To complain to the Post Office or just accept that this is their policy?

(99 Posts)
THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 10:29:10

I've bought a nice Sherlock Holmes mug for my brother for his birthday. It's not the full cape he wanted but then those things are expensive and he'd only wear it in public, making a spectacle of himself, so I settled for a mug.

I wrapped it up nicely, labelled it correctly and went to post it.

The woman behind the counter asked me what was in my parcel. Now normally, I post things at the village post office and I've never been asked to reveal what I'm posting before. This was the large town PO and when she asked, for a moment I just stood blinking, not sure how to answer.

She asked me again to tell her what was in the parcel so I refused. I said it was a gift and I didn't really think I wanted this invasion of privacy. She then explained that she needed to check that it wasn't a prohibited item. I assured her that it wasn't. She then asked if it was silver or gold as that would need to be insured.

Now I feel actually quite annoyed by this. I've looked at the prohibited list and it's fairly obvious; weapons, drugs, fake money, ice (!), animals, explosives, etc. I am guessing that if anyone was sending, say a loaded gun to someone, they wouldn't reveal that to the PO clerk. Yes you might get someone who really does think that they can send an ice pack to their cousins in the Bahamas and it would arrive in one piece, but these people but surely be in a minority? Is it really necessary for them to ask us to explain exactly what is in our parcels that we are posting?

As for insurance, well don't get me started! Prices have gone up yet again so not only do we have to pay the PO for a service but we have to pay again just in case they don't provide that service. What a con!

I can only imagine that being asked to explain what customers are sending is very time consuming (esp at Christmas) and a gross invasion of privacy - what if it's something private and sentimental? Why should you tell a stranger that? What if it's a dildo? (These are not listed as prohibited items)

I feel a strongly worded letter of complaint coming on from Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells. Really though, should I accept that this is just PO policy and get over it or should I stand up for the privacy of customers who already pay over the odds to the Post Office to deliver their mail and parcels?

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 10:31:31

Why didn't you just tell her it was a cup and save everyone the hassle?

ThingummyBob Tue 14-May-13 10:34:15

I have been asked before and I just say 'gift' which seems to keep them happy.

Your PO assistant was probably just vair nosy wink Weren't you tempted to say sex toys if you had considered this...? I might next time grin

squeakytoy Tue 14-May-13 10:35:10

where was the item being sent to?

TheseFoolishThings Tue 14-May-13 10:35:11

None of her damned business! Mine never ask and I'm a daily poster of parcels of all sizes and values. Or was - until the ludicrous price increases. OP - try MyHermes - cheaper, collect from your door and no stupid nosey questions!

KansasCityOctopus Tue 14-May-13 10:37:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NeverTooManyCats Tue 14-May-13 10:42:16

Post office heads are absolute idiots, so If you're going to complain please do it to higher ups rather than get the staff into trouble. The amount of selling and almost hassling the customers that the staff have to do is unreal, and the staff do get into a lot of trouble if they don't comply with all these rules. She may have been a jobsworth, but it is more than likely that it has been drilled into them that they must do this.

landofsoapandglory Tue 14-May-13 10:43:55

What Morloth said!

Alibabaandthe40nappies Tue 14-May-13 10:45:51

They are trying to sell you the insurance. Which is now even more expensive and is apparently needed at a parcel value of about £25 rather than the £50 it was previously.

The Royal Mail is a bloody rip off these days.

Mandy2003 Tue 14-May-13 10:46:50

The post office has recently tightened up on prohibited items. I think fragrances and lighters are prohibited now, for example. So staff probably have to make sure that when you say "gift" that it's not the previously innocent bottle of aftershave.

As for a dildo, you could probably describe it as a "medical device" grin

It depends where its going to. If its overseas, if the declaration doesn't match the xray of the parcel it'll get opened up and delayed for a bit.
If it's a sex toy you could probably put "intimate medical aid" as a declaration....

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 10:50:55

I was posting it within the UK.

Yes I could have told her but why should I? It's none of her business! Sometimes I sell stuff on ebay, do I have to tell them what I'm selling every time I post it off?

I don't even think I should have to specify that it's a gift as this only encourages them to try and sell insurance just in case they fail to offer the service I am paying them for!

I think I might start using Hermes as they look so much cheaper and they take the item straight from your door.

They could just have signs in the Post Office with a list of prohibited items on there.

So should I complain about this nosy employee who TWICE asked me to tell her what was in my parcel? Or is this really Post Office policy? If so perhaps I should complain anyway as it's damned cheeky!

Bricklestick Tue 14-May-13 10:52:59

You should have just told her it was a mug. The list of prohibited items has just been extended, btw, and now includes things like perfume and nail varnish, which are quite often "gifts" too. They have to check, and yes, it's infuriating, but you could have saved yourself the trouble, really.

I had a parcel destroyed recently, because I didn't know about the new regulations - the guy had asked me if it was perfume in the package, because you can't post that to Europe now. It was nail varnish. £100 worth. So annoying.

Bricklestick Tue 14-May-13 10:53:47

incidentally, Hermes are cheap because they NEVER FUCKING DELIVER ANYTHING.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 14-May-13 10:54:51

They are supposed to always ask this.

It's so that if it's something valuable, they can offer the appropriate postal services. Money, for example, or tickets to an event, have to be posted special delivery to be covered. Anything worth over £40 has to go special, too.

She can either go through a whole list of things asking if it is one of them, or she can say, "what is it?". You say, "a mug", and it's done. I've never, ever heard anyone refuse to say.

Your village post office will be the one that gets into trouble, for not doing what they are contracted to do. Yes, if you sell on ebay, or anywhere else, you should be asked what you are posting. You just need to say clothes, or jewellery, or documents. That's all.

I really can't understand why you are so upset.

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 10:57:32

It was a bloody cup.

She says: What is in the parcel please?
You say: A cup
She says: No worries.

Everyone goes about their day.

See how easy that was?

NeverTooManyCats Tue 14-May-13 10:59:45

The woman was just doing her job, as i said up post, the staff there are meant to ask you. I have no problem saying what I'm posting, and tbh unless it is something dangerous why would you have any reason to keep it a secret.

If they don't do their job, they get in trouble, and they HAVE to ask. i think you need to calm down about this

anonpost Tue 14-May-13 11:02:01

What's the problem? Should have just said it was a mug and be done with it.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:02:11

This was posted from the UK to a UK address.

The list of prohibited items is on their website and is not that restrictive. Aerosols you cannot send or anything flammable which would include your perfume, although I should imagine many people flout this. For instance at Christmas I sent lots of gifts which included little bottles of nail polish and make-up, deodorants, etc. I was never asked then what was in my parcel and for some parcels I would have had to come up with a long list as I put lots of different little items in there.

Seriously - you cannot send nail varnish? Do they really think that the nail varnish will catch fire in their depot and explode? Or to be used for making a bomb?

I still say that a sign, such as those in airports, would be sufficient. I refuse to tell a stranger what item I am posting to friends and relatives. That's going too far.

I didn't know that about Hermes, I've had stuff delivered by them and they've been ok. I could equally slag off the PO (as I am doing) for losing perfectly packaged, well addressed parcels that had the sender's info included. Or I could mention the time when I worked for the British Red Cross and we ran a competition with primary schools for the children to design a poster for us for a £2 entry fee and many of the forms came with little slits at the top and minus the £2.

Accident my arse. Not when it happened over a dozen times.

TwistTee Tue 14-May-13 11:02:39

I also think this is an attempt to sell insurance. And while on this topic, why do you need ID for each member of the household when picking up a package?
I got told I needed ID for my dd after Grandma addressed a package to her. She doesn't have any and the fact that we have the same surname was not enough, although he'd let me have the package just this once, but I must get her ID hmm

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 11:03:32

Shrug so don't post stuff then.

Shorter lines for the rest of us who just want to send our cups and forget about it.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:03:35

Sorry, call me stubborn but why should I tell them?

I was sending a cup today (technically a mug by the way) but on other days it could have been something more personal. Why should I tell a stranger?

I'm sure there are better ways the PO can ensure you are not sending prohibited items.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:05:53

TwistTee during the MN Secret Santa a few Mumsnetters were refused their parcels by the Post Office because they did not have ID which proved that their names were "The Mumsnetter of the household".

One Mumsnetter had a get Justine to intervene on her behalf because the arsehole postman wouldn't give her the parcel even though she could prove that she lived at that address. She couldn't prove her name was "Mumsnetter" though.

Sorry but if they can be that bloodyminded and stubborn then I fail to see why I should tell them what is in my parcel. It is none of their sodding business.

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 11:07:17

Because it doesn't matter does it?

What bad thing will actually happen to you if you tell the woman it is a cup.

On the other hand, you wasted your and her time and created a situation over a cup.

If it is more personal then have the argument by all means (but I would assume they have the right to refuse carriage), but not over a piece of crockery.

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 14-May-13 11:08:46

Oh, please do a Disgusted of Tunbridge Wells letter! I bloody hate the Post Office (they and I have History involving them messing up and costing me time and money, and then refusing to acknowledge that they'd messed up, much less give me compensation); their so-called customer service is dire and their policies the exact opposite of customer-friendly/helpful. If they had to compete seriously with other companies they'd be screwed.

I find that saying 'It's a gift and it doesn't need insuring' usually shuts the nosy money-grubbing feckers up suffices. Or just say 'It's a strap-on' while maintaining friendly but firm eye contact.

NeverTooManyCats Tue 14-May-13 11:11:00

you're paying for a service, that service may involve them needing to know what they are delivering for you. If you don't like it, don't use it.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:12:31

Morloth, I feel that if enough customers reacted with indignation over her interrogation then she might feedback to Royal Mail that actually, most people don't like being asked such pertinent questions. They just want to post their item and be on their way. They don't want to have to reveal to her (and anyone listening) what is in the parcel. They don't want to be sold insurance. They have better things to do with their time. They just want to pay for the PO to post the parcel.

If the PO actually did their job and didn't arse about asking questions and selling insurance then queues would be shorter and everyone would be happier - no?

If you don't make a point, how do you ever improve things?

Do you never complain about service you receive?

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 11:14:25

I do complain, but I don't care if the woman at the post office knows I have a mug in my parcel.

There are things to care about and this doesn't rate for me.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:14:29

Next time I will actually say in a very loud voice "Yes it's a huge black dildo for my granny, she's not getting enough apparently."

Then I'd probably be told that I needed to remove the batteries in case they leaked and the whole of the Post Office exploded.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:16:46

Fair enough Morloth. I do care however as I feel it is an invasion of my privacy. I also feel that I pay the Post Office to post my parcels. I do not pay them to try and sell me insurance or to interrogate me.

Most people who make up the queues at the PO want to just get on with it and go. Most are in a hurry. This just delays everyone.

Tell me, if you were to send something that was worth over £25 would they refuse to post it unless you paid to have it insured?

littlecrocodile Tue 14-May-13 11:18:58

A little annoying, maybe. " Gross invasion of privacy" - really??

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 11:19:00

I dunno, I don't know what the Royal Mail policies are.

Don't particularly care - I don't actually use the post very much. If I have something I need to get sent somewhere and I want to make sure it gets there I courier it.

For gifts I tend to buy online in whichever country the recipient is in and just have it delivered to them - have never been asked for insurance.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 14-May-13 11:21:58


It's so that you send things by the correct service.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:27:21

That's what makes me annoyed Morloth. If I sent a gift worth over £25 via Amazon, it's not an issue. I can send a huge bottle of whiskey and it's fine.

Yet if I try to go to the Post Office direct, not only will they tell me that I need insurance for the parcel but they will most likely refuse to send it because it's a spirit and spirits are apparently prohibited.

I get the feeling that the Post Office is trying to run itself down. Is the postage side of the business not paying as much as the other side?

And yes littlecrocodile it is. I don't want to have to explain what gift I have bought my brother to some strange woman who has quite rudely demanded to know for no reason that I can fathom. She only told me about the prohibited items when I asked.

This was the conversation:

"Can I post this please?"
"What's in it?"
<stunned silence>
"I have to ask what you have in your parcel."
She then explains about prohibited items. So yes, in this instance she was rude and it was a gross invasion of privacy.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:27:57

That's not what she said Caja

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:28:56

What service anyway? The sending a parcel to a UK address service?

Morloth Tue 14-May-13 11:29:03

So don't use the post office, take your business elsewhere, there are options.

DeepPurple Tue 14-May-13 11:30:14

They ask at my post office. I can't say it's ever bothered me.

Loa Tue 14-May-13 11:32:04

Increasingly with gifts I shop on-line and get these sent directly avoid the whole post office situation entirely.

Alternatively you could do what my village relatives do and drive to other near by post offices and post thing from there. They are not the only village residents who do this despite still having a Post office.

As for should you write a letter - well if it makes you feel better then do so.

CajaDeLaMemoria Tue 14-May-13 11:32:27

But you were rude too. I shouldn't think that anyone has ever ignored her, before, or acted so shiftily about what was in the parcel.

Honestly, you don't need to go into specifics, so it's not an invasion of privacy. But if it had been something that wasn't covered by the postal service you opted for, you'd have expected her to tell you. So she needs to know what it is.

She was probably concerned that you had a prohibited item because of your reaction. To be honest, I'm surprised that she let you post it. You may well find that it's delivered to your brother opened, in a sealed bag, so that they can confirm the contents.

But complain, by all means, if it makes you feel better. They'll tell you exactly what I am telling you. They are legally obligated to ensure that no prohibited items enter the postal service, and their own T&Cs state that they will enquire as to the contents of parcels in order to offer the correct service. It's been happening for years. You may get an apology for her tone (not from her), but you won't change it, because there is no suitable alternative.

Binkybix Tue 14-May-13 11:32:30

I'm pretty sure you don't have to take out insurance for anything, so that's being sold a product. Not sure re prohibited items.

As an aside it will be the Royal Mail that's losin the items, not the post office - they're different companies.

Floggingmolly Tue 14-May-13 11:33:50

Did you imagine she'd think you were a bit peculiar for sending a mug in the post? She wouldn't have, but I bet she thinks you're bloody odd now.
What a fuss about nothing.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:40:12

I don't think I was rude Caja actually. I was taken aback by being asked what was in my parcel quite so bluntly and then I politely asked why she needed to know. I then confirmed that it was not a prohibited item without telling her what it was.

And actually, if someone is asking you to tell them what is in the parcel, how is that not them expecting you to go into specifics?

"acting shifty" my arse! Acting offended more like!

If it is delivered in a sealed bag then trust me, I will be complaining once again.

I am quite fed up of the Post Office/Royal Mail (bloody privatisation!). I hate them trying to sell me insurance just in case they lose my item. I have seen first hand evidence of light fingers at Royal Mail and as a charity, when we informed them they refused to take any action.

I have seen the distress they have caused Mumsnetter recipients of Secret Santa parcels by their bloody minded attitude and refusal to accept that "Mumsnetter" is not a name.

I have had items "lost" in the post that have been well wrapped, with both my and the recipient's address not only written on the parcel but attached to the item and no, compensation does not always make up for lost birthday gifts or sentimental and personal Christmas gifts.

I am favouring the idea of a courier from now on.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:44:26

Oh well, surprised at how many posters would think nothing of being asked to explain what is in their parcels.

Not so surprised at having a few judgemental comments telling me that I'm odd and shifty and rude myself.

If you think it's a big deal about nothing then why bother posting a reply? I am because I've some spare time on my hands and I enjoy having a Mumsnet rant every now and then. I do laugh though at the irony of posters making the effort to argue with me and telling me what a fuss I'm making about nothing. grin

I think she was rude. I think Royal Mail are shit. This was just one more reason that has convinced me to go elsewhere in future and I don't care who agrees with me or not.

I declare myself not unreasonable. Wahey! smile

LadyClariceCannockMonty Tue 14-May-13 11:50:13

I've been both the sender and the intended recipient of Royal Mail parcels that haven't turned up. Always around Christmas. Funny that.

There was also a period of about four months when I didn't get any post at all. When I finally twigged and asked, it turned out that my postal delivery person had been stashing it all in their work locker. There had been scaffolding on my outside steps and they were too fat unable to get up and down the steps and too stupid or uncaring unable to try to find another letterbox (there was one) or inform anyone of this.

I hate them. I am actually going to use other services from now on.

Rhubarb, I'm totally with you.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:51:30

Right on fellow complainer!

McKayz Tue 14-May-13 11:54:09

Whatever you do DO NOT use Hermes. The biggest pile of crap I have ever experienced in my life!!!!

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 11:57:15

Even worse than Royal Mail?

So which courier service is most recommended then?

I wonder if MNHQ will, in light of the recent problems caused by bloody minded Royal Mail jobsworth, use a courier service for Secret Santa deliveries from now on? I should imagine that for the publicity and extra custom most courier services would be willing to do special deals?

McKayz Tue 14-May-13 12:00:29

I use Collect plus for parcels. You just print of a label at home and usually drop it of at a local shop. It's costcutters here. No hassle or anything.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:02:55

Thanks McKayz, will look into them.

TwistTee Tue 14-May-13 12:06:41

Actually, the more I think about this the more I think the OP is right and this lady was just being nosey.
The norm is to get asked about the value of a package not what is in it. If it was policy then we would all be asked this as standard, it's never happened to me and I suspect her claim we have to ask was a bit of a lie because she wasn't expecting your response.
And while standing your ground isn't going to create world peace and end all wars, it might make her think twice before asking the same question again so that the next person gets slightly better service. So good on you but maybe a letter might be taking it one step too far smile.

Bramshott Tue 14-May-13 12:08:44

Any courier will ask you to fill in what's in the parcel when you book it.

Was this because of the new Small Parcels rate do you think?

McKayz Tue 14-May-13 12:11:51

Bramshott, I've never been asked what is in a parcel I've sent.

TBH if I was sending a mug I'd be
"I'd like to post this parcel, please. It's a mug"

so that they know to be careful with it.


Viviennemary Tue 14-May-13 12:17:31

YABU. And I think the post office was right to refuse carriage if you refuse to say what it is. Your loss. And your brothers. I

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:19:30

Bramshott, parcels have to now fit into various sized boxes to ascertain their size. They are then weighed. My parcel was popped into a box which meant that it was classed as a small parcel. The weight was fine and then I got; "what's in it?"

At first I thought it was a rather weird attempt at a conversation, hence the started pause before she asked again, a little more assertively.

I resent having to tell the PO clerk and those within hearing distance, what I am sending by Royal Mail.

It's shit customer service to say the very least. If that is recent Post Office policy then they need to know how rude and shit that is. If it is just her then she needs to know how rude and shit that is.

I'm tired of paying over the odds to post items. Sometimes I end up paying more to send something than it actually cost to buy! From now on I'm going to get Amazon to send it or I'll use a courier, who are largely cheaper and less restrictive than Royal Mail I note.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:22:05

Whatevs Vivienne. I wish I had sent him the whole Sherlock Holmes outfit he wanted now, just so I could say that it was an adult Sherlock Holmes costume for a bit of role play.

I have already ascertained that I am not being unreasonable. My fingers are in my ears at all posts which state the contrary smile

Sokmonsta Tue 14-May-13 12:25:21

Our PO asks if the item is valuable/worth over X to establish whether it can go POD, recorded or special. I don't mind as I'd sooner pay that to know I can claim the appropriate amount if needed. They've never actually asked what it was.

As this is a case of new regulations being brought in recently regarding prohibited items, it's far easier for the PO to ask 'what is it?' than run through a long list of items until they establish it's not. It's unlikely unless you are a frequent Royal Mail customer that you would know of a change to their list - I wouldn't.

You were taking offence for no other reason than you could. Especially as it was hardly something personal/intimate/illegal.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:28:27

<sticks fingers in ears>

holidaysarenice Tue 14-May-13 12:30:32

Can we all say -

its a sex toy for mumsnetters

All across the country - bound to give the papers a laugh!

Bramshott Tue 14-May-13 12:31:00

Hmm - I use Interparcel and you always have to fill in "contents" but maybe that's not universal?

K8Middleton Tue 14-May-13 12:32:26

When I worked in banking we use to have posties coming in to open bonds for tens of thousands of pounds. They could never account for when the money came from so we used to send off suspicious activity reports each time it happened. Some of them were probably stealing from the post and some probably had issues with "privacy" and so wouldn't say. Made no odds. We still had to ask and still had to report.

I can't get annoyed about being asked the value of a parcel's contents. That's sensible considering how many go walk about - you don't want to be under insured. Checking it's not a prohibited item - also fine. Asking rudely is not fine but pretty subjective really.

Of all the things that are wrong with Royal Mail or the Post Office this is probably not worth worrying about.

MushiMushi Tue 14-May-13 12:36:37

Storm in a teacup. Grow up.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:36:44

holidaysarenice - great idea!

K8Middleton, no not the end of the world but after everything that is wrong with Royal Mail/the Post Office this was just the final straw. Having to tell a stranger in front of anyone nearby what I am sending felt inappropriate and wrong.

If that was all that was wrong, perhaps I could cope, but it's not. For me, it's the final nail in the coffin of the PO.

And for the record, yes I always get asked if a parcel I am sending is over x amount and it's ALWAYS for purposes of insurance. I have NEVER been offered an alternate service, just insurance.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:37:56

Mushi thank you so much for taking the time to post your comment. It really pleased me to think I am worth the energy it took you to post that remark. I am deeply, deeply honoured. Seriously, I am not worthy of your attention! grin

TheRhubarb - if the question was pertinent (ie, appropriate to the transaction), which it was, you should have answered it. I suspect you found the question impertinent.

To be honest, it wouldn't have been an issue for me - it was a mug, nothing to be private about.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:55:25

Ah but SDT, the question was not appropriate was it? She could have pointed to a list of prohibited items (which is not that long) and asked if my parcel contained any of them. Or she could have politely explained about the prohibited items and asked me to verify what was in my parcel. I might have then been a little more understanding.

And what if it had not been a mug? What if it had been a sex aid in fact? Or a lock of hair for a mysterious lover, or a set of willy shaped chocolates or some sexy underwear?

My point is that the Post Office or Royal Mail or anyone should not need to know the exact items you are paying them to deliver. They only need to know that they are not on their prohibited list.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 12:57:24

And if I had been a customer standing at the next counter I might have thought "tight bitch is only sending a mug, what a crap gift".

PurpleFrog Tue 14-May-13 13:02:13

Hmm - ceramics used to have to be sent by Special Delivery to be covered by insurance. Are they now covered by 1st/2nd class? (Or was it just insurance for the old standard parcels that didn't cover them?)

Binkybix Tue 14-May-13 13:06:28

Again, I don't think you can be made to use a certain service to ensure insurance. It's up-selling. If something happens to the parcel and you didn't use the service that would have covered it, then it's your too bad, but it's not compulsory to do it.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 13:08:42

You still get special delivery so I think you'd have to send by that. They'd ask you what was in it, you'd say "ceramics" and they'd charge you extra to send by special delivery.

Has anyone refused special delivery or insurance and managed to send it by standard Royal Mail without a fuss?

Binkybix Tue 14-May-13 13:11:05

Yes - I do it often. As I say, pretty sure it's just up-selling.

I find it sad that you have to insure anything because it's unlikely to reach it's destination otherwise. You are paying Royal Mail for a service and they won't guarantee that their staff won't steal the stuff they're supposed to deliver. Not a good business model.

I hate Royal Mail too. They are incredibly unreliable. If I have to post anything I now send it recorded delivery because at least half of everything I post doesn't reach its destination. And stuff that I know for a fact has been sent to me often doesn't arrive. That's a really terrible service.

In our old address they were always delivering mail that wasn't for us. It was for people who lived at 26 X crescent or 26 X drive when we lived at 26 X road. None of these streets shared a postcode. And loads of my mail ended up at the houses in these other streets. It was a bloody nightmare. Delivering mail to the correct addresses is the basic service they're supposed to be offering. Once would have been a mistake, but to regularly deliver mail to the wrong houses is really awful.

They have just sneakily lowered the value that they will cover by normal post, from around £40 to around £20. This was done under cover of the changes in parcel rules. I think this is why they ask more questions now, but I have only ever been asked the value, and to confirm it is not jewellery or valuables.

Can you imagine if airport check-in staff started asking exactly what was IN your suitcase, instead of confirming what was NOT? Would be a nightmare.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 13:20:02

Arbitary and Travel - these are my points EXACTLY. It's terrible customer service. They are literally saying that your parcel that you have paid for them to deliver might not get there if it's valuable so would you mind paying them a bit more to cover the cost of them having to give you your money back.

I have seen enough of Royal Mail to know how shoddy they are. I've already said about the slits in the envelopes to steal competition money that children sent in for charity and the Mumsnetters who were refused their Secret Santa parcels because they couldn't prove they were called "A Mumsnetter".

I've also had stuff go missing and I've found letters in the middle of the street after our postie has gone. I've picked them up and posted them myself.

There have been a few good points largely by individual postmen who have made the effort to deliver items to us with the wrong address on because he knew us so knew where to deliver it. But the bad experiences far outweigh the good.

I'm now royally fed up with them trying to sell me insurance and this intrusion into what I am posting is just the last straw. We already have a Customs service. They are only interested in profits and making us pay more than we already do.

I won't be using them again.

Then there's the old pre-preparing an 'oh dear you were out when we tried to deliver' card and not even trying to see if you're in trick. I usually work at home. I would hear the door. Indeed, I hear the mail being delivered. But they often don't knock. They just slip the card through the door and go off on their merry way, so I have to trek down to the depo.

Binkybix Tue 14-May-13 13:29:15

I was chased after a Royal Mail (not post office) worker after he'd left a 'wearied to deliver' card. The fecker didn't even have it on him!

Binkybix Tue 14-May-13 13:29:33

* we tried. Not wearied!

Yes. Why carry all those bulky packages when you can just post a card and make the buggers wait 48 hours to collect?

BlueSkySunnyDay Tue 14-May-13 13:44:28

Our local postmen are brilliant, we were disappointed when our regular moved rounds but our new one is equally good.

Our post office on the other hand often "miscount" the money when I do a withdrawal, I watch so I have never been shortchanged but its happened enough times to make me wonder, I have taken to driving to the next village to use a different post office.

I get that its not really on to have to say what is in the parcel - i'd have said "gift" then if they had pushed it I would possibly have been tempted to say "sex toy" for a laugh.

nipersvest Tue 14-May-13 13:52:08

i don't have a lot of time for post office staff. the post mistress at our local gave me awful advice when sending a box of very important items to my publisher in america, same lady has just gone to prison for embezzling over 100k out of the business!

Chigertick Tue 14-May-13 14:00:09

I agree with you - the list of items is fairly ridiculous too - especially as they have no means of checking (ie X-ray machine).
I have ishoos with the post office/ Royal Mail since we moved and my parents ( who had been staying with us) moved and all our redirected post was going everywhere over than where it should.
They have lost cards and other items that I cannot prove I sent or had them sent to me.
With regards to ID to collect a parcel we had one real "jobs worth" who wouldn't even tell me who it was for. As they'd only put the address and not for whom. I showed up with mine and DHs ID - he wouldn't say who it was for and made me give him only one set. Then he said it was wrong - it was like a bloody comedy sketch confused
Our local postman is lovely though - he stops me if he has a parcel for me when I'm going past and he thinks he'll miss me later smile

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 14:11:28

If Royal Mail paid their workers more and treated them with respect they might actually get a better service as a result. But in my eyes they are only interested in making a profit now with raised postage prices which are not competitive when compared to other courier services, the hard sell when you post a parcel, the closure of small village Post Offices and the reduction of the amount it is willing to insure.

It will be run down into the ground and sold off to various private sectors bit by bit so that one company will send parcels, another will be responsible for letters, another will deal with insurance and so on.

StuntGirl Tue 14-May-13 15:27:39

Rhubarb, have you ever worked in retail or customer service? Consistent complaining to the poor sod on the front desk will not achieve any results. Change only happens when enough of those complaints are landed on the desk of those high enouh to enforce change - regional and divisional managers, CEO's, etc. Complaining to the front line staff will achieve as much as complaining on here will.

I would only use My Hermes if you don't mind the parcel never arriving.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 15:32:18

Which is why I have written a polite letter to customer services at Royal Mail smile

and yes, I have.

GreenEggsAndNichts Tue 14-May-13 15:37:57

Didn't get past Bricklesticks's Hermes observation on the first page. arf. grin

OP- Complain if you can. I attempted a complaint process with the Post Office, once. I just wanted to inform them that the hours on the website for my local one was incorrect (I'd tried to tell the manager at the actual PO but he said he couldn't do anything about it). I figured in the age where we're all being told on the news that we should use our local PO more often, they should stop telling people the place is closed on Weds when it's actually open.

Nope. My email was passed through three different departments, never resolved, and the hours are still incorrect on the website, over a year later. whatever.

(My father is a retired postman, I hold no animosity towards postal workers. But my god what failed processes they have.)

allmycats Tue 14-May-13 15:42:00

My recent experience with local post office
Took parcel to post office with a BFPO number on it.
Postmaster - 'What's in it'
Me - 'sorry not allowed to say'
Postmaster - 'this number is not my list of BFPO numbers'
Me ' i know they told me to tell you just to put it in the bag and it will be sent via diplomatic service at other end'
Postmaster ' i can't put it in the bag without knowing where it is going'
Me - 'it is going to a classified destination'
Postmaster - ' i don't care, it's not going anywhere through this post office if you don't tell me what's in it and where it is going'
Me ' give me it back then and i will take it away'
Post Office in next village - Postmaster 'Thank You will send this right away'

Just goes to show some people are helpful some are just not.
However, it was only a mug in your case and she was probably just doing her job, unlike my ppstmaster No1 who was just a nosey bastard !

AlvinHallsGroupie Tue 14-May-13 15:44:00

Baffled as to why you are complaining confused

Im going to complain next time I get asked whether Im wanting it sent first or second class. How bloody dare they? <rages>

TheseFoolishThings Tue 14-May-13 15:50:01

"I would only use My Hermes if you don't mind the parcel never arriving"

Sent upwards of 30 parcels in the last 3 weeks. Every single one has arrived exactly when they said it would. Delighted buyers.

Royal Mail, on the other hand - 2 disputes ongoing, another one waiting for the 15 days to be up before they consider it 'lost', prices through the roof and me having to pay a premium for them to try a little harder to do what they're paid to do in the first place.


McKayz Tue 14-May-13 16:00:12

You must be lucky then TheseFoolishThings.

I was sat in my friends front room and watched the MyHermes driver open the door, fling her parcel out into her garden and then drive off. Luckily it was just a pair of jeans.

I don't know anyone who thinks they are any good.

GreenEggs: I bet being a postie was a much better job when your dad started doing it. Given how poorly Royal Mail treat their customers, I dread to think how they treat their staff.

In the past, just about everyone would have been talking about how brilliant their postie was (as a couple of posters have done). It's sad now that most of us experience Royal Mail as paying loads to have stuff not arrive at all.

The staff in our local depo never ask for ID. You hand over the we missed you slip and they present you with a package (after rummaging about in the back a bit).

VivaLeBeaver Tue 14-May-13 16:07:48

Post office , Royal Mail are twats.

I have been arguing with them for a year over a missing parcel that I sent to Joules. Parcel went missing so I claimed. They refused my claim as apparently Joules address and postcode doesn't exist. grin

Joules are adamant it does exist and has done for years. Of course it's not their fault and they tell me to take it up with Royal Mail. Royal Mail = computer says no, therefore no discussion, no common sense.

The fact it's a massive company with loads of parcels every day isn't considered. The address I used was one of their return labels! But no, no such address.

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 16:11:50

You see, right here is the reason why privatisation does not work. Workers do not get a fair deal from bosses who are more interested in meeting targets and making profits. The company is split into two and communication across the board is poor.

Everyone knows that if you don't treat staff fairly, you get poor workers as a result. Morale is so low at Royal Mail and staff turnover so high that it's a miracle we still have any level of service at all.

StuntGirl Tue 14-May-13 16:13:13

I'm glad you've had good service from them foolish. Many people find they either give substandard service - damaging parcels or leaving them in unsecure locations, or just simply don't deliver at all. I refuse to use them for my business due to this.

StuntGirl Tue 14-May-13 16:13:56

Rhubarb, you obviously had beef with Royal Mail before this incident, this has just given you an excuse to rant!

sarahtigh Tue 14-May-13 16:14:34

no-one has to buy extra insurance it is just if you don't compensation is limited to £20 for normal mail, £50 for signed for everything else is special delivery, it is perfectly legal to send a £45 item normal post but you will only get £20 if it gets lost

all breakables like ceramics glass are only covered for damage if sent special delivery, however even with special delivery they will not pay unless outer packaging is damaged as they will simply say it was inadequately packed

as an ebay business seller selling mostly collectable ceramic I just pack on the basis that it will be dropped on pavement so if box drops it must have enough packaging inside to survive, generally for ceramics I would advise working on assumption that you will not get compensation if it breaks from either RM or any courier you would have to use a specialist art/antique courier for that, my experience is that about 1 in 70 parcels of ceramics
gets damaged paying extra achieves no greater care so I send cheapest method

I do not buy extra insurance for anything above the value so a £8 item would go normal mail £25 signed for £75 special delivery, I only use royal mail for small parcels and send everything else either myhermes or collectplus I have had no problems with either

our local ladies in PO are really helpful and nice they know I only post small parcels so if it does not go in small parcel slot i will take it home and send by courier, they do not try and upsell as they know everything goes cheapest way possible, they get paid per parcel so there is actually nothing in it for them if they say medium as opposed to small parcel

only customs labels require declaration of contents whether something is a gift or business makes no difference in UK but it does on customs sticker

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 16:15:24

StuntGirl oh yeah and do I feel better for it! grin

THERhubarb Tue 14-May-13 16:19:21

sarahtigh that's helpful, thank you. You see I knew I wasn't being unreasonable in feeling peeved that they insisted on knowing what was in a parcel that was being sent to a UK destination.

I do think the woman was being a total jobsworth in this instance.

If my brother doesn't get his birthday mug (MUG not cup) then I'll send a load of aerosol cans and vibrators through sheer spite!

Jengnr Tue 14-May-13 19:51:46

Cheeky bitch, I'd be fucked off too.

It's none of her beeswax.

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