04/05/2004

14.4 million letters lost every year by Royal Mail

Consumer group, Postwatch, have announced that thousands of letters are delivered to the wrong address every month, but few people complain to Royal Mail.

The watchdog estimates that around 14.4 million letters are ‘lost’ every year, although around 60% of these are just simply posted through the wrong letterbox. The consumer group is now urging people to inform the Royal Mail of any mistakes, saying that it causes terrible problems for people and businesses.

Postwatch said that only 2000 people had complained to Royal Mail about wrongly delivered post in the past year, although a survey found of 2,100 people found that more than half had received mail not intended for them in the past six months. The survey found that around half of those interviewed delivered the mail themselves to the correct address, but also discovered that around one in 20 threw the mail away. The survey also found that those who posted the letter again or delivered it themselves took up to a week to do so. A handful of people also admitted that they had opened post, which was not theirs.

The consumer group is publishing a pack urging customers to let Royal Mail know about mistakes.

Postwatch chairman, Peter Carr said: “It may not seem important if you get someone else’s mail, but thousands of letters every month are accidentally put through the wrong letter box and are never passed on to the correct address. That letter sitting in your home could mean a great deal to the person it is addressed to.”

Mr Carr, also said that the group had evidence of residents in Newtownabbey in Northern Ireland missing hospital appointments or failing to receive benefits on time because of wrong deliveries.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: “We have been working hard to improve our services and have substantially cut the amount of mail that is mis-delivered, lost of delayed.”

Royal Mail claim that the latest figures show that the amount of mail lost and delayed had halved in 2002/3 from the previous year.

Royal Mail has also faced attacks over pricing policy, single deliveries and the conduct of some staff in the past fortnight.

(KmcA)

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