27 July 2007

Wanted: Postal Competition

Free the Mail: Ending the postal monopolyI had the misfortune to need to post an urgent letter today. So, having managed to avoid the post office for some weeks (in fact, since the last time they failed to deliver for me...), off I went to get my certificate of posting, only to be informed that they could not guarantee delivery of my letter as there would be yet more postal action today. If I wanted to pay them lots of money they "should be able to guarantee delivery by Monday" but, as I informed them, last time I paid them any extra money to ensure swift and safe delivery they were two weeks late and, three months later, have still failed to compensate me in any way. I didn't even bother to explain about the matter of the envelope having been fraudulently switched or any of the other tiresome details, so I was astonished by the response to my next innocent question:

Me: Is there any other postal service besides Royal Mail that non-business customers such as me can use to post our letters?
Lady behind the counter: I'm not going to get into a political debate with you.

The Jolly Post OfficeA political debate?! All I wanted to know was whether I could post my letter somewhere else where I might have a greater chance of (1) my letter not being lost, (2) my letter being delivered on time, (3) the whole service not being further blighted by industrial action reminiscent of the 70s...

<Sigh> We desperately need an alternative ... When is someone going to compete with Royal Mail for residential services? </Sigh>


Anonymous said...

I am assured by a colleague who wishes to obtain a Visa for North Korea that she has been advised NOT to use Recorded Delivery with the Royal Mail for her Passport because the mail is only delivered - not signed for.

The service to use (which of course is more expensive) is Registered Mail, it is then tracked at each stage of its journey and is NOT delivered until someone at the receiving address has signed for it.

I hope this will be useful information for our Editor in future.

from Patricia in Oxfordshire

Jonathan Sheppard said...

No recorded delivery is a signed for service, and special delivery is a tracked and signed for service with extra compensation. The problem is when either of these goes missing getting compensation.