Pete vs Royal Mail – Final Score

Royal Mail LogoAs some of you may know, I’ve been in dispute with the Royal Mail for almost 6 months. I can now report the final score:

  • Pete: 1
  • Royal Mail: 0

For anyone interested, here’s a summary of the last six months of the battle:


Discovered that my Royal Mail P.O Box service hasn’t been working for several months (thanks to Keith G6NHU for the help!). Asked for an apology, and a refund of just over £100 for the time that the service was not working


After several phone calls and letters with Royal Mail Customer Services, I get nowhere. They admit the failure, but won’t deal with the complaint. After one shockingly bad letter, I decide to escalate to Royal Mail’s Postal Review Panel, who apparently take an ” unprejudiced and impartial view” of complaints


A month goes by. No reply from the Postal Review Panel. When I chase for the second time, I’m told that someone called Christine is on holiday. I give up and go to POSTRS, the resolution service operated on behalf of PostComm, the regulator.


Going to POSTRS wakes up Royal Mail. I get a £10 cheque to apologise for Christine being on holiday. Royal Mail provide a six page defense. Royal Mail tell me that my transcript of a phone call “cannot be used as evidence in the case”. So, I raise a Data Protection Request with Royal Mail’s DPA Team for the transcript and Customer Services records. Royal Mail provides 4 pages of call logs and case notes, which back up my claim, and give me an fascinating insight into what goes on behind the scenes.


POSTRS release its final decision in a 12 page document. In summary:

  • Royal Mail not disputing its negligence, or any of my evidence
  • Royal Mail can provide no explanation for why it failed to provide service, despite an internal investigation
  • Royal Mail “failed to address the complaint appropriately on a number of occasions”
  • Royal Mail has caused me unnecessary “stress, anxiety and inconvenience” though its handling of my complaint

Result: Royal Mail ordered to pay £20 compensation for poor complaint handling, and to issue a written apology. They are powerless to help with a refund or compensation as the P.O Box is “out of scope”. Next step, according to POSTRS is to go to court.

I write to the Chief Executive, Moya Greene’s Office, to see if I can avoid court action. Her office doesn’t reply. Postal Review Panel replies saying that if I want to take them to court, here’s the address to serve papers to. Shocked by the arrogance, I consider taking them to court.


Royal Mail sends me a one line apology that they’ve been ordered to, but forget to enclose the cheque. I remind them of their obligations

Royal Mail writes again, this time with the cheque, apologising for forgetting, and telling me that “coaching and training will be given”

Enough’s enough. I issue a Small Claims Court claim against Royal Mail on the 7th of June (cost £35)

A lawyer at Royal Mail Legal Services writes to me. Can we settle out of court for £150? As this doesn’t cover court costs, I say no, and ask for costs. Several emails exchanged with Royal Mail’s lawyer, who happens to be the most rational and pragmatic of all the people I’ve dealt with at Royal Mail.

Pete vs Royal Mail - The paperwork
Pete vs Royal Mail - Letters and court papers by June 2011


Cheque arrives for £192 from the laywer. Added to the £30 for poor complaints handling, that’s £222. I cancel the court proceedings.

Me, with the cheque from Royal Mail
Me, with the cheque from Royal Mail

I can’t help feeling that it would have been easier to refund my £110 back in January when Royal Mail admitted it had messed up. Mistakes happen, and an early refund would have ended the matter. Instead, Royal Mail dragged the matter on and on, making more mistakes along the way.

For me, this became a matter of principle. I now have my refund, plus payment to cover costs. No real compensation for my time in battling against them, but I consider this to be a win.

Close to 2 centimetres of paperwork
Look at my wad - nearly 2 cm of Royal Mail correspondence

Added to the £222 they have paid up, I dread to think how much time this has cost Royal Mail’s Customer Services Team, Information Rights Team, Postal Review Panel, and finally, their legal team over the last six months. All for a £110 refund.

Final Note!!

Interesting piece in today’s Telegraph: Royal Mail complaints rise by a third – Seems I’m one of the 120,884 complaints in the first 3 months of the year. I hope the other 120,883 of you have the energy to persevere too!

9 Commentsto Pete vs Royal Mail – Final Score

  1. Well done to you !. Its just a shame they didn’t just pay up in first place. Of course the sad thing is they know that you have little option but to use them again. They are a long way short of the best company in the world but i guess with a monopoly they really don’t care about things like that. Once again thanks for serving one up for the little guys !!!.

  2. … and all this because the QSL card I sent you was returned to me marked undeliverable!

    I’m glad it was all sorted in the end.

    Did you receive the card when I reposted it?


  3. Hi Keith,

    I knew I was losing mail, but it took your contact to confirm and give me the ammunition to make the complaint. And no, QSL never received…



  4. You know why it pays for them not giving refunds?
    Because perhaps only a small minority has the time and knowledge to go all the way through to the courts who are the only really independent arbitrator. The rest are just bullocks intended for people to waste their energy. Since there is no significant public forum, practically nobody knows about this.
    Thank you for helping us.

  5. Hi,
    I know the thread is old but the RM negligence is still at the same level. I am asking them for the refund over a 3 months now. They finally sent me the cheque but…. with my EBAY NAME ON IT ! I believe it was done intentionally. It was sent to me over a amonth ago, since then I am still asking them – under the same case number – to sent me the cheque with my real name on it. Should I go straight to the Small Claims Court ?


  6. I’m trying to get compensation for a stolen item from a special delivery bag insured upto £500.opened the claim in October 2015 now April 2016..they’ve lost evidence in the post..luckily I have photo evidence but they had that for 2 months without replying.they never ring you back and I have been hung up on.I’m ringing them today to tell them I’m going to the small claims court and see what they do in regards to that.I’m owed £320.

  7. Hi Pete, It’s October 2020 and I’m in dispute with Royal Mail and seem to be going through the same extended poor customer service and lack of acknowledgement of the consequences of Royal Mails mistakes and the unnecessary stress they generate. Since your 1 – 0 victory in 2011 it would seem that Royal Mail have not improved their complaints process at all in the intervening 9 years !

    I think, as you suggested, that Royal Mail have a methodology to reduce complaints by frustration and delays until people just get worn down by the process. I am currently at the stage 3 level and waiting for the “Postal Review Panel” to undertake their “independent” review. I suffer from anxiety and depression and am finding the process difficult …. but …. on reading your account I feel revitalised and will take my complaints all the way if Royal Mail fail to do the right thing.

    Thank you for putting your success in an open forum Pete. I’m hoping you will be able to score “an assist” in my case.


  8. It is frustrating that a large company that calls itself Royal Mail has to use tactics like this to upset all its customers. I returned postage stamps for what they call swap out. To be told, part of the stamps were either used or fraudulent. I know they came from the post office shop online so that is false. It’s only £30 but I am not happy they should do this. We all know what they did to their own post office workers and the claims are still ongoing. It is a scandle that needs to be exposed. Good on you for taking them to task.

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