Kevin Nelson rang from South-east London to have a go at Royal Mail. He hadn’t had any post for a week, nor had his neighbours. Then it all came at once. He went to the sorting office to complain but gathered that the manager had been suspended. He rang Royal Mail head office and they apologised and blamed staff shortages. Apparently some posties were doing double shifts: the overtime is good as well it should be, postmen and women walk miles every day. And it must be difficult to attract newcomers.
The Universal Service Obligation is set out in the Postal Services Act 2011 and ensures a six-day a week, one price goes anywhere, service for the delivery and collection of letters (and five days a week for parcels) throughout the United Kingdom.
Ofcom, as the UK’s designated independent regulator of postal services, monitors the delivery of the universal postal service standards.
But these have been unusual times and I’m sure everyone in the country has experienced erratic postal services except possibly the young to whom the concept of putting pen to paper, acquiring a postage stamp and dropping the envelope in a post box is totally foreign. And they wouldn’t miss not receiving bills.
During Covid the six-days a week promise was dropped to three times. Knowing this Kevin also complained to his MP who said he is looking into it.
I think postal services is one of those slowly disappearing bits of ‘normal’ life that regularly come under threat like the use of cash (hotly disputed in some quarters) and the need for newspapers.
Which brings me neatly to Haresh (Harry) Karia who runs Best-One Harvil Rd PO in Harefield, Uxbridge and who regularly has a rant about Smiths News.
He sent me copies of missing newspapers and missing credits that were more or less on a daily basis for a week, He had sent copies of his return sheets.
He had also sent photos of the recall notes which he accuses Smiths’ “hopeless” staff of being “so stupid and blind” that they turn around and say recall note absent. Then they pass credit for the wrong day and then recharge him for one of the titles. “Do you not read emails and are unable to follow simple instructions?” he asks. Then he shouts: “Stop fooling around and do your job!”
As to his credits being rejected as ‘recall note missing’ he asks: “What does this mean? Does the driver tear up all the recall notes and use as toilet paper?”
It isn’t helpful when a struggling industry like retail newsagents have to watch every penny when it comes to their suppliers.