Who banned PPI labels, eBay or Royal Mail?
eBay appear to have cancelled all listings for pre-printed Printed Post Impression (PPI) labels.
Up until now professional printing companies have been saving Royal Mail PacketPost users the trouble of printing their own PPI labels and selling pre-printed PPI labels, with the customer’s own license number, on eBay.
PPI labels (which can also be printed directly onto envelopes) are technically worthless as they should be weighed, counted and then collected by Royal Mail, although doubtless they cause Royal Mail Revenue Protection Officers a nightmare to administrate. What should happen is when items are posted the weights and number of items are tallied up and the user then pays Royal Mail for the number of items sent. What’s all too easy is to slip an extra couple of parcels in, or to under declare the total weight thus reducing your overall bill.
That’s why recently Post Offices have started to reject PPI mail and Royal Mail are asking for paperwork with each collection, not just a total at the end of the day.
Regardless how much some users might play the system to reduce their bill, PPI mail always needs a PPI label. Just as it’s not economically viable for a business to print their own letterhead paper, it makes sense to pay a printer to produce your PPI labels. Most of the time they can print them for less than you could purchase the blank labels due to the larger numbers that they process. In fact Royal Mail recognise this and offer “download files to provide to your designer or printer“. Solutions such as Packing Partner from Aimco can also incorporate your PPI impression into their label printing.
So why are eBay banning PPI printing services? If someone is on the fiddle it certainly won’t stop them ripping off Royal Mail. However honest online retailers still need PPI labels for every parcel they legitimately send and pay for and someone somewhere has to print them.
I spoke to PPI Labels who have been granted permission to reproduce the Royal Mail Cruciform by the Royal Mail Group and who’s employees have been trained and authorised to print PPI labels. All of their eBay listings have been cancelled cutting off their income stream. Fortunately they have a website so if you need labels you can still purchase direct from PPI-Labels.co.uk, rather than eBay getting a slice of fees on the transaction.
There are rumours that there’s a new three year deal signed between eBay and Royal Mail, but we’ve no confirmation of this. Nor do we have any idea why a deal should include a ban on printing services. One would expect Royal Mail to approve of professional printing to ensure PPI labels are acceptable quality and machine readable. No one wants to return to the days of applying PPI via a hand stamp and ink pad, but that’s just what some Royal Mail customers may resort to.
If you have any more information on why the listings for PPI printing services have been removed by eBay we’d love to hear from you. In the mean time as mentioned earlier – you can use ANY printing service in the country to print your PPI Impressions with your license number and PPI-Labels.co.uk are standing by and more than happy to assist.