Royal Mail pays £1m compensation over damaged and missing post
THE Royal Mail has been forced to pay out almost £1 million in compensation to Scottish customers in the past year, it emerged yesterday.
Figures show that homeowners and businesses in Scotland made a total of 79,620 complaints about lost, mis-delivered and damaged mail between January 2010 and January 2011.
The figures, disclosed in a freedom of information request, will anger customers who learned in April that the Royal Mail is planning to increase its delivery charges.
Last year’s payout by the Royal Mail of £971,150 was £163,289 higher than the previous year. Compensation was paid to 40,025 customers, which worked out at a rate of 218 payouts a day.
Colin Borland, Scottish public affairs manager at the Federation of Small Businesses, said yesterday that the loss of important mail can have a crippling effect on small business owners in Scotland.
He said: “This can be a great inconvenience and annoyance for private individuals when cheques, orders and invoices go missing. It can cause a lot of difficulties, especially in a time where cash-flow is tight. You can only run out of cash once.
“If you’ve done work, and your payments are late or disappear, it can cause real problems. There can be issues with paying HMRC and also paying staff’s wages. The rise in compensation being paid is concerning and questions need to be asked about why these volumes of items continue to go missing.
“With these figures getting larger, people will obviously start to mistrust the post office and royal mail workers.”
Annie McGovern from Consumer Focus Scotland said that lost or missing mail could cause considerable inconvenience to customers and urged the Royal Mail to strive to minimise the number of times it happens.
“It’s vital that Royal Mail has robust procedures in place to reduce the risk of lost mail and customers are adequately compensated when things go wrong,” she said.
“For peace of mind, we would also encourage people to ask for proof of postage where appropriate and to keep hold of this and if it’s a valuable item use special delivery.”
The Royal Mail said its largest payouts were in the Kirkcaldy area, where compensation of £333,189 was paid out, £326,679 of it for lost items.
Customers in Glasgow made the highest number of complaints – 19,964 – compared with 17,036 in Edinburgh.
The Royal Mail received 37,124 complaints in total about lost post, 7,853 complaints about items being delayed and 1,197 complaints about damaged post.
There were 4,756 complaints made about goods being misdelivered, while “delivery procedure errors” were given as the reason of complaint by 5,613 consumers.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We take every complaint seriously and continuously strive to improve our customer service. If we do not deliver to our usual high standard, we seek to rectify the situation as soon as possible.
“The overwhelming majority of all mail arrives safely, on time and at the right destination.”
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Tuesday 18 June 2013
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