There is a list of Royal Mail Prohibited and restricted items which you can’t send through postal services, but what happens to banned good if you try and post them? One Royal Customer has just discovered the answer, sometimes the items end up back on eBay!
The back story is that Peter was making and selling gaming devices based on the Raspberry Pi. He then shipped one to the US but his Tiny Pi Pro device included a lithium battery and Royal Mail (and many other carriers) have banned them due to the risk of fire (no one wants a plane to crash).
Royal Mail are pretty clear in their terms and conditions that if you post banned items that they’ll be disposed of with no compensation. Indeed, if you try and post a parcel at any Post Office you’ll be asked what the contents are and if you’re a Royal Mail business customer you’ll have received terms and conditions setting out the rules.
“If you send prohibited goods or restricted goods (and you do not comply with the relevant terms and conditions), we may deal with your items as we see fit, including but not limited to, disposing of the parcels concerned (in whole or in part). Please note consequential loss cover is not available when posting any restricted items.”
– Royal Mail
Back to Peter, he’d assumed that when tracking showed his item had been disposed of that that meant destroyed. He wasn’t expecting Royal Mail to profit from selling his confiscated goods and took to twitter to express his outrage.
I found out today that when @RoyalMail says they destroy a parcel for prohibited contents, what that actually means is they sell it on @eBay_UK for personal gains! #royalfail #parceltheft #funnynotfunny pic.twitter.com/pAcke143nf
— Pi 0 in your Pocket (@Pi0CKET) June 11, 2019
The reality is however, Royal Mail are in an awkward position. They have a mountain of confiscated goods each year, all containing items which shouldn’t be in the post in the first place and they have to do something with them. They can’t simply dump the lot in landfill these days (Hey, that’s a good thing!) and so the easiest thing to do is recoup some costs and make the products someone else’s problem. Generally that can include auctioning them off to the highest bidder. What happens then is down to whoever purchases the goods and they then have title to resell them if they so wish.
Of course this all leaves a bitter taste in the mouth if the original owner, who’s lost their product with no compensation, sees them being resold on eBay. It doesn’t seem fair to the casual Internet troll, but has anyone got a better solution for Royal Mail – it’s not like they can break their own rules and simply post the banned goods back to the original sender so they’re pretty much forced to get rid of them in any way that they can.
If you have any doubt as to what you can and can’t send through the mail, check the Royal Mail Prohibited and restricted items document here.