Thursday, 5 April 2012
Hooptedoodle #47 - Royal Mail: we are not worthy
It's a good while since I had a rant about Royal Mail, but I think it's time.
Recently I wound up a small business and, as must always be the case, the dross lying around at the end includes outstanding bills to be chased up. In the overwhelming majority of cases, I am happy to say, my former customers always paid up promptly, so this really is just a sad little blip to finish off with.
If they don't pay, and if the bill is big enough to bother with, my procedure is to send one last reminder by some form of registered mail, saying that if I am not in possession of cleared funds to settle the account in full by such-&-such a time and date a month hence I will submit an application to the Sherriff's Court to recover the debt. I use the registered mail service since the digital signature on the Royal Mail website's tracking service provides proof that this letter has been received.
On Tuesday, I sent one such Very Last Demand by what Royal Mail describes as Special Delivery. This costs the princely sum of £5.45 for a small letter, but guarantees delivery the next day and, of course, the recipient has to sign for it. Ideal.
On Wednesday evening, I checked the RM website, to learn that they had failed to deliver my letter. They had attempted delivery at 08:44, but - since this is a business which opens at 09:30 - there was no-one there to sign for it. So they left a postcard which says that the item can be collected from the local sorting office, but please don't try until the following day, so that the roundsman can get it back there.
Today (Thursday) the tracking information on the website has changed. It says that they failed to deliver it again at 06:22 today, and left another postcard. It isn't looking very promising, is it? Is it just me, or is it possible this service is not very good value? I keep trying to be an enthusiastic customer of Royal Mail, and I have to say that they have delivered an awful lot of stuff safely for me over the years, but occasionally they let me down badly and I forget how much I love them. Usually this is when they are required to think what they are doing.
I always try to make this blog useful if it is possible to do so. Since our perception of RM's service is obviously so dependant on the key issue of whether we are at home or not when the postie arrives, here's a useful little notice to help him. Right-click on the picture, select Link from the drop-down, right-click on the big version and save it, and then you can print it out and laminate it and attach it to your door when it matters. Naturally this is only of immediate use to UK residents, but if you are outside the UK you could still give it a try. Please don't bother to thank me, I think we all have an obligation to that nice Mr Cameron's Big Society.