Royal Mail Fuel Surcharge to double this year

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From Monday the 4th of July 2022, the Royal Mail fuel surcharge will be increasing from 6% to 8% for all UK domestic contract services.

Attributing the rise to the increased level of fuel costs, this represents a doubling of the Royal Mail fuel surcharge so far this year. In March it was sitting at 4% but rose on the 14th of March to 6% and now in July it will be hiked to 8%.

The Royal Mail Fuel surcharge is applicable to the following services when purchased by account customers.

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

The only good news is that there is no fuel surcharge for non-contract customers so if you buy your postage online or at the Post Office (which should reopen on Monday having been on strike over this week’s Jubilee celebrations) then you won’t see an increase in your postage costs.

Fuel surcharges are effectively a way for carriers to sting customers with a price hike outside their normal contract renewals. In some ways it’s reasonable as the cost of fuel has skyrocketed, but one has to ask if it’s fair for Royal Mail to increase costs for businesses when there is no increase in costs for non-business customers? The increase in fuel prices must equally impact a parcel paid for with online postage as it does for a parcel paid for through contract prices.

The normal argument is that such surcharge enable contract pricing to remain stable with the intention that fuel surcharges can be reduced as quickly as they are increased. Prior to 2013 Royal Mail didn’t have fuel surcharges but the original 2.5% rose to 3%, then 4% in 2019, then 6% in 2022 and now it’s going to 8%… Seeing as it’s never dropped below the original 2.5% it would seem reasonable to suggest a more honest approach would be to simply raise the base contract pricing to a more realistic level and lower the fuel surcharge by the same amount.

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