Sunday 8 January 2012

Is it a postal scam ?

Morning Peeps. Nothing to share today, just scouting for a bit of feedback to see if others are experiencing   problems with Royal Mail extorting extra fees to deliver items which they claim have been sent "underpaid"?

I have read one or two comments about a scam and am now beginning to think there is some substance to it after experiencing the same problem on a number of occasions in recent weeks/months.

Running a few challenges means I need to post off a good few prizes and packages and as our Post Office is a drive away up in the village, I try and wait to hear from all winners with their addresses each month and then make one trip to the PO to dispatch everything in one go. 

The lady in our PO is a bit of a 'jobsworth' and insists on weighing everything and double checking before passing across the stamps or labels for each item.................there are always more than a few tuts in the queue when I am there as it takes ages, but at least I know everything I send has been properly weighed and stamped. They provide a combined receipt, but when I asked about individual ones but they say it takes too long for multiple postings and you need to use a signed for delivery option to get that........more money. I have no doubt their scales are accurate as I usually have a quick weight at the office to get an idea of how much it will all cost and the two always seem to correlate closely, something the PO lady commented on recently.

So how is it that in the past few months I have been made aware by several recipients of packages I have sent, being charged an 'underpayment' fee and of course each time they add "£1 handling fee', a nice little earner if you ask me. And those are just the ones I know about which leaves me wondering if there are more.

One such example which I find impossible to comprehend are the packets I sent early December, all identical contents and packaging to seven of my DT's (all in the UK). Five were delivered fine and two had cards left by the postie claiming extra fees. And to add insult to injury, two of the recipients were in the same town, one delivered OK and one charged a fee.

Back in October, I sent six identical packages, two overseas (USA and New Zealand) and four to the UK (second class). The USA one arrived in three days (unbelievable) before the UK ones and of those four, one was charged an additional fee for delivery.

And the final straw for me is I heard yesterday that one of the packages I posted on Tuesday to a UK address (as always weighed and stamped at the PO) was charged a fee to collect her package.

Back in December I wrote to Royal Mail about this and got a wishy washy reply that unless a letter/package is sent by Special Delivery there is no way of checking very convenient. And of course that takes me to my other hobby did they manage to lose my package of 20 odd cards for Stamp Addicts Create and Craft TV programme back in October ? Oh sorry Royal Mail, you did say I could "pop along at your convenience to our lost property centre"................where is it I asked, Northern Ireland. No problem then, just a quick two day trip from Cambridge !!!!!!!!!!!

And judging by our incoming post at work this is on the increase, whereas one of the underpayment cards used to be an infrequent event, now we get several every week. So I am really beginning to think there is something dodgy going on with our postal service.

I am going to take this up with them yet again, but I have little evidence other than my combined receipt and  copy of one of the underpayment cards because when you collect your item they retain the card, again covering their own backs. 

In conclusion, I can only apologise again to anyone who has received something from me and been charged to get their package. And to anyone reading this who may in the future get an underpayment card for anything they receive via Royal Mail from any source, make sure you copy it before you collect your item and give your delivery office grief.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this as I am sure I am not alone here.


Amanda xx said...

Thank you so much for this, you begin to think you are alone in these kinds of situations. I have to wholeheartedly agree with you here. This happened to me in December after sending parcels from my local PO and they were quite heavy ones. Two people i sent them to were charged an underpayment......i find this hard to believe when they are officially weighed ay their POs. I myself have received three underpayment parcels. At the Colection Office i asked them to re-weigh them and yes they were the correct postage for the parcel!!!!.......i argued and in the end they didnt make me pay.....since then the weighing scales have been removed!!! I just wish we had a better, reliable alternative that is as local as the PO.
xxxxxx Amanda

Janice said...

This does sound open to abuse doesn't it. Can't say I've been aware of it myself, but how about asking for the proof of posting slip when you hand the packages over then asking the clerk to initial that they were weight checked. If then someone says they had to pay excess, get a copy of the card & challenge on that. Surely if they tell you what to pay, they can't then up it on arrival. Plus do they really weigh all parcels again before delivery? Jx

Anne said...

Hi Brenda, Mmm makes you wonder doesn't it. I agree with Fluffles though, always get a proof of posting slip and keep your receipt from the PO as this proves you didn't put the stamps on yourself. It's one of these situations that is so frustrating and time consuming. Hope you get it resolved very soon. Hugs x

Paula (PEP) said...

Thanks for the warning - shall definitely keep my eyes open for this one.
Paula (PEP)

Sally H said...

I will definitely be a little more assertive if it happens again Brenda, and not just pay up the £1.34 without a little 'discussion'. I will also copy the card. Hope you have more success in challenging them this time x

Paula (PEP) said...

PS - Playing Devil's Advocate here: could perhaps the Post Office have faulty equipment, but that wouldn't square with it happening in the same town - unless people didn't know how to operate the equipment properly - or perhaps it is a computer software glitch ....... hmmm downright timewasting nuisance.
Paula (PEP)

Mummylade said...

Like Fluffles said: Do they weigh the parcels again before delivery?
I have never experienced it but maybe the Swedish postal service can't be arsed to weigh incoming items =). What I have seen though is the time difference in handling packages since I order lots of stuff from the UK. It seems it takes longer to process parcels within the UK than between UK and Sweden, which I find a bit strange...

Zoechaos said...

You do seem to have experienced a lot of problems. I am surprised that your Post-office will not issue individual proof of posting I've never experienced that when sending several items, swaps etc. nor has anyone said to me that they are being asked to pay more. With regard to letters regular or large these are sorted by machine and if the envelope will not go through the regular sized slot then it is large which can lead to an extra charge and is worth challenging that when collecting it. A few years ago some crafters I know were getting their envelopes checked by the post office and writing on them that this was the case in an attempt to avoid extra charges no idea if it worked or not.

Re the lost office in Northern Ireland its a sap to us and one person I know, whose correctly addressed parcel was lost, was told it did not exist!

My experience is with the re-direction service I paid for 6 months service. This has ensured that junk mail reaches me but 3 rather more important letters have not. When I complained to their customer services a rather rude chap insisted that it probably was not their fault but that the letters had been lost some other way! So much for customer services.

I do often wish there was an alternative to them but alack there is not and this is certainly not the postal service of our youth. It is all we have and from talking to friends around the world it is better than quite a lot of them.

Good luck with your complaint to the powers that be. XOXO Zoe

Unknown said...

Hmmm as you say Brenda, it does make you think doesn't it? I am lucky that the PO I use is only a three minute walk away from my office so I take my stuff to work and to the PO from there. I have received cards saying I need to pay a fee - and this is just a though - if you are looking to keep the card for evidence - you can pay online and have it redelivered at a time convenient way to you - that way you get your parcel and get to keep the card too! Might be interesting to take it to your PO and ask them to weigh it to see if it was indeed "underfunded" - that would be more evidence. Good luck with this - I look forward to hearing how you get on. I will certainly be keeping a closer eye on things from now on!
Dawn xx

pickle said...

Hi, I've had this happen to me a couple of times when I had had my items wieghed/measured etc then the post office person stuck stamps on them. I now insist that they do a printed out payment label rather than just sticking stamps on . That way you have proof that they have weighed/meausred at the post office.I clerk doens't like it very much But I INSIST! I'd also deffo insist on the seprerate receipts ..I would deffo take that up with the post office

Kerry x

Annie said...

All very suspect. I personally would like to know what they have done with my set of brass stencils and DVD ordered from QVc at the beginning of December. Somewhere there is a naughty postman up to his elbows in embossing paste and glitter and it should be me!
Hate the post with avengence - 75p to post a card then it takes a week to get to its destination.
Rubbish service.
Ann xxx

Carol Cel said...

Wow! I live in the US. Here, we would probalby contact a new agency (paper or TV) that deals with helping people solve a problem with a gov't agency. This sounds like it could be a big scandal that some news organization would love to tackle. Good luck!

Janette said...

All getting out of hand Brenda, I have a few issues with all this myself, and over the christmas period 2 packages have gone walk about and no interested as I SHOULD have sent them registered...more money...xx

Crafting Queen said...

We had a card like this recently and when we went to collecte it hubby was told it, he was told that corner of the card got bent and would not go in the slot so had to pay 1.25 for a card that had the correct postage all along! I was very angery. Maybe we need to all write to our MPs and put pressure on them.

Brook said...

I agree with CarolCel, get a hold of any news reporting services and tell them the story. But in the mean time keep getting proof. Maybe even bring in a audio tape recorder and record your conversation with the PO people. It may not stand up in court, but it would sure make one heck of a story! Also, see if there are more people having the same problems in your neighborhood/village and if they would be willing to share their story.
This sounds like a scam to me.

Julie said...

Don't get me started on my hobby horse - the postie tried delivered my parcel to the house next door who weren't in and left them a card. (I was in!) The long and short of it is - this parcel has now been lost as the sorting office cannot find it - as I have no idea who it was from or who the sender is - there is nothing further that can be done as I don't know who the sender is or what was in it! Next week they are getting an invoice for my time, phone bill and petrol expenses trying to sort it out! x

Bad times! x

DesignerDiva said...

Hi Brenda it all sounds a bit dodgy doesn't it! I always ask for a proof of posting slip it doesnt cost anything and if your parcel doesn't arrive your can claim compensation. I post a lot of stuff off that our shop sells online and out of the hundreds of parcels I've sent only one didn't arrive to which I filled in a form and they refunded me £35 without question as I'd got my proof of postage slip. Your post mistress can't deny you a proof of postage slip and I wouldn't worry how many people tut, the PO is providing a service that you pay for!
Laurie x

Mrs A. said...

This has hasppened to me too. My daugther sent our Christmsas card along with MIL's (exactly same card) and had them weighed at the PO to check that postage was correct. MIL's to Devon arrived no problem within days ours to Hampshire didn't. We finally got a card (nearly a month later) posted through our door to collect said card at an additional cost of 20p underpaid and the Standard £1.00 fee. Hubby collected the card and opened it before I had a chance to take it down the post office and challenge them. If it happens again i will photo copy the notification card and take both down. Glad to knowI'm am not the only victim. hugs Mrs A.

pickle said...

Definitely needs looking into by the powers that be, I had a few occasions were this happened to me to. Now I always get the post office clerk to print the sticky payment label rather then sticking stamps on that way you have proof. Sometimes they do have a little moan . But I always insist. I would definitely get in touch with the post office if your PO won't give you the individual proof of postage. Hope it doesn't happen to you again although it does seem as though it's rife at the mo
Kerry x

annies place said...

Hi Brenda just read this & I actually have a sticker on the envelope, so I'm going to take everything to my local PO, they know me there & have it checked.
Many thanks for your help
Ann x

Romayne said...

Think before you send out anything, I'd just get everyone to ensure they photocopy/scan ANY correspondence from the PO with regard to the pkgs & then mail all of them off to you as proof. I live in Belfast & have to say I've never heard anything about the Province being the UK's lost property facility in any shape or form :(.

But I have had my issues with RM in the past that have been equally frustrating, so feel for you.

Von said...

It used to be you could collect these anoying parcels for the local PO but now I have to go to the sorting office ! the last time it happend to me I wanted to know why I was being charge they said it should have a large stamp on it I took one look at the card and said no way at which point he said I'm not going to argue with you and he gave it to me . I recon it's all to do with sorting being automised and no one checking that which has been rejected !
I do feel for you especially when you make apoint fo getting they weighed :(
Von x

THERESA said...

You are most def not alone, even tho i am in SA, here is no pattern on paying customs, sometimes i think they just need the money, lol, also i seems to depend on which country it is coming from, still trying to figure out what they base the amount on, a mystery, but service is so bad, when one ask about it, they just say....I don't know',,,,,,, sheez, what do they know, so the moral here is, don't just leave it there, go get them girl, we tend to play possum too much!!
lotsa luv

Kat said...

By the way when I say certificate of posting I do mean individual COPs for every item, that's what I give my customers. I've had customers go out with 20 COPs!

Kat xx

Merry said...

Oh wow...certainly sounds suspicious to me. Amazing that you actually get the PO to weigh the parcels and then give you the postage stamps. How is it possible for the recipient to receive an underpayment charge. I would be like you Brenda...having a word with someone.

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

Mm B. very interesting post.
I must admit over here we (the poster, not the receiver of goods) are charged double if we post something the wrong weight, etc. - know as had a postal fee sent to me a while ago now cos of the thickness not being the mm they specify so now take everything to my jetty post office and have it stamped and okayed this end.
Bit rude to do it at the other end..maybe a great scam as you say! blessings for 2012, Shaz in oz.x

Crafty Loops said...

How in the name of the wee man can your lost property centre be here?? (Northern Ireland)! That is really awful Brenda, Im so sorry to hear about the problems your having. Hope you get a satisfactory answer. Lee x

Talavas said...

Lindsay Craftymonster81 said...

Hi Brenda, this must be so frustrating, royal mail have been terrible lately, i recieve quite a few packages in the post and several have been lost in the last couple of months, plus a few more have been delivered to other houses around the village despite my address being clearly and correctly marked on the package. I think it is disgusting but Royal mail seem very unwilling to hold their hands up to anything. I have never heard off the post office refusing to give individual reciepts before though, my post office always give me individual reciepts no matter how many parcels I have as they are printed off at the same time as they are weighed for each one and I think the fact they are being weighed and then charging people at the other end is disgusting, however I have even known that to happen with a recorded delivery packages so I am not convinced that its worth the extra money.
Anyway sorry for the little rant as you can probably tell I am frustrated with Royal mail too lol, I hope you are well aside from this hastle with the post office
Lindsay xx