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small packet vs. letter

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FairyFoot
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small packet vs. letter

Post by FairyFoot »

The post office clerk tried to charge me airmail small packet for an under 80g fat envelope containing a personal letter. I thought if something contains a personalised letter (rather than invoice/description only) then the postage rate is for airmail letter. She even suggested I separate the letter from other things in the envelope and post them separately (not exactly environmentally friendly). This was the case before the price rise, but is this still the case now ?
I am a Postcrosser, and penpaller. I send nice post.
newsubbie
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by newsubbie »

no, the 'letter' rate is the standard tariff, and can contain anything (subject to prohibitions etc). It doesn't need to include a letter.

Under 100g and the letter rate is cheaper - over 100g and the rates are the same. Letter rate should therefore always be offered under 100g, whether goods are contained or not.
IcanthelpthewayIam
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by IcanthelpthewayIam »

newsubbie wrote:no, the 'letter' rate is the standard tariff, and can contain anything (subject to prohibitions etc). It doesn't need to include a letter.

Under 100g and the letter rate is cheaper - over 100g and the rates are the same. Letter rate should therefore always be offered under 100g, whether goods are contained or not.
then why have a non letter rate? what sort of items should that be used for?
newsubbie
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by newsubbie »

zx135 wrote:
newsubbie wrote:no, the 'letter' rate is the standard tariff, and can contain anything (subject to prohibitions etc). It doesn't need to include a letter.

Under 100g and the letter rate is cheaper - over 100g and the rates are the same. Letter rate should therefore always be offered under 100g, whether goods are contained or not.
then why have a non letter rate? what sort of items should that be used for?
well, POL themselves have said that we shouldn't use small packet/ printed papers under 100g. Why they are even there isn't entirely clear - I believe it has something to do with the regulator, but wouldn't be suprised if that is just an excuse by POL/RM. The small packet/ printed papers rate has always been more expensive than the letter rate (certainly in the last few years) for items under 100g. So it isn't anything new in that regard - the new part is that over 100g it is all the same.
FairyFoot
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by FairyFoot »

One of the packets concerned, posted last Thursday, has arrived safely at its destination, in Germany.
I am a Postcrosser, and penpaller. I send nice post.
sholland
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by sholland »

I am new to this forum. I am a private customer, paying over the counter for postage.
Repeatedly I have problems with some Post offices locally interpreting what letter or small packet rate airmail is. This is for airmail less than 100g
One rang his area manager who stated that a jif bag weighing 15g and containing a small spare part MUST be sent as small packet as it was NOT a letter!
So, Europe post cost me £2.70 instead of 87p!!

Another Post Office about 2 miles away charged me 87p for an identical item!
The lady here said her interpretaion is correct. However, it is not always convenient to travel there.

The main Post office in town (run by Co-Op) also insists a letter rate cannot be used for a packet. All 3 cashiers agreed on this.
No matter how much I politely argue that letters can be in a bag containing an item as well as paper, I get nowhere unless I pay for small packet rate.

Is there a definitive statement that I can refer to to take with me when posting to prove what "newsubbie" states?

Looking on google, it seems a common problem and nobody knows what is correct.
If anyone can help me, I would appreciate it.
Thank you,
Robin
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TrueBlueTerrier
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by TrueBlueTerrier »

Your right - they are wrong - The term "Personal Correspondence" is the clincher

Extracts from
ROYAL MAIL GROUP LTD
SUCCESSOR POSTAL SERVICES COMPANY OVERSEAS LETTER POST SCHEME 2001 (AS AMENDED) – CONSOLIDATED VERSION

http://www.royalmail.com/sites/default/ ... 202012.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

“letter” includes any communication in the nature of current and personal correspondence, and also includes a packet transmitted at the letter rate of postage and containing goods or articles of merchandise;

24. SMALL PACKETS

(1) The expression “small packet” in this scheme means a packet which contains goods and contains or bears no letter, note or other communication save such as may be expressly required or permitted by the following provisions of this paragraph.

(2) A packet may be transmitted as a small packet:
(a) if it contains in addition to goods:
(i) an open invoice relating to such goods, the terms whereof are such only as are necessary to its essential function as an invoice;
(ii) any other document having the character of current personal correspondence; Provided that the sender and intended recipient of the document are respectively the same persons as the sender and addressee of the packet;

(b) if it bears on the outside thereof, or on a sheet of paper enclosed therein, or on any of the goods therein, words, figures or symbols indicating all or any of the following:
(i) the address of the sender and addressee with the indications in use in commercial traffic;
(ii) a manufacturer’s trade mark;
(iii) a bare reference to correspondence exchanged between the sender and the addressee relating to the goods;
(iv) the identity and address of the manufacturer and the supplier of the goods or the person for whom they are intended;
(v) serial or registration numbers of the goods, prices and particulars relating to the weight, volume and size thereof and quantity of such goods available and further particulars necessary to determine the source and character of the goods.

(3) Every packet posted for transmission as a small packet shall be clearly marked “Small Packet” on the left-hand side of the space above the address, and shall bear the necessary customs declaration.
(4) Subject to sub-paragraphs (5) and (6), small packets may be sealed.
(5) An article in one piece, such as a piece of wood or metal, which it is not the custom in the trade to pack, need not be packed provided that the address is indicated (with the words “Small Packet”) on the article itself if possible or (if not) on an address label.
(6) Articles of glass or other fragile materials and packets containing liquids, oils, fatty substances, dry powder, live bees, leeches, silkworms’ eggs, parasites or destroyers of noxious insects, shall be packed in accordance with such rules as may be prescribed.
(7) In this paragraph, the expression “goods” includes things of the following descriptions: (a) gramophone records and tapes and wires of a kind used for recording sound or visual images; (b) automatic data processing wires; (c) magnetic tapes or wires ; (d) QSL cards.
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sholland
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by sholland »

Thank You TrueBlueTerrier for reply,
So, did you really mean:
“letter” includes any communication in the nature of current and personal correspondence, and also includes a packet transmitted at the letter rate of postage and containing goods or articles of merchandise;

However, a few weeks ago Royal mail customer services said this to my similar question about letter/small packet contents:

Dear Mr************

Thank you for contacting Royal Mail regarding an airmail.

Airmail letters can only contain Printed Papers so books, newspapers, brochures and pamphlets. anything other than that is an Airmail small package.

Regards

????????????
Customer Service Advisor
(BTW ??????= actual name)

Because of so many conflicting opinions, this is why I asked my original question in this forum.

However, I have printed your reply and will take to Post Office on next occasion, possibly next week. I do hope they will agree, but somehow I doubt it!

Best wishes,
Robin
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Patrick Clifton
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by Patrick Clifton »

Would the small part, that you state was included, be classed as 'personal correspondance?
sholland
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by sholland »

Hello,
the small part is definitely NOT correspondence (although a covering note with my contact details IS included.
But, RM state :
and also includes a packet transmitted at the letter rate of postage and containing goods or articles of merchandise;
Thanks, Robin
FairyFoot
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by FairyFoot »


“letter” includes any communication in the nature of current and personal correspondence, and also includes a packet transmitted at the letter rate of postage and containing goods or articles of merchandise;

...

(2) A packet may be transmitted as a small packet:
(a) if it contains in addition to goods:
(i) an open invoice relating to such goods, the terms whereof are such only as are necessary to its essential function as an invoice;
(ii) any other document having the character of current personal correspondence; Provided that the sender and intended recipient of the document are respectively the same persons as the sender and addressee of the packet;
any other document having the character of current personal correspondence;

What does this mean, as opposed to "letter"?

(my other packet arrived safely too at letter rate)
I am a Postcrosser, and penpaller. I send nice post.
goobergrapejelly
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by goobergrapejelly »

I too am having problems with this. Two post offices I visit send my items as letter (and insist it is ok to do so) and two others insist on sending it as a packet. All my items contain 'personalised correspondance' (and by this I don't mean an invoice - I always include in a short letter or note).

So everything I send meets this criteria:

“letter” includes any communication in the nature of current and personal correspondence, and also includes a packet transmitted at the letter rate of postage and containing goods or articles of merchandise

but also meets this criteria too:

A packet may be transmitted as a small packet:
(a) if it contains in addition to goods...any other document having the character of current personal correspondence


So which is it??

I did contact Royal Mail but unfortunately it appears they don't read their letters as I just get back their standard response which doesn't directly answer my queries.
sholland
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by sholland »

I had a problem today with 2 identical European AIRMAIL items, each weighing 55g, but about 40mm thick. Cashier insisted that if they didn't go through the letter/large letter slot on the plastic counter checker (they didn't!), then packet rate £2.70 would be charged. I told her that this counter device was to determine UK postage only, and that airmail LETTER could be 2kg max, 60 x 30cm etc. Certainly far larger than my item. She still refused to accept this, insisting it was a packet as it was larger than the plastic slot! £2.70 please!. I then quoted the extract from Royal Mail Successors etc (somewhere in previous posting) and asked her to supply me with a written confirmation of her refusal to accept as a letter. This she refused to do, saying that she was NOT refusing to accept the items, just telling me that as insufficient postage (less than £2.70) would be paid, then the system would either not deliver them or that the recipient would be surcharged.
So, I have a Cert of Post and receipts for total amount paid at AIRMAIL LETTER rate. However,she used several adhesive stamps, one of which had the cutout slot missing ( I did point it out, but she said it did not matter). I thought strange, why not a printed sticker?? I also got her to stamp each receipt officially and write the 55g actual weight alongside, which she did.
I can only wait to see if they arrive as planned, without surcharge.
At all times, I was polite but firm, and she was also polite but firm in her tone, saying this is what her (Tesco) training had instructed her as correct.
Like 1000s of others throughout the UK, I find that there are 2 different counter opinions on Airmail letter rates for items less than 100g, (where there is a saving over small packet rate of £2.70). Come on Royal Mail, decide once and for all with a legally backed, no quibble decision. Above all, ALL Post Offices should use the same rules!
sholland
FairyFoot
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by FairyFoot »

This is one reason why I will try to affix postage myself. Sometimes I can fit the thing in the postbox, other times I hand it over the PO counter saying that it has correct postage. I put my return address (front top left hand corner now, rather than the back as one letter was returned to me with postmarks on the back of the envelope and an insufficient postage doobry - stamps were still attached on the front),
I am a Postcrosser, and penpaller. I send nice post.
sholland
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Re: small packet vs. letter

Post by sholland »

Hi FairyFoot, I always get proof of posting, so posting in post box myself is not an option.
I have checked with our post lady here at work today. We are a multi-million pound outfit and use franking machine. She told me that ALL airmail less than 100g always goes at letter rate. There has not been a problem. This does confirm with what true blue terrier told me earlier. SO, I just need to find a way to convince some counter staff and their managers that I am right! Affixing my own postage stamps and getting proof of posting is not always possible. Besides, if the post office staff are getting it wrong, why should I have to anyway?
I suppose if Royal Mail customer service can agree with my stance in writing, I could take a copy every time I visit the post office. Somehow, I don't think proof from Royal Mail will be forthcoming. I hope I am wrong though!
Best wishes,
sholland
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