Massive postal shake-upLetters charged by size, thickness and weight

01 August 2006

 

Posting a letter

A massive shake-up in postal pricing later this month means the cost of posting a letter will soon depend on size and thickness as well as weight, this month's Which? explains.

As part of Royal Mail’s £10 million information drive, every UK household will get a paper template in the next two weeks so you can size up letters before posting. If you underpay, the recipient will be charged a £1 admin fee plus the shortfall.

Under the changes - which come into force on 21 August - mail will be charged based on three size formats – letter, large letter or packet. Sending a standard-sized letter weighing up to 100g will still cost 32p but an A4 envelope weighing up to 100g and up to the thickness of a cigarette packet will be classed as a large letter, and will cost 44p.

Royal Mail says that compact, heavy items such as books will be cheaper to send, while light but bulky items, such as a poster tube, will cost more.

Resized cards

The Greeting Card Association criticised the changes. It fears consumers will have to pay more to send novelty cards, but its members have devised ways to lessen the impact: ‘A lot of our members have resized cards and have made new badges so cards will still be classed as a letter.’

Film processor Bonusprint was also critical. Managing Director Anthony Ward said: ‘The changes are costing us hundreds of thousands of pounds but we're not looking at passing increases on to consumers.’

Bonusprint customers don't pay to send films in the company’s Freepost envelopes, so Bonusprint will pick up  the extra postage costs.