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Stopping Fraudulent parcel in transit

11 Apr 2019, 18:10

Hi All,

My 18 year old has become another sucker to above mentioned ebay / Paypal scam. It was his first sale on ebay and thought the buyer and paypal emails were genuine.

Alas, he eventually told me a day after he was scammed, that he had sent two parcels to Nigeria (his camera worth/sold for £450) by tracking.

When I found out, I sent numerous emails to both the NIgerian postal service and Customs. I contacted Royal Mail customers service to tell them that the parcels were at HWDC langley, and they said they were unable to intercept the parcel, and I should contact Action Fraud, as they could stop the parcel. I contacted Action Fraud, provided all the information and was given a crime number, but was told Royal Mail are the only ones that can intercept the parcels.

I recontacted the Royal Mail again and got through to an adviser who stated that the royal mail could not stop a parcel and to contact Action Fraud and the police. I asked if there was anyone that could stop the parcel, and all he kept repeating was contact the police and read the terms and conditions, and Postal Service act 2000.

Obviously I wasn't impressed.

My Questions are:

Can the Royal mail stop parcels in transit, especially whilst in a sorting office?

I'm no legal beagle, but the Postal Service Act states 'A person who is engaged in the business of a postal operator commits an offence if, contrary to his duty and without reasonable excuse' - would providing information that a Fraud is/has taken place, classified as reasonable excuse?

Is there anything anyone knows I could do? as checking the tracking is painful to watch.

Does the Royal mail have a duty of care to its customers when they report incidents like these (to at least try and stop the crime from taking place)?

My 18, accepts he's been an idiot and knows its all his fault. The thing that really gets me, is how the Royal mail is incapable (presumably) or does not want to help.
After looking into it, it appears this has been going on for years. Surely, in this day and age, especially with a tracked parcel and our technology, the Royal mail could stop parcels at sorting offices, even if this incurred an extra charge.

Any advice, would be much appreciated.
:Boo hoo!

Stopping Fraudulent parcel in transit

11 Apr 2019, 19:18

It is against the law for Royal Mail to hold on to an item, to return it to the sender or to give it to anyone except their delivery partners or someone at the recipients address. There are various caveats on that, such as undeliverable items.

If Royal Mail stopped the item on your say so, what would they do next that wasn’t against the law? My guess, based on process of elimination, is that they can only stop the item if the police produce a warrant for it and remove it from RM’s hands, once found. Hence they kept referring you to Action Fraud, so that you could register a crime with them, and the police could get a warrant.

Even with all of that, it would still be hard for RM to retrieve the item. Tracking doesn’t show you where an item is, it shows you where it has been...

If a PayPal fraud, you might consider reporting it to eBay. This won’t get your item back but the scammer is likely to get struck off, potentially saving someone else the same heartache. But note that your 18 year might also get struck off.

Stopping Fraudulent parcel in transit

11 Apr 2019, 19:44

Thanks for the reply,

With regards to being against the law to hold an item, I thought 'without reasonable excuse', could have been used. As in, the reasonable excuse would have been to stop a crime from taking place / or prevent someone being defrauded. As for a warrant, the police would never get a warrant for £450, they wouldn't even entertain it.

ebay already informed and buyer has been struck off.

I just personally, find it amazing that a Postal Service is unable to intercept, and this failure is allowing millions of pounds of fraud to be committed every year.

That's the only thing I think relates to delaying.

Interfering with the mail: postal operators
(1)A person who is engaged in the business of a postal operator commits an offence if, contrary to his duty and without reasonable excuse, he—
(a)intentionally delays or opens a postal packet in the course of its transmission by post, or
(b)intentionally opens a mail-bag.
(2)Subsection (1) does not apply to the delaying or opening of a postal packet or the opening of a mail-bag under the authority of—
(a)this Act or any other enactment (including, in particular, in pursuance of a warrant issued under any other enactment), or
(b)any directly applicable Community provision.
(3)Subsection (1) does not apply to the delaying or opening of a postal packet in accordance with any terms and conditions applicable to its transmission by post.
(4)Subsection (1) does not apply to the delaying of a postal packet as a result of industrial action in contemplation or furtherance of a trade dispute.
(5)In subsection (4) “trade dispute” has the meaning given by section 244 of the [1992 c. 52.] Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 or Article 127 of the [S.I. 1995/1980 (N.I.12).] Trade Union and Labour Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1995; and the reference to industrial action shall be construed in accordance with that Act or (as the case may be) that Order.
(6)A person who commits an offence under subsection (1) shall be liable—
(a)on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to both,
(b)on conviction on indictment, to a fine or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding two years or to both.

Stopping Fraudulent parcel in transit

12 Apr 2019, 12:20

geordieonline wrote:With regards to being against the law to hold an item, I thought 'without reasonable excuse', could have been used. As in, the reasonable excuse would have been to stop a crime from taking place / or prevent someone being defrauded.


The problem is that the scam can work both ways and without evidence or direction from a legal perspective its difficult for Royal Mail to decide wether its right to stop a packet because of an accusation of fraud against the receiver, or albeit the rarer case, when the scammer is the sender. They therefore leave it up to the sender/receiver to carry out due dilligence on the people they are dealing with.

Stopping Fraudulent parcel in transit

12 Apr 2019, 15:04

Hi,

I disagree, the postal service should only be able to hold/delay a parcel at the request of a customer, if due process had been followed, i.e contacted Action Fraud/Police and post office with the provided crime reference number / postal receipt and tracking number. Once the parcel is delayed, the police should be able to investigate (all evidence - emails, paypal, ebay, postal receipt etc) and then either collect the parcel or allow post office to continue with delivery, if no evidence to prove a scam/crime has been committed.

Like I say, there should be an appropriate extra charge for the extra work / holding service involved.

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