I have never known an organisation like Royal Mail for treating their customers quite so badly.
My three Associations have an annual postage budget of around £12,000 - £15,000. OK, we're not in the big league, but it's a significant sum coming from a two-roomed office above a hairdresser in a small Kent town.
On one occasion last year we were sending out 10,000 items and required 40 mail sacks (the maximum weight in an sack being 11kg). Apparently anything over this weight requires a risk assessment and two men to share the burden of lifting. Despite ordering these sacks from Royal Mail (twice) the failed to deliver them. Come the day, I had to beg borrow and steal mail sacks from my three local Post Offices, who between them managed to supply 30 sacks, as a consequence, we had to put an additional 3kg of mail in each (14kg per sack). Let's be honest, 14kg is not excessive; it probably equates to two bags of shopping, which thousands of old grannies carry every week. When the driver came, he loaded the van without complaint. Then blow me down, two weeks later I received an aggressive letter from the local Royal Mail Customer Liaison Manager informing me that I had "overloaded the sacks thus endangering the health of employees". It went on to say that "a copy of this letter would be retained on our file, and any future transgressions might result in Royal Mail withdrawing their services or taking other actions available through law to safeguard the well being of our workforce." Given the reason I had to put an additional 3kg of envelopes into each sack was because Royal Mail twice failed to deliver my supplies, seemed totally lost of this pompous jobsworth.
Now I don't know about you, but if I ran an organisation which has lost money for decades, and I had a customer who spent £15,000 a year, I wouldn't write letters threatening them, or making demands which my own incompetence made it impossible to fulfil.
On another occasion we had 5,000 envelopes to post, but despite the local Royal Mail van stopping 10 meters from our office five times a day to empty the post box, they were unable to collect my mail as I hadn't given them 72 hours notice. The only way they would accept them was if we took them to the sorting office (6 miles away) and even then acceptance was at the discretion of the duty manager! So despite a half empty van stopping a few feet from our front door, I had to load-up my own car and drive through peak hour traffic in order to spend £2,000 on their product. What an appalling service.
This week we have 8,000 letters going out and yet again Royal Mail failed to deliver the 40 sacks I requested two weeks ago, resulting in my having to tour local post offices taking what they had. The team of volunteers packing the envelopes completed the task faster than I anticipated, so rather than block our hallway with sacks, they are being stored in a member's garage. Given this member lives two miles closer to the sorting office than my office, I thought it would be a good idea to ask Royal Mail to collect from there rather than my office. Simple, you would think ? Oh, no. Apparently they would have to cancel the collection from my office, and they couldn't do this over the phone. I would have to email and request a cancellation. They would send a conformation (within 48 hours) when I would then have to rebook a new collection from the new address, but it was all pointless, as it was Thursday and they required 72 hours notice (excluding weekends) to arrange a collection, so it could not be done by Monday regardless.
Would Royal Mail act like this if they were in the private sector?