Royal Mail's retail compensation policy for damage and part loss

Content

  1. Introduction
  2. Compensation Arrangements
  3. Compensation Payments for damage and part loss
  4. Exclusions
  5. Summary of Definitions Used

Introduction

This document sets out the approved policy for managing the Royal Mail’s Inland Compensation provisions for retail services for damage or part loss.

Royal Mail’s retail policy excludes items posted on account (except VAT exempt 1st and 2nd class payable on account) which are subject to separate terms for loss, damage and delay compensation.

Compensation policies

Compensation policy for loss

Compensation policy for delay

Compensation policy for damage

International compensation

Royal Mail’s Retail Compensation Policy for damage or part loss covers the following products:-

  • 1st class stamped, metered and VAT exempt account mail, including items sent using SmartStamp® and online postage;
  • 2nd class stamped,metered and VAT exempt account mail, including items sent using SmartStamp® and online postage;
  • 1st and 2nd class Royal Mail Signed for™ mail when used in conjunction with stamped,metered and account products above;
  • Articles for the Blind, and
  • Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not posted on account);

These services are referred to throughout this policy as ‘retail services’.

This policy applies only to items posted with and delivered by Royal Mail. If an item has been posted with or handled by another postal operator then it will not be eligible for compensation for damage or part loss from Royal Mail under this policy unless the postal operator has posted the packet using one of the Royal Mail services above, in which case that postal operator will be regarded as the sender of the item for compensation purposes

Compensation in respect of Condition 9 access mail items is governed by the terms of the Condition 9 access agreements.

Please refer to the Royal Mail United Kingdom Post Scheme (pdf, 498.31 KB) for further information about product terms and conditions and Royal Mail’s liability to pay compensation.

Compensation Arrangements

Royal Mail may pay compensation for damage or part loss  if an item in a postal packet has suffered a degree of harm that reasonably impairs the material function or contents of the item, solely as a result of its transmission through the post, and excluding liability for any pre-existing damage.

Royal Mail excludes cosmetic damage to the envelope or packaging, and will not accept liability for items that have not been secured or packaged in such a way as to prevent damage or part loss during the normal rigors of transit through the post. Royal Mail will only compensate for material damage to, or part loss of, the contents of a letter or packet.

Royal Mail expects customers who are posting items that have an intrinsic value to take these to an access point that can provide them with appropriate evidence of posting an item with Royal Mail.

If an item has been lost in its entirety the customer may be entitled to claim compensation, please refer to the compensation for loss policy.

If an item has been delayed the customer may be entitled to claim compensation, please refer to the compensation for delay policy.

If an item has been damaged or part loss has occurred and the item has also been delayed customers should refer to the compensation for delay policy in addition to this policy to check whether the item is eligible for compensation before submitting a claim to Royal Mail.

Compensation Payments for damage and part loss

The nature and extent of the compensation to be paid for damage or part loss of eligible mail items are set out below. All references to letter stamps are at the basic weight step (up to 100g).

The process to be followed when making a compensation claim can be found at Compensation Claims Process

Claims for damage and part loss must be made within 80 calendar days of the date of posting, or no claim will be entertained. Royal Mail has no legal liability for any loss if at the time of the claim 80 days has expired from the date of posting. Royal Mail advises customers to claim as soon as possible after an event has occurred to enable enquiries to be made promptly. 

The sender or the recipient may both claim for a damaged item but only one will be paid compensation. If both claim for the same item then Royal Mail will process only the sender’s claim unless compensation has already been paid to the recipient. The claimant is required to provide the same evidence regardless of whether they are the sender or recipient.

Royal Mail will contact the claimant with the outcome of their complaint within 30 calendar days (if for any reason we are not in a position to finalise after 30 days Royal Mail will contact the customer with an update).

Table 1 - All retail services other than Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not posted on account)

Item has no intrinsic value 6 x 1st class letter stamps 
Item has intrinsic value (with basic evidence only) 6 x 1st class letter stamps 
Item has intrinsic value (with additional evidence)  

Postage refund, plus compensation on basis of the customer’s actual loss. This compensation is subject to the maximum payable being the lower of the market value of the item and £20 (£50 for Royal Mail Signed For®).

Articles for the Blind compensation is on basis of the customer’s actual loss and is subject to the maximum payable being the lower of the market value of the item and £46

 

Table 2 – Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not Posted on account)

All items (with additional evidence) Fee refund plus compensation on basis of the customer’s actual loss. This compensation is subject to the maximum payable being the lower of the market value of the item and the maximum level of compensation purchased

Notes –

  1. Where an item is lost or damaged beyond repair then actual loss is the amount it cost the customer to acquire, purchase or manufacture the item subject to condition, age and depreciation. Where an item is damaged it is the cost of repair. No additional payment will be made for the reduced value of the repaired item. If a customer has used one of the services set out in table 1 above, then any claim for compensation for actual loss will be paid up to the market value or the statutory maximum which ever is the smaller amount. Where Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ has been used then any compensation for actual loss will be paid up to the smaller of market value or the compensation purchased by the sender. Below is an example of actual loss.
  • Mrs Smith (the end purchaser) bought a pair of jeans from a shop and paid £25 for them. If she posts them on and they go missing or are damaged beyond repair she can claim what it cost her to purchase the jeans, i.e. £25.
  • The Shop (the retailer) that sells the jeans buys them from the manufacturer for £15. If they post them and they go missing or are damaged beyond repair they can claim what it cost them to acquire the jeans, i.e. £15.
  • The Factory (the manufacturer) that supplies the shop makes the jeans for £10. If they post them and they go missing or are damaged beyond repair they can claim what the item cost them to manufacture, i.e. £10.

 

2. When assessing the market value of the content of an item the value of any message must be ignored (e.g. the market value of a cheque is not its face value).

3. All claims must supply as a minimum the following “basic evidence”

  • the names and addresses of the sender, addressee and claimant,
  • the Royal Mail product used,
  • the postage paid and method of postage, e.g. stamps, franking impression, SmartStamp®
  • the place of posting,
  • the date of posting,
  • the basis for asserting the posting details and product used (such as date of postmark, certificate of posting (if available) and for Royal Mail Special Delivery by 1pm™  and Royal Mail Signed for™, the product documentation)
  • a description of the contents,
  • the date of delivery,
  • a description of the packaging and condition of the mail item itself

Claimants must retain all the packaging and contents of damaged items or items subject to part loss as Royal Mail may need to inspect them. If they are not retained compensation may not be paid.

4. Claims for items with an intrinsic value should all be made on Royal Mail’s current loss and damage claim form. The claim form needs to be signed and dated by the claimant and supported by “additional evidence” (evidence of posting and evidence of value) to corroborate the amount claimed for actual loss. If only basic evidence can be provided then only stamps can be considered.

5. Evidence of posting for a damaged item or an item subject to part loss includes:

  1.  Original Certificate of posting (provided automatically for Royal Mail Signed for™ items and Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not posted on account) and available on request at Post Office® branches for other items);
  2.  Original Horizon certificate of posting;
  3.  Original SmartStamp® or on-line postage certificate of posting validated at a Post Office® branch.
  4.  The item with envelope or packaging, showing the postage paid.

For products where a product specific certificate of posting is issued automatically at the point of posting Royal Mail will require the certificate of posting to be submitted if a claim is made, in addition to the item and packaging.

6. For claims relating to Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ Royal Mail will require evidence of the level of compensation purchased shown on the Horizon receipt, product documentation or posting docket book provided for business collection customers.

7. Evidence of the actual loss must be provided to enable Royal Mail to determine the value of the contents of a packet. Such evidence might be original receipts, bank or credit card statements, details of age, catalogue price, paypal record, invoices, manufacturing costs, auctioneers valuation, and repair costs in the case of damage claims. This list is not exhaustive and is for illustrative purposes only.

8. All documentation provided must be originals not copies. Customers are strongly advised to retain a copy of all original documents submitted in support of a claim.

9. Royal Mail reserves the right to inspect the item and packaging and/or to request additional documentation and/or information from the claimant, sender or recipient to protect against unwarranted or duplicate claims. This includes, but is not limited to, a declaration of non-receipt (or proof of non receipt in appropriate cases).

10. Evidence must be provided that the part loss or damage sustained by the item is consistent with the damage to the envelope or to the external packaging or the internal wrappings. 

11. Where compensation for the full value of an item, in its pre damaged condition, has been paid, we are not obliged to return the item to you and may deal with it or dispose of it as we see fit. In instances where the repair value only has been paid as compensation for the damage, the item will be returned to the claimant.

Exclusions:

A summary of exclusions where compensation will not be payable for damage or part loss is set out below.

Compensation for damage or part loss will not be payable:

1. where the claim relates to an item posted with, or handled by another postal operator or third party other than when another postal operator or third party has posted the item using Royal Mail’s “1st Class services” or “2nd Class services”, in which case that postal operator will be regarded as the sender of the item for compensation purposes;

2. where the damage or part loss has not arisen due to any wrongful act done, or any neglect or default committed by an officer, servant or agent of Royal Mail while performing or purporting to perform his functions as such in relation to the receipt, carriage, delivery or other dealing with the item;

3. where the damage or part loss has arisen due to the posting or receiving customer’s own act or omission; including but not confined to a failure to collect mail held for customer collection, for example using such services as PO Box, Mail Collect and Poste Restante, within the required timescales,

4. where the damage or part loss has arisen due to circumstances outside the control of Royal Mail including exceptional severe weather conditions, acts of terrorism and vandalism and acts of third parties with whom Royal Mail has no contractual relationship;

5. where damage or part loss is due to a latent or inherent defect, natural deterioration; or where there is no material damage to the item or material part loss of the contents;

6. where all of the conditions that apply to the service used have not been complied with, including but not confined to:

  • where an item does not comply with all the provisions set out in the United Kingdom Postal Scheme and those provisions relating to specific services detailed in product licences, terms and conditions, application forms and similar product documentation;
  • where a Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not posted on account) item does not adhere to the terms and conditions for that service;

7. where the item is not fully and correctly addressed in a manner that includes all the elements of the postal address (including the full postcode) written clearly on the front or on a label securely attached to the front of the cover or envelope, or the address is illegible, or the address is not fully visible;

8. where the item is not in a suitable and reasonably strong cover or envelope appropriate to its contents that (with the exception of Articles for the Blind) is sealed or fastened securely;

9. where the item is not packaged in accordance with the requirements of the relevant schemes made under the Postal Services Act, including but not confined to:

  • where anything enclosed in the letter is not well protected against damage
  • where a breakable item has not been packed in a strong container with enough packaging material to protect the item against pressure and knocks, and where the item has not been marked with the words “FRAGILE HANDLE WITH CARE” in capital letters on the cover or envelope above the address,
  • where an item that may be damaged by bending  is not packed in a strong container that will prevent the item from being bent , and marked with the words  “DO NOT BEND” on the cover or envelope above the address;
  • where a letter contains an item that is likely to perish or decay, the letter is not marked with the word ‘PERISHABLE’ in capital letters on the cover or envelope above the address;
  • where restricted items are not packed in accordance with further published packaging requirements;
  • where the packaging does not comply with any other information published in paper or electronic form by the Royal Mail on packing.

10. where the item contains valuables (i.e. money and jewellery) unless posted using an appropriate Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed™ service within the terms of this scheme;

11. where Royal Mail has destroyed, dealt with or disposed of an item at its discretion under any section of the relevant schemes made under section 89 of the Postal Services Act or in accordance with other legislation;

12. where the item is one of the following:

  • an undeliverable or return to sender item;
  • an item containing anything prohibited by law or any item listed as prohibited in the relevant United Kingdom Postal Schemes;

13. where an item has been forwarded from the original delivery address stated on the item other than by Royal Mail under its redirection service,

14. where an item has been forwarded or redirected to an address in the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man.

Further details of conditions of posting, including packaging and addressing requirements, and of prohibited and restricted items can be found in our ‘Our Services’ leaflet available at any Post Office® branch, on the Royal Mail website or in the United Kingdom Postal Scheme (pdf, 498.31 KB)

Summary of definitions

"actual loss"  Where an item is lost or damaged beyond repair then it is the amount it cost the customer to acquire, purchase or manufacture the item subject to adjustment to take account of condition, age and depreciationWhere an item is damaged it is the cost of repair. No additional payment will be made for the reduced value of the repaired item.
 "damage"  If an item in a postal packet has suffered a degree of harm that reasonably impairs the material function or contents of the item,
 "evidence of posting"

Includes:

  • Original Certificate of posting (provided automatically for Royal Mail Signed for™ items and Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed™ (not posted on account) and available on request at Post Office® branches for other items);
  • Original Horizon certificate of posting;
  • Original SmartStamp® or on-line postage certificate of posting validated at a Post Office® branch;
  • The item with envelope or packaging, showing the postage paid. (For products where a certificate of posting is automatically provided this will also be required in addition to the item with envelope or packaging.)
 "1st Class services"  means those services which are listed as Retail 1st Class in the table at Note 1 of the Annex to Condition 4 of the Licence, the Articles for the Blind service and the 1st Class Royal Mail Signed for™ service when used in conjunction with the Retail 1st Class services
 "the Licence"  means the licence granted to Royal Mail under section 11 of the Act on 23 March 2001 as amended on 1 April 2003, 2 November 2005 and 25 May 2006.
 "loss"  an item shall be deemed as lost if Royal Mail has not delivered it at the place to which it is addressed by the end of the fifteenth working day (or the tenth working day for Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ (not posted on account) after its due date of delivery, unless there is evidence to the contrary to demonstrate that the item has not been lost.
 "part loss"  Where an item is received and some or part of the content is missing.
 "postal address"  means for any premises the address, including the postcode, maintained by Royal Mail from time to time as corresponding to those premises in the Postcode Address File,
 Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™(not posted on account)  means, Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™ other than when sold to users having an account with Royal Mail buying the service using their account, i.e. services listed as Royal Mail Special Delivery Guaranteed by 1pm™in the table at Note 1 of the Annex to Condition 4 of the Licence
 "2nd Class services"  means those services which are listed as Retail 2nd Class in the table at Note 1 of the Annex to Condition 4 of the Licence and the 2nd Class Royal Mail Signed for™ service when used in conjunction with the Retail 2nd Class services