Royal Mail new surcharges from 5th Oct 2015

Underpaid PostageFrom this Monday the 5th of October, Royal Mail will introduce a flat-fee of only £1.50 to be paid by the recipient of a letter or a large letter where insufficient postage has been paid. There will also be a £2 fee when no stamp has been attached. A £3 fee will apply to a Small Parcel with insufficient postage or no stamp attached.

For Medium Parcels and Special Delivery Guaranteed items with incorrect or no postage, a fee of £1.50 plus the postage due, rounded to the nearest 10 pence, will apply.

These fees replace a £1 handling fee, plus the unpaid postage (whether it was an underpayment or no stamp attached).

Royal Mail say that the changes are simpler which will reduce the amount of time taken to calculate underpayment or non-payment of postage. They also say that the changes are “not expected to increase the average amount that a typical household might currently pay in postal surcharge handling fees each year“. As always there will be some winners (when the surcharge is less than the unpaid postage) and losers (when it’s a very small underpayment making the flat fee proportionately higher).

Surcharges always annoy buyers, not matter whose fault it is – seller miscalculated, stamps fell off or Post Office made a mistake, equally surcharges annoy sellers when returned items have underpaid postage. What’s also often forgotten surcharges are a pain for the local Posties who have to delivery a surcharge card and deal with the letter or parcel hanging around their depot until it’s paid.

Stephen Agar, Managing Director of Consumer and Network Access at Royal Mail said of the changes “Surcharging customers is the last thing Royal Mail wants to do. We make it as easy as possible for senders to attach the appropriate postage to their letters. The vast majority of consumers get it right most of the time. On the occasions where they don’t, the surcharge helps to cover the extra cost of handling items that have been underpaid or have no postage attached”.