The cheaper way to complain about Royal Mail

by Stephen Tall on December 10, 2006

Consider this a public service announcement…

As I’ve mentioned before, my other gaff is one of the top Google returns for ‘Royal Mail complaints’. (There are better claims to fame, I’m sure, but I take what I can get.) As a result, I get a few e-mails each month from folk desperate to obtain some satisfaction from Royal Mail.

Some are from Oxford; others from much further afield. How can I tell they’re desperate? Well, I don’t imagine e-mailing a district councillor, with absolutely no powers over the post office even in his own area, is a first resort.

Sometimes there’s a theme to the issues raised. This happened a couple of weeks ago, when a handful of folk e-mailed me, independently of each other, to tell me the number to call they’d been given by Royal Mail to arrange re-delivery of parcels wasn’t working.

I got in touch with Royal Mail to find out why not. A couple of days ago, I received a rather sheepish (and solecistic) e-mail from Royal Mail admitting their centralised phone system is indeed not working:

I have rung the number myself and the option to be put through to the local Delivery Office is slightly misguiding, as it should only infer that the option is for local issues, dealt with centrally. In addition, although we offer these manned lines to prevent communication problems, which a singular local telephone line may cause, my call still proved to problematic.

Their suggestion instead is that residents should phone their customer services phone number, 08457 740 740. Fair enough, you might say.

However, last week I received a very helpful e-mail from another of my residents pointing out that this might hit Royal Mail’s customers in the wallet:

Some companies that use these numbers are actually receiving a cut of the phone call costs. If you have an ‘inclusive landline calls’ phone package, then it is very rare that 0844, 0845, 0870, or 0871 numbers are are included in your ‘free minutes’ allocation, unlike normal numbers. Many mobile phone packages also exclude free phone 0800 and 0808 numbers for your bundled minutes. Therefore mobile ‘phone users will be billed for calls to this number. Landline users may have to pay up to 8p per minute to call this number.

Which sounded like a bit of a bummer. ‘Til I read his second paragraph:

The website SAYNOTO0870.COM provides alternative non-geographic numbers for 0845 numbers etc. In the case of Royal Mail the alternative number which relates to 08457 740 740 is 01752 387 112. Using this latter number may be free for some mobile ‘phone users and no more than national rate for landline users. This will stop Royal Mail getting a ‘cut’ out of people complaining about their service.

So there you go: if you need to complain to Royal Mail, and don’t want to line their pockets, call them at their Plymouth home: 01752 387 112.