Royal Mail add postcode verification for recorded delivery

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eBay sellers sending recorded delivery items will find the process has changed when they visit the Post Office today. As part of Royal Mail’s initiative to introduce better tracking to their services, Recorded Delivery items will undergo post code verification. This is a similar process to that for Special Delivery which was introduced in January of this year.

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. The Post Office queue is possibly the most frustrating point of the delivery process to discover a buyer’s mistake.

Postcode verification will slow posting time down considerably, although there is a bulk process with a Bulk Posting Certificate (PDF document).

You’ll need to print out and complete one of these for every ten parcels you post. It appears that if you use the Bulk Posting Certificate that the address verification is bypassed which will at least save some time.

The Bulk Posting Certificate isn’t an ideal solution, as well as the limit of ten items per sheet the time taken to complete it will slow mail preparation time down.

One other change is that Post Offices can no longer print more than 10 labels at a time for the bulk process. If you have 11 or more identical weight and size parcels it will mean Post Office counter staff have to go through the label printing process at least twice.

For eBay sellers who want to speed the process up in the short term there is a solution. Post Office counter staff have access to a bypass option – I’d highly recommend asking them to use it until such a time as you have a Bulk Posting Certificate process implemented.

As sellers visit their Post Office at the end of the today on their way home I’m guessing there’ll be a fair amount of frustration at no advance warning of the changes. If I’d known on Friday that a new system was to be implemented I’d have had the Bulk Posting Certificates ready to go instead of being faced with a new system at the Post Office Counter.

If you use Recorded Delivery and mail items at the Post Office let us know how you get on with the new procedure and how counter staff are coping with the changes.

17 Responses

  1. Should be good for more queues at the counters.

    I have my courier’s job booking etc software installed on my PC to create labels and around 1 in 30 customers give me incorrect or incomplete address details on their Paypal payments so I have to trot along to the Post Office website and get the complete address or correct postcode from there to enable me to create a delivery label(quicker than hoping they will read and reply to an email).

  2. Why couldn’t they have brought this change in before they closed so many of the smaller post offices? The extra work may just have saved some.

  3. I am not entirely sure why the article starts off with “eBay sellers”,as this change applies to everyone.
    I am the first to admit that eBay sellers using Rec.Deliv. will be badly affected. The bottom line in all of this is that both Royal Mail and eBay are greedy bastards to put it bluntly.Royal Mail increased their charges last time around on the basis that they have a “captive audience”in eBay sellers and saw them as easy pickings. eBay ,also with their exorbitant charges, are now feeling the pinch as the economic situation becomes more difficult.
    What goes around comes around!!

  4. Hi Brett – you’re right it’ll affect everyone using recorded delivery. However many of our readers tend to be eBay sellers and I’m betting eBay sellers are some of the largest users of Recorded Delivery in the country and more likely to send multiple RD items at the post office at one time than say domestic users.

  5. It just seems to me that Royal mails highly paid mangement should have got their head around the massive influx of eBay parcels.
    It seems they just saw it as an opportunity to flleece everyone who sold on eBay and of course the general public was caught in the crossfire.
    I think any efficient company(psssttt let me know when you find one), would have welcomed more business, and theoretically should have geared up to it ,rather than take small-minded option of beeding the eBayers dry!!

  6. I don’t see how you can accuse royal mail of bleeding ebayers dry when they’re by far the cheapest company for low volume letters and small packets, if anything they should be charging more.

    I can’t really see the point of verifying the postcode myself, simply scanning each bar code into the system would be sufficient for the low value recorded delivery mail.

    Of course all this could be avoided by ebay verifying each address again the PAF database, I doubt you could find any other large mail order based business that doesn’t.

  7. # 6

    I’m with you here.

    Like many people we’ve just lost our local PO. The choice is now a 10 mimute walk to a newsagents that survived the closure (mainly because it’s in a busy shopping area, but strangely has NO external post box). or, the main PO a few miles away with no parking & a hell of a que most times of the day.

    As far as the cost of posting goes, ues the prices ahve gone up, but who wants to take a letter/oacket for maybe 100’sss of miles for what is it…up to 100g =.52p 1st class. I don’t see any of the big courier Co’s rushing into this market. Yes they are good with parcels + 5 klg and at in some cases £5-6 that OK.
    Then there’s the likes of UKmail & TNT all bulk collectors (from big businesses/goverment etc) who basically only collect bulk mail and then dump it on Royal Mail to deliver.

    Then there the matter of the cost of fuel. The mail prices were set in April 08, so the full effects of the massive cost increases of fuel were not facterred in (I assume).To my knowledge Royal Mail does not use RED diesel.
    There’s also NO VAT on Royal Mail services unlike Couriers (I have ebeen told thsi) :???:.

    If people on ebay are reasonably active ie a powerseller of small items, then open an account, we’ve just done this and they collect the mail from you (providing the cost of posting is a £5 or more). This service costs. but if you’re spending £5k pa it’s free..
    You also get a discount.

    We use recorded more & more these days so it’ll just be another sheet to fill in. The bulk posting certificate is a must though.

    With paypal quite often finding in the sellers favor for INR which have been sent by Royal Mail, hopefully this will now be better (& tracked).

    Im nothing to do with the PO, by the way.

  8. Gerry collection is only free if you spend £15K a year not £5K. Less than £15k (decided retroactively) and collection is £480 a year – still good value but then it has gone up by over £200 on last year’s price so I think the fuel increase was definitely factored in to that aspect.

  9. I think it depends greatly on the quality of your post office. I checked with Bob (who does the posting) and he said that the new verification only added a moment or so. And he likes that the address is now shown on the receipt, so fewer potential arguments about whether the item was sent to the right address or not.

  10. #9 It’s fine if you only have a few parcels and they’re all different weights, sizes and RM services.

    Most of mine however were in the 250-500 range so it’d be “14 @ 500 RD, 3 @ 250 RD and 1 @ 750 RD” and they only had three entries to type into the computer and then feed the labels through.

    Now if I let them do the post codes it would take much longer

  11. #8 Linzi.
    Sorry I must check the typo’s more. Yes it’s £15k pa, but it’s ok for us as most of our stuff is unwards of .50 klg, so it does not take long to spend £15k..

    If you go to the PO say just 3 times a week @ £480 pa that’s only about £3.00 per visit saved, less than 1/2 hour’s wage, but it takes that just to get to the PO & back. so the service is worth it to us.

    #10 Chris.
    It will be more work, but as a tracked service, must be worth the hassle if when there’s a prob, you can just paste the track details for checking.

    Some postys, just leave recorded without signatures, we’ve had it several times & as the old recorded is not recorded as deliveried until signed for, this has to be an improvement..

  12. #10
    yes I think that is fair comment. All of ours are completely different weights and services as you say, so we are used to them taking some time to go through. For people with standard weights/services, your typeable sheet will be an excellent time saver compared to the old hand written conf sheets.

  13. I might be missing something here, but people seem to be saying (not just this forum) that it will be improved tracking. I can’t see how that is going to happen, as all this process does is to verify that the address exists. What is to stop the postie doing his usual trick of just sticking it through the letterbox? Especially with the trend for people to have stuff delivered to the work address where it will get mixed in with all the business mail and is even less likely to get signed for.

    If I missed something as regards the tracking improvement, please put me right.

    My local post office told me about the changes last Thursday because most of mine is recorded (others are specials) delivery. To be honest it doesn’t seem to have caused much of a delay for me.

    However, please remember tomorrow is the 1st of the month, which is car tax day, pension payments etc and it is a Friday, so I’ll be there early tomorrow.

  14. The only improvement that there might be is that customers may be able to confirm that an item has been posted (if the individual barcodes are scaned).
    For my recorded delivery (which is done with PPI) this is not the case.

    Recorded delivery is not a tracked service as such. It just goes in with normal 1st & second class and is, in theory, no more or less likely to go missing. The point of recorded delivery is that you have confirmation of receipt (of value to the sender).

  15. Rather than the Bulk Posting Certificate, you can obtain a Recorded Delivery Posting Book free from Royal Mail. It’s pretty much the same format as the Certificate (ten items per sheet) but it’s in a book form, of at least a hundred sheets, which keeps them all together in case you need to claim.

    You can call RM on 0845 6000 690 option 1, to order the book (code P1038) and a roll of Recorded Delivery labels (code P2223) so you don’t have to nick your local PO’s stock of Recorded labels.

    A Special Delivery Despatch Book is also available for bulk SD users (code P6565).

    PS. for Recorded Delivery, you can also provide your own printout – there is no need to use RM forms – as long as yours has all the details the RM ones do, which is useful if you can get your computer to print out a listing. PO staff may have to check if they haven’t come across this before, but it’s worth it as it saves a lot of time.

  16. The actual time increase is around 45 – 160 sec / packet. So its around double the time at the counter. Of my 3 largest business/ ebay customers posting 10 or more items a day, one has switched to RM collection and he pays the £450 collection fee. Another just waits it out at the counter with the ever lengthening queue behind her and the third has abandoned recorded altogether and just posts the 1st class proof of posting.

    the problem with the new recorded bulk posting is that the post office horizon is not designed for it. it cannot do ‘bulk’ items as many of you have described doing previously. All the talk of a sheet and a book is just talk . the system actually believes all your items are prepaid and the cashier has to alter the posting details to generate a postage sale. this is what causes the new delay.
    Further I currently have a list of 40 business home shopping address’s that are not currently recognised on the Post office system. These are the main home shopping / catalogue operations like Next and Gusco. if these major players are not found imagine how many ordinary postcodes are not found. if you are posting to a business in a block expect a 1 – 2 min increase in each packets time.

    Worse still is this all being done to enable a hand held terminal to be signed by the recipient for instant electronic acknowledgment. Great, except only van routes will have them . All bicycle, foot and trolley [about 2/3 of total] postpeople won’t have them. its all so predictably half baked.
    A system that adds a third in posting times for a possible 1 in 3 chance of an improved service.

    Stevie is right about the book. its free, but not all post offices know this. the problems of entering the data at the post office are the same with or without the book though.


  17. im mythed… i thought that this new system was suppose to make it easier to track items, as i was told by royal mail when i phoned up to find out if theres an easy way for doing bulk recordeds… and the tracking seems to be no different, ive just searched a tracking ID, and same old same old, Recorded Signed Forâ„¢ items are only tracked after the item has been delivered… seems pretty bloody pointless to me… and if the customer doesn’t receive it, they’ll let you know quick enough. and ive had more problems with recordeds, than normal post, as most people with any money to spend are at work when the posty delivers.. so we’re changing to normal 1st class, and we’ll get a proof of posting, and if it doesn’t arrive, customer would let me know, and if it still doesn’t turn up i’ll claim back the value of goods through the first class mail system.

    and by the way, im a little bit anti RM at the moment, as they have managed to lose all our business post thats been redirected from our previous premises, and they say if we had post, they’d of delivered it…hmmm , so where’s the post ive been sending myself to our previous address, Mr Royal Mail ????


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