Royal Mail Fuel Surcharge to rise to 4% this January

Royal Mail are to increase the cost of deliveries for account customers. The underlying contract rates won’t change, but from the 28th of January 2019 the Royal Mail fuel surcharge will rise from 3% to 4%. The fuel surcharge is applied on the product price after any discounts or commissions, and before VAT

Fuel surcharges are a way for carriers to raise and lower prices outside of contract renewals as their fuel costs change, although generally fuel surcharges only ever seem to rise and never fall. Royal Mail remind customers that their fuel surcharge has remained static since the 31st of March 2014.

Royal Mail Fuel surcharges were introduced five years ago. Prior to April 2013 Royal Mail included these costs into the overall parcel price. This change, says Royal Mail, brought the postal service in line with other parcel delivery companies who already apply a fuel surcharge.

The company says that they have done their best to absorb changes in fuel prices and held off increasing their fuel surcharge for as long as possible, but are now in a position where they are forced to pass on some of their increased costs to business customers.

Royal Mail Fuel Surcharge – Affected Services

  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 9am®
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm®
  • Royal Mail Tracked 24®, Royal Mail Tracked 48®
  • Royal Mail 24®, Royal Mail 48®
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed Returns®
  • Royal Mail Tracked Returns®
  • Mail Order Returns

You can keep up to date with any further changes at

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I can't think of many industries where something like this would be accepted or un regulated, certainly if it was consumer facing it would be. For Royal Mail to say they introduced it to come in line with other carries is just nonsense, they did it to get more money. If anything they could of not introduced it and pushed the fact that they were the only carrier to not have one! Fuel surcharge from all carriers is a con and needs to stop, it never changes except going up and just eats away at margins all the time. Just have one, honest price for your services.

Stuart • 9th January 2019 •

I think fuel surcharges should be banned . If they want to increase prices , add it to the cost of stamps. Its a bit like the underhand price increases on Ebay where they are going to penalise sellers on service metrics and that crazy increase on shop prices but selling it as a bonus package with a useless packaging discounts, auctions etc etc

Jonathan Witty • 10th January 2019 •

I think if you use code BPL you can avoid the surcharge. SU1 has it, but its definitely a con

Jonathan Witty • 10th January 2019 •

Jonathan If you owned a business, presumably you would be operating in order to turn a profit? If not i suspect you would soon go bankrupt! Well like many other businesses that bear the cost increases until they can't afford to, they are obliged to pass on their costs. Sure, no one likes it, but unfortunately it's an unfortunate fact of business life. If you feel you can get the same service elsewhere cheaper, then.....

Mike • 10th January 2019 •

@Jonathan Witty - It is not about avoiding the surcharge it depends on the contract you have and if you are VAT registered or not. BPL is for a business that is not VAT registered and the cost is about 50p more than SU1 / Royal Mail 24/48, but if I recall you do get £20.00 compensation with BPL. I currently use CRL48 and save £700+ a month from using BPL But as Mike said, we all have the option to choose another courier should we not be happy with the one we are currently using. At the moment I would be reluctant to move away from RM.

tyler • 11th January 2019 •

The Royal Mail fuel surcharge is complete nonsense. It's simply a rip-off. I'm surprised that the regulator is letting them get away with it. Was it around 10 years ago the cost of fuel rocketed? but it gradually went down and fell to nearly £1 a litre if I remember rightly but the fuel surcharge remained at 3%

PAUL S • 10th January 2019 •

Least they did not use Brexit uncertainty for what is another price hike...(I will be expecting that also in the near future, and not just from RMG it will be excuse for a lot of price hikes over many a industry, most probably gas and electronic).. Anyway as you say price of fuel drops, you never see the surcharge drop. Just another under the table price hike. RMG has lost half its value this year, time they sacked the dinosaurs and "got it" with ecommerce they are way behind.

SAM • 10th January 2019 •

No one likes a price increase but fuel surcharges are a common feature of this market and the Royal Mail rate is a long way below those of many of its competitors. It doesn't apply to the price of stamps, franking machine postage or any of the regulated products (such as BPL). There is a very positive reason why fuel surcharges are used. The alternative is for the risk of significant unforeseen fuel increases to be factored into the up front price. Be careful what you ask for ! Anyone who can't work out what a 4% fuel surcharge is on the Royal Mail rate card price for the products concerned must really struggled with the volumetric weight based, zonal, plus fuel and congestion zone surcharge prices pushed as good deals by some of the other carriers.

Harry • 10th January 2019 •

A company the size of Royal Mail will buy fuel at least a year in advance, possibly two, to fix the price. They know exactly what they're going to pay. If fuel prices rise, Royal Mail contracts are generally renewed annually so could easily take into account forward contract prices which they have in place for fuel. This really is a 1% out of contract hike which could be avoided and tacked on to their contract prices at renewal if they so desired.

Chris Dawson • 10th January 2019 •

May be if royal mail looked at the wastage of fuel, they could actually lower the cost of postage. If they run there haulage side of the business more efficiently they could save at least 5 million plus a year.

Robert Neary • 10th January 2019 •

Love the way they increase prices, wait a few months then declare this. To be honest my other courier just did the same. hiked prices... waited a few months and suddenly fuel surcharge must go up too. They seriously think that we view it differently when they dod it in two hits. But it is like everything in life.... you pay more, you get less! Actually saying that, i now get a postie with letters at midday, a postie with parcels mid morning and a collection late afternoon! Seems that delivering letters and parcels to an indusrial area requires two people and two rounds now.... next thing we will get 1st class early and 2nd class later.... hmmm I remember them cutting the second delivery of the day to save money years ago!

Toby • 11th January 2019 •