If you have been reading my blog recently, you may have noticed that I have been “having a go” at the Royal Mail!
close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!
It all started with a small normal, everyday incident – I went to post some letters in my nearest post box, at 8am on Saturday 6 December, expecting them to be collected at noon, as usual. First Class letters would then have reached my customers by Monday morning – probably (smile).
Before you stop reading this, thinking its a yawn, there was a point to my making a fuss. I feared that local post boxes, with low volume use, would be withdrawn, after a “reasonable period”, by which time, no one would be using them because of the change in the collection policy.
The sorting office told me that the postmen & postwomen were losing hours and thus pay, because of the changes to collections, and delivery rounds ….. AND, in the UK, people have always supported the Royal Mail, because until recently it was publicly owned. It is now part-privatised, ie the government, and therefore you & me, still own some of the shares, which many of us will say, were sold too cheaply in the rush to Privatise.
Needless to say, it was a Conservative Policy, and they rushed it because they were afraid that the next government, should it be Labour, would not allow Privatisation. Who knows, these days, what kind of government we will get in May 2015 ?
The result is unsatisfactory to both parties. The government is still being asked to subsidise the service, whilst severe cuts are being made to it, and in my opinion, the promised investment in the service is NOT taking place. It also seems to me, that by bringing in a total newcomer to the Royal Mail to run it, something called “experience” has been lost. I’ve no knowledge of what its like working in Head Office, or on the “front line”, but I am assuming there is resentment on both sides within the service.
The new management have been tinkering with the postal rates, which are of course going up, but in particular the parcel rates have become a mess!
If, by any chance, you agree with me, could you please click the “LIKE’ button at the end of this blog, because, you will see below, that I have told them that I will be publishing their reply, and I am hoping they will actually see this blog! It doesn’t matter whether you live in the UK or not, “LIKES” are relevant to the Royal Mail, because they have a reputation abroad too. I will also be sending links to my MP and others.
post box outside the post office – says 12 noon
This is a list of the blogs that particularly relate to this issue, in date order, just so you know what I’m talking about, you don’t need to read all of them, but I do recommend the first 2 if you want a laugh!
I didn’t get a reply to the query I emailed to the Royal Mail’s Customer Service on 6 December until the 7th of January, and just for the record, I hadn’t actually got it when I added the postscript to blog No 2 above.
I thought, that since I have been moaning about them, I should also put up their reply on this blog, together with my reply to them. For the sake of easy reading I have put their reply first and mine follows, thus when I say “document below” it is now “document above”. I have, again, “redacted” any personal information or names of customer service representatives.
Dear Ms B…….THEIR REPLY….
Thank you for contacting us about the changes we have announced in relation to our post-box network.
We are reaffirming our commitment to maintain our provision of post-boxes under the universal service. We are improving the level of public access to post-boxes in areas of under-provision, by adding around 2,000 boxes to the 115,000 we currently have. The new boxes will be targeted at rural areas, in particular in Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as areas of new development not currently served by a post-box. Some will be added in high footfall areas such as railway stations and shopping centres.
In addition to this, low-volume post-boxes will move to ‘collection on delivery’ with the postman or woman emptying the box on their round, rather than providing a dedicated collection by van. Please be assured however that no post-boxes will be removed from service as a result of this initiative.
With regards to your specific query about the collection times of your local post-box being changed, I would like to explain that there has been a significant fall in the number of items posted in post-boxes, leaving many now not covering their costs. Rather than decommission uneconomic ones, we’re improving the cost effectiveness of collections. Emptying these low-use boxes on delivery enables us to be much more efficient going forward.
To elaborate, this means the post-box will be cleared earlier in the day. Please be assured that there will be no change to the ultimate delivery of the items you post because they will go through our system in exactly the same way. There should also be a later collection from another nearby post-box, typically in the late afternoon.
We have communicated our plans to Ofcom, Citizen’s Advice, Citizen’s Advice Scotland and Consumer Council Northern Ireland. Research shows that postal users are positive about the idea of moving collections, particularly from low-use boxes, to link with delivery. 91% of users did not choose their box based on collection time. Users understand this approach is more efficient and fitted with their desire for a more efficient postal service.
A notice is placed on every affected post-box four weeks ahead of the change to collection times. There will also be clear sign-posting for customers on the relevant post-boxes as to where their nearest late posting box is. I am sorry if this was still not in place at the time you were at the Post Box.
I hope you have found this information useful and that this explanation resolves your enquiry and concludes this matter for you. If there is anything else we can help you with though, please let us know.
Customer Service Advisor
MY REPLY to their reply …..
Thank you for your reply, please note the following points:
1 This is a standard reply, that must have been formatted some time ago, why did you not send it to me at the beginning of December, when it would have made a lot more sense to me and saved me the bother of having to investigate this myself.
2 Whilst I happen to have noticed the new collection times on the local post box on 6 December, I have no idea how long it had been there. During the next few days, I mentioned it to several of my neighbours, and no one else had noticed the new notice. In fact I happened to be in the pet shop, which is just beside another of the postboxes with the new collection times, two weeks later, when people were posting their Christmas cards, and none of them even checked, or looked, at the notice area.
3 Can I suggest that you put some short term stickers on the boxes affected, so people ARE aware of the changes.
4 It made a big difference to me that morning, because, as I told you earlier, I toured the area trying to find a postbox that would be emptied later, but as some said 12 noon and some said 7 am, it seemed that I couldn’t trust any of them. So I ended up going into Asda, and posting my letters there, because to box said 9.30 am and the customer service desk told me that it was probably accurate! (I FORGOT TO ADD THAT, AT THE TIME, I’D ONLY REALLY NOTICED THE 7 AM BIT ON THE NOTICE AND NOT SEEN THE INFORMATION ABOUT THE POST OFFICE BOX)
5 I also took photographs of all of the local boxes, and posted a blog about this, because there seemed no rhyme or reason to the different times for collections, and it was only when I finally managed to visit the sorting office in P…….., again about 2 weeks later that I found out the reason. For all that time, I avoided posting anything in my local post box, because I couldn’t trust that anything would be collected, and if it was, I had no idea when it would be delivered.
6 Having not used that post box, which I assume you finally found in your records, I then found out that the changes were NOT coming into effect immediately, The assumption was that they would start this month. Have they started yet?
Please be aware that I have now posted several posts on my blog – julzcrafts.wordpress.com
– and they have been seen worldwide by many people, especially as I have been doing a blogging course this week, and that has increased to followers of this blog a great deal. I have also written to my MP about this, because I disagree with your policies – however reasonable your PR department has made them seem in the document below.
8 I will, of course, be posting the document below, and this reply, on the blog in the next day or so, to keep my readers informed.
9 However, I only took these actions because I didn’t know the answers, and actually, still don’t, to my questions, and was very irritated by the responses I got from you, and the delay in getting back to me. I do understand that xmas and new year have contributed to the delay, but a reasonable answer could certainly have been given to me when I first got in touch with you.
10 I have had some real inconvenience because of the way you have handled the change, and I would expect something more than a weak apology.
Yours etc ….
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