Third class post? Which? investigates Royal Mail's serviceWhich? investigates Royal Mail

18 July 2011

A person putting mail through a postbox

A Which? investigation has revealed that Royal Mail is delivering a patchy service to its customers.

We surveyed 2,500 adults about their experiences of the postal service. 72% of respondents had had letters delivered to the wrong address; more than half had found first and second class post not arriving when it was meant to or had received a 'while you were out' card when they were actually at home.

While you were out...except you weren't

We also asked members of our online Which? Connect consumer panel to keep diaries for two weeks to track their post and record their dealings with Royal Mail. Our 3,923 diarists completed no fewer than 34,500 diaries over the fortnight. 

16% of those diarists who got a 'while you were out' card reported getting one when they were actually at home. 

An eagle-eyed 6% of those who got one of the cards reported seeing the card arrive without a knock at the door.

Late in the day

Only a quarter of our diarists' post arrived before 10am, one in ten arrived after 1pm..

Seven in ten of our survey respondents said they had received post at a time they considered to be late in the day. Four in ten of these people said they were affected by this.

Royal Mail doesn't promise to deliver first or second class post by any particular time, and their latest performance figures show a 92% on-time delivery rate for first class stamped and metered mail, rising to 98.3% for second class stamped and metered mail.

letter door

Touching a national nerve

In response to our Help Wanted appeals in Which? magazine, we received well over 500 pieces of correspondence about experiences with Royal Mail. 

Most of these were negative, but many - even those that who had written to complain - praised their postman or postwoman.

And despite the problems survey respondents had encountered - half of them having got post late in the day four times or more in the past year, for example - two thirds said they were satisfied with Royal Mail's service. 

Have your say at the Which? Conversation

Do you think Royal Mail's service has improved, or not? Tell us what you think of Royal Mail's service at the Which? Conversation.