Citizens Advice lashes out at Royal Mail over stamp price increases

UK consumer champions Citizens Advice have lashed out at Royal Mail and its regulator Ofcom over stamp price increases that come after a year of particularly poor service from the postal operator.

In the last five years, Citizens Advice pointed out, First Class stamp prices have gone up by 50%. These are not capped unlike Second Class stamps which have gone up 20% in the same period.

Pointing out that Royal Mail has a monopoly over consumer mail, the article also points out that almost half of people sending mail use First Class stamps all the time while just 33% use Second Class stamps all the time.

At the same time, Citizens Advice pointed out the very poor service that many people had experienced over Christmas, with 15 million people experiencing significant delays to their mail. Of these, 54% waited more than a week for their letters. In 2020 some 16.5 million experienced delays, and Citizens Advice saw a 365% increase in the number of people going to its website to see what to do about lost post.

The article stated, “It’s disappointing to see such a steep price hike from Royal Mail against a backdrop of late bills, hospital appointment invites and Christmas cards over the last 2 years. Add into the mix Royal Mail’s healthy growth in profits and a £400 million payout to its shareholders only 5 months ago, this price rise starts to look quite jarring.”

In addition, Citizens Advice say that postal regulators Ofcom have not been hard enough on the postal operator. “Ofcom is the regulator for the postal market with the power to change things. But at the moment, it seems to be hitting the snooze button when it comes to holding Royal Mail accountable for delivering reliable postal services at a truly affordable price. Now is the time for the regulator to take action.”

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