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Rip off Britain: Royal Mail

Posted on Thursday 27th September 2012

To many people, collecting stamps is a great healthy hobby. Some people started collecting stamps when they were a kid, and some started this hobby when they became an adult. Overall it is a fantastic hobby suitable for any ages, any races, anybody in anywhere.

The title of this blog has already given a hint away why and what I am trying to write here.

Cut the long story short, I usually buy my stamps (stamps sets, presentation packs and first day covers) from a local post office near where I work. Despite the fact that Royal Mail has increased the postage cost in general every year, my stamps collection is getting more and more expensive these days (a presentation pack used to cost me £2 or so, now they cost almost £5 and sometimes is more). What annoys and makes me angry most is that Royal Mail sell their products online with a mark-up on PLUS a handling fee. For example, a Memories of London 2012 first day cover, released today, costs £4.06 at my local post office, but Royal Mail sell the same item for £4.99 on their website. Then a £1.45 handling fee added to the order. So in total I would have paid £2.38 extra if I ordered the first day cover on the Royal Mail website. It is just a rip off.

A separate story – I placed an online order with Royal Mail three weeks ago, I ordered two items which Royal Mail will not sell at a post office. To me, that is just another way to rip the customers off by forcing them to purchase the items online. I of course paid the mark-up for the items plus a £1.45 handling fee. The items have not yet been despatched to me because they only become available tomorrow.

I phoned Royal Mail this morning to ask if I could add something into my current order. The chap on the phone said I could add but not remove anything from the current order. So I asked him to add 1 x ‘London to Rio Handover Souvenir Cover’ (which can only be purchased online) and 2 x ‘Locomotives of Scotland’ stamp books. The total cost of these 3 items is £9.70, but the guy from Royal Mail told me I would need to pay £11.15 in total. I asked him why that happened, he replied to say I needed to pay £1.45 handling fee. So I told the guy that my current order is still sitting in the warehouse, why I need to pay another handling fee. I asked him what the difference was for me to order the new items online as a fresh order and to add them on top of my current order via telephone. I was completely furious about this extra handling fee. I told the guy not to bother to add the new items to my ‘not-yet-despatch’ order. Royal Mail act just like a daytime thief, honestly!

I then wrote to the manager via email to report the matter and asked for his thoughts. I haven’t yet heard from the manager, but to me, it is just not right!

If the order has already been despatched, then I will accept and expect to pay another handling fee, but the order is still in the warehouse, they just tried to rob me for another £1.45 even I was buying more items from them. I really think it is completely out of order!

The bottom line is, how much does it really cost Royal Mail to print their stamps? Royal Mail has already made ‘more-than-enough’ profit on the stamps by increasing the postage cost, then they add a mark-up on their online products plus a handling fee, it’s just a double-stealing to me. And also, they limit their products for sale on the website only, so basically to a stamps collector like me, I will have no choice but pay for the mark-up and the handling fee to Royal Mail. It is really a real Rip Off Britain!

I was looking through my stamps collection the other night, I was shocked to see how a first class stamp used to cost 27p few years ago but now 60p. If my salary could increase in the same ratio, I would be a millionaire by now!

Royal Mail, you are named and crowded to be the first Rip Off Britain in my world…