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Actually, it`s time to stop taking the p**s, and give the other side, tiresomely tedious though that is. Since Jan 2010 the Royal Mail actually pick up the post from us every day (though we have to pay £750 a year for that.....) so ridiculously early post box collection times don`t actually affect us any more. But anyway, Royal Mail`s collections may be getting earlier, their deliveries might be getting later, and their customer service phone line may be appalling, but, to be honest, generally, they don`t do too bad at actually delivering the mail.

We use RM for small orders and I have to say the order usually gets there the next day (First Class). It`s very rare for an item to be (permanently) lost and even more infrequent for them to damage anything. What`s more it`s the same price for a letter/parcel to go anywhere with a UK post code, that`s the Universal Service Obligation (though they`re trying to get out of it......). Carriers charge a lot extra for NW Scotland or off shore, with RM it`s the same from Leeds to Liverpool as it is from Sheffield to the Shetland Islands. That`s the universal service obligation for you !

Furthermore, at least for small/light items, let`s face it, they`re pretty cheap, and Saturday delivery is no extra charge either, not yet anyway........

What`s more nearly all the Posties who pick up our orders are helpful and friendly, I`ve no problem with them at all, except when they go on strike, but that`s not that often !

Here`s something impressive. On the 1st March 2013 we sent out an aerial to South Uist* by standard parcels (you know, the one they`ve slyly got rid of……). It got picked up from our shop at 5.00 on a Friday and it was delivered to South Uist at 11.30 the following day, a Saturday in fact, which all other carriers charge a hefty surcharge for !

* The southern most island of the Outer Hebrides off NW Scotland (in order from the south it goes South Uist, North Uist then at the top Isle of Lewis).

Basically, whilst things are going well, which is most of the time, RM give a good service.

It`s when things go wrong that they fall down big time. If ever a customer phones to say a delivery hasn`t got there, as we look for the invoice we`re always fervently hoping to find it`s gone by carrier not RM !

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Why I don`t love the Royal Mail, not always anyway.

Why they`re crap

Why they`re not

Ever since the steam age you could post a letter in Sheffield up to 9.30PM and it would go the same day, now it`s 7.30PM and you have to travel all the way out to the main sorting office to even take advantage of that. Furthermore your post would generally be delivered before you went to work, do you remember that because it already seems like some long lost dream from prehistory.

Unfortunately there has been a consistent trend for the post to be collected earlier and earlier and delivered later and later, but don`t forget that`s progress, apparently......

In October 2006 the Royal Mail excelled themselves in their ability to cut services (and increase the price at the same time, of course....) by advancing the collection times of both the post boxes we use from 7.00PM to 5.30PM, that`s one and a half hours !

It does not take a genius to work out that 5.30PM is our closing time. Unless we have a spare member of staff (who, preferably, can sprint down to the postbox at 5.25) the bleedin` post may very well not go until the following day. On questioning the RM about it they pronounced that the collection service (of the last 100 years) was “over specified”, so they were going to “respecify it”. That`s a marvellous piece of modern obfuscation is it not ? I`ll bet it comes from some smarmy management trainee whose just come back from a training course. He probably thought of it whilst hammering his company Mondeo up the motorway, cutting everyone up and chatting on his mobile phone whilst as he did so, tosser........

I tried to tell my wife I was “over specified” but she wouldn`t have it, so that begs the question why should we accept it from the RM and their “management genius” bosses (at the time), Allan Leighton and Adam Crozier. They earned over a million pounds a year whilst at the RM for “financially turning round” a monopoly service by increasing the price and cutting the service, they should work in the real world of competition were you can`t upset your customers and survive. Actually my sarcasm is misplaced because anyone

that can get paid that much, for doing that job, must be a genius, one way or the other.

Complain to Post Comm via (if the Government haven`t scrapped it.....)

Errr, in Oct 2011 they did scrap it (link now redirects to Ofcom).

Alternatively try phoning the Royal Mail but I wouldn`t use their “general enquiries” line because that`s probably the poorest phone answering service I`ve ever had the misfortune to use, and I`ve come across some absolute shockers. It`s even worse than PayPal`s..... Poor phone service is a modern trend, basically companies don`t want to speak to you at all, and that, ironically, includes British Telecom. It`s good to talk, well possibly, but not for them, or rather it is, but only to their bleedin` computer, not, God forbid, an actual person...... In fact when we booked a hotel room with Travelodge and had a problem they didn`t seem to even have a phone number, or if they did it was so hard to find I`d have been quicker walking to the sodding call centre. Royal Mail do at least have a phone number but they must be one of the leaders in the competition for worst phone service, which is ironic `cos it`s the only competition they know anything about. Use the Royal Mail head office telephone number 0207 250 2888. Take note of this number because if you ever have to phone the RM to complain, this could be the most useful piece of information on this entire website......

The Daily Telegraph catches up with this story (5 years later)

PS  I`m not blaming the Posties !  It`s the (overpaid) managers.....

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Stop Press ! It was discovered that the RM actually had an easy way out off the above problem because there is a “late collection box” (if you can call 6.00PM late....) down an obscure back road in Hillsborough. The slot is too small to put anything bigger than a small letter through but all those wonderful people at the RM had to do was swap the box for a larger one.

Their response ?

“We can`t be arsed”, or words to that effect........        

Stop Press ! ! There are actually a few (7.15PM collection) mail boxes that we have sometimes been able to get to without a trip in the wrong direction through peak hours traffic. In fact I would often drop the post off on my way to swimming at that virtuoso swimming pool that is Ponds Forge. Unfortunately as of Feb 07 the Royal Mail have continued with their campaign to make life as awkward as possible for their customers by “respecifying” the collection times from the aforementioned 7.15PM forward to 6.30PM and thus making it impractical to use those as well.......

Stop Press ! ! ! As of Sunday the 28th of October 2007 the Royal Mail will be “respecifying” its Sunday/Bank Holiday collections, i.e. there won`t be any......

If we fail get your package in the post box by 12.00AM Saturday it won`t even get collected until Monday morning `cos it`s too much trouble for them.

Ehh, unfortunately the above time of 12.00 has now been “respecified” forward to 9.00AM....

I wouldn`t worry about it though because they`ll probably stop Saturday collections altogether sooner or later anyway.

To be honest they`d prefer us to take our mail straight to the Royal Mail sorting offices so they don`t have to collect it at all. In fact it`s a certainty that the Royal Mail would actually like us to drop our letters off at the Local Delivery Office, and I mean the one at the destination end, so they don`t even have to transport them.

Now that is what they`d call efficiency, it`s obvious when you think about it...................

We await with bated breath what they`ll do next. One thing is for sure, they will do something to make the service even worse. Watch this space, or the collection times notices on your own post boxes.........

Stop Press ! ! ! ! The strikes (October 2009) won`t actually affect most of our customers because the majority of our orders are sent out by next day courier [that`s why it`s so expensive......], but RM delivered items may obviously be subject to delay. I have to say I don`t usually approve of strikes, especially when they affect the general public, after all if most of us are unhappy in our jobs we just have to go and find another one don`t we !  But let`s remember that the management of RM are the ones responsible for the worst customer service, certainly their phone service, I`ve ever come across. If they`re prepared to inflict that on their customers they know bugger all about customer service, and indeed management at all......

As an experiment try comparing the answering on the RM`s "customer service line" (which is on 08457 740 740) with ours on 0114 2854 254. I think you`ll agree the RM management want putting up against a wall and shooting, and preferably the same wall that my phones end up getting thrown against every time I have to ring them......

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If you`ve found this site informative and, hopefully, interesting as well,

please help us increase the number of people reading it.

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(Link) Stop Press, the most ridiculous one ! ! ! ! !  We`ve sent out literally hundreds of Half Wave FM Dipole aerials with RM over the last few years and never had a problem, but since about March 2012 RM started clamping down on what they define as "a packet".

RM say the largest packet which can be sent is 61cm x 46cm x 46cm (129,000 cc).

A Half wave FM Dipole is 76cm x 11cm x 15cm (which is 12,540 cc = 9.7% the size of the above)

Now I accept that the Half Wave dipole boxes are 15cm longer than the "largest dimension" but RM will accept a tube up to 90cm long so it`s not the dimension which is definitive, and you have to bear in mind that a Half Wave Dipole will actually fit corner to corner in the "largest permissible packet" !  So, we could send them out in huge boxes ten times the volume and they`d still be counted as packets, how ridiculous is that…..

Result ?

We`re sending them TNT, so everyone (us, the customer and RM) loses out because they charge* a more than than even First Class recorded ! (Particularly so for NW Scotland and offshore…..)

Question, has RM got a death wish ?

In the first full month after RM introduced this farcical new enforcement, our spend with RM went down 30% over he same month last year, and that was despite their prices going up significantly in the interim.

On the other hand our spend with TNT went up by 10%.

I told you they didn`t know what they were doing........

* People really have no idea how expensive it is to send stuff by carrier, and particularly by TNT, the full carriage charge (of £8 = £6.66 + VAT) doesn`t fully cover it, and certainly not to a residential address.

Stop Press ! (the most underhand one) ! ! ! ! ! !  In March 2013 Royal Mail announced that it was withdrawing the "Standard Parcels service"*. Helpfully (not) they suggested we try Parcelforce instead. Now we won`t go into the fact that isn`t actually practical or economical price wise and concentrate on the fact that Parcelforce charge supplements for NW Scotland, offshore and Northern Ireland. To be fair to Parcelforce other carriers charge even more hefty supplements to these areas (though they do accept bigger items and multiple part consignments), but, and it`s a big big but, Royal Mail didn`t because of the universal service obligation. Thus by arbitrarily withdrawing Standard Parcels they`ve withdrawn from part of the USO by stealth.  I have to say I was rather surprised that politicians representing NW Scotland, Highlands and Islands, and Northern Ireland (plus the Isle of Man and the Isle of Wight ! ) didn`t object to this withdrawal of Royal Mail parcels at the time ! All this farting about with “Trading Standards investigations” is vacuous rubbish designed to camouflage the fact they never did anything to save Standard Parcels when they should have done. I tried to do something about it, I contacted “The Scotsman” newspaper, they should have started a campaign but I never got to hear if they actually did (does anyone know if they did ?). The fact is that the carriers are private companies and can charge what they like, whether we like it or not.  If you live in any of these areas watch out for future developments on this kind of thing, and not necessarily positive……

* You can still send a parcel by RM but if it weighs more than 1Kg First class (or 2Kg Second class) it`s actually quite expensive. Furthermore it`s got to be smaller than 61cm x 46cm x 46cm, if it`s bigger than that (and they`re illogically inflexible on it) Royal Mail won`t take it any longer, you`ll have to use Parcelforce. But, as discussed above, Parcelforce aren`t covered by the universal service obligation, and certainly not if the parcel is sent from a business.

Royal Mail Standard parcels would take anything up to 1.5m (59”) long and weighing up to 20Kg for delivery in 3 to 5 working days. Prices varied according to weight but sending 2Kg by standard parcels cost the about the same as sending a packet (now called a medium parcel) weighing 1.5Kg, i.e. standard parcels was not only cheaper than sending a medium parcel but, critically, it would take items larger than 61cm.     (Link)