Royal Mail service terms and conditions changes

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Royal Mail Service terms and conditions changes come into effect on the 1st of July 2020. Not all of these changes will apply to every customer, but there will be some that are vital for you to be aware of. Especially important is a new annual minimum spend for existing customers in order to qualify for free parcel collections and a new zonal pricing structure which will definitely see increased costs immediately, especially for parcels shipped to the USA.

Adapting and evolving Royal Mail services to allow a quick response to exceptional circumstances

So Royal Mail can address exceptional circumstances outside of their control, such as COVID-19 (Coronavirus), Royal Mail service terms and conditions are being updated to allow them to quickly respond to any evolving situation. They will provide details of any changes on the Royal Mail website and you can keep updated at

Changing and improving how Royal Mail communicate surcharge changes

From July 2020, Royal Mail are changing how they communicate changes in their surcharges. Any changes to surcharges will be communicated on a dedicated web page at, following new notice provisions for surcharges, which will be detailed in their general terms and conditions.

Matters beyond reasonable control

From the beginning of July, the Royal Mail service terms and conditions will be updated to help clarify the type of matters which are beyond their reasonable control, and the means by which they can promptly notify you of such matters.

Free business collections for Parcels for existing customers

Royal Mail are making changes to the total spend required to qualify for a free Business Collection. From the 1st of July 2020, for customers who signed up for a Business Collection before the 25th of March 2019, the total spend to qualify for a free Business Collection is changing to £16,500.

This matches the same qualifying spend criteria required of customers who applied for a Business Collection after the 25th of March 2019.

Royal Mail are making it clearer which products contribute towards qualifying spend for a free Business Collection and say that they are automating processes to make it easier and clearer to understand which products contribute towards the qualification spend for a free Business Collection. These will be products purchased via a Franking machine or Royal Mail Account.

For a full list of products which contribute towards qualifying spend via Franking machine or Account, go to

Customer Collection and Floor Fees terms and conditions

Royal Mail are amending a few clauses dealing with what happens when services need to be suspended, or are otherwise affected by reasons outside of their control, how notices would be communicated in the future, and clarificatory amendments regarding the annual renewal of the agreement.

International Services

Royal Mail say that the world is currently going through some significant changes for customers who ship goods internationally. Many countries are strengthening their borders and introducing new requirements on international trade. This is changing how Royal Mail operates its international services. They say that they will continue to work with you to help you navigate these changes.

International Services ‘On Account’ and Franking

The terms and conditions for International services purchased ‘On Account’ or through a Franking machine sit within the Overseas Letters Post Scheme. Royal Mail have consulted and made changes to the Scheme that come into effect on the 1st of July 2020. Details of the changes are:

  1. That alternative means of showing receipt may be used in lieu of signature overseas (e.g. scanning an identity card) for International Tracked & Signed and International Signed products
  2. Clarification that Royal Mail have a range of options to treat items resembling prohibited goods going into their network, such as returning the items to sender or destroying the items
  3. That scam mail and foreign lottery materials are prohibited from being sent via Royal Mail
  4. Removing references to pricing zones to give Royal Mail the flexibility to price at a destination or country level to allow them to better reflect the costs that they incur
  5. That Royal mail require certain customs data and electronic customs data processes to be followed when dispatching items overseas, details of which may be found on their website

The new version of the Scheme will be called The Overseas Letters Post Scheme July 2020 and will be available to view on

International Business Contract Zonal Products

On the 1st of July 2020 a new zonal pricing structure will apply to International Business Contract Zonal products.

All items sent using zonal sortation will be required to select the appropriate zone and pricing dependent on format. The change is required to enable Royal Mail to more clearly reflect the costs incurred sending to different Rest of World locations with full details at

There will be immediate changes with increased costs when shipping to the USA and you will want to read our article Royal Mail International Business Contract USA price increases to find out how this affects your business.

Provision of Electronic Customs Data

It has been mandatory to provide electronic customs data for each item (containing anything other than general correspondence) since the 1st of January 2019. This is a Universal Postal Union (UPU) requirement and one that is increasingly being enforced with tighter controls being applied by countries from the 1st of January 2021.

In order to assist you, Royal Mail will be making some changes to pre-advice specification and shipping platforms to facilitate the provision of the correct data. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are compliant and provide the correct electronic customs data. Failure to comply is likely to result in delays or having items returned.

2 Responses

  1. I recently got a package from USA but had to pay £16.92. I was told that this was a custom charge of £8.92 and an £8 postal charge.
    I contacted the company as I was told that they hadn’t paid enough postage. They say they don’t pay customs charges as they are applied here.
    What is the truth here? Why was there a further £8 charge?


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