Small firms suffering from lost letters

Royal Mail misdirecting a massive 14.4 million items of post a year

Small businesses are suffering from a tide of misdirected mail, with nearly 60 per cent of addresses receiving letters not intended for them in the past six months, new research has found.

The study, conducted by MORI on behalf of regulator Postwatch, revealed that a massive 14.4 million letters are lost every year by the Royal Mail.

Worryingly, five per cent of people who received misdirected letters threw them in the bin, with many opening mail not intended for them or taking up to a week to forward post.

The survey’s results will make depressing reading for small firms, following the postal strikes of last October which saw Royal Mail services in the South East grind to a halt for two weeks.

Entrepreneurs who rely on the post for bills, invoices and contracts have been severely let down by Royal Mail over the past year, with Postwatch criticising the ailing company’s failure to meet business post targets.

Royal Mail has also come under fire recently after proposing that customers should pay for letters according to their size, rather than their weight.

Business groups have attacked the idea, claiming that postal prices would multiply for firms who send out large but light objects.

To help tackle the problem of misdirected mail, Postwatch has produced a campaign pack to encourage customers to complain to Royal Mail and keep a record of erroneous post.

Dave Ward, of the Communication Workers Union, which organised last year’s Royal Mail strike, said that the company was trying to get a postal service “on the cheap”.

“Postwatch’s ‘Stamp out Misdirected Mail’ campaign is a worthy but rather complicated method of illustrating the problem.

“We believe the solution is more straightforward. Royal Mail must end the excessive use of agency staff, improve sorting and delivery training, employ a proper number of full-time workers on a pensionable basis on a decent salary, as befits a public service,” he said.

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