Citizens Advice questions Royal Mail redirection service

Consumer support body Citizens Advice has called on Royal Mail to change the cost of mail redirections from a “per surname” to a “per household” basis.

Currently the Royal Mail redirection service is an important offer to consumers, though according to Citizens Advice its pricing structure is unfair, outdated, and too costly.

Though the system used to work when most couples living together were married, in the modern day work couples live as if married but have different surnames – and often relatives who also have different surnames.

Royal Mail has responded by saying there was a “need for a different pricing structure” and added that it was finalising new fees.

Royal Mail said: “We wrote to Citizens Advice last week, before the report was issued, to confirm that we will change the pricing structure of our popular redirections service away from a per surname basis or anything similar. We are currently working on the details of this new pricing structure and will share once finalised.”

According to Citizens Advice, 55% people who have moved house within the last two years live with at least one person who has a different surname. The organisation has looks across Europe and found only the Netherlands has the same system.

Royal Mail’s redirection service is also far too expensive, with Citizens Advice pointing out that a three month redirection had increased by 74% since 2012, while second class stamps had only increased by 12%.

Royal Mail, however, insisted that its redirection packages offered “excellent value for money”, noting that a six-month direction works out at 30p a day.

Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: “Many people rely on Royal Mail’s redirection service yet it’s designed for households of the past. Consumers are facing a double whammy. Royal Mail has drastically increased the price of redirection over the years, but hasn’t changed its outdated price structure that assumes families always share the same surname.

“As the dedicated universal service provider, it has a duty to make sure this service is fair and affordable.”