Royal Mail fined £1.5m over failure to deliver first-class post on time

Royal Mail has been hit with a £1.5 million fine by the communications regulator for failing to deliver first-class mail on time.

Ofcom said that Royal Mail missed its target to deliver at least 93% of first-class post across the UK within one working day of it being collected.

In the financial year ending in 2019, only 91.5% of first-class post reached its destination on time, Ofcom said.

The company met its obligations the following financial year, Ofcom said.

The watchdog said it handed the hefty fine as the group did not provide a “satisfactory explanation and it did not take sufficient steps to get back on track during the year”.

Royal Mail said it is “disappointed” with its first-class postal service for the 2018-19 year and “accepts and understands” the decision by Ofcom.

In a statement, it added: “We worked hard to restore our service quality in 2019-20 and, were it not for the pandemic and its impact on our business in the latter half of March, we were on course to deliver the requisite first-class regulated quality of service target of 93%.

“Despite our best endeavours, some areas of the UK experienced a reduction in service levels during March.”

The regulator also fined Royal Mail £100,000 for overcharging customers for second-class stamps for seven days in March last year.

Royal Mail increased its price for second-class stamps to 61p on March 25 2019, overcharging customers for seven days until the cap increased from 60p on April 1.

The company said it predicts that the move saw customers overcharged by around £60,000, which it is unable to refund.

“We accept and note Ofcom’s decision around the 2019 second-class price cap. We made a mistake,” Royal Mail said.

“At the time, we sought to put this error right by publicly acknowledging our mistake.”

Gaucho Rasmussen, Ofcom’s director of investigations and enforcement, said: “Many people depend on postal services, and our rules are there to ensure they get a good service, at an affordable price.

“Royal Mail let its customers down, and these fines should serve as a reminder that we’ll take action when companies fall short.”

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