How can Royal Mail assist during the Coronavirus pandemic?

How can Royal Mail assist during the Coronavirus pandemic? Royal Mail small business assistance

With the Coronavirus pandemic turning our world upside down, for many online shopping has become the only way of obtaining household essentials and perhaps some discretionary purchases to ease the way through the lock down, which has now been in place for two months. There are even now, only small steps being made by the government to slowly start to ease out of the lock down and online shopping is likely to remain, if not the only option, at least the safest option for the foreseeable future. As the only carrier to delivery to every household in the nation on a daily basis, we all expected to see Royal Mail assist businesses and keep them connected to consumers.

What was the initial Coronavirus impact on Royal Mail?

With the lock down and exponential overnight increase in online shopping, the Royal Mail have been busier than ever, so we spoke to Royal Mail’s Jon Nicholson and the first thing we wanted to know is what the initial impact on Royal Mail was and what they’re doing with eBay and the Post Office to assist small businesses, many of who are selling online for the first time:

How can Royal Mail assist new and existing businesses trade through the pandemic?

We wanted to know what Royal Mail are doing to ensure that new businesses can despatch their parcels and how existing businesses might need to change their working routine when it comes to posting mail. If you’ve not got a Royal Mail account, then if you are sending as few as 20 parcels a week then in this video Jon explains how they can assist you and when it’s time to open a business account and arrange a daily collection:

What do we need to know about handling parcels during the pandemic?

We also wanted to ask Royal Mail on how to pack and handle parcels to keep everyone, including the posties, as safe as possible:

We’ve got some more questions for Jon, so look out for further video answers coming soon…

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Most of our items go with DPD because they are over 2Kg, however for items under 2Kg we just use normal 2nd Class small parcel service and for me it is very reliable and certainly the most cost effective service going at only £2.95 per parcel with a franking machine. However, I find it so hard to get the parcels in to the system and even more so now with COVID. The post office is in a SPAR which now has queues outside and as of this week only one of the 3 post office counters can be open rather than the 2 - which odd as they are far enough apart. So a 15 minute round trip to drop parcels off is now 30 or even 45 minutes and just doesn't work. As only a tiny portion of our orders are this small we only send around 8-12 small parcels a day - but have now requested a daily collection which is £779 + Vat per year- but that looks like around 10 days to set up. What is frustrating is that there are 21 units here on our estate - at least 2 of them have a collection every day because they do volume (so it is a free collection for them). Will the driver take the odd bag for us which is going to the same place... not a chance. "More than my job is worth" or "I would get sacked if I was found out"... is that really true or is this another example of the difference between people employed and those self employed courier drivers who thrive on helping (well in my experience anyway). I just think it should be easier to get the parcels in to the system.

Darren • 21st May 2020 •

Even with your current volume of parcels, it will be worthwhile getting an account with Royal Mail, paying for daily collection and look at ditching the franking machine in favour of RM24 and RM48 service too. If you have to pay for it (which you will) collection only works out a little over £3 a day on average. Even if the post office is just a 15 minute round trip, it has a cost in wages/time/petrol and I would say it's more than £3 a time, right?

Gav • 21st May 2020 •

We have RM collection for "free" Mon-Fri as we added Tracked services to our account. Now there's min 1000 Tracked parcels (and large letters) per annum to qualify for this free collection, otherwise we will have to pay as you said 770+vat. Speak to your RM account manager and se what they can offer you.

NorthCrystal • 21st May 2020 •

Well we have just had our Amazon SFP badge taken away as Royal Mail consistently fail to scan RM 48 Tracked items on time. I will now have to jump through hoops for the rest of the day to get the badge back. Not happy with Royal Mail at all at the moment.

NIck • 21st May 2020 •

@ Nick - if you manage to speak to the right people at RM who actually thoroughly know the Tracked 48 service you will find that their is no contractual obligation for them to scan a Tracked 48 on the day of collection. This was happening before the outbreak. I found many T48 were being scanned after midnight of the collection day. Not very compatible with the defects systems of the platforms. It took me a lot of digging to find that one out. The general customer service personnel of RM are woefully uninformed of their own services .

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

Without going into too much detail the problem is a "lost in translation" one. Here is why sellers performance is being effected by late dispatch. Its all down to acceptance scans of the parcel and when they take place. Ebay / Amazon definition of an acceptance scan : the scanning of a parcel to say it has been accepted by the carrier. This is the barcode on the actual parcel. This is what the platforms are looking for and they are looking for it same day of dispatch. Royal Mail definition of an acceptance scan: the scanning of the FIR number from the bar code at the Collection Point. This is the barcode on the A5 card at the PO or Collection Point. Those who are getting a collection will have the same as a post office - a small A5 blue and red card with a barcode number (an FIR number). The collection driver scans this to say he has collected your parcels along with your manifest. THIS is what RM call an acceptance scan. They have not scanned the actual parcel nor will their scan show up in the tracking information . You can now see the problem........ RM have told the marketplaces that all tracked parcels are scanned same day and by their definition that is correct. The entire metric system has been built on a misinterpretation. Your parcels are then taken to the Mail Centre and the actual scan of the parcel happens there. In the case of Tracked 48 items this scan can happen the following day.! This will show a defect and register you have sent the parcel late. However, the defect is often cancelled out as the parcel still arrives on time and the delivery scan will cancel the defect as it has been delivered on time. So it goes unnoticed almost - until a pandemic......... and then it can have a crippling effect on your performance. When you phone normal RM customer services they know nothing of the intricate details / idiosyncrecies of their own services. And so we all get defects. I cant say for Amazon but if ebay would take note of this and adjust accordingly it would cut down one of the biggest call drivers - that of getting defects removed. At least ebay are covering us at the moment.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

@Alan Thanks for the useful info. RM customer services are unfortunately not well informed at many departments, including the business claims department. I actually started to doubt the RM Tracked Services are scanned at all in some cases. We post quite few parcels/large letters with T48 and the service downgraded recently that it's now normal for the delivery to take 7-10 days. Tracked at premium price! They must be joking. We still got some cases of T48 like this one: "Your Item was received by XX DO on 22-04-2020 and is now due for delivery today." It's 22nd May and the parcel is AWOL. I made a claim, and delivered to the buyer in person (it turned out to be local customer). Tracked are not fit for purpose. If I pay for T48 and RM advertises it will deliver in 2 working days then I expect this. I understand it's pandemic etc and there are delays however DPD/DHL is operating without too much trouble.

NorthCrystal • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Northcrystal. Sadly Tracked 48 is classed as an "economy non-priority" service by Royal Mail. With the exception of the scan it is treated with the same priority as a second class parcel / large letter. A fact they do not make clear. When RM first introduced it nearly 10 years ago it was meant to do what it said - 2 day delivery. However, RM quickly changed that to "2 to 3 day service" which seems a bit stupid for something called "48". Ebay adjusted accordingly and reduced tracked 48 to a "2 to 3 day service" on their platform. To this day ebay are still sayinging Tracked 48 is a 2 to 3 day service which is "economy service". It caused puzzlement why a 48 hour service was being classed as "economy" but there was the reason. I have explained to ebay many times about the acceptance scan thing. Concierge get it but don't seem to have the authority to do anything and it continues to cause a major amount of defects and therefore a huge call driver. Having said all that - when I was using tracked service with RM they were rarely loosing packages. The problem seems to have started since the pandemic. Hermes on the other hand were loosing my packets every day.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

@Darren - unfortunately for Royal Mail collections it is not as simple as handing over a few packages. We have to provide a manifest of all packages including weights and quantities, already uploaded, and printed to give to the driver, and all items to be put into sacks with the relevant sales order number, and account numbers on, and also each collection location needs a barcode to be scanned by the driver to associate with the collection, so any ad-hoc packages added to the van will be obvious as they are not in the sacks, prepared in the way described, and with no paperwork to support them. It is not like with couriers where there is just a barcode on the package and they scan the barcodes, and nothing else, so additional packages don't look any different. Royal Mail don't scan the barcodes of the packages upon collection, just the barcode on the manifest and the barcode provided to the collection address.

Nick • 21st May 2020 •

Fair point Nick. We used to have a daily collection around 8-9 years ago because we did a lot more small items which no longer exist in our market an dused to do monthly flyers and 6 monthly catalogues - we spent a fortune! I have always been a fan of Royal Mail to be honest - I just think there should be a more local approach for businesses and be a little quicker to respond to things.

Darren • 21st May 2020 •

I use Royal Mail for all my below 2kg parcels and find them to be very good. However, there is one big problem. On all postage labels there is a 2D Bar Code. Only about 10% of these packages are scanned by Royal Mail. This has been happening ever since they introduced 2D bar codes to the labels, so not a coronavirus related problem. I know my own postman scans 2D barcode packages / parcels when he delivers and he told me that all postmen around the country should scan them. He said that in his opinion it appeared the other postmen were being lazy or Royal Mail's system was not linking properly with Ebay's system, to upload the delivery information to confirm that delivery had been made. I spoke to Ebay Customer Support about this, hoping that if they reported this to Royal Mail they would have more clout than me. I unfortunately never heard back from Ebay about this and the problem still exists. What is the point of having 2D barcodes on the postage labels if Royal Mail seldomly scan then or there is another problem? It makes it very difficult to prove to the buyer or to Ebay, if the goods go missing in the post.

Antony • 21st May 2020 •

I had a similar problem with 2d barcodes on Royal Mail parcels not receiving a delivery scan (it wasn't as low as 10% though). What was interesting was the large letters and packets that could fit through letterboxes - the delivery scans were almost 100% accurate. ebays defect system is ill-equipped to deal with 2d barcode parcels. I found that I was giving myself defects by uploading 2d barcodes to ebay.

Alan Paterson • 21st May 2020 •

It can start by doing the basics, and scanning items. Your also down to 1 pick-up before 11am around here a day.

SAM • 21st May 2020 •

RM's case would be more credible if they delivered 1st class parcels within a reaasonable time. Do any of their own (PO-affixed) labels have a date & time stamp -or would that be giving the game away?)

ed martin • 21st May 2020 •

I have a lot of sympathy with Royal Mail and think under the unprecidented circumstances they are doing a great job. It is a nightmare to get to the sorting office. Once they were open from 7am to 6pm 5 days a week and also on Saturday mornings. Now it is 7am to 11am Mon/Tues/Thurs/Friday. Getting 15 bags of mail there for 11am is a real struggle. But our customers have (mainly) been very appreciative of the efforts. Our postman tells me at this time of year their sorting office would expect 5000 parcels on a Monday. This week there were 14,500, and they are working at only 2/3rd capacity of staff. All the couriers are under strain and I wonder if we will ever get back to normal, whatever that was!!

Carol • 21st May 2020 •

HELP !!!!! How can they help I would have said the best starting point would be do the job properly even if it means slowly. We have customers getting in touch saying that it says delivered but they are in due to isolation and nothing has been attempted. Royal mail say the GPS shows it was at the correct address. Then we send another item then 6 days later we get a lovely message from the buyer saying the postman has delivered 2 do we want one sending back. Well come on RM please advise how it was scanned as delivered at the address then again when it actually was delivered. another was delivered and tracking shows it was out for delivery then delivered that's all ok then it shows out for delivery the next day then it shows out for delivery the next day then it shows delivered again. That's just 2 items. Since covid 19 we have had to refund over £120 in items stating delivered but not and then arriving and others that just go nowhere ones that say nothing at all in the RM tracking site. so what else would they like help improving. I have also been reliably informed they purchased a disused marks and spencers in Sheffield to cope with the extra mail as the sorting depot could not cope yet some of the mail there has not been touched for over a week. Absolute farce

Mark • 21st May 2020 •

"Royal mail say the GPS shows it was at the correct address. Then we send another item then 6 days later we get a lovely message from the buyer saying the postman has delivered 2 do we want one sending back" That is interesting, because I've had the same thing happen several times, but only since the lockdown period started and RM struggled to cope. Anyone else have it happen? These scans are supposed to happen on the doorstep. In my cases, they were all large letter format, so no reason not to get popped through the letterbox after scanning. So, either posties are scanning items on the doorstep as delivered, then putting them back in the van to be delivered a few weeks later, or customer services are not telling the truth.

Gav • 21st May 2020 •

Really wished there was some proper competition to Royal Mail so they would up their game like couriers have over the last number of years. We had most of our mail sent out 20/04/2020 delayed over 2 weeks or not delivered at all, it was confirmed by our account manager that they had opened an over-spill center to deal with extra mail but were processing mail on a last in first out method meaning our mail was not processed for a long time. This cost us an estimated £5000+ in refunds or resend for customers not getting their orders at all or after 14 days (Orders send RM48). I understand currently there are shortages of staff but this was a mistake rather than staff related issues, we always seem to have to bear the cost of their failure. Even with tracked international orders they say they will not compensate unless lost or damaged but when an order is delivered 60 days late then how is the customer meant to wait, of course we have to refund or resend an order and Royal Mail just state the delivery times are estimates and not guaranteed so do not even a refund the postage cost. We have also had the issue with SFP and tracked items not being scanned so it affects our ratings. However I do appreciate how hard the posties have been working over the last couple months but I think they need to address their systems as if their is no real alternative then they have to expect and be able to handle larger mail volumes.

Fusion • 21st May 2020 •

Hmm we have a lot of "missing" RM deliveries that we're posted on 20-22 April and went AWOL....

NorthCrystal • 21st May 2020 •

Apparently a back log from Easter. That was actually our busiest week so cost us severely. When asking about compensation or something to help, you just get the hand

Fusion • 21st May 2020 •

We are now threatened with losing our prime badge as Amazon say we do not ship on time. We do they collect at 3pm and then they are not scanned till the early hours of the morning meaning the next day according to Amazon. So why do they sell you a deal saying they can fulfill a criteria when clearly they cant. If they had to refund every late or non delivered item they would soon sort it out. What use is a system that says delivered but gives no clue and no card left. We spend more time sorting royal mails mess than we do our own. it's becoming a joke.

Mark • 21st May 2020 •

We make the amazon driver scan each parcel as he puts them in the van

trumpton • 21st May 2020 •

Yes but royal mail say the driver cannot stand and scan 700 individual parcels

Mark • 21st May 2020 •

Royal Mail keep operating a LIFO model which is creating a disaster for mail sent 1-2 after the bank holiday. They're also signing and scanning special deliveries / tracked mail themselves and delivering these items late. The company only cares about its metrics. Since Coronavirus I've shifted 20% of my parcels away from Royal Mail. 50% of my tracked international away from Parcelforce (another Royal Mail dinosaur) and Royal Mail MP1 services. We've shifted a larger amount to FBA / SNL due to the RM monopoly. We ship 1000-2000 parcels / large letters a day and they've already lost a chunk of it due to their awful service during Coronavirus. Workload has gone up for everyone, but keeping customers happy should always be paramount. The customer service at Royal Mail is awful and their operating practices are outdated. The company has been destroyed by management and a short sighted unionized workforce.

James • 21st May 2020 •

Oh don't mention Parcelforce - we moved to them to try them just before Christmas - they were okay and all was going okay (not perfect) - but COVID they haven't coped with at all well. 2 weeks ago we moved back to DPD who have delivered every parcel bang on time without issue and are thriving on the challenge. Lesson learned. I would love to just send everything by DPD - but I cannot make it work for the smaller items even though we only do about 25-30 smaller items a week, so only a fraction of our sales.

Darren • 21st May 2020 •

Following on from James, since we saw delays at the start of lockdown I am so pleased we shifted ALL our RM small parcels to Amazon Shipping, and most from Parcelforce to Amazon Shipping. When it got to Easter weekend we sent out 160 large letters and ALL were delayed nearly 3 weeks but Royal Mail. Amazing Shipping delivered nearly all parcels in time, mostly next day for similar cost to RM 2nd Class and it is fully tracked. When an item gets lost they reimburse the full sales price without any issues. Can’t fault this. Now that we have switched I don’t think we will switch back. Even RM large letters if they get lost we now resend using Amazon Shipping large letters which is more expensive but not as much as a parcel and is fully tracked and insured. Royal Mail seem to be keen on their parcels service as the most profitable - however they are losing out as there are great alternatives providing a much better service. Only large letters are still most cost effective with RM for now, but as things are progressing we will probably move as soon as Amazon Shipping or another service can fill that gap. Before anyone says it, all our next day packages are delivered by Amazon Shipping and not Royal Mail, only the economy packages that we don’t use might go but Royal Mail with Royal Mail labels with an Amazon logo on it.

Nick • 21st May 2020 •

Of course we know why RM continue to operate a LIFO model - it is because of their targets. If they did FIFO then they could miss their targets every day. LIFO allows them to meet their targets win post received same day and once it is late, the targets don’t care how late they are so they get put aside and onto the next day’s post. Hence why some have been put aside for 2-3 weeks or more lately. If it is 1 day late or 3 weeks late does not impact their targets. But by allowing them to be 3 weeks late that allows them to meet their targets on many more packages received that day. If only they would do FIFO when dealing with the backlog - that would be a big improvement, even if still prioritising new items received that day.

Nick • 21st May 2020 •

I would switch from Parcelforce to DPD in a hearbeat if we could. DPD have now offered us cheaper rates than Parcelforce. However there are 2 reasons for us to stay with Parcelforce (for now anyway) and put up with some parcels being delivered late: 1) Parcelforce and DPD both charge a small fortune for parcels destined to the highlands and islands, which just don't work for our low value prodicts. HOWEVER we use SEND.PARCELFORCE.COM and import our Parcelforce packages that go to these areas and get quite decent rates that makes it viable, and we can still use our daily Parcelforce collection to pick them up too alongside those bought on our account. Switching to DPD would be cheaper for most but would leave us with only expensive options for highlands & islands or having to take them to a post office - not feasible at the best of times nevermind now. 2) Amazon Shipping are now taking up most of our parcels except for those that are 15-30KG which have to go by Parcelforce. Amazon Shipping used to do up to 23KG but limited it to 15KG due to COVID. Amazon Shipping are much cheaper than DPD and are used already for all our small parcels and most medium parcels. So as a result we can't provide the minimum commitment for DPD to collect from us. Other than these, DPD would be our preferred carrier - I have never had an issue with them as a recipient, and always considered them as the gold standard.

Nick • 21st May 2020 •

Would appreciate any of our fellow UK traders to share their experience and advise following the issues are are now facing regularly with Royal Mail Special Delivery Next Working Day Guaranteed by 1pm. We understand 1pm is not now guaranteed but now aimed to be delivered by end of day. The issue we have is parcels are being signed by somebody other than the customer and the customer is claiming not to have signed the parcel. Upon contacting the Royal Mail to attempt further information as this is a tracked item, they either shrug it off and say that the delivery postman does not recollect (okay hundreds of parcels fair enough), or, they say the following ' the parcel was signed for and delivered in the vicinity' 'Delivered in the vicinity'? What does that mean? So a high value order sent out delivered and either the customer is exploiting covid-19 measures or the Royal Mail cannot be bothered to delivery accurately. Despite the reduced workforce and high parcel volume this should not affect them delivering to the right address and securely - only that the parcel can take longer to process. We have lost thousands in lost sales because of this discrepancy. The problem is items not being scanned, signature obtained, no transparency in the information of a tracked service and reckless attitude of the Royal Mail. Regardless of covid-19 the service standards of communication should not change (although its always been poor anyway!). What would anybody else do in this situation?

Alan • 21st May 2020 •

@Alan Royal Mail don't care. Special delivery, Tracked etc.. We spend somewhere between £10k-£20k a week with Royal Mail and our account manager has fobbed us off with excuses. Like you we've lost thousands of pounds and face a growing headache of customers demanding refunds for late mail. When we let down our customers we do everything to compensate the customer. Royal Mail profit when they make a mistake as we have to send the parcel a second time. What do you do in this situation? Hit Royal Mail where it hurts. Look for alternatives - you owe it to your business ;)

James • 21st May 2020 •

@ Alan "delivered in the vicinity" means that Royal Mail are showing a delivery from that particular delivery office and the delivering postman has done a delivery scan of the parcel with his handheld scanner. you will see this in the tracking information - the track and trace normally gives an area or postcode of the delivering office (first half of postcode). This is what they mean by "delivered in the vicinity" For parcels that the recipient claims have not been received the Royal Mail can investigate further. The postman's handheld scanner records the GPS location of the scan. Its very difficult for the sender to obtain this information though because it is not readily available on any tracking but it IS recorded. However, The GPS is flawed as blocks of flats all share the same GPS location which in my opinion makes the system less than 100% accurate. ebay say that confirmation of delivery is when the item shows delivered from the delivery office for that area - so you would be protected. Amazon tend to want a signature and proof of address which the tracking doesn't give you. It may be you have your own web site or you are just trying to offer good customer service. There was always going to be a problem when Royal Mail announced that special deliveries were no longer being signed for due to social distancing. My view was that it was a waste of money paying for special delivery during the pandemic if next day was no longer guaranteed and signatures did not need to be obtained. Many customers will take advantage of that and some postmen too unfortunately. Postmen i have spoken with have been told to sign for the parcels themselves but with the words "COVID-19" rather than their own name. Off course they cant obtain the customers signature as that would breech social distancing rules. How you approach each case depends very much on the platform you have sold it on. For example - ebay will almost always protect the seller if the parcel is showing "delivered in the vicinity" providing you have uploaded the tracking number within the dispatch time (if you are in concierge they will often make an exception to the uploading time rule). ebay will look at the delivering office and confirm that it is within range and almost always protect the seller financially , from bad feedback and even from the INR service metric during the pandemic.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

@Alan Our 1pm deliveries get there on time (before said 1pm), however they are all signed "idx" (or IDX). I can see a problem arising here... Fortunately we were lucky so far and not a single customer claimed it was not delivered. We're closely monitoring RM performance and we will act on that info. If the service is so poor we will close down, or more likely limit things we sell in the way that we will be selling bigger/more expensive items that get out with DPD/DHL. When RM has cleared their backlog (could be as far as August/September IMO) we could consider their "wonderful" services again.

NorthCrystal • 22nd May 2020 •

When the pandemic started it was obvious that there was going to be a big uptake in online sales as the shops had started to shut and people were self isolating but the main problem I found with the number of late deliveries which were inevitable was the lack of statements from Royal Mail to the general public informing them of the staff shortages and the increase in parcels been sent. I say lack but the reality is there was none except a note on their website. I went from 20 emails a day to over a hundred all customers complaining item not received and being accused of not sending or sending late as they all said that if Royal Mail had had problems they would of told the public. It has cost me over £1000 a month in refunds and probably the same amount resending parcels ( win win for Royal Mail ). I get it that by saying nothing people would still continue to use them and all the online sellers would take the blame and pay for this. I wonder if this would of been the case if they were not such a monopoly? I doubt it. Come on Hermes, start doing large letters!

Andy • 21st May 2020 •

Hermes is offering "Postable (Under 1kg) " service that costs only £2.05 (exc VAT). It it expensive comparing to RM24 large letter with barcode that "sometimes" gets scanned. However, Hermes gives you up to 3cm height (not 2.5cm like RM). RM Tracked letters are much more expensive than Hermes postable, but it depends on the volume sent. No golden bullet here.

NorthCrystal • 22nd May 2020 •

Much prefer Hermes currently shipping about 400 parcels a month and about 300 of them go with Hermes and anything over 2KG usually goes with UPS. UPS are excellent, only the odd parcel has been delayed, but they have just taken on a load of agency staff to cope with demand. No problem with collections Hermes have lost the odd parcel but least with them it is tracked and you can see it is lost as opposed to RM tracked where it is down to luck if it is scanned or not along the way and down to honesty of the buyer if not scanned at point of delivery. So don't mind refunding when you know it is actually lost as opposed to buyer getting a freebie

Rob • 22nd May 2020 •

@Alan My account manager at RM does no this and has already written 4 letters for me to add to my "plan of action". Yes I have had to do 4 plans of action for Amazon in the last 6 weeks! They all say the same and have all been accepted, yet this week without warning we lost our Prime badge. I can't really blame RM at the moment because the pandemic is obviously causing many issues with logistics. The problem here is Amazon and its unachievable metrics. Every Prime item is sent on time so how are we meant to improve on that? Today's "plan of action" effectively says we will stop using Small & Light (Using Royal Mail) and just send our larger items by DPD.

Nick • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Nick. you have my sympathies. The problem is clearly out of your control. Amazon scares me sometimes with their metrics and the fact that it is difficult to "reason" with them sometimes. In comparison ebay are far more accessible (under normal conditions) and can always be reasoned with (I feel). The help and protection they have offered during the Pandemic when compared to Amazon makes it a far "friendlier" market place in my opinion. They don't deserve the hate they consistently get on here. My knowledge has always been superior on ebay compared to Amazon. I am not sure what to suggest but I wish you all the best and hope Amazon will see the reason for your "late dispatches" and reinstate your badge.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

Thats very good Alan . You have told us exactly how royal mail delivery works which is written in there welcome pack. Can you explain the 6th delivered the 9th delivered and the 14th REALLY delivered.

Mark • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Mark, i beg to differ. What RM says they are going to do (such as the welcome pack) and what happens is two very different things. Postman are scanning items as delivered in an attempt to keep THEIR metrics down (to answer your second point). It took me some time to share my information in the posts above. I can only assume that if you think i am duplicating the information from the RM welcome packs then you have either misunderstood or not read my posts properly. It takes time to piece the jigsaw together on what is really happening. I am sorry if you felt it unhelpful.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Mark, you have obviously missed the point. Whether it says this in the welcome pack or not you have to ask yourself WHAT this means and the consequences. Non priority mail means that it is not necessarily handled the day of collection. Did you read my previous posts? Why is this important? Because when it is scanned it will show the item has been sent out LATE or at least that is how ebay and Amazon will interpret it. Does it say THAT in the welcome pack? Also the vast majority of sellers and buyers assume that a Tracked 48 service means that it will be delivered in 48 hours. It does not mean this. It is a 2 to 3 day service contrary to the name. Whatever it says in the welcome pack is irrelevant - its what peoples perception of the service and how the platforms interpret it that it important. Sellers at top of page are struggling with their performance metrics for this very reason so I make no apologies for repeating some of the information that may or may not be in the welcome pack. Off course the pandemic is making things worse. if my posts don't help you no problem - they are trying to address issues on this thread and help other sellers. I found your post quite rude. Believe me the vast majority of people think tracked 48 is a 48 hour service and do not realise that their parcel is being scanned "1 day late" giving them a defect. That is my point and I can assure you that it does not say THAT in RM welcome pack.

Alan Paterson • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Alan Paterson Are you saying that every tracking number I upload to Ebay for tracked 48 is giving me a defect?

Carolyn B • 22nd May 2020 •

@ Carolyn, not completely - but partly. using ebay as an example. ebay are looking for an acceptance scan SAME DAY as dispatch. (or whatever you have set as your dispatch time on your listing). however, tracked 48 is non-priority service and therefore can be scanned next day by RM. This registers that you have sent the parcel out late if the tracking number is uploaded to ebay. This gives you a late "defect" HOWEVER, under normal circumstances the parcel arrives on time and this then cancels the defect (most of the time). In order for ebay to class the order as "successful" only ONE of three things needs to happen. either 1. tracking shows dispatched on time 2. tracking shows delivered on time 3. customer indicates item arrived on time by clicking box in feedback so normally the "late dispatch" is canceled out by number 2 or number 3. However during the pandemic it becomes a major reason for defects as parcels arrive late. Even at normal times its a pain in the neck. Not ebays fault (see my "lost in translation" post further up the page) but shows how flawed the defect system can be. A similar thing is happening on Amazon who are far less tolerant and less understanding than ebay.

Alan Paterson • 23rd May 2020 •

Hi @Alan Hope you're well today. I have checked few of ours RM48 Tracked and can see the item was advised (sent/prepared) by us, let's say, Monday 3:45pm, but first scan (usually at the depot) then happens Tuesday 7:30pm. So the parcel wasted time doing nothing for over 27 hours. RM then delivers the parcel in 2 working days so the total delivery time is, as you mentioned, 2-3 working days. It's very easy to spot why and when eBay will count a defect on seller's account. It's rather lame name for group of products that indicate one thing but deliver other thing. RM24 is 1-2 working days delivery aim. It's not guaranteed by RM yet a lot of folks get the perception that if something has "24" in its name then it will take 24 (or less) hours to deliver.

NorthCrystal • 23rd May 2020 •

@ Northcrystal. You have hit the nail on the head. Its really frustrating for sellers and for ebay. One of the main call drivers to ebay customer service (during normal times) was defect removal. I done my best to make ebay aware of this issue even before the late delivery defect system was introduced. Its not that they don't listen - Concierge listened and passed the problem "upstairs" - but nothing was ever done. It all came back to the fact that Royal Mail apparently originally informed ebay that all tracked mail was scanned on the day of collection which is obviously not the case with Tracked 48. Yes you would think Tracked 48 would be a 48 hour service and that Tracked 24 would be a next day service. - at least ebay are aware of this. The Tracked 48 is the biggest problem with the next day acceptance scan. If sellers dispatch on time they are MEANT to be automatically protected from the late delivery defect. Very frustrating. I had times when I would have lost my TRS badge if I hadn't phoned ebay up to have the defects removed. At least ebay are protecting sellers at the moment.

Alan Paterson • 23rd May 2020 •

@Alan Paterson Many thanks for sharing this information. Everything above makes sense now. We have been contemplating replacing RM Special Delivery for the very reason of the flaw in now obtaining a signature as this has left a huge loophole in fraudulent buyers and maybe postmen/postladies delivering. These are for our website orders where a signature has been recorded other than the buyer and they then deny receipt because of this. The Royal Mail’s only response is that it has been delivered in the vicinity and no further information so we cannot make a claim. In this situation how would you handle the buyer? Refund them? Send out a replacement? Or stick to your guns and deny either on grounds Royal Mail state the item as being delivered even though it has been signed by somebody else? £200+ sale

Alan Peterson • 25th May 2020 •