Special Delivery – Post Office changes

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If anyone has posted a parcel via Special Delivery today they’ll have found a change in how the parcel is handled.

In the past you’d have filled out a silver Special Delivery receipt which the post office would have stamped, signed and returned to you as your proof of delivery. That’s all changed as of today. Now the post office will enter the destination address which will be printed onto a paper receipt. At the same time address verification will ensure that you have the correct postcode for the street and house name/number/business.

My local post office today told me that my parcel (yes I couldn’t resist testing the new service!) was the first which passed address verification, which doesn’t bode well for the future. The Royal Mail are exceptionally good at delivering mail which has a typo in the address, sadly computers aren’t at all forgiving on address verification – it’s either right or it’s wrong.

Apart from turning up at the Post Office with mis-typed address labels there’s one other disadvantage – It takes twice as long to process. Currently Post Offices will quite happily print out labels in bulk, eg three large letters up to 250gm, 8 packets up to 250gm, 10 packets up to 500gm. That means for twenty or so parcels there are only three entires into the computer. Now each item has to undergo address verification bulk printing is no longer an option.

From now on the Royal Mail Signed For (Recorded Delivery) service is the exception, Standard Parcels and International Signed For already undergo address verification. The Signed For service is expected to be added to the verification program later this year, although Royal Mail haven’t set a date for implementation thus far.

It’s slower, it’s inconvenient and it’s going to cause longer queues at Post Offices around the country. For eBay sellers it might be the final push to arranging Royal Mail collections and generating postage online.

6 Responses

  1. What is the purpose of address verification for Joe Bloggs who sends 1 parcel a year to his Antie in St Helens? Business users are the ones who would benefit most, but those who pay RM to collect their post get no chance of this added security. Great! 🙁

  2. address verification is a royal pain in the butt,
    I have had countless arguments with the guerkin in our local post office when
    some postcodes dont register or are not recognised, on a perfectly valid address, the bugger just wont accept the parcel

  3. Our ‘new’ premises don’t show up in any Royal Mail database but our post still gets delivered so are we about to have less mail because senders won’t be able to verify our address? 😀 And what about FREEPOST NAME addresses? How will those work? Does anyone know?

    As far as collections go the new pricing structures from April are insane. We used to have our mail collected but if you don’t spend £15K with RM per annum you’re going to be paying around £1200 per year for a Mon – Fri collection from April. If you use PPI you can drop your mail off at any local sorting office at a time to suit your business and that includes items for Special Delivery, International Signed For, Recorded Delivery – basically every product RM offers. I would rather put the £100 per month into Google Adwords or similar than hand it over to an organisation that makes a habit of losing (or is that liberating?) my packages.

    By the way if you spend over £15K you used to get a free collection at a time to suit your business but it will be at time to suit the sorting office from April. They’re fantastic at keeping customers happy aren’t they!

    Roll on an open market for mail delivery…

  4. Oh yuck! And there was me thinking of switching to collections on the basis that the PO is starting to be just too much hassle 🙁

    To be honest it’d be a darn sight easier if eBay and PayPal insisted on postcode verification when you added a shipping address as then buyers couldn’t mess up with typos – save everyone a great deal of trouble 😆

  5. Im a receptionist that has to go to the post office nearly every day, there is always a queue out the door at Moorgate, there are customers shouting at the shop owners/workers for how long its taking when they are already trying to do everything they can quickly as possible for us. It just takes too long, it puts on another half hour of my journey now from the huge queues to waiting for them to type in a postcode and company. Ive also had an argument with a worker over a “non listed address” and im sure it wont be the last with this system. This new system does not help the customers and as far as I know, its not even on a trial “see how it goes” run.

    Not impressed! Grr! 😈

  6. 9 out 10 special delivery parcels I have sent have had the post code/address verification recognised. Also as it saves me the time of writing out the details on the SD slip it’s a time server. It also will save time for those who get to the counter and request special delivery but have made no attempt to even get a SD slip, and there’s far too many of those in my local PO.


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