A change in Post Office rules for sending parcels has left some customers angry.
Under regulations introduced last year, everyone posting a parcel at the Post Office should be asked about the contents. But some people believe this information should be confidential.
Introduced in conjunction with the Civil Aviation Authority, the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency, the changes mean Royal Mail cannot accept any package without knowing if it contains prohibited items such as foreign lottery tickets, obscene images, explosives, flammable liquids and ammunition.
Counter staff are required to ask customers about the contents of their parcels. However if they believe that a parcel may contain a prohibited item they must forward it for opening to the Royal Mail returns centre in Belfast. Dangerous or prohibited items are destroyed and no compensation is paid to customers.
Some customers are unhappy about the changes. Steve Raphael from Blackburn was turned away from Whalley Banks post office after he refused to tell staff that his parcel contained a children’s toy, one of a number of items he had sold on eBay. He said: “It’s wrong, it’s a disgrace. It’s a principle as I fear next they will be asking my for my papers.”
After 13 years of using his local post office in Barnwood, Gloucestershire pensioner Gordon Meek switched to using another one after he was asked about a parcel that included cosmetics. He said: “I believe this information is confidential and they have no right to ask me what is in there.”
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “Questions are asked of all customers posting parcels. Customers have the right to complain and can do so through customer service channels.”
As reproduced from Big Issue in the North magazine of 9-15th June.