Royal Mail to launch 'Parcel Collect' service: But what is the TRUE cost of asking the postman to pick up your parcels from home?

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Royal Mail to launch 'Parcel Collect' service: But what is the TRUE cost of asking the postman to pick up your parcels from home?

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The postman is now offering an extra service on top of handing over the mail – picking up parcels from households to deliver elsewhere.

Although a new idea for Royal Mail, the concept of having letters and parcels picked up from your home has been around for more than a decade – being offered by competitors such as DPD, Hermes, DHL, TNT and the Royal Mail parcel spin-off Parcelforce.

The new Royal Mail service is called Parcel Collect and will mean the postman coming to your door to collect up to five items.

The service costs 72p per item on top of usual postal charges – or 60p for returning items bought from online sellers such as Amazon.

So a letter being posted second class will cost £1.37 rather than the normal 65p, while a medium 10kg parcel costing £16.80 to post at a post office counter will cost £17.52 to be picked up.

The same parcel picked up by a rival courier can cost as little as £6.46 (Hermes) while DX charges £7.86 and DHL £7.98. Pickups must be booked online via the Royal Mail website – and a safe collection place must be designated.

Permitted letters and parcels can weigh as much as 20kg and be up to 46x46x61cm in dimension. Payment must be made at the time of booking via a credit card or the online payment system PayPal.

Customers can download a paid-for label which must be stuck on the letter or parcel. Bookings can be made up to five days ahead although pick-ups can be made the day after a booking.

Consumer website Money Saving Expert says: 'This move recognises more home working and is welcome.

'But if you are looking for the best price, it's important to look at alternatives. Royal Mail is hard to beat when it comes to sending cards and letters but becomes less competitive when sending out bigger parcels – and this is when a courier might be cheaper.'

For those looking for a good deal, use a courier comparison website such as Parcel2Go, Parcel Hero or My Parcel Delivery.

Although they offer home pick-up options, you will usually save money if you are willing to drop the item off at a local shop.

Those preferring to sidestep lengthy post office queues can use courier services such as those offered by Hermes or DHL. Visit the courier websites and tap in your postcode to identify nearby drop-off points.

Courier comparison websites can also sometimes offer better prices than going direct to the courier.

This is because they bulk-buy postage slots, enabling them to offer individuals a lower price in line with that paid by larger companies who get the most competitive deals due to bigger buying power.

Couriers typically calculate cost on speed of delivery, size and weight – so it is worth checking different providers depending on how quickly you want an item sent and how bulky and heavy it is.

For cover up to £500, it will cost up to £10 – on top of delivery costs. Rosalind Hunt, director of e-commerce for pick-up courier competitor Hermes, not surprisingly reckons the booking system for Royal Mail is relatively 'clunky' – as customers must first pay for a postage label that is printed off and attached to a parcel. They must then separately pay the extra 72p pick-up charge.

She says: 'We try to beat competitors by offering a next-day pick-up service that promises to get a parcel delivered within three days – this is cheaper than the next-day delivery that many others focus on.'

Nick Landon, chief commercial officer at Royal Mail, says: 'Parcel Collect can help people who are working from home. It can also help those wishing to return unwanted items or sending a gift.'
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Royal Mail to launch 'Parcel Collect' service: But what is the TRUE cost of asking the postman to pick up your parcels from home?

Post by Ferdie »

Greetings! Please forgice any unintentional breaches of netiquette as I've never posted on a forum/bulletin board ever before (yes, so where *have* I been all my life, I know! :crazy: )

From the POV of a Royal Mail residential customer in a rural area I can offer the following. Prior to moving to our current location, in Scotland, almost two decades ago, we never knew that our local Postie would collect mail as well as deliver. This was something which had never previously applied to us as townies, though we were familiar with the rural idyll of Postman Pat - but hey, that's a children's story, isn't it?

Well, no, actually. Where we live the nearest post box and post office are sufficiently far away for our postie routinely to take letters and parcels to the sorting office for us, as long as we've put the stamps on. A big plus when otherwise we'd have a significant and time-consuming round trip just to post a letter. So 'collection on delivery' was the norm for us and we've been very, very happy with this.

Suddenly, today, our Postie told us he couldn't take the package we'd wanted to hand to him. We have to book and pay 70p online, and give it him tomorrow, when two days ago two similar items went away from our door for nothing but smiles and cheery waves on both sides.

Our rural postie arrives in a van, with room to add collected mail. How canurban posties on walking rounds cope with the new service when at best they have a trolley?

Meanwhile the usual people will be disadvantaged - great to have items collected, but... only if you have internet access, a bank account and a credit/debit card. Many people do. Some don't. Like my mother (91yrs), who lives alone, refuses to deal with 'plastic' payment options and has no internet access. Cussed, maybe, but she's not the only one who won't benefit. The poor, and the elderly in rural locations where a free service they've always relied on has suddenly been been removed, will be significantly disadvantaged just at the time when during the Covid-19 Second Wave more restrictions are imposed and more difficulties faced.

Introduce a new paid-for service for less remote locations, by all means, but please remember that rural populations have fewer facilities, which is why this particular service has been available as part of our normal postal service for decades, and without a surcharge, because it has been acknowledged that it was necessary and not just a bonus option.
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