Royal Mail has blown up plan to make old stamps unusable in three months
Released: 7:50 p.m. EDT, Oct. 22, 2022 | Updated: 7:56 PM EDT, Oct. 22, 2022
Royal Mail is under fire over a plan that will leave households with large numbers of stamps they can no longer use.
The company will launch new barcoded stamps after Christmas. These will replace the ones that many people still have hidden in their drawers or wallets.
Royal Mail to introduce new postage stamps with barcodes (pictured) after Christmas
However, campaign groups warn that customers could lose significant sums after successive price increases.
The cost of a first class stamp rose by 10p to 95p in April. That compares to just 60p a decade ago.
This means that a booklet of 12 stamps is currently worth £11.40.
Critics claim that many people are still unaware of the plan and that Royal Mail’s exchange program of exchanging unused stamps for new ones is too complicated.
Consumer expert Martyn James said: “For a company that’s all about communication, Royal Mail has singularly failed to communicate the most radical change in postage in decades.
“It doesn’t matter that you can exchange existing stamps. Many people only find out about the changes after the deadline or find the exchange rules illogical and confusing.’
The Post has given customers until January 31 to use up their old stamps. After that, customers must exchange their stamps for new ones. But critics say many are still unaware of the delivery service’s intentions
Mr James urged Royal Mail to extend the deadline.
Old stamps will no longer be able to after January 31, there will be an old stamp exchange program, but critics claim that many people do not know and that it is too complicated
Experts have long advised households to buy booklets of stamps before each price increase to save money. Many Britons keep unused stamps in drawers, purses or stationery boxes. Anyone wishing to exchange their old stamps after the cut-off date must fill out a form and send it with their stamps to an office in Scotland.
Forms can be printed from the Royal Mail website or collected from a delivery office – but most importantly, campaigners warn, unused stamps cannot be exchanged at post offices.
Royal Mail announced that it announced the move to barcode postage as part of a nationwide promotional program last February.
The barcodes allow customers to track letters and packages through the company’s app.
According to the company, another awareness campaign followed, distributing leaflets to 31 million households and posting messages on social media.
The new stamps are already on sale, but non-barcoded versions will continue to be sold until stocks run out.
Activists are calling on Royal Mail to simplify the exchange process for old stamps and to publicize the change more widely
However, older Britons are likely to be most at risk of falling foul of the new system, as they are far more reliant on postal services than the younger generation.
Dennis Reed of campaign group Silver Voices urged Royal Mail to be “more considerate” of older people when explaining the change. He warned that the company’s replacement process was “muddled” and called for an intensified public information campaign.
Tory MP Kevin Hollinrake said he was unaware of the change before speaking to The Mail on Sunday. He joined activists calling on Royal Mail to speed up their efforts to raise awareness.
Mr Hollinrake urged Royal Mail to extend its deadline and be lenient with those who miss it.
Royal Mail said it was “interested in ensuring that no customers are left out of pocket after the transition”. The company added, “People who are unable to use their stamps before January 31 can exchange their non-barcoded stamps for barcoded equivalents free of charge.”