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How to Complain about the Royal Mail

Complaints about the Royal Mail can be somewhat different to more general consumer complaints.  

For starters, the Royal Mail has statutory protection against some kinds of complaints. Moreover, it does not necessarily respond to grievances in the same way as other commercial enterprises.

With this in mind I have some guidance and top tips that will help you understand the process of complaining to the Royal Mail. This advice should ensure that you get a response and a resolution as quickly and painlessly as possible.

The best way to get in touch

The first thing you should do is check the Royal Mail website, which gives some helpful guidelines on their Terms and Conditions and how they process complaints. You will also find an online complaints form to help you get in touch with them.

Not surprisingly, Royal Mail encourages complaints to be made online. However, if you do prefer to make your complaint via the post, you can download (or even collect from a Post Office branch) a hard copy of the “Loss Damage or Delay” form.

You also have the option of complaining by telephone. The number is 03457 740 740 and operated Monday to Friday 8am-6:30pm, Saturday 8am-3pm and Sunday 9am-2pm. But unless you like listening to Vivaldi and being passed from pillar to post I would suggest that you don’t bother wasting your time!

What to include

When writing your complaint, I would strongly recommend having a read of the Royal Mail Customer Charter first. The wording is worth throwing back at them if they fail to meet their own set standards. It may seem like their T&Cs are just more of the classic corporate language we see everywhere. Such as Clause 23 – which obliges Royal Mail to take complaints seriously and fairly and quickly.  But remember, the Royal Mail was established by Royal Charter and so this is law not just a commercial obligation. If you can quote their own commitments back to them, this will actually carry a lot of weight.

It is also worth bearing in mind that the Royal Mail has onerous duties of confidentiality to its customers. This means that if you are complaining on behalf of your 90-year-old mum, you will need to produce evidence of authority and identity.

What to expect

If you follow their standard procedures they prefer you to complain, then escalate to a customer service manager. Failing that, the Postal Review Panel will get involved and thereafter the Postal Redress Service!  

You can imagine that all of this can be exhausting and very time-consuming.  Depending on how serious your complaint is, you may need to strike a balance between getting adequate redress for your issues and not letting things drag on.

The best approach

As with any complaint, it is important to be very clear and precise with your complaint and make sure it is as well documented as possible.  This will always serve you well further down the line.  

I always want to remind people that effective complaining is not about being aggressive. The best policy is to be calm and thorough. Especially considering the amount of abuse that Royal Mail staff receive while carrying out their vital work, it is even more important that you make your complaint as respectfully as possible. This is sure to get you a better result.

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