Royal Mail fined £1.6m for delivering letters late and overcharging on stamps

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Royal Mail has been fined £1.6m for delivering letters late and charging too much for stamps. The communications watchdog said the privatised postal service missed its target of delivering 93 per cent of first-class post within one working day.

In the 2018-19 financial year, only 91.5 per cent arrived within a day, Ofcom said on Friday.

The group did not provide a “satisfactory explanation and it did not take sufficient steps to get back on track during the year”, Ofcom added.

The company met its obligations the following year.

Ofcom fined Royal Mail £1.5m for the late deliveries and a further £100,000 for overcharging people for stamps.

The regulator capped the price of second-class stamps at 60p between 1 April 2018 and 31 March the following year but Royal Mail increased prices by a penny one week early.

Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s director of investigations and enforcement, said: “Many people depend on postal services and our rules are there to ensure they get a good service, at an affordable price.

“Royal Mail let its customers down and these fines should serve as a reminder that we’ll take action when companies fall short.”

Royal Mail said it was “disappointed” with its first-class postal service for the 2018-19 year and “accepts and understands” the decision by Ofcom.

In a statement, it added: “We worked hard to restore our service quality in 2019-20 and, were it not for the pandemic and its impact on our business in the latter half of March, we were on course to deliver the requisite first-class regulated quality of service target of 93 per cent.

“Despite our best endeavours, some areas of the UK experienced a reduction in service levels during March.”

Royal Mail announced 2,000 job cuts last month, after admitting that it had failed to adapt to a trend of people sending fewer letters and more parcels.

The coronavirus pandemic had added to its “challenges”, the company said.


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