Royal Mail have broken the law and must surely be aware of this.
I built on the good work of the initial poster and did some strategic research into this fee. It
would indeed appear to be both illegal and unreasonable.
So I took them to the small claims court and they settled, in full, out of court. They took my
case very seriously however their lawyer Mandy Talbot tried to, in my opinion, deliberately
mislead me. I wasn't having any of it. I encourage everyone to take them to the small claims
court, eventually they will do what the banks did (i.e get fed up and/or not be able to afford
it). I don't fancy their chances as they are solely relying on a thread to justify £8 is the
actual cost to them of clearing through customs. I bet it certainly isn't.
The fee is also unlawful because you cannot hold a parcel to ransom. Royal Mail seem to know this
hence why they intentionally delay your parcel by leaving it at the depot free from arguments.
This is point no.1. Royal Mail cannot defend this ground. Launch a small claims as I did and they
will offer to settle out of court.
The international Postal services union make clear this charge must be reasonable and a fair
reflection of the charges. £8 is far too high. This is point no.2 and like bank charges I suspect
anyone would win a small claims here. They must deliver your parcel and bill you for it later, of
course then don't pay it by ignoring any demands from DCA's (debt collection agencies) etc as
their fee will be most unlikely to stand up in civil court.
3 Postal administrations which are authorized to clear items through the
Customs on behalf of customers may charge customers a customs clearance
fee based on the actual costs.
Until enough people do small claims (judgements which are only binding to you alone) or someone
uses a different court track then they will continue getting away with murder. Note you do feel
for them as courier companies do this, and despite trying to pass parcels to Parcel Force in yet
another hazy move of avoiding the Postal services act, Royal Mail are contrained by the Universal
Postal regulations above. However, this does not condone illegal behaviour and deliberately
misleading letters where they attempt to pass off the £8 fee as theirs and also advise the sender
they "ATTEMPTED DELIVERY ABROAD" when they blatantly did not (point no. 3).
What is really worrying is because I stated "Bill" Not "Act" in my letter, Mandy Talbot senior
legal counsel at Royal Mail deliberately tried to mislead me by ignoring the fact she was breaking
the law. She didn't mark her document private so ask me for a copy if you want it.
My advice - pay the fee then use small claims moneyclaim.gov.uk to get it back and cost them £25
plus admin work in the process. Eventually if enough people do this it will cost them, make them
rethink their policy or scuttle over the fine points of the Act (or lobby for it to be changed as
Ms Talbot seems to suggest) to try and find a loophole. At the moment, they haven't yet found a
way out SO SUE THEM!!
They publish their £8 / £13.50 fee respectively in the Successor Postal Services Company Overseas
Parcel Post Scheme 2001 (section 9) and Successor Postal Services Company Overseas Letter Post
Scheme 2001 (section 15(3))