Underinsured – Undercompensated. What did you expect?

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An eBay seller is furious because Royal Mail lost a set of bagpipes he sold, and subsequently they turned up on eBay again when the Royal Mail disposed of missing items. The Daily Mail reports that the police are now involved to decide who the rightful owner actually is.

The story doesn’t really touch on the main issues however. It goes to great lengths to point out the shortcomings of Royal Mail, which in truth are inexcusable. The seller user the International Signed for service to ensure the £1500.00 bagpipes would be tracked and yet they still managed to lose them.

There really is no excuse for items on premium trackable services to be lost, and if they are when they reach the Dead Letter Office – the national undelivered mail centre in Belfast it shouldn’t be too hard to locate the sender from return address information. In this instance it’s not known quite how bad the service was and if a return label was on the package or what identifying documents were enclosed. Either way Royal Mail can’t lose that many sets of bagpipes, how hard would it be to tally a claim for a lost set with the set sitting in the lost and found store?

Royal Mail dispose of items they’re unable to re-unite with the sender through an auction house and the public can then bid for them and the new owner paid a paltry £60.00. John Beattie, the original seller, is irate because he only received £500.00 compensation. That however is his own fault as it’s the maximum payable on Royal Mails International Signed for service.

Under insuring items is a risky practise and one that will always come home to roost when a parcel is lost or damaged. Beattie is now complaining to Post Watch that he’s £1000.00 out of pocket, but how Royal Mail can be held accountable for that is beyond comprehension – he didn’t fully insure for the £1500.00 the bagpipes were worth. If they’d been delivered but damaged he’d have been in the same position, £1000.00 out of pocket!

Why the police are involved is uncertain. Beattie has been fully compensated to the maximum amount on the service he paid for so the bagpipes no longer belong to him. Royal Mail having paid full compensation can hardly be expected to hand over the bagpipes themselves or Beattie would have the compensation and the item. The item was legally disposed of and legally purchased by a new owner who is well within his rights to resell them. If Beattie had selected and paid for a services such as International Datapost or other courier services, with full insurance, he’d have received the £1500.00 they were worth and wouldn’t now be complaining.

Through underinsuring Beattie should have no recourse to further complaint, although Royal Mail haven’t made themselves look good with their inability to track premium service items.

One Response

  1. how can I say this politely…..

    ROYAL MAIL INTERNATIONAL SIGNED FOR is PANTS – sweaty soiled ones you find hanging out of a charity clothing bin behind Lidl. It is only tracked to the point of departure in the UK. AND THAT IS IT. Anything else after that is a Brucey Bonus.

    oh the same goes for AIRSURE.

    I wont bore you all with my woes.. try a google search to see the sort of things that goes on!

    I use FedEX exclusively now for high value international parcels – you get about 50% saving on list shipping rates if you use your own packaging and have a friendly fedex account manager. For low value stuff there are plenty of top tips out there to make the chancers think twice before taking a five fingered discount from your store.


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