If you are a NetDespatch customer, Royal Mail give notice that they intended to cut off the NetDespatch service of printing of Royal Mail postage labels this coming Friday, the 31st of May. Due to what appear to be hundreds of retailers still using the service, Royal Mail have now extended the termination of the Royal Mail label printing NetDespatch service to the end of June.
We did ask Royal Mail PR for the rationale behind cutting off NetDespatch printing of Royal Mail labels seeing as they own the company but to date they’ve not given a statement. NetDespatch have told us that they are unable to comment but a NetDespatch customer has forwarded us the NetDespatch service announcement emails reproduced below.
We always thought that a month was too short a time for Royal Mail to migrate customers to their own services, not least of which because the larger customers are likely to want integrations rather than log in to Click & Drop. Any business considering an API integration will want considerably longer than 30 days notice to write new code to integrate their own systems and, even with the extension to the end of June, it’s questionable if they will have sufficient time.
Equally if a large retailer were to choose an alternative solution, Royal Mail have given a very short time line (originally a month but now two months) to draw up a short list, do due diligence, select a solution and then go through the deployment, testing and final implementation. Typically we’re well aware that to roll out a typical multi-channel management solution could easily take from three to six months.
It’s worth remembering that large retailers don’t want to log into multiple solutions to import their orders and print labels. They want a single solution for all their carriers, both post and couriers, and that’s what NetDespatch offered.
We’ve heard from a number of retailers who are no where near ready to switch from NetDespatch and without exception they’ve all said that the time frame originally imposed was simply too short. Royal Mail appear to have made a right dogs dinner of this one and it wouldn’t be unfair to suggest that they either give a proper notice period of anything up to six months or simple reverse their decision and keep the NetDespatch service as it is with the ability for retailers to print Royal Mail labels preserved.
NetDespatch Service Announcement email
On 16th April 2019, we issued a notice regarding the use of Royal Mail services on the NetDespatch platform and confirmed that:
• Royal Mail unilaterally terminated their contract with NetDespatch on 28th March 2019 giving the minimum notice of three months
• Royal Mail have informed you that you must move to a Royal Mail managed shipping solution by 31st May 2019
Given that Royal Mail had informed you that their services would no longer be available via the NetDespatch platform after 31st May 2019, we had no choice but to terminate our agreement with you on the same date as we would no longer be able to integrate with Royal Mail systems from that date.
Termination date change
A number of you have informed us that you are unlikely to complete migration to another solution by 31st May 2019.
We have therefore deferred termination of our agreements with you until 23:59 on 29th June 2019 to co-terminate with our agreement with Royal Mail.
Although Royal Mail have not specifically confirmed, it is our understanding that they will continue to allow NetDespatch to integrate with their systems during this period.
What happens next
A number of you have had questions regarding what happens next, in particular, after the termination date (now 29th June 2019)
Up until 23:59 on 29th June 2019
• Service continues as normal – shipments can be created, labels and manifests printed
• We will attempt to send your data to Royal Mail systems (i.e. pre-advice exports and OBA)
From 30th June 2019
• To comply with data processing regulations, all Royal Mail data will be marked for deletion
• You will no longer be able to access the NetDespatch platform with your Royal Mail accounts
• To place new shipments with Royal Mail you will need to do so via another platform
• If you require access to historical data, you will need to request this from Royal Mail
NetDespatch Service Team”
Original NetDespatch Service Announcement email
We have been made aware that some NetDespatch shippers have received notice from Royal Mail that support for the NetDespatch platform for all Domestic, International and Relay services will shortly be discontinued.
We realise this has happened suddenly and appreciate the concern and potential impact this will cause. In addition there appears to be a great deal of uncertainty and confusion so we wanted to give you a clear picture of the current state of affairs.
- Royal Mail unilaterally terminated their contract with NetDespatch on 28th March 2019 giving the minimum notice of three months
- Royal Mail have informed you that you must move to a Royal Mail managed shipping solution by 31st May 2019
As a result of these actions it is with regret that NetDespatch will no longer be able to provide Royal Mail services after 31st May 2019 and must therefore terminate our agreement with you, with service ceasing on the same date – 31st May 2019.
We recognise that integrating with an unproven platform may represent a significant challenge given the tight time frame imposed by Royal Mail. Should you wish to continue using NetDespatch services with alternative carriers please contact us by replying to this notice so that we can discuss your options.
NetDespatch Service Team”