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'I paid extra to have my lamp insured for delivery, but when it broke Parcelforce wouldn't pay up'

14 Apr 2018, 14:40 ... e-wouldnt/

My case involves a package I sent via Parcelforce’s "Express AM" delivery service, at a cost of £20.48.

This included a separate payment to provide "insurance" which was the word used by the post office employee at the counter. This was supposed to cover me for any damage up to the value of £200.

The employee specifically asked me if I wished to insure the item I was sending and asked me what it was. I said it was a lamp.

When it was delivered, the lamp was found to be irreparably damaged. I sought compensation from Parcelforce and was informed that it was on the list of excluded items and therefore was not eligible for compensation.

Can you please intervene for me in this matter?

DT, Surrey

There is an extensive list of excluded items on Parcelforce’s website but your attention had not been drawn to it.

In fact, your item was ceramic and I understand could double up as a vase. In your dealings with Parcelforce, apparently, you did not mention the material from which it was made.

Even so the Post Office counter staff could and, I argued, should have asked. Parcelforce had rejected your claim, stating that on their excluded list were ceramics or “composites wholly or partially made of china/pottery and/or porcelain” such as plates, teapots, vases and ornaments.

I contacted the Post Office and it then acknowledged that it is likely that the branch did not provide full information regarding the restrictions on compensation cover when sending ceramic items. It apologised to you and is now covering the cost of the lamp and the postage.

The Post Office said it wanted to “reassure customers” that branch staff received full training on how to handle such transactions. It said it had ensured that the branch concerned has been reminded of the correct processes to follow in cases such as yours.

This includes making customers fully aware of the terms and conditions that apply when sending Parcelforce mail items that are exempt from compensation for damage or loss.

The Post Office said it wanted to remind customers of the importance of properly packing delicate items before sending. Failing to do so could affect the outcome of a potential claim.

You had tried to take the issue to the Postal Redress Service, an independent postal dispute resolution service (; 0207 520 3766). However, it came back saying Parcelforce is not a member of the scheme. Nor for that matter is the Post Office.

The former seemed strange to me as the Royal Mail Group is part of it. Royal Mail, speaking for Parcelforce, confirmed that this was the case.

Royal Mail Group said: “Ofcom only requires that regulated Universal Service products provided by Royal Mail are part of POSTRS.” This does not apply to Parcelforce.

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