The ERGP consultation on the report 'Developments in the postal sector and implications for regulation'
The postal market has changed considerably since the introduction of the Postal Services Directive, and we support the aims of the European Commission’s review: a modern universal postal service must meet the needs of consumers today. In the past few decades, there has been a structural decline in letter volumes while the parcels sector - driven by the rise in e-commerce - is rapidly expanding.
The pace of change and innovation in the postal market, while delivering benefits to postal consumers, has also contributed to the consumer problems we see in the sector today. Our research shows that British consumers experience significant detriment in the parcels sector: 69% have had a problem with delivery in the last year, 170 million orders arrived later than expected, and complaints and redress systems for when things go wrong are complex and difficult to navigate.
Despite structural decline in volumes, letters remain an essential channel of communication for many. It is particularly important for vulnerable postal users such as rural, low income or disabled consumers. There are many consumers who are unable or unwilling to communicate online and, therefore, we can’t disregard such an important channel of communication.
We urge the ERGP to keep consumers’ interests and rights at the heart of its review of the Postal Services Directive and in any future regulatory framework for a sustainable universal postal service. We welcome the review of postal user needs currently being undertaken by the European Commission. We would expect a full assessment of consumers’ needs and any impact on their rights to be carried out before any changes to the USO are considered.