Recorded Delivery

Do you ever use the Royal Mail’s Recorded Delivery service? And, if you do, do you ever take advantage of the the fact that your delivery has been recorded? I mean, do you go to their web site and check that the delivery has taken place? Or do you just assume that it has all worked unless the recipient complains?

I ask because I’ve just realised that I’ve used recorded delivery three times in the last year and it has never worked correctly for me. I don’t mean that the items haven’t been delivered. I just mean that the delivery hasn’t been recorded.

I occasionally sell spare gig tickets through SeatWave. And SeatWave recommend sending tickets using First Class Recorded Delivery. So that’s what I do. It costs an extra £1.55, but SeatWave add an extra £2 to your payment – so you make a little profit on the deal.

I posted a ticket on Saturday. It’s now Wednesday so I expected the ticket to have been delivered. But on checking the Track and Trace web site I was told:

Item AH941308524GB was posted at 92a Balham High SW12 9AF on 11/08/12 and is being progressed through our network for delivery

I turned to Twitter and asked @RoyalMail whether that was an acceptable delay. They said that it should be the next working day (i.e. Monday – two days ago) but that they wouldn’t accept claims for missing items until the items were fifteen working days late!

I have records from the two other tickets I’ve sent using this method. Here’s what the web site said about the first one (which was sent in September 2011):

Item AI018756736GB could not be delivered on 26/09/11 11:44 (and no Safeplace option was specified by the addressee). A”something for you card” will have been delivered, the item will be returned to BOURNEMOUTH pending instructions from the addressee. You can arrange a redelivery online, call the BOURNEMOUTH office to arrange a re-delivery, or collect the item from BOURNEMOUTH by bringing proof of identification and address.

This is for a gig that took place last October. So I’m pretty sure that I would have heard if the ticket hadn’t been delivered by now. @RoyalMail were able to confirm that they had a signature, but couldn’t explain why the Track and Trace web site didn’t know that.

Here’s another one. This was posted in March 2012 for a gig that took place in March:

Item AI645696097GB was posted at 65/69 The Green W12 8QF on 12/03/12 and is being progressed through our network for delivery.

Once again, I’m pretty sure I’d know if the ticket hadn’t got there in time, but the web site claims it still hasn’t been delivered over five months after I sent it.

Those are the only three times I’ve used this service in the last year. And on every occasion the service hasn’t worked as it is supposed to. Ok, perhaps there’s a chance that the most recent one is actually still being “progressed through” their network. But I’m not holding out much hope.

I’d be willing to accept the occasional failure. But this looks like the service never works. Which is why I’m asking for your experiences. Has anyone ever seen the Track and Trace web site saying that a package was delivered successfully? Again, I’m not complaining that items aren’t getting delivered (I’m pretty sure that they are) I’m saying that the deliveries aren’t being recorded – which for a service called “recorded delivery” is a major failing.

Surely the Royal Mail can’t be taking £1.55 a time from us for a service that they can’t provide? Perhaps they know that no-one ever bothers to check whether the service has worked. Or that if anyone does check they’ll just think, “oh, but the package was delivered anyway so I can’t be bothered to gather the evidence I’d need to claim back my £1.55”. That’s  certainly my reaction.

But I bet there are a lot of £1.55s. Perhaps we should start complaining a bit more.

The nice person at @RoyalMail gave me an email address to write to. So I’ve sent them a full description of my complain. I’ll let you know what they say.

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  1. Unless you need to prove for legal reasons that the item was received by the recipient on a certain date, then Recorded Signed For Delivery is, in my experience, a complete waste of time and money. Royal Mail states clearly that it’s not a fully tracked service (and contrary to Seatwave’s recommendation, Royal Mail’s website recommends you don’t use Recorded Delivery for items like tickets) and e-mail confirmation of delivery doesn’t seem to work reliably. Recorded Delivery is also an inconvenience for sender and recipient, as an item that would otherwise be delivered will be ‘left in a safe place’ or sent to a ‘local’ post office if no-one is there to sign for it and then it becomes a pain to chase up, especially when the postman neglects to leave a ‘Sorry You Were Out’ card. I’ve had far more issues with this than with items becoming lost in the system.

    I prefer to use first class + a certificate of posting when sending items; this service is free and should the item not arrive within 15 working days you can claim compensation for the cost of postage and the market value of the item (up to £46). I use Special Delivery if the item is worth more than this. I will only use Recorded Signed For if the recipient insists. I find the Post Office staff will try to pressure you into using Recorded/Special Delivery, so do expect a hard sell and a lot of questions if you ask for a certificate of posting.

  2. A little off topic but FYI Tickets wouldn’t be covered under Royal Mail’s compensation policy with Recorded Signed For, so I’m not sure why SeatWave recommend this?

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