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.