Royal Mail fails to deliver for the second Christmas running
Almost 15 million people (28%) were left waiting for post over the Christmas period, Citizens Advice reveals. Of those, over half (54%) reported going at least a week without letters.
As a result a staggering 2.5 million people missed important documents, health appointments, or were unable to pay a fine or bills, sometimes resulting in further penalties.
Of those who experienced delays:
3% of people said they couldn’t pay a bill, 8% said they missed an important document, and 4% said they were left out of pocket
7% said they missed a health appointment. This rose to 16% of those on an NHS waiting list
People across London (35%), the South East (32%) and the North West (31%) were most likely to experience a letter delay.
Additional analysis conducted by the charity found the situation failed to sufficiently improve in January with 23% of those asked reporting post disruption. Again, more than half of those (54%) reported receiving no post for over a week.
Citizens Advice’s monitoring showed disruption peaked in mid-January. On 12 and 13 January, Royal Mail warned that 77 areas across the UK were hit by disruption, affecting up to 2.4 million people in England and Wales each day.
Some of the worst affected areas, including Chelmsford, Willesden and Upminster, faced eight weeks of severe disruption.
While the situation has finally appeared to improve, this is the second year running that the charity has flagged severe Christmas disruption, with 16.5 million people affected last year.
Citizens Advice - the consumer advocate for the postal sector- is calling on Ofcom to investigate Royal Mail’s performance and consider enforcement action and fines. The regulator and Royal Mail must learn lessons from the disruption of the past two years to prevent this from happening again.
Dame Clare Moriarty, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice, said:
“A staggering 2.5 million of us missed important documents, health appointments, or were unable to pay a fine or bills due to post delays over Christmas.
“We understand the strain the pandemic has placed on Royal Mail. But after two years of disruption, Royal Mail cannot let poor service become the new normal. These delays can have serious consequences for those left waiting for their letters.
“Ofcom must now investigate Royal Mail’s performance and consider enforcement action and fines to ensure lessons are learnt.”
Notes to editors
- Yonder Data Solutions carried out an online survey of 4,165 UK adults between 14-18 January 2022 to ask them their experience of letter delays between mid-December 2021 and mid-January 2022.
15 million people estimated worked out using Citizens Advice polling finding 28% of people experienced letter delays between mid-December and mid-January and ONS Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
2.5 million people estimated worked out using Citizens Advice polling finding 5% of people missed important documents, missed a health appointment, couldn't pay a bill or lost money between mid-December and mid-January and ONS Estimates of the population for the UK, England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
Yonder Data Solutions carried out an online survey of 2,110 UK adults between 4-6 February 2022 to ask them their experience of letter delays in January 2022.
- Royal Mail is the Designated Universal Service Provider in the UK. Royal Mail is required to provide a universal postal service, including delivery and collection of letters, six days per week, Monday to Saturday.
- Ofcom the regulator monitors Royal Mail against annual delivery targets, from April to March. Any investigation would take place at the end of the financial year which makes up the reporting period.
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