When you have a fee to pay
Additional postage and customs fees
I’ve received a card asking me for payment, what does it mean?
We're holding an item of mail for you that we haven't delivered yet as there is a fee that needs to be paid first. You've been sent an item of mail and either not enough postage was paid when it was sent, or it's come from a country outside the UK and there's a Customs charge to pay. Don't worry - you'll still get your mail as we're holding it for you. All you need to do is pay the fee stated on the card.
Where can I pay?
Please note, we will never call you and ask for payment over the phone.
• You can pay online right now
• In person at our enquiry office - the address will be on the card. Don't forget to take the card and proof of identity for the person named on the card.
• Post it to us. Follow the instructions on the card and post it back to us, then we'll deliver your item.
When do I get my item?
- Paying online - you can choose the day we deliver to ensure someone is home.
- Paying in person - once you’ve paid at our enquiry office, we'll give you your item there and then.
- Paying by post - we'll deliver your item to you, if there's no one home and it’s too big for your letterbox or needs a signature, we will leave a 'Something for you' card.
What is the reference number?
There may be a reference number provided at the bottom of the card. This number will help us to identify your item for redelivery. Don't worry if there isn't a reference number you can still pay your fee.
What if the date on my card is more than 18 days ago?
We will hold your item for 18 calendar days. We will then return it to the sender. If your item has a Customs charge to pay, we will hold it for 21 calendar days before returning to the sender.
What are the fees for?
Royal Mail charges a handling fee to cover the cost of processing and handling an item of mail where insufficient postage has been paid or for which Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs has determined that customs charges are due.
Royal Mail also incurs additional cost in calculating the surcharge and arranging for the items to be returned to the sender (if we have their details) particularly if the recipient does not want to accept the item.
What if I don’t pay the fee?
We will return the item to the sender after 18 calendar days or 21 calendar days for any items with a Customs charge.
What proof of Identification do I need?
To keep your mail as secure as possible, we require proof of identification
Please ensure you take with you:
The 'Fee to Pay' card
AND One of the following, in the name of the person the item is addressed to
Credit or debit card.
Bank or building society cheque/savings book.
NHS Medical Card.
Photo Identity Card (Foreign National, Military, Police Warrant, Royal Mail Employee, NHS or senior citizen bus pass).
If the above is not available in the name of the person to which the item is addressed, you will need to bring three things:
The 'Fee to pay' card
AND Photo ID of yourself (passport, driving licence, foreign national ID, military ID card, police warrant card, Royal Mail employee card, NHS medical card or senior citizen bus pass)
AND proof you live at the specific address to which the ''Fee to pay' card was delivered (bank statement, driving/television licence, utility bill or home insurance certificate)
Only original recent documents will be accepted.
Receiving mail from countries outside the UK
All mail that enters the UK may be examined by Customs. Normally letters, postcards and parcels containing only documents or similar forms of correspondence are excluded.
If you are receiving a parcel from a country outside the EU it may incur Customs charges. Any parcel assessed as being liable for Customs charges will also incur a Royal Mail handling fee of £8.
Any goods imported into the UK over the value of £15 are liable to import VAT. Gifts between private individuals over the value of £36 are also liable for VAT. Goods and gifts over these values may also be liable for customs duty. You no longer have to pay Customs duty for goods up to the value of £135, however you will still be required to pay import VAT and excise duty where applicable.
Please note these limits do not apply to alcohol and tobacco goods where both excise duty and import VAT may be charged. It is not permitted to send alcohol and tobacco products into the UK from another EU country unless prior arrangements have been made to account for the excise duty.
For more details please check the HM Revenue & Customs guide to Shopping
I don’t believe my item should have incurred a Customs charge, what should I do?
If,after paying for your item, you believe the charges have been wrongly applied we recommend you contact Border Force. If your challenge is successful, the charges will be refunded. If Border Force were responsible for the original charging error, the refund will also include our £8.00 handling fee .If however, the goods have been mis-declared the RM handling fee will be non-refundable. Details on how to challenge the charges can be found on the HM Revenue & Customs website.
HM Revenue & Customs is the main point of contact for enquiries about why items are charged, what the charges are, and general customs advice. For more information, please see Notice 143 on the HM Revenue & Customs website.
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