Postal chargesPost charges to change

22 August 2005

A major shake up in postal charges means that from next year you'll pay according to the size of a letter or packet as well as its weight.

Regulator Postcomm says it's given the go-ahead for 'the greatest change in postal pricing since the introduction of the Penny Black'.

Under Pricing in Proportion, which comes into effect from September next year, Royal Mail will charge more to send light but bulky mail such as rolls of photo film or video tapes. It will more than double the cost of sending a slightly bulky 100g package first class - from 46p to 94p - and add 12p to the cost of sending a large greetings card.

But some heavier items - such as catalogues and books - will cost less. Postcomm says the prices of around 70% of items won't change.

Royal Mail pushed for the shake-up because it said light-weight mail which is large or bulky costs more to transport, sort, handle and deliver than regular-sized items. It says it won't make extra money under the changes as the price rises and falls will cancel each other out. The changes will apply to most of its inland services, including first and second class post.

Consumer watchdog Postwatch has welcomed the fact that customers have been given a year's notice of the changes.

However, Postwatch chairman Peter Carr adds:"It is a mistake to think that 70 per cent of mail will not be affected because the price is the same as before. The way customers decide on postage will change for 100 per cent of the mail they post. They will have to assess thickness, weight and size every time."