Document-Genetics-GlobeComplaints to Royal Mail over 'lost' letters rise by more than a third

20th July 2011

Complaints about the Royal Mail losing post have risen by more than a third among claims that more than 120,000 items went missing in just three months.

The national postal service received 120,884 complaints from angry customers in the first three months of the year up 37 per cent on the same period in 2010.

The figure represents the highest level of dissatisfaction among customers in the last three years.

Royal Mail blamed the increase in missing mail on disruption to Britain's roads, railways and airports at the beginning of the year, caused by snow and icy weather conditions.

The company was forced to pay out £5.1 million in compensation to customers for lost items in the last year the equivalent of almost £100,000 every week.

A Royal Mail spokesman said: The complaints figures in the report for lost mail in quarter four of Financial Year 2010/11 reflect last winter's severe weather, which was the worst in living memory.

From 22 November to 9 January, there were only three days when services were not affected by rail, air or road transport difficulties.

This resulted in significant delays to mail services in some areas, and many customers logged complaints for lost mail which were subsequently delivered. We do, of course, apologise to customers for these delays.

In total last year, the Royal Mail received 332,000 complaints for losing letters and parcels more than 1,000 every working day. In the previous year the comparable number of complaints was just 306,000.

The Royal Mail revealed that the National Return Letter Centre costs more than £4 million per year to run although some money is recouped by auctioning off items where the owner cannot be located.

A spokesman for the watchdog Consumer Focus said: "Missing mail is a real cause for concern for consumers.

"If the figures are right, then Royal Mail needs to take a serious look at the service it's providing and take steps for improvement."

The complaint figures for lost post come against a backdrop of a sharp fall in the number of items delivered daily by the Royal Mail down almost 25 per cent in the last five years.

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