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Stephen150

taking Royal Mail to Court **WON**

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I posted a mobile phone I sold to someone using Royal Mail's {RM} Guaranteed next day delivery before 1pm service. This service also includes insurance for up to £500 for loss or damage to items using this service. The item was posted in the UK from my local Post Office in Cheshire to Northampton so classed by RM as mainland mail.

 

The recipient collected the item from their local RM sorting office and when opened there it was found to have damage by way of a cracked screen. The recipient advised me of the damage in writing within 30 minutes of collecting the item and at my request he posted it back to me in a package in its original packaging then I refunded him the cost of the phone.

 

I then submitted a claim for compensation (£106 to repair the screen) to RM under the terms of the insurance sold to me (up to £500 loss or damage) with the guaranteed next day delivery service. On submitting the claim I fully complied with all of RM's requests for information, proof of posting, photographs of the item both pre and post damage, eBay listing number, Paypal Transactions etc .

 

The first reply from RM was a letter of 24/11/15 saying they were sorry to hear of my problem, but they did not confirm or deny they had damaged it. They went onto say the damage was most likely due to my negligence for not packaging the item correctly and in turn they would not be offering compensation on this basis. They also returned my item with this correspondence.

 

I escalated the matter and asked them to review the case and told them the item had been packaged correctly using reasonable care and that the suggestion I was negligent was unhelpful and insulting. I asserted it had been damaged by RM's employees or possibly by their mechanical sorting equipment and refuted any negligence by me.

 

Once again RM wrote back in a letter of 3/12/15 saying they had looked into the matter but felt the original decision was correct and that no compensation would be offered as I had been negligent by not packaging the item correctly. They advised if I was still not happy with this decision then I could escalate it to their "Escalated customer Resolution team".

 

Once again I wrote to RM and explained to their Escalated Resolution Team that I required them to pay for the damage to item, pointing out I refuted that I was in any way negligent and that I had taken reasonable care in packaging the item prior to posting. I also advised them that I was very insulted/offended by their suggestion that I had been negligent. I advised them that if they did not pay for the damage I may have to consider legal action by way of the Small Claims Court.

 

The Escalated Resolution Team responded on 8/12/15 by saying that they had reviewed the case and that after reading correspondence the original decision was correct. The individual went onto say:

 

"I have reviewed the details of your claim and I am afraid I have concluded that it was handled correctly and the previous response appropriate. If I can clarify, to look into the outcome of your complaint I have carried out a further inspection of the packaging of the damaged item and original packaging. Having completed these investigations, I am satisfied there is no evidence of any damage to the external packaging consistent with the damage caused to the content. Having reached this regrettable conclusion, as your item could not have been damaged during its journey with Royal Mail we are not responsible for the repair or cost of your item".

 

It is interesting to note that there was no proper review carried out by the Escalated Team as the mobile phone and packaging could not have been inspected as it was returned to me by them on 24/11/15.

 

I am also very angry as ultimately if they are stating the damage was not done by them; there is a suggestion that the item was damage already there prior to posting which is implying I submitted a fraudulent claim.

I have no reason to disbelieve that when the phone was received by the individual at RM's sorting office it was damaged as RM's tracking system shows when he collected it and the email message from him advising of the damage demonstrate he contacted me within 30 mins of collection, so allowing for time for him to travel home and write to me etc seems fair enough and as aside I have no reason to question his character.

 

I wrote back to RM in a letter before action advising them I was very annoyed by the content of their message and giving them 14 days to pay for the damage or the matter would escalate to Small Claims Court. Once again RM wrote back saying their position was unchanged in respect of their decision.

 

I have raised a claim via MCOL and I have asked for the £106 for repairs to the screen. I refuted I was negligent and cited RM as having acted both disingenuously in the handling of my claim and also my annoyance as the implication that I have acted in some fraudulent manner.

 

RM's legal team have lodged a defence which in my is perhaps simply an attempt to muddy the water and over complicate the issue by arguing various immunities:

 

1. No contract was entered into between the parties

2. RM has immunity to a claim in tort in respect of such delivery of post

3. RM may only be liable to pay compensation if the conditions of the scheme known as the Royal Mail UK Postal Scheme (UK Post Scheme) are satisfied.

4. The claimant did not comply with RM's packaging guidelines therefore compensation is not available.

5. Even if the RM is liable under the UK Post Scheme, liability is limited under the scheme and the defendant, RM, is not liable for consequential loss.

6. Further argument of no contract existing quoting Harold & Stephen Co Lts V RM {1978} 1 AII ER 939

7. Immunity in tort: Citing Ofcom designation of RM as a "Universal Service Provider" USP* within the meaning of Sect 65(1) of the Postal Services Act 2011 and Ofcom's designation being made under Schedule 9, para 3(1) of the PSA 2011.

8. Citing RM as a Postal Operator under Sect 27(3) of the PSA 2011 and a scheme under Sect 89 of the PSA 2011.

9. As RM is a USP* & a Postal Operator there is no right to a claim of tort as sections 89 & 90 of the PSA 2000 applies.

10. Guaranteed Next Day Delivery is a scheme under the UK Post Scheme notified to Ofcom under Sect 89A of the PSA 2000.

11. Under the arrangements of the UK Post Scheme, in the absence of no arrangements under the UK Post Scheme no compensation is payable even if RM are deemed negligent.

12. They do admit compensation can be made under Sect 91 of the PSA 2000 provided all the terms of the scheme are complied with. [this makes all the waffle above seem rather irrelevant?]

13.They make further references to packaging guidelines and their service users obligations under this aspect of their T&C's.

14. The claimants packet did not meet with the requirements of the packaging guidelines therefore RM is not liable.

 

Sorry if this all seems rather long winded, but i feel if there is advice given to me it should be done with people being made aware of the full facts to date.

 

My simplistic view is that at 12 above there is a right to sue; the other stuff is added by their legal team in my view to dissuade claimants from progressing further. I did package the item in a bubble wrap envelope and then further wrapped the item in a protective foam sleeve. RM's guideline is simply to cover in 1cm of cushioning - something which I have done; so why they are not paying out beggars belief.

 

*In respect of all of the other waffle, is it not fair to argue that the average person walking into a Post office to post such an item using such a premium service simply could not be expected to either research, review and understand the legal complexities of all the aforementioned either online or on hard paper at a PO counter before posting? Would these terms not be an issue under the Unfair Contracts Act? Further the Post Office accepted the item in its packaging.

 

* Is it not the case that RM is also a retailer as I was sold insurance with this premium service? If so, are they not subject to any of the obligations Under the New Consumer Rights Act 2015? [introduced on 1/10/2015]

Edited by Stephen150

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Hello and welcome to CAG.

 

I'll move your thread to the postal and delivery forum and leave you a link to follow. The forum has plenty of other threads about Royal Mail if you have a look around. :)

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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They say

I have carried out a further inspection of the packaging of the damaged item and original packaging.

 

and you say

returned in its original packaging

 

How can he have carried out a further inspection if you have it ?

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Hello Conniff, thats exactly one of my points.

 

This just leaves me with a view that RM operate a policy of rejecting all claims to push customers towards the hassle of taking SCCA through MCOL. I did say in my small claims action that I felt RM were disingenuous when handling my claim from the outset. In reality this individual has done me a favour as he its actually allowing me the opportunity to discredit RM's own witnesses......

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They also claim you can't bring a claim of tort because of crown immunity. If they do in fact still have crown immunity, that doesn't stop you bringing a case for breach of contract, that isn't covered by tort.

 

To say a contract wasn't entered into is bull. Buying a packet of cigs formes a contract between the supplier and the buyer. When someone offers a product or service at a price and you agree to that, then a contract is formed.

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I am not sure of the exact situation now regarding previous immunity they used to hide behind under some legislation given they have now been privatised.

 

The law does state that you can sue RM for tort in certain circumstances. If you put all the water muddying they have put in their defence to one side and actually look at the reason put forward for rejecting the claim - ie the item not been packaged properly then it will be for the court to decide this.

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Thanks for the link - I will have a read through it to see if it can provide any clarity on the privatisation process and any conditions imposed on RM.

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Thanks Mr P - these were very useful; in particular the issue re their rumblings over any contractual relationship exisiting.

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good general point, from that first link

" if there is no contract between Royal Mail and it's customers then why does it charge them extra money for enhanced insurance? For fun?!?! Why do Royal Mail charge extra for loss or damage when, if an item is lost of damaged there is no intention on Royal Mail's part of honouring the agreement?"

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Your main point to win this case is that they claim of having inspected the package when in fact they haven't.

I'm sure you've kept the package so you can show the judge that it was sufficiently padded and exceeding RM guidelines.

All the rest is nonsense and used by RM legal team to confuse you.

The judge will have none of it.

Saying that there's no contract is stupid beyond stupidity and claim crown immunity is even worse, considering that you purchased further insurance to protect your item.

I wonder if this insurance is provided by a third party and you could claim directly from them.

More experienced caggers will know.

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Update: RM's solicitors have said their clients are being incorrectly sued - they say it should be Royal Mail Group Ltd and not Royal Mail. They have said they have no objection to this being amended by me. [it all seems rather stupid as my letters are from Royal Mail]. Does anyone know if its significant enough to stop the claim once the case is heard given their solicitors state they have no objection to any amendment and have also issued a defence to the claim issued to Royal Mail? However, other issues arise not with their solicitors if I apply to amend with the Court as they want a fee of £50 to make this simple amendment despite the cost of raising the original claim only being £25! Forms N244 & N1 SDT required. There is the option of exploring the re-issuing of a new claim at £25 but you need to get the court to give permission for this under Cival procedure rules as the defendents have issued a defence. NB: Cival Procedure rules do state defendants cannot ask for costs in respect of any such work carried out with responding to the orginal discontinued claim on small claims track cases only. [Just flagging this in case anyone else also has a similar issue]. Another thing I noted is that RM wrote to me from a full address which included a PO Box reference and my correspondence has been to the same to date - not sure how this stands going forward as its possible RM or the Court might say you cannot take future enforcement action to this address because it includes part reference to a PO Box - anyone have any experience of such a problem?

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They started off to say that the item was incorrectly packaged, meaning it was likely broken in transit, then later say it was impossible that the item was broken in transit. They can't seem to agree with themselves!

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Hi Joey, yes it would seem they are in dispute with themselves on this point!

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Hi

Regarding the change of name, I will ask for you.

 

In regard to crown immunity, that only stands if you sent it by normal post. As you bought the extra insurance, you entered into a contract with them and as such, they are liable as you may have seen on the above linked threads.

I will alert Bankfodder to this thread as he likes these sort of things.


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Please will you post up the defence here - also your claim.

 

You say that the letters are from Royal Mail. Does it not give their registered name anywhere on the letter?


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Hi Silverfox1961, thanks for your message - I appreciate your help and the help of everyone else to date. I am actually looking forward to getting into Court to discuss the matter as it would appear RM does not want to accept responisbility for anything they do to their customers parcels or mail. RM is now privatised and making money so they should act more responsibly in respect of such matters. :)

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Hello Bankfodder,

 

There defence consists of the following points although they did refer to a circumstance where they would be liable [12] but assert this does not apply as I was negligent in packaging the item [14].

 

RM's legal team have lodged a defence which in my is perhaps simply an attempt to muddy the water and over complicate the issue by arguing various immunities:

 

1. No contract was entered into between the parties

2. RM has immunity to a claim in tort in respect of such delivery of post

3. RM may only be liable to pay compensation if the conditions of the scheme known as the Royal Mail UK Postal Scheme (UK Post Scheme) are satisfied.

4. The claimant did not comply with RM's packaging guidelines therefore compensation is not available.

5. Even if the RM is liable under the UK Post Scheme, liability is limited under the scheme and the defendant, RM, is not liable for consequential loss.

6. Further argument of no contract existing quoting Harold & Stephen Co Lts V RM {1978} 1 AII ER 939

7. Immunity in tort: Citing Ofcom designation of RM as a "Universal Service Provider" USP* within the meaning of Sect 65(1) of the Postal Services Act 2011 and Ofcom's designation being made under Schedule 9, para 3(1) of the PSA 2011.

8. Citing RM as a Postal Operator under Sect 27(3) of the PSA 2011 and a scheme under Sect 89 of the PSA 2011.

9. As RM is a USP* & a Postal Operator there is no right to a claim of tort as sections 89 & 90 of the PSA 2000 applies.

10. Guaranteed Next Day Delivery is a scheme under the UK Post Scheme notified to Ofcom under Sect 89A of the PSA 2000.

11. Under the arrangements of the UK Post Scheme, in the absence of no arrangements under the UK Post Scheme no compensation is payable even if RM are deemed negligent.

12. They do admit compensation can be made under Sect 91 of the PSA 2000 provided all the terms of the scheme are complied with. [this makes all the waffle above seem rather irrelevant?]

13.They make further references to packaging guidelines and their service users obligations under this aspect of their T&C's.

14. The claimants packet did not meet with the requirements of the packaging guidelines therefore RM is not liable.

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I really would prefer if you would post up the documents.

Thank you


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Hello Bankfodder,

 

There defence consists of the following points although they did refer to a circumstance where they would be liable [12] but assert this does not apply as I was negligent in packaging the item [14].

 

RM's legal team have lodged a defence which in my is perhaps simply an attempt to muddy the water and over complicate the issue by arguing various immunities:

 

1. No contract was entered into between the parties

2. RM has immunity to a claim in tort in respect of such delivery of post

3. RM may only be liable to pay compensation if the conditions of the scheme known as the Royal Mail UK Postal Scheme (UK Post Scheme) are satisfied.

4. The claimant did not comply with RM's packaging guidelines therefore compensation is not available.

5. Even if the RM is liable under the UK Post Scheme, liability is limited under the scheme and the defendant, RM, is not liable for consequential loss.

6. Further argument of no contract existing quoting Harold & Stephen Co Lts V RM {1978} 1 AII ER 939

7. Immunity in tort: Citing Ofcom designation of RM as a "Universal Service Provider" USP* within the meaning of Sect 65(1) of the Postal Services Act 2011 and Ofcom's designation being made under Schedule 9, para 3(1) of the PSA 2011.

8. Citing RM as a Postal Operator under Sect 27(3) of the PSA 2011 and a scheme under Sect 89 of the PSA 2011.

9. As RM is a USP* & a Postal Operator there is no right to a claim of tort as sections 89 & 90 of the PSA 2000 applies.

10. Guaranteed Next Day Delivery is a scheme under the UK Post Scheme notified to Ofcom under Sect 89A of the PSA 2000.

11. Under the arrangements of the UK Post Scheme, in the absence of no arrangements under the UK Post Scheme no compensation is payable even if RM are deemed negligent.

12. They do admit compensation can be made under Sect 91 of the PSA 2000 provided all the terms of the scheme are complied with. [this makes all the waffle above seem rather irrelevant?]

13.They make further references to packaging guidelines and their service users obligations under this aspect of their T&C's.

14. The claimants packet did not meet with the requirements of the packaging guidelines therefore RM is not liable.

 

Update: I have their letters to hand now; their letter head has a Royal Mail emblem and the response address is one of their RM locations - Plymouth. They do write the name and address of their reg'd office as "Royal Mail Group Ltd" - in London in very small print at the foot of the page. However, they do trade simply as "Royal Mail" and in their letter they also actually invite anyone who feels RM has acted wrongly to write to them at: Escalated Customer Resolution Team, "Royal Mail" PO Box 466, Plymouth, PL9 7JH. They do not say write to "Royal Mail Group Limited". Further, in the letter they refer to T's&C's as "Royal Mails T's & C's" and not "Royal Mail Group Ltd" T's&C's. In view of this one would have thought they accept they trade as Royal Mail therefore RM being cited as the defendent should still hold?

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Here is their defence doc - 8 pages in pdf format. I have made slight privacy eradications to protect individuals privacy as well as that of the defence solicitors trading name.

RM Defence.pdf

Edited by Stephen150

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No, royal mail is not an entity. Its just a trading name of royal mail group ltd.

While you can go ahead and sue just "royal mail", it would be pretty pointless. The court docs should show the defendant as "royal mail group limited trading as royal mail". Or just "royal mail group limited".

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Here is the relevant CPR Practice Direction with regards to substituting names Stephen.

 

https://www.justice.gov.uk/courts/procedure-rules/civil/rules/part19/pd_part19a

 

Regards

 

Andy


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Thanks Andy & Grumpy for your assistance.

 

I will be issuing updated documents to Royal Mail Group Ltd in the near future and this should be pretty straight forward given their written consent to this.

 

I do not know if anyone has had a chance to read their defence posted above yet?

 

I am sure its some sort of standard document they just use in a harsh attempt to put people off from rightfully holding them to account.

 

Pretty sad that a business with a history like Royal Mails should conduct itself in such a way.

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