Royal Mail aim to scrap Standard Parcels by April 2013

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Royal Mail have announced proposals to change their parcels range. The most significant changes are the scrapping of Standard Parcels, Royal Mail’s untracked 3-5 day delivery service and instead extending 2nd Class to cater for parcels up to 20kg.

Currently you can only send parcels up to 1kg in weight via 2nd Class post. Standard Parcels has six weight bands from up to 2kg through to up to 20kg. With the current choices of 1st Class, 2nd Class and Standard Parcels, Royal Mail have 15 weight bands for parcels. Under the new proposals this would be reduced to 7 weight bands from April 2013 if plans go ahead.

By sending parcels through 2nd Class post, Royal Mail’s customers would have the option of adding a signature on delivery using the Recorded Signed For service. Currently this is only available for 1st Class post on items over 1kg, Standard Parcels has no tracking and no signature on delivery.

Small, Medium & Large Parcels

At the same time as changing services, Royal Mail plan to bring in three new parcel sizes:

Small Parcels

Small parcels will be items that weigh up to 2kg and are no larger than 450mm x 350mm x 80mm in size.

Medium Parcels

Medium parcels will be items that have dimensions larger than the small parcels size but no bigger than 610mm x 460mm x 460mm, and up to 20kg in weight

Larger Parcels

Under the proposals, items larger than the medium parcel size (610mm x 460mm x 460mm) or over 20kg in weight will no longer be delivered through the Royal Mail network. Instead, customers will have the option Parcelforce Worldwide, who offer a full range of parcels services through Post Office Ltd.

Edited: If your parcels are currently over 61cm in length, even if very lightweight items like rolled posters, you’ll need to consider alternative carriers to Royal Mail in the future, if Parcelforce don’t meet your requirements. Exceptions are cubes up to 16x16x16cm and tubes less than 45cm long and 8cm in diameter will also be priced as small parcels. Roll or cylinder shaped parcels larger than these sizes can be posted as Medium Parcels up to and including 90cm in length and up to and including 104cm (length plus twice the diameter)

Compensation Changes

Recorded Signed For Compensation

Royal Mail announced their intention to increase the maximum compensation payable for loss or damage of Recorded Signed For items from £46 to £50. These are items for which a signature is collected on delivery and a proof of posting receipt is provided.

Untracked Item Compensation Changes

At the same time as the above changes Royal Mail will reduce compensation for loss or damage of items sent using untracked 1st and 2nd Class stamped mail and parcels from £46 to £20. They point out that mMany countries do not offer any compensation for loss or damage of untracked items, including Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

25 Responses

  1. This will be a price increase by stealth.

    How many “parcels” are realistically under 80mm in depth?

    Only larger heavier books and these only currently go parcel because of the RM 2nd class weight limit.

    Just over 80mm and it becomes a “large parcel” even if the remaining dimensions are say 250x150mm which is a lot less than A4 on plan.

    It is the “over 25mm small packet con” all over again but applied to parcels.

  2. It seems that poster tubes will be an exception to the length rule:-

    “Items larger than the medium parcels limits (except cylindrical or roll-shaped items) will no longer be delivered by Royal Mail”

    Royal Mail are getting rid of the “small packet” tariffs. Everything in future that is over 25mm in depth will have a “parcel” classification.

    I sense further shipping price rises ahead when the new bands are announced. After the 70% increase last year for smaller packages this will be a disaster for those who ship mainly small lightweight packets and who managed to survice last years massive price hike.

    If you check ebay there are a large number of 99p items with £2.75 shipping that simply remain unsold with no bids week after week. When shipping was £1.50 as it was in the past these items would have sold and attracted several bids.

  3. compensation? who are they kidding! they run you round in circles with rules and hurdles until you go away

  4. The statement that Royal Mail have made that they currently have 15 weight bands for parcels is grossly wrong and a total smoke and mirrors fabricated lie!

    They currently have 5 weight bands between 2kg and 20kg.

    And 2 weight bands between 0-1kg (parcel = packet)

    The complication arises as a result of having 4 weight bands for 1st class between 1-2kg.

    Over 1kg and you will use the 2kg parcel band and ignore the 1st class service bands.

    So this makes a total of 8 parcel weight bands.

    The other options are service related and not weight bands. They relate to a quicker service.

    So Royal Mail are going to bring these 8 weight bands down to 7.

    How are they going to do that I wonder?

    Offer only 2 weight bands below 2kg (eg 0-1kg and 1-2kg?)

    This will be a total disaster for those shipping packages under 750g who currently enjoy the £2.20 rate.

    This will inevitably become a £3.50 or more rate for under 1kg (the current 750-1000g 2nd class rate).

    Totally hopeless situation.

    Are ebay going to do anything by way of lobbying?

  5. So over the space of 4 years we have seen something move from 85p to £3.50 or more if you ship packages less than 100g in weight.

    And Royal Mail are supposed to be a regulated service?

    The regulator is either a clown or been handed brown envelopes!

  6. If you want to see the proposals in full and print off a form to send a consultation question to John Rowley of Royal Mail here is the link:-

    Royal Mail claim that only 5% of consumers using royal mail services send more than 3 larger parcels each year. They claim that larger parcels have to be delivered by a van making them significantly more expensive to deliver than medium and smaller parcels that can be delivered by the door to door postman.

    Expect the new tariffs to reflect these delivery differences.

    Given that within that 5% there will be a very high number of ebay sellers shipping a very high number of larger parcels, Royal Mail remain silent about this.

  7. My post master was saying that ‘Royal Mail’ have realised that they made a ‘mistake’ with the price hike. He attended a meeting the other day where Royal Mail made the link between the ‘hike’ and a ‘significant drop’ in postal use. He feels that RM will hold off any any future increases as they are already taking a hit in the ghoulies from the last one. I must admit I’ll believe it when I see it, personally I think the private managers will run RM into the ground and then sling it back to the tax payer when they’ve messed it up!!

  8. .
    Our postal collection van has been surprisingly empty lately, whereas it would usually be 1/2 fall.

    Our main Post office was near empty @ 4pm today & I asked the postmaster about it & he said it had been like it for weeks..

  9. Quote:-“I don’t want to state the obvious… but how many of the “very high number of eBay sellers shipping a very high number of larger parcels” send their over 1kg parcels via Royal Mail Standard Parcels?”

    The obvious is being stated and there is no argument with that so we agree.

    The way Royal Mail are going about it with their proposals a large number of newly classified “medium parcels” are going to fall into the under 1kg weight range. And the issue is for those for whom 99% or more of their shipments are under 1kg, or even under 2kg (a large number of ebay small/medium sized sellers I would bet fall into this catagory – I do) even allowing for the large choice of carriers available, there is still little option but to use Royal Mail. It is still a monopoly effectively for shipments of under 1kg and maybe even 2kg.

    But proove me wrong!!! I would welcome any proof that I am wrong and that there are lower cost alternatives that don’t have minimum package restrictions.

    And remember you have to take VAT into account as the ebay group we are talking about are unlikely to require VAT registration.

  10. A 4 inch cube box weighing 200g, by no one’s standard a “large” parcel by any means, would be classed as Medium under these proposals.

    Having size limits and charging more for items that have to be delivered by van is one thing, but this is just a stealth price rise – almost anything that isn’t a large flat shape will be considered medium, but you can’t for a moment tell me my 4 inch cube weighing 200g wouldn’t be delivered in the postie’s sack. Equally something 4x4x8 (a very common size of a huge number of product boxes) yet that’s also not a small parcel under these proposals – but would undoubtedly be in the postman’s sack!

    MyHermes and so on are not practical for volume dispatches unfortunately, and regular deliveries I have had from them have often been poorly handled in the network.

  11. This is bad news for me. The bulk of my mail is tubular.

    Half is 50-90cm, max dia 7cm, average weight 200g. Value £5-13, ave £8. This will fall into Medium Parcel.

    The other half is 100-150cm, dia 7cm, 300-1000g, average 600g. Value £7-23, ave £10. They want me to send this by Parcelforce!!!

    Can anyone suggest possible alternate couriers that wil take 150cm tubular?

  12. “Royal Mail claim that only 5% of consumers using royal mail services send more than 3 larger parcels each year”

    Could it be because of recent uncompetitive price hikes consumers are moving their parcel business elsewhere?

  13. can anyone confirm if these changes will affect contract services or is it just for post office services? (as far as I am aware, standard parcels are not available on contract)

  14. “Items larger than the medium parcels limits (except cylindrical or roll-shaped items) will no longer be delivered by Royal Mail”

    So exactly what bracket would a 65cm long tube 5cm wide go under?

  15. Medium parcel at the higher tarriff. Probably at around the RM £5.30 (or whatever discounted rate relative to this you currently get) currently charged for 0-2kg parcels.

    Currently I guess you pay either £2.20 or £3.50 or whatever the franking rates are.

    So expect shipping charges to double.


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