Royal Mail price increases coming – 31st March

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Newly privatised Royal Mail will be changing prices with effect from 31st March. That gives you just about a month to make any course corrections in reaction.

A first class stamp will be increasing in price to 62p and a second class stamp will soon set you back 53p. There’s a whole slew changes and how the changes will affect you, will depend on which services you happen to use.

You can find full details on the Royal Mail website here.

And for those of you who like to scour the small print, there’s an accompanying document chock full of details that you can find here. 10 pages in total!

One eagle-eyed reader has already been in touch to point out that the new terms say that Large Letter can no longer be used to fulfill an order. And that will be a blow to some sellers (although not 100% enforceable by RM). You might spot some other nuggets. If so, please do share.

What will these changes mean to you? Comments most welcome.

Update: 1/3/2014. Royal Mail have been in touch to clarify that Large Letter rule whereby it can’t be used to fulfill and order is only applicable to Business Mail users.

55 Responses

  1. Hi

    Regarding “Large Letter can no longer be used to fulfill an order”

    Those terms are for a products which most online sellers do not use, those services are for Marketing, Publishing and General Correspondence

    It does not apply to RM24 and RM48 etc that most of us are using.

    Royal Mail are really just going through a large rebranding exercise at the moment and i believe they are now trying to push out the lost leader products they have had for years under government control, changes in their terms is mainly going to affect the big mailing houses using downstream access etc where Royal Mail may have been operating at a loss in the past.

    I am not pro a private Royal Mail but that is what we have now, what i am more interested in watching now is what is ecommerce going to be like in the future with ever rising shipping costs, how many years will sellers / retailers swallow those increases? Will free delivery be history in the future? Or will online prices eventually be the same as the physical stores? If Royal Mail prices go up at 3-4% a year, every year, something will have to give.

  2. Sellers of lightweight products to International destinations are ‘hit’ by the long signposted restriction of the use of the letter rate to envelopes 5mm max thickness.

    They face a stiff step up to small parcel rate (small packets in old speak).

    Non- contract Airmail Examples:
    60g letter to US (max 5mm thickness) £2.15
    60g small parcel to US £3.80
    Signed for options add £5.00

  3. What about keeping the prices the same as a result of efficiency savings? Haven’t Royal Mail thought about doing this?

    The point made above about simply raising prices every year is entirely valid as ultimately bricks and mortar and collect instore will become cheaper overall than sending by parcel. It may well be now for certain goods.

    I know that there are products I used to buy that I no longer bother with as the products simply no longer sell by the time you add £3 shipping. They used to sell well when shipping was under £1 just 3 or 4 years ago. Others probably have had to face a similar situation. We simply offer a different range of products that we know will sell or offer low ticket products as a multiple sale to make it a better value proposition when “free” shipping is factored in.

  4. Spotted that is now prohibited to include any item in a large letter that has stiff or inflexible packaging that cannot easily be manually folded. What happened to the “Do not bend” principle? It seems that if a large letter cannot be bent or folded it cannot be sent as a large letter. That is going to cream cracker the DVD sellers!

    I blame the trend of smaller “green” draught resistant chop your fingers off letter boxes in houses for this.

  5. The size restrictions for international mail may well bring most of my online selling to an end.

    I sell earphones, light and over 5mm thick, all over the world. Postage to Europe costs £1.28 at present. With the new scheme, this goes up to £3.20, an additional £1.92 (a 150% increase) for an item that costs between £7 and £12.

    If the scale of sales was large enough, I could have order shipped out of another country but it is a niche item.

    If they had truly mirrored the UK structure and given me an International Large Letter, I may have been able to live with it but a price increase on this scale may be the end of this unique product line for me.


  6. Hi

    My understanding is that the large letter restriction relates to Business Post, which is a specific type of post used for marketing etc.

    If so this should not restrict OBA users from using Large Letters for fulfilment.

    I may be wrong – can anyone clarify the situation ?

  7. As regards items sent from China, I too have ofton been amazed at the prices offered. Even with low item costs and a few pence profit being more attractive to them than it would be to a seller over here, I am still suprised.

    In no particular order I have a few ideas:

    1) International postage is subsidised by the Government to such a degree that it is free or nearly free to anyone shipping abroad.

    2) The sellers all work for a company and put their massive quantity of sold items in the company mail bag, or they work for the post office and insert their post into the system.

    3) International post is simply INCREDIBLY cheap from China.

    4) The items are stolen so the only overhead is FVF’s & PayPal.

    5) Uhh, sorry, can’t think of more….!

    IDK which it is as they all seem unlikely so it does leave me wondering especially as some sellers have a very high volume and even with bulk discounts and low item costs, I still can not see how they can make a profit with item/postage charges being so low. In addition, I have noticed that even the large sellers seem to always give a nominal value on the Customs Declaration (usually just a couple of dollars) and ofton also state it as a gift.

  8. We use the Royal Mail 48 hour service. We were paying £1.80 before + Surcharge now its gone up to £1.98+ Surcharge. So, we are paying exactly 10% more. On the number of parcels we send out, that 10% will make a £30,000 difference straight off profits every year.

    Its also incredibly difficult to put prices up to cover this as things are so competitive nowadays. eBay keep squeezing the TRS discounts and Royal Mail keep increasing prices. I think a lot of businesses will struggle in the next couple of years due to be squeezed from every angle.

  9. Royal Mail PPI 0-1kg has had the biggest 10% price rise. Personal Post Office customers see an increase of 7.5% in the same band and no price rise over 1kg. Will Royal Mail be removing the PPI surcharge though as this may now have been built into the PPI price rise?

  10. Hi

    There needs to be some answers for royal mail here,

    Just got of the phone from them, we use PPI and RM48.

    I have just need told the Large Letter size will reduce to 10mm instead of the old 25mm.

    But was told this will not be officially announced until later this month.

    HELP!! – Is this true???

  11. As a seller of very thin antiques (stamps) the ending of the 10gsm Airmail rate is a huge blow and will cost me hundreds of pounds a month…

    I have now decided to invest in a franking machine, it might upset my punters but it will delight my bank manager…


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