Friday, 4 December 2009

Royal Mail Part Two... The Return of the Numbskull Postman...

You may recall several months ago my angst at having been led to a near breakdown as a direct cause of the Royal Mail's blitheringly erratic collection times. Actually, it was the loss of a key down the side of the passenger seat in my car that caused the public display of rage, but anyway...

If you read my telling of that story with interest, you may find it enlightening to know that the curse of their incompetence has risen again. A week or two ago, I was clearing out some rubbish from my garage, when I came across a brown shape poking out from beneath the bottom of the garage door onto the driveway. It had been disturbed by the movement of a bin inside, as I had not noticed it before. On closer inspection, I found it to be an A3 envelope, addressed to me. It had clearly been there some time, as the envelope was worn, moist and warped from the damp surface of the floor. I opened it and found an old map of the area in which I live. Now, that may seem a strange thing to receive; indeed, it may even revoke memories of a "Goonies" style treasure hunt instigated by a strange prophesy or Steven Spielburg script - however, the truth was that I had been expecting a map to arrive for several weeks. Perhaps a couple of months. It was an offer from a national newspaper - a historic map of your house. Simply collect some tokens, pay a small postage fee, etc... I had completely forgotten about it, but here it was, shoved under my garage door, probably having been there for some time.

The problem was, however, that the map was ruined. Damp, warped, crinkly. Or, to put it mildly, completely fucked. Only a moron of considerable incompetence would have placed it there, out of sight but at the mercy of the elements. Only a postman would have been so lazy as to have shoved it half-heartedly under the garage door, rather than to have taken it back to the depot and instead posted a card requesting collection due to the size of the article. Call me old fashioned, but I expect post to be placed in the letter box, not left in the rain, dropped kicked into the hedge, eaten, stolen or set fire to.

Naturally, I dispatched a complaint, which is actually far harder to do than it should be. Quite clearly, the onslaught of vitriol caused by the ongoing strike row has increased sensitivities within their HQ and they have done their best to make it difficult to complain. However, I am not easily deterred and after a twenty minute search I found the form, filled it in (in great detail) and sent it off. Freepost, incidentally.

A week later I received a reply. Quite extraordinarily, it stated that, in order to process my complaint, they required four things from me. Those things may just have well been gold, frankincense, a ticket to Willie Wonka's Chocolate Factory and a thimble full of Polyjuice Potion, for all the likelihood of me being able to obtain them. Dismayed, I composed my own retort. Rather than to summarise, I thought it best to post the full effort here for you to see...



I am writing regarding your response to my complaint about an item of mail that was shoved under our garage door by our postman in a fit of laziness and incompetence which as you are aware both warped and ruined the item. In your letter, dated 17th November you have requested four items from me in order to take the matter forward and that I send these within ten working days.

Clearly you cannot have read my original letter as the item that was damaged was a map SENT to me, which means I cannot reasonably be expected to produce the original certificate of posting. On the matter of point three, I am able to send the item to you, however, there must be some kind of guarantee that you are not simply going to lose that in addition to the countless other items that have been mislaid by your workers over the last few years. As for point four, why on earth do you expect me to provide two quotes showing the cost of replacing the damaged item? My estimate is that it would cost £15-£20 in a specialist shop to get hold of a similar map, but I certainly don’t have the time to gallivant across the country in search of this. The item was a newspaper offer – a one off – and my point was that you have damaged something which largely speaking is irreplaceable. For that, I demand some sort of compensation. I will not be dictated to with ridiculous demands for quotes. If you want a quote – you get one.

Which leaves us with point two – the senders full name and address. It was an offer that came from the Daily Mail back in the summer involving sending off tokens for a local historic map. Quite whether the offer was processed by The Daily Mail or by a subsidiary or associated company, I cannot say, but the address on the postage is as follows: (CENSORED). I suggest you do some detective work, seeing as one of your employees has caused this situation.

I can only assume that these four requests have been made in the hope that you make the matter so awkward for me that I simply give up and drop my complaint. Let me assure you that I have no intention of doing so and if necessary I will make this matter public online in blogs, forums, trading standards, in the local press and whatever else it takes for you to realise that this sloppy, pathetic level of service is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

I await your response, which I trust will be slightly more substantial and less arrogant than your first attempt.

Yours sincerely...


I'll keep you posted on their response - my hopes are not high...

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