch to get a certificate of posting, that has go to be quicker than Tracked processing.

Royal Mail Deliveries are already suffering and workers on the coal face say that tracked parcels are prioritised over ordinary letters (which includes Signed For).  Corporate management deny that this is policy but the fact remains that it is happening.   So if we send Tracked24/48 they will have even more to prioritise.  

I feel sorry for the people who don't get their mail when they should: we have absolutely no trouble locally - if I can send an order to Skye on Friday and have the cheque on Tuesday, then it couldn't be any better.

But UKTracked is certainly going to be worth considering from now on.


  1. I tried to get some more info from my local very knowledgeable post office staff unfortunately they had received no info about this.
    If you are able to prepay with postage stamps (lets hope so) will there be pre printed bar coded labels available similar to the signed for labels p2223 or will a separate tracked 24/48 label still have to be produced where the price is noted as pre paid.
    As is usual a lack of any details in the publicity.

    1. Spoke again today to staff at local office who said this is being introduced for people who cant do the transaction online for whatever reason.
      I have not compared the price online with that over the post office counter if there is a difference but he did confirm you will not be able to prepay with postage stamps for these services.

  2. Is there any point in the Tracked with signature service? If there is photo evidence of the item being delivered on the tracked service why do we need the signature service?

    1. If you've ever used the tracked service, sometimes the photos are just of the postman's feet or of the front of the parcel or the parcel on top of a wheely bin. The photo doesn't prove delivery in those cases and I've lost cases on eBay because of it. The signature records GPS coordinates of where it was signed (hopefully at the intended destination).

  3. I couldn’t help but notice that VAT is included - how are they managing to peg prices to Signed For?

  4. If my maths is correct, this means eight different services are available for posting within the UK, which seems a little excessive. On signing - I don't think I've yet supplied an identifiable signature on the pads the posties are supplied with, so I wonder what would happen if I was involved in a dispute (thankfully this has not happened yet).

    As an aside: if anyone wants to order the new £2.50 definitive, it is now on the RM website.

    1. To correct my earlier post, there are in fact ten different services. I'd forgotten that the Special Delivery has three options. I'm not sure how the average person is supposed to find their way through this minefield.
      Apologies for not doing my initial homework carefully.

  5. When 'Tracked' was originally introduced I expected it to eventually replace 'Recorded Signed For' and this latest development is surely one step nearer to that happening.
    A few days ago I had a "Tracked No Signature / Small Parcel 2kg / Post by the end of 25.03.2024 / Paid and printed from eBay " with interestingly "Supplemental charge will apply from branch drop off". When "Click and Drop" was introduced a couple of years ago I think I remember a supplementary charge of 60p if the item was collected from the sender. The reverse of that, more "from branch drop off", might suggest Royal Mail wanting to dissociate itself from Post Offices and be just like every other parcel carrier. Stopping accepting stamps for payment of parcel postage could be next, as happened a few years after Parcel Force was launched.

    1. "Tracked" services currently have a 16p surcharge if dropped off in a Post Office branch. You also can't buy them from Post Offices.

    2. ".....might suggest Royal Mail wanting to dissociate itself from Post Offices..." on the RM Tracking app they are now referred to as "Parcelshop".


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