Tag Archives: Post Boxes

Royal Mail has finally replied to my query about collection times ……..

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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!

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  I feared that local post boxes, with low volume use, would be withdrawn, after a “reasonable period”, by which time, no one would be using them because of the change in the collection policy.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

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!

DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT ROYAL MAIL IS DOING? It seems that I missed the 7am collection from my local post box – or did I?

ROYAL MAIL AND THE DISAPPEARING POST BOX – the saga continues …….

ROYAL MAIL – they REALLY don’t know what they are doing ……see previous 2 posts to make sense of this one!
WHY ROYAL MAIL IS LOSING OUT TO THE COMPETITION …..(£2.78 versus £11.99)

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….double new postbox pm_Fotor

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.

Regards

Customer Service AdvisorBanner-template-email-receipt

MY REPLY to their reply …..

Dear …..

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?
7      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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ROYAL MAIL – they REALLY don’t know what they are doing ……see previous 2 posts to make sense of this one!

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I finally got around to popping into the area Sorting Office, because I also went to the Library yesterday.  (Our local library closed earlier this year – another of the cuts forced on us unwillingly)

After my phone call to the office on 6 December, I had meant to phone back for more information, but I got busy that week, and didn’t have a great deal of faith that I’d get any answers.  I also hoped that I’d catch my local postie and ask what was happening – AND that Royal Mail “customers services” would reply with more than repeated requests for the post box number – no update on that conversation is yet available!

So I was in the area, and felt I really should make the effort.  Glad I did.  The guy on duty told me why they didn’t know anything about the change in the collection times, because ……

THEY HADN’T BEEN TOLD!

Nor had they been the ones that changed the notices on the post boxes, he only found out about it when he was on his rounds,  and met the guy from Merthyr Tydfil who was touring the post boxes on the instructions of Head Office.  (I forgot to ask him how many boxes in what areas were involved – but he was busy and people were coming in to collect parcels.)

EVEN MORE INTERESTING …..

was the fact that having put up the notices, apparently Head Office changed their minds and realised that Christmas was on the way, and that any disruption to collections might affect the public – so in fact, normal collections are continuing.

Which explains why, when I was in the pet shop the other day, watching people blithely posting their letters without a glance at the 7am last collection notice, the guy who runs the shop told me that in fact he’d seen collections at all times of the day, including the old 5pm van collection.  (See the picture in the 6 December blog of the notice on this box)

UNFORTUNATELY FOR ME …..

I believed what I saw on my local box, and if I’d known that I DIDN’T NEED TO  believe what the notice said,  I would have posted my letters there, with the stamps on, got my paper and gone home.  Until yesterday, I still believed what the notices said, so have avoided posting anything in my local box, and told many of my neighbours not to post anything there either, as their letters would be delayed.

HOWEVER – BEGINNING IN JANUARY  THESE CHANGES WILL APPLY……

And no doubt unless someone from Head Office reads this blog, no one will either apologise for putting up the notices early, or think that maybe it would be a good idea to put a sticker on the boxes affected to alert people to the changes.

The reason the changes are being made is – wait for it – you really couldn’t guess, could you –

TO SAVE MONEY…..

Apparently they are cutting the hours and the less hours –  the less pay ……so the idea is that Post Boxes with low volumes are to be collected by the local postie during their delivery round, and so the last collection times from those boxes will be early in the morning.

Post Boxes with larger volumes will still be collected later in the day by the usual van,  which will actually pass by these low volume boxes on their round, but miss them out!  A great saving of time and petrol eh!

And what do you bet, that by the time this scheme has been running for a while, almost no one will post any letters in the low volume post boxes, so Royal Mail will have a perfect excuse …….

for getting rid of hundreds of Post Boxes!

If any ROYAL MAIL SHAREHOLDERS are reading this, this is the kind of privatisation you invested in – do you agree with it?  Are you happy to take your dividends and watch our beloved national service be decimated by an ineffective private management, who goes whinging to the government that they can’t cope with competition,  and will need more money to keep the service going, whilst making sneaky cuts, and not telling anyone about them?

DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT ROYAL MAIL IS DOING? It seems that I missed the 7am collection from my local post box – or did I?

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my nearest post box - says 7 am on saturdays

my nearest post box – says 7 am on saturdays

I went out just after 8 am this morning to get a paper, and as I had a couple of large letters to post for ebay customers, I stopped off at my nearest post box to send them on their way – only to read the new notice on the box, that the last collection on saturdays is now 7am!  

As far as I remember is was always 12 noon.

As I’d already marked the items as dispatched, I didn’t know what to do – because the Saturday tab would have been replaced by a Monday tab if the box had been emptied, but, maybe the postie had forgotten to change it!

Lucky I’d taken the car, or I’d have given up at that point.  I also had my camera with me, as you can see.

next post box, showing 12 noon...

next post box, showing 12 noon…

The next post box isn’t too far away, so I stopped off there – and got even more confused.  It said the last Saturday collection WAS 12 noon.  Now I couldn’t be sure what time it was, and decided not to chance it!

Asda's post box - last collection 9.30 am

Asda’s post box – last collection 9.30 am

I knew there was a bright new postbox in Asda’s (Asda built their new supermarket here only recently) so its post box is dazzling new & clean compared to the others – smile.

The last collection on Saturdays is 9.30 am.  So I posted my letters – only, just as I put the first one thro’, I realised that

asda box full - Version 2in all the confusion, I’d forgotten to put the stamp on it!  I had a book of large letter stamps with me and was going to put the stamp on at the first post box!  I did manage to stamp the 2nd letter, but when one of the staff saw me standing there stumped, she came over and asked me if she could help.

I explained to her what I’d done, and she suggested that I wait until 9.30 am (it was 8.30 am by then) and ask the postman to pull the letter out for me, so that I could put a stamp on it.

I had put a return address on it, so I reckoned that the worst that could happen was that it would be returned to me, and I didn’t want to hang around for an hour.

Amazingly, the woman saw that I had the stamps in my hand and actually offered to intercept the postman for me, as she was working on the desk just opposite the post box.  So I gave her the missing stamp.  I also asked permission to photograph the box, and she said yes.  Sorry I didn’t ask her name, or I’d mention it here, but  thank you, that’s what I call customer service!  I hope she caught the postie in time!

 

 

What’s even more confusing is that the weekday last collection times at Asda are 5.15pm, at my nearest box they are at 9am, and at the one in the middle – 5pm.  Doesn’t make any sense to  me!

So, before going home, with my newspaper and the other odds & ends I sort of ended up putting in my trolley, I thought I’d drive round and check out the other local boxes.

This is what I found……the same notice as on the nearest box, in the middle of the shops…..

the box in the shopping area says 7 am.

the box in the shopping area says 7 am.

close up of notice - last collection on saturday - 7 am, weekdays - 9 am!

close up of notice – last collection on saturday – 7 am, weekdays – 9 am!

post box outside the post office - says 12 noon

post box outside the post office – says 12 noon

and the old notice on the post box outside the Post Office.  So I popped into the Post Office, as it was now after 9 am, and asked the guy who runs it what was going on.  He didn’t know about the last collection times, he’d not been informed of the changes.  He knew there were some changes to the delivery rounds, but not what they were.

He suggested I phone the sorting office a few miles away, and they said – WHAT?  They didn’t know about the change in collection times either!  A very confused sorting office man advised me to post items at the post office, if I was in doubt, as the collection on Saturday was definately 12 noon there, but he knew nothing about 7am collections, and asked me to ring him on Monday to see what he’d found out!

SO – DOES ANYONE KNOW WHAT ROYAL MAIL IS DOING?  THEY DON’T SEEM TO KNOW –  AND I CERTAINLY DON’T!

BEORE PRIVATISATION, YOU KNEW WHERE YOU WERE, NOW THEY KEEP CHANGING THINGS, AND WHAT THEY ARE DOING MAKES NO SENSE TO ME.

IS THIS HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE COUNTRY,

OR IS IT JUST IN THE SWANSEA VALLEY AREA?

AND WHY CHANGE THE COLLECTION TIMES JUST BEFORE CHRISTMAS, WHEN THE BOXES WILL BE FULL, THES SYSTEM OVERLOADED, AND EVERYONE NEEDS TO KNOW THEIR LETTERS & CARDS WILL ARRIVE IN GOOD TIME.  

I “knew” the last collection on Saturdays is noon, its always been that way, that’s why I stopped off at the post box, and I “knew” it would be collected and sorted and arrive at its destination on either Monday or Tuesday.

IF I’D POSTED MY LETTERS IN MY LOCAL POST BOX AND THE NEXT COLLECTION WAS MONDAY MORNING, WHEN WOULD THEY HAVE BEEN DELIVERED???

I’d be interested if anyone else knows, and, when I do get back to the sorting office, I’ll  keep you “posted”.

(Apologies for the layout of this “post” but I’ve tried to keep the pictures with the relevant text, but the template seems to have a mind of its own!)

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